Various circumstances can cause the need to work from home. Your team may be distributed to begin with. Or extenuating circumstances like travel or quarantine may require teams to work remotely unexpectedly.
Remote work, while convenient and practical, can be isolating. The last thing you want is for team members to lose a sense of connection when working from home. Whether your company has a pre-existing remote work policy or has had to quickly adapt, it’s important to integrate remote work practices that retain and strengthen company culture so you can ultimately succeed together.
Integrate the Right Tools for Remote Work
In order for everyone to stay on the same page, it’s crucial to adapt the right tools for distributed teams. Several areas are compromised the most when it comes to working remotely: communication, project management, and rapport.
Remote Work Communication
When teams are distributed, it’s harder to spark up spontaneous conversations that lead to better rapport and collective understanding. Slack is a great tool to help maintain natural communication amongst team members. With the ability to group conversations into various channels, team members can keep in touch without having to email back and forth.
Zoom also offers ease of communication remotely, with the added features of video calling. Mimicking physical interactions with face-to-face calls can help teams maintain trust and connection remotely.
Project Management for Remote Agile Teams
Especially if your team is used to working off of physical card walls for Kanban projects, transitioning to a remote team structure can be challenging. Luckily, digital Kanban boards like Trello make it easy to deliver projects collaboratively, without requiring all team members to be in the same place.
Asana is also a solid project management tool that makes it easy to assign and approve color-coded tasks with teammates.
How to Have Fun While Working Remotely
In a team environment, the tangible things that hold a team together include goals, project deliverables, and processes. However, the intangible things that allow a team to function, like rapport, trust, and communication, are just as important. How do you build and maintain a strong team culture in a remote working situation?
A good way to build trust within teams is to ask everyone to use the camera when having video calls. Having face-to-face communication helps mimic in-person interactions.
Facilitate interactive internal meetings
When team members are on a virtual call, it can be easy for members to fall into the background and not participate. It is important for each team member to be conscious about their speaking time, and encourage everyone to chime in with their thoughts.
Integrate ice breakers
In order for teams to work effectively, it’s important for team members to have a healthy level of rapport with one another. Ice breakers facilitate casual conversation, and can set a fun tone to a meeting. Conversation-starting ice breakers include:
- What was everybody doing 3 hours ago?
- Who in the team is most likely to ______?
- What would be the title of your autobiography?
Make sure that each team member shares their response to the ice breaker before the meeting carries on.
Being agile means being able to respond to change despite uncertain circumstances. If your team is able to transition to remote work while successfully completing projects and maintaining rapport, then you’ll all feel a sense of accomplishment for sticking to an agile mentality in the face of uncertainty.