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Monthly Top Tips from Ali & Tam

From our Remote Works Monthly Newsletter. Sign-up today here.


✅ Create a Team Charter (Dec 2022)


We’ve been seeing lots of noise online about workplace culture. Those on the “pro-office” side of things miss those spontaneous water cooler conversations, pining for the work culture of yesteryear. Those on the “pro-remote” side of the divide insist that culture is something that can’t be contained in a cubicle and that remote work only puts a magnifying glass on the prevailing culture—warts and all.


At Remote Works, we think that culture comprises "standard operational behaviors" that are symbolized by objects, common language, experiences, and rituals rather than a physical address. Creating a Team Charter can help you and your team understands concretely what your team culture is and how it expresses itself—whether that is virtual, in an office, or anywhere in between.


Spend time examining different working styles, considering common values, and codifying choices for behaviors like meeting cadences, communication standards, team rituals, and more in order to establish a Team Charter.

 

✅ Collaboration Kickoffs & User Guides (Nov 2022)


You’ve likely heard of a project kickoff, but why is it only focused on the work? In order to be a successful remote work leader, it is important to start your working relationship off on the right foot—with intentionality.


We recommend every time you work with a new person, spend time learning how you both approach remote work: What are your expectations of each other? What motivators are at play? How should you collaborate, connect, and communicate?


Once norms for collaboration are determined, codify it into a living document that we call your “user guide”—it’s a set of instructions on how to work best together.

 

✅ Remote Leadership is Conscious Leadership (Oct 2022)


To be a great remote leader, you must build your self-awareness skills and know when to flex your style. You’ll need to reflect upon your actions and communication style and understand how they impact your team. It is no easy feat!


First, take some time looking within – do you know how you work best remotely? If the answer is not an immediate YES (and you feel ambivalent), then your homework is to observe yourself for a week and take notes. (And don’t be afraid to use images if you have a hard time articulating!)

Once you have confidence and trust in yourself, it is time to transfer that power to your team, lead by example, and be open to the fact that your preferences may differ from your team's. When in doubt, talk it out!


 

✅ Think like a Project Manager (Sept 2022)


Every remote worker needs to be their own project manager. To manage your workflow without a million meetings, you must ensure the same information is available and shared asynchronously. To achieve your goals, you must set expectations, explicitly mark milestones, understand dependencies, resolve confusion, and unblock issues.


The ability to think like a project manager is paramount for every remote worker—from the brand-new intern to the Vice President.


You can start today by developing clear processes and templates for routine behavior or common questions on your team, like weekly updates & expectations, where to go for information, how to share information, the best practices for structuring a project, and how to plan for deliverables and milestones.


 

Reset your schedule (Aug 2022)


As we enter a new season, it is normal to see a shift in your schedule. For parents, you may be switching from free-and-easy summer mode to juggling all-the-things school mode. For those without children, maybe your workout classes are moving from outdoors to indoors, or you are looking for a new extracurricular activity yourself. It is important to use these shifts and last month’s Calendar Audit to evaluate what is and is not working for you and your team. Starting in September, you can reset expectations around working hours, availability, response cadences, etc.


How-To: Review last month’s Calendar Audit, your current commitments, and your desire for heads-down working (using your Energy Tracker), and block off the different types of work and breaks in your calendar. Communicate new expectations with your team and document them in a personal User Guide making sure everyone is literally on the same page. (Wonder what a User Guide is? Check out Atlassian’s playbook and, of course, watch for our book, coming out Feb 7th, 2023.)


 

✅ Run a Meeting Audit with Your Team (July 2022)


It’s summer, which means more time to catch up on reading or head to the beach, right? We recommend a meeting audit for those getting roped into “quick” lunch or late afternoon Zoom calls when you’d rather be enjoying some sunshine.


How-To: Review all the meetings you and your team have on the calendar for the past two weeks (a month if you’d like an accurate snapshot). For each meeting, note whether it was needed and how you could change the cadence, length, or attendees to reduce the meeting burden. Then, experiment with changes in the upcoming week. You might get an hour or two back in your week for that summer Friday you deserve!


 

*** We took April and May 2022 off to finish our book ***

 

✅ Do Some Spring Cleaning (Mar 2022)


We all have that “junk drawer” at home. You know, the one stuffed with old takeaway menus and loose change. Similarly, there may be folders or loose documentation scattered on your computer desktop screen or in your project management tool. Carve out some time to clean up your digital house (we recommend a “cleaning day” quarterly), and make sure that your documentation is up-to-date, with everything in the right place and with a clear owner.


When you’re done, record what you’ve done. How is information stored? Where should it be stored, and how should it be updated? Next time, try making documentation a part of your standard workflow. Think of it as cleaning while you cook rather than dealing with the stack of pots and food scraps afterward. We promise you’ll feel more organized (and satisfied!)

 

✅ Make Templates Your Friend (Feb 2022)


What type of work do you notice repeating week after week? Maybe that’s adding a contact into the Salesforce CRM, or making a quarterly review presentation for your client. Perhaps you’re a product manager and collect the same requirements sprint after sprint. Whatever it is, if it’s repeatable, stop reinventing the wheel. Instead, develop a plug-and-play template, once and for all, and then move on. This might mean designing a “standard” presentation deck, recurring Asana task, or programming a Zapier automation. Spending the time upfront to templatize can save you and your team time and energy down the road.



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