Creating a remote working culture in a team that’s used to working in the same office is not just something simple to put in place. At Azendoo, we’re a team of 25 that’s been working in the same office in Bordeaux, France, for the past five years. But recently some of us had some life changes, and needed to move away from Bordeaux. Our lead developer moved to Brazil, our CS Manager went to Paris, and me, I ended up in the French Pyrenees.
But we didn’t want to quit our awesome jobs at Azendoo just because our lives were making us move away. So the founding team at Azendoo decided to adopt a new culture to welcome this new remote working organization. So from my team’s experience, here are 10 tips to switch from an in-office culture to a (partly) remote-working one.
From the team’s perspective
As a team, if you want to start working remotely, you first need to know that you have some challenges ahead. Make sure you use the right tools and methods to get your team on board (the remote workers as well as the ones still working in the office).
1. Create team routines
It’s very important to maintain strong bonds between your coworkers, even if they don’t see each other every day. So you need to create daily, or weekly, moments when your whole team is grouped together for a call or sharing information to make sure everyone is still going in the same direction.
For example, every Monday you can organize a stand-up meeting (in conference call for the remote workers) where everyone speaks about his/her objectives for the week.
And at the end of the day, you can also ask your team members what they’ve accomplished during the day using tools like idonethis.
2. Create dual working teams
If part of your team is working from the office and another from home, the best way to strengthen relationships between your team members is to create dual working teams. These duos will work together on one or several projects, pushing them to communicate better, and keeping both of them essential to the project’s progress.
Alone we go faster, together we go further!
3. Keep a team calendar
Knowing where everyone is and when is very important for team synchronization. So keep a calendar (you can do this with a simple Google calendar) where every remote worker notes when they’re at home, at the office, or on the train. This way it will also be easier to organize team moments, to go out for a beer when everyone is at the office, or to just have lunch all together.
Don’t forget that spending quality time together is the key to happiness and work. Work is not just about work, it’s also about relationships.
4. Use the right tools
The key to successful remote teams is to use the right tools to communicate and synchronize work. First, make sure you have a good microphone to organize team meetings via conference call (that you can organize with appear.in, for example).
But above all, use a collaborative application (like azendoo) to group your team discussions, tasks, and documents all in one place.
5. Keep a space in the office for the remote workers
It’s very important that your remote workers feel welcome when they come to work for a few days at the office. So make sure you always have a desk available for them. If they have to work in the kitchen or on the couch when they come to the office, they will definitely not come in very often!
From the remote worker’s perspective
Starting to work remotely is not as easy as you may think. You need to use the right tools and methods to stay productive and connected to your team.
1. Build a productive routine
Working from home is very different from working at the office. At home, you’re alone, so yes, it’s great to not be distracted by your teammates! But sometimes it can be hard to not have many human interactions during the day. So when you’re working from home you need to create routines that support a productive environment. For example, plan a call for the same time every day, each time with a different coworker (right after lunch, perhaps).
You decide what the best routine is for you, but make sure to build one!
2. Create a safe work environment
Now that you’re staying at home to work, make sure your desk is as comfortable as the one you have in your office. Create a refined environment to avoid distraction. Make sure your home office feels like a real office so you can fully concentrate on the tasks you need to accomplish during the day. If you want to find inspiration, I recommend signing up for The Modern Desk newsletter – it’s full of great ideas and inspiration.
I also heard that having a cat at home helps you to be more productive, but I haven’t tried it yet ;-)
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The downside of working remotely is that you don’t meet Kevin and Sam at the coffee machine to have a quick chat, work-related or not. So make sure you communicate with your team as often as needed. A question to ask? Send a quick private message. Information to share? Post a message in your collaborative app. And above all, don’t hesitate to call your teammates when you need a quick and specific answer!
4. Get outside
Working from home makes you move less. You only need to walk from your bed to your coffee machine to your desk. So you need to make sure you’re moving during the day to keep your body awake. Whether it’s a run in the morning, a walk at lunch or a bike tour at the end of the day, plan at least 30 minutes every day for moving your body around!
5. Go to the office whenever you can
Meeting face-to-face with your coworkers is an important thing, especially if only part of the team works remotely. Organize regular trips to the office, and when you’re there, spend time with your coworkers, discussing your projects as well as other non-work related things.
Moving from a totally in-office culture to a partly remote-working culture is not an easy task. But if you maintain the good habits you already have, there is no reason that it can’t work. Besides, allowing your employees to work remotely will help you keep talented people and create a stimulating feeling of confidence!
Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via pexels.com