As an organization with employees across the country, Casebook PBC has long been committed to being a remote friendly workplace. As a result, we’ve learned a few things on setting yourself up for the current state of increased social isolation.
We’ve asked our friend Shelly Palmer, who’s a global expert on remote work, to share with us some advice on the sociology of working remotely.
Act Like You Are in the Office
You’re not in the office, but you can act like you are. Figure out how you and your direct reports will communicate. Are you going to use email (heaven forbid) or a messenger app? Will you screenshare a few times a day?
Our teams often open a video chat in Slack or Google Hangouts and leave it open while they are problem solving. Once you learn to do this, it is significantly more productive than in-office meetings and work sessions because everyone is in their personal workspace and has 100 percent of their productivity tools at their disposal for the entire meeting.
You just need to wrap your head around the idea that you are in two places at once.
Schedule Phone Calls as if They Were Meetings
You may already do this, but if you don’t, you should. When you work remotely, everything gets scheduled as if it were a meeting: phone calls, screen shares, live chats – everything.
You already know how to use a calendar invite. Working remotely changes nothing with regard to calendar management.
Hold All-Hands and Staff Meetings via Video Chat and Screenshare Tools
We hold all-hands and staff meetings using Google Hangouts. Smaller video meetings are held on Slack. There are about a zillion ways to do this. Pick some tools and schedule and hold meetings as if you were working in the same office building.
Your boss wants to know what you’re doing all day long. Awesome. Keep a log of what you are working on.
Build a short report during the day that can be sent in the evening. You may already have tools that automatically generate these management reports, but if you don’t, then get in the habit of demonstrating your productivity.
This has two benefits. One, your boss will love you. Two, you will be much more productive because you have a clear understanding of your own workflow and your output.
Schedule Check-ins over Voice or Messaging Apps
People who are new to remote working often forget to network with their colleagues. Most of the communications tools that are commonly used are one-sided, meaning that they are optimized to connect to a specific thing and stay connected to it. It’s great that you interface with your team all day long.
You need to “walk down the hall” and bump into someone you don’t work with on a day-to-day basis. Remote workers accomplish this by building tickler files to remind them to reach out to coworkers regularly. Seasoned pros automate this, you can too.