My summary of learnings about Remote Working through meetups, interviews and articles in 2020
In February, I left my job after improving the remote culture with two clear objectives, to spend more time with my family, and to research starting a new fully remote job.
Shortly after starting this new life, Covid arrived and my objectives quickly became inevitable. As we were forced into lockdown, spending time with my family was already in progress and, since most companies had gone fully remote, a lot of meetups and articles with remote working topics appeared.
Here you have a summary of this months of learning around remote working.
In this workshop, Claire Lew reinforced the idea that in remote enviroments , micromanagement simply does not work. I love the concept “Treat others as THEY want to be treated”, empathy is even more important in remote working.
Transitioning to Hybrid or Remote
My main takeaways from Bretton Putter’s workshop:
- Remote needs 5x moreprocess than office
- Need of communication architecture
- Focus on output
n remote working , we need to focus on the output. Implementing OKR’s is a great way to achieve that. Christina Wodtke shared some tips to implement OKR in the proper way.
Remote tools and Remote training
Nice recap of Remote tools and some tips to improve your remote trainings.
My main takeaways from Angel Medinilla’s meetup:
- Short cycles work better than long cycles. Use training pills because remote time drains audience brain faster.
- Remote training need a rethink, just copy the training format with remote tools does not work.
- Choose the tools you want to use, but create a working agreement before starting the training.
Another great workshop from Claire Lew with easy tips that can improve the onboarding experience. I really like the idea of being explicit from day 1 about work preferences and also the reminder of ‘why we hire you’ in the welcome note.
I attend 3 different tech conferences with 3 different approaches
They streamed the pre-recorded talks with some post-production embedded in their web but they use one slack channel for each talk to create a conversation around it. I found it really interesting because you can continue the conversation even if the talk has ended and because the talk was pre recorded the speaker can participate in the conversation.
Regular live streaming with an option to ask questions to the speaker, as well as network with participants using the Hopin platform.
Amazing conference with a live streaming from a professional studio , just like a late night show, with no possibility to ask live questions to the speaker but with an amazing effort to generate networking chats with the participants. They generated a chat roulette only for the conference participants where I had really interesting conversations.
The last day they also had an open space with the option to participate or just watch.
Remote Water cooler chats
Some ideas to have casual conversations on remote working from the Tarugoconf open space.
I started having interviews with my network of friends and co workers to learn about their experiences working remotely with this Covid forced full remote adoption.
I used this agenda for the meetings as an starting point
Context: With Covid, almost all companies are full-remoteObjective: Casual talk about remote work learnings with the forced remote working situationAgenda:* What was the remote working policy before Covid?* 3 things that have surprised you that work perfectly on remote.* 3 things that haven’t worked remotely.* Any discovery about your organization now that you are fully remote?* What did you miss about working in the office?* What do you want to maintain when you go back to the office?* Has your perception about remote working changed?
I have talked with people from HR, Managers, Devs and also one psychologist. I had enjoyed each of the conversations and I’ve planned to keep having them with new people, and also revisiting the interviews to see how working remotely is evolving.
My main takeaways are:
- Fully remote working has exposed all the “magical” processes that happen in the office that were not explicitly defined. The onboarding process is a clear example of a process that has a lot of parts that “just happens” in the office and now needs to be defined.
- People are working more hours than ever, the problem of remote working is not that people aren’t working, it’s about establishing a clear distinction between work and personal time to avoid burnout. This is especially hard with Covid, because it’s difficult to work anywhere other than home, and not all homes were ready for this.
- The casual conversations need to be forced. The problems are not the tools, we have plenty of them. The problem is that people need to want it to happen, and for that you need them to be aware that these casual conversations are really important. It’s a cultural change that needs everyone onboard, because if that doesn’t happen you will have these water cooler conversations with the same people. And magic will not appear.
- Clear strategy is even more important than ever, you just can not micromanage teams because you cannot see them. Trust and a clear understanding of what’s the next objective is mandatory.
- We need to learn to work async and be more proactive if we don’t want to end with a calendar full of meetings. Also, good communication skills are super important working remotely, we need to work to improve this skill.
I recommend this article to have a clearer view of the present, future and consequences of the remote working and also a free course about managing a remote team
Changing from the office to full remote, needs more effort but it has clear benefits. I think next year we will need to improve more with hybrid companies, some people in the office and some people in remote, and also rethink the office space.
I will keep learning!