A significant shift is occurring around remote work right now. Organizations that may never have thought about supporting a virtual or remote workspace a few months ago are now making the shift.
In addition to supporting team members in getting up to speed with the practicalities of remote work, as a team it will be important to consider these three Cs – Connection, Clarity and Consistency.
Let’s look at what each of these means from a virtual, or remote, team perspective.
Connection – As I share in Effective Virtual Conversations, “no person is an island”. We do not operate in isolation in the remote space, even if we feel isolated with others.
Connection is foundational to team and business results. In making the shift to remote work it will be important to ensure that you maintain regular connection points with each other.
Consider both formal and informal connections for the team. Connection in the remote space can include regular team meeting touchpoints, a virtual co-working session, and/or a virtual potluck.
Also consider what skills team members will need in working in the remote space. Consider hosting short virtual training sessions to provide team members with the skills and knowledge they need. Everyone needs to be a leader in the remote space.
Rather than expecting connection to happen, be proactive in fostering regular touchpoints.
Clarity – It’s easy for assumptions to abound in the remote space, especially when we only get to see a small fraction of people’s context through the small square on their screen.
As a team, be sure to revisit and/or clarify how you work together. A key part of team effectiveness is having shared agreements around your norms, values and HOW you do things. What’s acceptable? What’s not? Many things get magnified in the remote space.
Communication is a key area people think of when they think of clarity in the remote space. Clarity may involve reinforcing key messages across a variety of channels – email, text, audio and video. Clarity also involves ensuring that the message you sent, was actually received, and understood in the way you intended.
Work outputs need to be clear. If you haven’t been in the practice of clarifying what end results look like and what resources are available, get into the practice now. Remote work is contingent on providing the big picture to those who need it.
Another area to clarify is hours of work, and what response times are required.
Communicate, communicate, communicate – and make the implicit, explicit.
Consistency – When operating from different locations, consistency is also important. It’s about the consistency of our internal practices such as continuing to meet for a Monday morning huddle, or a daily touchpoint.
Consistency is also about insuring that we are doing things in a same way. In a dispersed team it is important that our practices and ways of doing things as a team are similar. So, if I reach out to a team member in Toronto, Shanghai, LA and Sao Paolo there will be a similar experience. Focusing in on process pieces help with this.
As your team makes the shift to the remote space, what are the practical things you want to focus on? What are the conversations you want to have? What can you do to enhance these three elements of connection, clarity and constancy with your team?