As a lot of companies have moved to remote work for the past several months, they are learning some of the advantages and challenges of working remotely. At Bytes, Inc. we have been 100% remote since we launched 18 years ago. So, I thought I would share some lessons we have learned.

Overcommunicate

There is a lot of unconscious communication that happens when people are working in the same space. It’s easy to see what people are working on and the progress they are making… or not making. This is lost when your team works remotely.

It is important to overcommunicate while working remotely. Let team members and leadership know what you have accomplished and where there are challenges. This can be done through regular meetings, email updates, or tools designed for managing projects and teams.

If you don’t communicate what you are working on and what you have accomplished, then it is easy for others to make assumptions that may not be correct.

Define Tasks Clearly

When teams are in-person, it is easier to work together towards a common goal with less definition around each task. When team members are remote, they can easily go down the wrong road if a task is poorly defined.

That is why it is important to clearly define each task. The Agile approach to software development provides a good example. There are three components to each task:

  • Story – describes what the user is trying to accomplish
  • Description – provides requirements for what needs to be created or changed
  • Exit – defines how to know when the task is done

While these are specific to software development, they are a good way to help any team member define the task they are trying to accomplish.

Find the Right Tools

No tool can eliminate poor communication and processes. So, you have to get those right first. Then, you can find the right tools to make communication even better and make processes go more smoothly.

The two most important tools are for communication and project/task management. There are no right tools, just tools that are right for your organization. Because we work with a lot of teams, we have become versatile on a lot of different ones. Here are a few that we find work well:

  • Zoom – the standard for team and client video calls.
  • WhatsApp/Slack – good tools for near real-time communication and for sharing documents, images, and more.
  • JIRA, Bugzilla, Trello, ScrumMate – each of these have their own strengths and weaknesses. They are great for keeping track of specific tasks, organizing tasks, assigning tasks to individuals, and providing notifications when tasks are complete.

While we have used these tools for years, we are seeing increased adoption with clients that increases productivity for everyone.

If you would like to talk more about working remotely or working with a team that has 18 years of experience working remotely, let’s schedule a time to talk. You can contact us via the form below or give us a call at (619) 933-3366.