Team Remote Working 101

19th March 2020 – Author: Simon Scott

Push has never had an office.

We formed in 2005 and are now a team of 40, all remote working from home.

We service global clients in the Entertainment industry, our world is impossibly tight deadlines, unclear briefs with our reputation always being on the line.

Here are the top lessons we have learnt over the years that we’d like to share as everyone adapts to working from home.

These are real world things that work for highly functioning teams.

Remote Must Haves

1. Enforce Video Calls.

We enforced video calls about 6 years ago as we could see that people were simply not understanding each other. They were not listening, getting distracted and I am pretty sure eyes were rolling. As soon as we got eye contact back, people started interacting properly with respect and as a team. A lot of people were resistive at first so to show how serious we were, video calls were mandatory and no one was let off the hook. This is our number one tip. Do not take any excuses.

2. Have a daily stand up

This works for teams of up to about 20. At 9:15 every morning we have a series of ‘all hands’ team calls. These should not last more than 15 minutes and each person should say a) what they are working on that day and b) who else in the team they expect to have contact with. Again this is mandatory, no shirkers. It means that your team bonds right from the off and everyone is aware of what the pinch points of the day will be. Do not have this call run by one of the management team, find a volunteer who is well liked and a good communicator and an agreed deputy should they be on holiday.

3. Establish your chat client etiquette

Never video call someone without establishing the right to do so. A request to ‘Speak?’ in whatever chat client you use will suffice.

4. Reverse the permission paradigm

We understand that as soon as you are working from home then life will get in the way and we embrace rather than fight it. The “Can I pop to the shops?’ becomes ‘I’m just popping to the shops’. In return for this freedom the understanding is that you have no outstanding uncommunicated obligations to a fellow team member before you leave your desk. It is a sin to keep a colleague waiting and stopping them from working. CoWorker respect becomes all when remote working, no matter your position in the company.

Normal stuff that really helps

Use shared documents, Google Doc, Office 365 all have great document sharing capabilities, stop using stand alone docs and get used to collaborating, screen sharing and the like.

Enforce meetings in calendars even for those “shall we chat after lunch” meetings. Make sure diary entries have agendas.

Encourage people to share personal stuff – we run a few group slack channels including PushThingsI’veMade for the creative and PushCinemaClub where some of us go and watch the same movie in the same week.

Take the time to be clear about what you want people to do, follow up in writing so that there can be no misunderstanding.

Hope this helps. Please share. Stay safe.

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