At o2 Coaching, the whole team works remotely, in normal circumstances. A situation like Covid-19 therefore has a slightly less impact on our work organisation. Then, in order to share what we have learned about how to be productive and committed in this type of environment, we decided to collect all our tips to help teams be effective while remote-working.
At o2, we use the microsoft Teams tool to ensure smooth communication between all team members. This tool also allows us to avoid sending emails to our colleagues for a quick question. We therefore no longer keep e-mails for longer topics or for approvals.
For our team meetings, we use Zoom, which allows us to meet with several people, as if we were all together, thanks to videoconferencing.
For document sharing, we use SharePoint, which allows us to all work on the same document at the same time, so we don’t have to “time” ourselves as to who is in the document.
To ensure that everyone has everything they need to move forward in their work, follow-up team meetings are scheduled. At o2, we have two meetings with the whole team per week, which allows us to address issues that concern all team members and to ask for help on the points that are problematic for us to move forward. It also allows us to highlight the good things we’ve done! This will definitely affect the morale of the troops. By not being physically together, we must not forget that the team dynamic still counts.
Then, when necessary, other meetings are added as a smaller committee, to settle questions about a particular subject, which does not necessarily concern the whole team.
Establishing a precise agenda for a meeting also allows the members who will be present to prepare themselves and to be better able to interact and give their opinions during the meeting. On our side, before each meeting, when one of us needs the opinion of the others, we have all the information before the meeting so that we can have value-added discussions during the meeting.
By having everyone working from home you have to change your state of mind and tell yourself that the important thing is that important deliverables are delivered, not that specific hours are completed. During your team meetings, it is therefore important to clearly state what is expected from each member and within what timeframe. This allows each member to know what needs to be done and everyone can adjust their agenda according to expectations. It also prevents files from being forgotten.
To make remote-work a success in your team, you need to make sure that each team member actively listens to his or her colleagues during meetings, otherwise it can quickly become chaotic. Listening to each other makes you much more productive. So get into the habit of really listening to your colleagues during meetings and waiting your turn to bring your points. You can also, at the end of the meeting, ask each of the members what they learned from the meeting and their priorities following the meeting. This will ensure that everyone participates actively in the meeting, just as each member will need to re-evaluate their priorities based on the points brought forward by the others.
If you are not accustomed to remote-work, you will need to make adjustments. Your first meetings may be more laborious and less productive, but the important thing is to ask yourself, each time, how the meeting could have gone better. At o2, after almost every meeting, we take a few minutes to identify what went well and what could have been improved. This allows us to continually improve.
Then, be aware that your team members will not respond within a minute of sending an email. They may be focused on another more important task and you may not know about it simply because they are not next to you to tell you. So be indulgent and instead clarify your expectations in terms of what needs to be accomplished and track progress.
Remote work can be even more productive and efficient than working from the office, you just have to change your way of seeing certain aspects of work and equip yourself with the right tools to do so. In fact, the situation we’re facing right now is a very good exercise to ask you whether your team is agile, whether it can adapt to many situations and how it could be more so.