How to stay in sync with your team while working remotely

IGNITE® - 16 May 2020

One thing most agencies want to offer their employees is flexibility. One of the major benefits of a primarily online business is that it should allow organisations to offer flexibility relatively easily, without any major drawbacks.

However, with the rise and rise of agile working environments, one aspect of a flexible workday that can get impacted is the daily standup.

The Problem

Typically done at the beginning of the working day for the full project team, the daily standup aims to outline what was achieved yesterday, what is going to be achieved today, and what (if any) blockers you have standing in your way.

Most agencies set their standups whenever the standard workday begins, between 8am and 9am. But how do we handle a standup when people start at different times? Sometimes with up to 3 hours difference?

A Different Solution

One option is to run your standups as soon as the final member of the team arrives. But there is one major problem with that – you are potentially disrupting an entire team in the middle of a productive task and breaking their focus (resulting in up to 30 minutes of unproductive time getting back into focus. See our other blog post on how to minimise disruptions at a Digital Agency).

Another, and arguably for us better, option is to structure your “flexible” working times into blocks. For example, people can either work 8am – 4:30pm, 9am – 5:30pm or 10am – 6:30pm. By doing this, you’re carving out opportunities in the morning to timebox productive time and adding 2 opportunities each morning for disruptions.

For example, all Account Managers (AM’s) and Project Managers (PM’s) could begin their workday either at 8am or 9am. These roles typically have preparation to do prior to the daily standup, as well as large inboxes to deal with, scheduling and calendar appointments etc.

Creative and Technical roles could then begin at either 9am or 10am. Based on this structure, you could run your standups at 10am each morning, allowing 1-2 hours of adhoc work prior, and solid productive work for the remainder of the day.

Conditions

There are two conditions that need to be considered in order for this structure to be successful.

  1. Anyone who starts at 10am delays their lunch until at least 1:30pm, ensuring a solid 3 hours of productive work can be done (once standup is complete, inboxes have been seen too and calendars checked).
  2. Standups start at 10am sharp each day. Not 10:01am, and especially not 10:12am once everyone has made a coffee. Anyone late to the standup should apologise to the team, it’s disrespectful of everyone’s time, and not on.

Hopefully this article gave you some ideas to help. What processes do you have in place to stay in sync with your team while working remotely?

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