How Teams Can Stay Connected and Productive When Working Remotely

March 24, 2020

How Teams Can Stay Connected and Productive When Working Remotely

By Sharon Malfesi

Given the realities of social distancing today, it’s important to keep in mind the principles behind good teamwork. At Datto, agility lives in our cultural mindset and communication practices. As a global company, Datto is in a good position to support the needs of fully distributed agile teams and we’ve been around the block with this setup for a while.

We’ve found that there are many ways that teams can work effectively—regardless of location. Here are some tips and suggestions for how your company can stay productive and in close communication during your time working from home:

Communication tools are key

Video conferencing tools like Go-to-Meeting and Zoom are your best friend. Ask yourself “is this conversation better-suited face-to-face?” If so, book 15 minutes with someone on your preferred video conferencing app rather than just relying on non-visual communications. It really makes a difference for keeping teams in sync.

And turn on your camera! This allows people to read your expressions and interact with you more effectively. Additionally, it gives you the incentive to be present in the meeting instead of handling other issues during the call. No one wants to be called out for not paying attention.

(If you don’t have ready access to video conference platforms, Zoom has a free version and Facebook and Google both have perfectly workable free video communication tools. Even Instagram allows you to make a video call.)

Messaging apps like Slack or Teams are a great way to continue moving through our processes and asking necessary questions to team members. This is a rapid way to get answers and to communicate small needs or changes with the group while not overloading your email channels.

Project tracking and ticketing platforms such as Trello, Wrike, Jira or a PSA, should be treated as a log for all progress and impediments for your work. Utilise the commenting and user tagging features to keep your team members in sync.

Block time on your calendar

Communication tools like the ones listed above can become your entire day if you don’t manage your time appropriately. Establishing periods of time where you can work uninterrupted are crucial.

Block time on your Outlook or Google Calendar, so you are not pulled into meetings when you need to focus.

Not every email or message requires an immediate response. Unless something is extremely urgent, wait to respond to emails until you’ve completed what you are working on. Blocking out distractions even for relatively short periods of time can be beneficial.

Utilise the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your messaging app to limit your notification overload. Getting constantly pinged can be overwhelming for anyone; do your best to reduce distractions when you need to go heads down on problem-solving for an hour.

Remember, short bursts of productivity can go a long way.

Maintain work life balance

Finally, take breaks and monitor your working hours as you would if you were in the office. It’s easy to burnout when you work from home, so talk with your manager if you feel that you are struggling to be productive.

We are currently navigating uncharted territory, but we will get through this challenging time. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is more important than ever.

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