A few weeks into this Bizarro world of self-isolation and social distancing, we as a team have comfortably settled into the whole concept of remote working. Sure, as individual members we’ve had our brushes with freelancing or working from home. But this global emergency has forced us as parts of a team to disperse overnight, yet remain focused individually and soldier on.
Dispersed, yet cohesive
We’ve all had those moments when we’ve thought, “The 9 to 5 office grind is highly overrated”. Many of us might have contemplated working from the confines of our homes owing to arduous commutes or any other pains associated with being out and about in the world.
However, when this work from home situation is brought upon as a government mandate to cope with a community health crisis, it does throw up some rather interesting possibilities.
So, here’s what we did and continue to do as a team to stay on track, keep up with the momentum.
Optimizing our amazing communication tools
Unlike many organizations that have had to make a sudden switch to using collaboration tools, our team has been using Slack and Basecamp to communicate with clients and within the team since day one. Therefore, we’ve been making the most out of these amazing tools at our disposal. We’re now communicating over video calls and experimenting with all those features that we’d previously ignored. Discovering how to operate screen sharing, for instance, or even going through the endless well of emojis to express feelings with utmost precision. The tools that until now had mainly been used for sharing design files had now turned into our virtual office.
Managers strapping up and taking command
Well, they always have to. But in this case, our PMs have had to handle their team members who are no longer working from the same location. Daily stand-ups are now convened virtually over Slack voice and video calls. Prioritized tasks for the day are handed out to each member as they used to be done in person – little has changed on that front.
Our managers have had to ensure that every team member was able to handle his/her tasks well since issues related to power cuts or internet connectivity are common. They’ve been supportive at all times and handling the coordination of tasks as deliveries to the best of their abilities.
Being mindful is key
To function as a cohesive unit despite working remotely, it was important for us to align our productive hours. Over time, we’ve collectively become more mindful and aware of each other’s productivity and strengths and play to them. In work from home situations, it is hard to monitor things like productive hours or overtime. However, our team is letting nothing come in the way of efficiency. It never makes sense for managers to keep breathing down the necks of team members at all times or for team members to slack off their working hours. Making a success out of remote working takes a lot of trust from the managers’ side and equal amounts of honesty from the team members. Being mindful of the team’s strengths and drawbacks is what makes remote working a breeze.
The virtual watercooler is just as fun!
As much as we tend to dismiss it as frivolous, these watercooler moments make for an important component of team bonding. Catching up with co-workers about the latest movies, games, sports and the ever-important office gossip is the glue that holds a team together. So naturally, this essential element has slid into smaller chat groups and DMs and continues to do the very fine job of keeping the machinery functioning.
… And the strength of the wolf is the pack
These are uncertain times that we’re facing on a global scale, and there was never a better time to seek some inspiration from The Jungle Book. Yes, there is a lot of suffering all around, and yes, there are far more pressing humanitarian issues at hand. However, what remains constant is our indomitable spirit. We, in our own little clusters, are doing what is best for our sector and economy to recover from this setback. For us, that meant continuing to put forth our best performances and ensuring that nothing wavers on the work front. As things stand at present, our entire team has settled into a mellifluous harmony. We continue to honor our commitment to clients, while ensuring the safety of our team and community.