Remote work × Office life
We strive to enable remote work for all discplines and during the 2020 pandemic we’ve been entirely distributed for several months. Working this way makes our processes more robust, leads to more asynchronous communication and more flexibility for everyone. We embrace all of these!
However, including everyone equally in an organisation that is partly co-located and partly distributed is very hard and everyone needs to go the extra mile to make it work!
Keep in mind: everyone is remote at some point
This guide is not just for remote employees, as this is not a fixed, either-or state. People work from home, from trains, take workations or simply decide to work from a café one day. Also our clients are usually remote anyways. Therefore all our processes, tools and rituals must facilitate remote people as best as possible. Everyone benefits!
On choosing tools
When choosing new tools, go for the ones that are more collaborative and more realtime, enabling office workers and remote people to seamlessly work together. Ideally it’s not required to share your screen when working together on something in a call.
Also nobody wants to juggle files in 2020, so the results should live on the web and be shareable.
On mixed meetings
Meetings involving co-located and remote people are tricky, as remote people tend to become second-class citizens. Conversation at the table might move too fast, people on screens might be forgotten or the audio quality might simply not be great. As a first step we ask everyone to join from their own laptop, so that remote people can get a full picture of the participants and see their facial expressions clearly. Bring your own laptop, join the call.
Normally one person in the office will then connect one of the Jabra speakers/microphones to their computer and become the mic/speaker for the whole room. This works okayish, but it’s not great because people further away from the device will sometimes be hard to understand. The ideal setup would be everyone in the office wearing headphones and joining with their own microphone. This can be feel awkward, but makes everyone equal.
Does it even have to be a meeting?
Often it’s better for everyone if you simply write down what you want to talk about, for example on our Basecamp or as a Notion page. Then people can give you feedback via commenting and all exchanges are preserved for everyone else looking at it. Much less ephemeral than a meeting and usually of higher quality. Try the asynchronous route before calling a meeting!