Nowadays, you can read a lot of videos, newspaper articles and blog posts about remote work, homeoffice. How to shape your work environment, schedule, dress as if you are going into the office, communicate more, etc.… These tips and methods are really very important for effective work at home, in many cases indispensable.
However, I found few writings on the human side of working from home. Especially in cases, such as the current one, where a team that is otherwise largely working together in a common office, possibly forming an excellent social network with each other, is forced to work together remotely.
Our team at CodeYard is one such team and now I share my experience: how we do our homework with special attention to preserving the social cohesion that has developed.
What do we have to say goodbye to for a while?
A workplace is not just an office you go to to get paid for your activities there. You spend a significant part of your life here, so the people around you, the everyday interactions with them, affect you. In the workplace, you make friends, couples find each other, you learn from others, and at the same time you share your own experiences.
Interesting or funny conversations during morning handshakes, group sessions, smoking, or crowded lunches, a series of weekends from your colleagues, talking out your favorite series, are all things that make up your day, in a completely natural way.
Cinema together, team building bowling or go-karting, cycling or just a pub tour. For a time, activities that provide common experiences - thus forging each other - are now on the parking lot.
So let’s look at some examples that can help make up for these missing social interactions.
Online social interaction surrogates
Watercooler / random channel
Although we have used this regularly so far, it is perhaps even more important now. On Slack / Discord (or any IM platform you use for corporate communication) create a channel where everyone can post the funny videos, memes, pictures that come face to face on the internet. Laugh together at the funny content born that way.
To maintain the morning and work interaction that makes the office a greeting / handshake, we have also introduced this online. When you start work in the morning or finish today, we say goodbye to each other on a thread. Since there are no fixed working hours, farewells may be at different times here. The point is to stay in the habit and also signal that you are done with work today, which will help to draw the line between work and private life. During the day, we signal each other with statuses so that you can have lunch or breathe peacefully.
Although most of the team does not smoke, this is the name given to this video call scheduled at 1 p.m. every day, which aims to be able to talk a little bit about everyday things. Anyone who just gets there can take part in a specifically non-work-specific call, some on the balcony with smoking, others with actual smoking, and the luckiest ones spice up the event with a walk in their courtyard. In these calls, we typically chat for 15 to 20 minutes, telling us what happened, sort of replacing the chit chat after lunch.
Because project calls and standups slice the team along some project, some colleagues would not “meet” each other at all, who were otherwise able to do so in the common workspace. A common video chat solution of this type can add to this problem.
A platform that was created to evaluate each other’s actions, more or less, to support a team, a company, or an individual. There has never been a greater need for a viral shrug and some positive feedback for your colleagues than now.
A few more little things
If you haven’t done so already, greet each other online for your birthday and name day, share what happened to you, talk a lot!
Listen to music together while working (https://www.jqbx.fm), watch a movie together on Netflix and play together after work online, find each other's company, which used to be a matter of course in the common workspace, so now you need to go one step further.
But believe me, it's worth it!
I believe that the teams that are now forced to work from home will, once the situation is over, become a stronger, more solidary and better functioning organization.
Whether it’s going to turn out to be redundant in the office and everyone wants to continue working from home, or whether we’ll be happy to move back to our favorite desk in the shared office, I don’t know.
But whatever it is, do your best to keep not only the efficiency of work, but also the social relationships of the people.
Originally posted: June 6, 2020 by CodeYard