Treasure 115 – Remote work, Meetings, Communication

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How does one work employed and independent of location? How do asynchronous meetings work? Which communication channels do you use for what? This treasure deals with the topic of people in the company and how they work together.

Nugget #1 – How to work in an employed and location-independent manner?

Do you also get the wanderlust every now and then when you see pictures of digital nomads on the dream beaches of this world? Hannah Schmitt-Samuels shows ways how you can enjoy location-independent work even as an employee.

Suitable are generally activities that are performed mostly from a computer.

That’s an enormous number of jobs – from CAD developers to buyers, almost everything can be done today using computers and digital communication tools. So why are there so few employees who work independently of location? I think many bosses are very afraid of people working remotely. What do people do when they are not in the office? Watering flowers and watching cat videos? My experience is a very good one. I have been working with virtual teams for over 10 years and inevitably there are always people in the team who are not in the same place.

The article still recommends a conversation with the boss. There are many advantages for both sides. In my articles What has remote working to do with ski touring and The advantages of remote work you will find some good reasons. So it’s worth a try to convince the boss.

If this doesn’t work, the article recommends some platforms where you can find remote jobs. Or you can look at one of the 25 fully remote companies.

(7 min, text, German)

Nugget #2 – How do asynchronous meetings work?

One of these fully remote companies is the social media service Buffer. When it comes to distributed teams, an absolute expert. I myself have the challenge that my team sits in three time zones and the time zones cover 13 hours. Our weekly team sync takes place on Tuesdays at 12 noon CET. This is not always ideal for team members in China and America. For this challenge Buffer has chosen the path of an asynchronous meeting. There are three things I like about Buffer’s solution:

  • Writing helps to elaborate and think through topics.
  • Textual communication not only helps the introvert, but also helps to overcome language barriers. So colleagues in China can quickly translate a text into Chinese.
  • The Weekly Sync remains a thread. Nevertheless, everyone can see what happens on the discussed topics in the following days. A nice realization of the Heartbeat.

(7 min, text, English)

Nugget #3 – Which communication channels do you use for what?

Which communication channels are actually available for asynchronous communication? Sarah Goff-Dupont has written a helpful article about this. Email is probably still the #1 asynchronous communication channel in your company as well, so I would like to pick up three of the channels from the article that have served me well in the past.

  • At Texas Instruments I used the 1on1 chat of Cisco Jabber a lot. As mentioned before, English is a challenge for some Chinese colleagues. The chat was definitely a great help here. Alternatively, you can of course use WeChat, Threema or iMessages. Another advantage of messengers like Cisco Jabber was the status display. So you could see if the team member is available at another place, just away or in a meeting or maybe doesn’t want to be disturbed.
  • Internal blogs are strongly underestimated in my opinion. I had regularly used the blog feature of Atlassian Confluence. This was the perfect format for conference attendance reports, documentation of workhacks or even sometimes a controversial question. Unlike an email, the posts can be read by people for whom the topic was not relevant at the time of sending. For discussions you can easily use the comment function without getting into annoying email threads with CC and BCC.
  • Just for 1on1 communication with remote team members video is my favorite. Even if there is no video conferencing solution available in the company, this can easily be solved via Facetime on the iPhone or Zoom (1on1 meetings work without time limit) .

What is your favorite way to communicate with remote team members?

(6 min, text, English)

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