Working remotely has its pros - it enables us to have a bigger picture of what we are doing and how we are doing it, it helps us focus and organise our ideas, and allows us to get away from the office chaos.
However, it also has its cons - team communication is not always easy, there is a risk of losing track of projects, and it can take longer to resolve personal issues. Here is a list of interesting learnings we are making during our #officelessmonths!
The people you are working remotely with may not be up-to-date with the developments of the projects you have been working on, or not be aware of your sources of inspiration, or may not understand at all what you are talking about! Remember to always share your ideas and sources, both before and after meetings. Send an agenda in advance of the meeting so that the participants know what will be discussed, and task one one person with taking the minutes and sharing them after the meeting.
2. Use different communication tools
Phone calls, emails, text messages, instant messages, online chats are all available means of communication for telecommuters. However, you need to learn several of these tools and how to use them practically, in order to use them effectively.
For example, there are times when a phone call would be a waste of time, whereas an email would work perfectly. There can be times where instant messages would have no advantage over a video chat. Use each tool wisely and be open to using different forms of communication with different co-workers.
3. ‘Don’t leave me hanging’
Silence is the worst thing to experience when you are trying to connect with your colleagues. If you start thinking ‘I sent a message 3 hours ago and no one responded to it. Was it just too stupid to respond to?’ you can very quickly go down an unhelpful, negative spiral.
Even if it requires time and energy, try to always respond to your colleagues in a helpful way. If you are not able to solve their problem, refer them to the people who are best qualified for it, and help move things on.
4. Think positive
Discussing by online chats means you cannot see the speaker's face and, therefore, you lack all the visual elements. The best way to deal with this situation is to avoid making assumptions and try not to find hidden meanings behind your colleagues’ words.
Ask for more clarification if necessary, and try to see things from the other person’s point of view- you are both working to achieve the same goal, just maybe you are looking at it from different perspectives. If you think someone is dissatisfied, make an effort to clarify the situation.
These weeks are proving to be a great opportunity for all of us to learn to be creative in the way we communicate with the team, and also to find ways to stay united and share moments of our everyday lives that we often leave outside the office.