If there is one thing I’d suggest to every person working from home it is to over-communicate. A lot of context that’s apparent in face-to-face conversations is missing when you’re working in text-based conversations. Here are some techniques that we find helpful at Transformative:
- Use a VOIP service that will forward calls to other numbers if no one picks up the office phones. We don’t have anything fancy that allows us to transfer calls, so if the call isn’t for me I am simply notified of the caller’s name and number and have the appropriate person call them back.
- Set up a morning video call with your entire team – it’s a great opportunity to check in with everyone, to discuss what everyone is working on and make team announcements. If you’re finding this gets a bit repetitive or boring, have some questions ready to go that everyone can answer such as “who is your favourite superhero?”. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but gets everyone talking and involved in the conversation.
- A comms system is essential. We’re in Slack all day long. We use this for all internal communication, rather than sending emails back and forth. Sometimes we’ll then jump on a video call so we can have a more in depth, real time conversation with whoever we need to talk to. After doing that, it’s helpful to have someone recap the call to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
- Have multiple check-ins throughout the day. Besides touching base on work progress, a social chat (having everyone grab a drink and jump on a video call for five minutes), keeps communication up.
- Have an end of day wrap up - how did everyone’s day go? Did they achieve what they wanted to?
- Make time for fun! Post funny gifs and cute animal videos to your team chat.
- If you need to focus on something and don’t want any interruptions, let your team know that you’re going offline for whatever amount of time.