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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. Working Remotely Together
    Audrey Troutt

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  2. View Slide

  3. 43%
    of US employees work at least some of the time remotely
    and that number is increasing

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  4. http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx

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  5. http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx

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  6. 60%
    of US companies offer telecommuting opportunities

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  7. “Employees want and
    expect work-from-home
    opportunities, and overall,
    their ability to do so is
    producing positive gains in
    engagement.” -Gallup

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  8. http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/191501/moneyball-business-employee-engagement-meta-analysis.aspx

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  9. http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx

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  10. 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

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  11. Working remotely is great!

    Flexible schedule

    Focus and be productive

    Same or better job satisfaction

    Work from anywhere *

    Travel sometimes

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  13. Things you take for granted
    in your office job

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  14. Body Language

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  15. 66%
    of communication is cut out if you are only using text

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  16. Presence

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  17. Stopping by for a chat

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  18. Whiteboards

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  19. A beginning and end to your day

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  20. Shared regional/national culture

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  22. Other things I find challenging:

    Forming connections with people

    Finding synchronous time to talk across

    Having difficult conversations

    Participating in large active conversations

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  23. “If you think working
    remotely is hard you
    should try being a remote
    manager.” -Audrey

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  24. Remote Working Solutions

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  25. 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.

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  26. 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

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  27. Creating
    connected = Be present on

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  29. Staying in the loop =
    Improve your
    documentation discipline

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  30. It’s more important than ever to master

    Meeting agendas

    Meeting notes with action items

    Asynchronous document collaboration

    Well-organized team documentation

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  31. Stopping by someone’s
    desk = jump on a call

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  33. Whiteboard collaboration =

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  34. https://awwapp.com/

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  35. View Slide

  36. Make clear policies

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  37. 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”

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  38. 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

    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

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  39. 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.

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  40. 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: ...

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  41. If you take nothings else
    away from this talk...

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  42. 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

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  43. 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

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  44. You should be doing these
    things anyway

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  45. 37%
    of US employees would change jobs to be able to work where they
    want at least part of the time

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  46. “Dispersed teams can be
    as collaborative as teams
    who see each other every
    day-- if managed and
    supported correctly”

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