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Working Remotely Together (WITS17 Philly)

Working Remotely Together (WITS17 Philly)

Remote work in the tech industry is hardly new. Many companies provide flexible work from home policies or even full time remote positions. Even for office-bound professionals, we all collaborate with remote third parties at some point. When I started my first remote position I was surprised to find that many challenges didn’t have obvious solutions. As a team we need to learn, envision, plan, build, deploy, and triage together. As an individual I need to learn from, mentor, and build personal relationships with my colleagues. That’s not easy to do over the phone, slack, and video chat. I’d like to share some of my challenges with transitioning to a full-time remote technical team member (and now manager) and what practices and tools have helped me create a successfully collaborative team. I’d like to share the perspective and practices that can help you work more closely together, wherever you are in the world.

Audrey Troutt

April 22, 2017

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  1. 43% of US employees work at least some of the

    time remotely and that number is increasing
  2. “Employees want and expect work-from-home opportunities, and overall, their ability

    to do so is producing positive gains in engagement.” -Gallup http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx
  3. Remote work takes a lot of different forms • Work

    from home • Work from coworking space • Work from different office from team • Work from _______ • Work remotely part time • Work remotely full time • Fully distributed team • Partially co-located team
  4. Working remotely is great! • Flexible schedule • Focus and

    be productive • Same or better job satisfaction • Work from anywhere * • Travel sometimes
  5. Other things I find challenging: • Forming connections with people

    • Finding synchronous time to talk across timezones • Having difficult conversations • Participating in large active conversations
  6. “If you think working remotely is hard you should try

    being a remote manager.” -Audrey
  7. Tools for Remote Collaboration 1. Synchronous communication tool ◦ Slack,

    Hipchat, etc. 2. Video chat technology ◦ Skype, Hangouts, Bluejeans, etc. 3. Dedicated camera and mic for any meeting rooms 4. Document collaboration tool ◦ Google Drive, Confluence, etc. 5. Work tracking/reporting tool ◦ Jira, Asana, Trello, etc.
  8. But it’s also how you use those tools Let’s see

    how I addressed my pain points: • Staying in the loop • Creating relationships • Feeling connected • Stopping by someone’s desk for a quick chat • Whiteboard collaboration
  9. It’s more important than ever to master • Meeting agendas

    • Meeting notes with action items • Asynchronous document collaboration • Well-organized team documentation
  10. Make Clear Remote Work Policies • Who can work remotely

    and how often • What is expected from remote employees with regard to hours, checking in, and being “present”
  11. Actual WFH Policy Our official WFH policy is: • One

    WFH day per week • No WFH Mondays or Fridays When working from home you should be just as available as you would be in the office and you are expected to attend all of the same meetings you would have joined in person. Specifically, you are expected to: • Join daily standup and all scheduled meetings • Be present and responsive on slack • Let the team know when you are online and when you are offline by posting in slack • Jump on individual calls as needed for quick conversations • Be as productive as you would have in the office, if not more! • Put your WFH day on your calendar so that others know when to expect you in the office vs online
  12. Actual WFH Policy To support remote collaboration, everyone, regardless of

    where they are working from, is expected to: • Include a bluejeans link in all meeting invites • Be noisy in the slack channel about topics that concern the team • Do not hesitate to jump on a call with a remote team member to include them in a conversation • Update your JIRA tickets and pull requests daily so that people can asynchronously keep up with your progress Occasional WFH days There are days when you need to work from home, for example, to receive a package or repair person, or to avoid driving in the snow. In those cases, let your manager know in advance and follow all the expectations listed above.
  13. Actual WFH Policy Feeling sick? If you are feeling sick

    and want to stay home I'd prefer that you take the day off and rest than try to half-work from home. I trust you to use your judgment here. If you are feeling better but still contagious, you should definitely work from home so you don't get the rest of the team sick Regularly scheduled WFH days: • Always: Audrey • Tuesdays: ... • Thursdays: ...
  14. Co-located people in meetings: • Add a link to your

    calendar invites • Speak up • Turn on the camera • Don’t tap on the table • Make space in the conversation for remote participants
  15. Remote people in meetings: • Add a link to your

    calendar invites • Be present • Wear headphones • Show your face • Raise your hand if they won’t stop talking
  16. 37% of US employees would change jobs to be able

    to work where they want at least part of the time
  17. “Dispersed teams can be as collaborative as teams who see

    each other every day-- if managed and supported correctly” -Gallup http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx