Addressing Unseen Challenges of Remote Teams
How teams make their connections in a non-watercooler-chat future of work.
I think we all agree 2020 pandemic has evolved how we work forever. If remote working was merely an option for some teams, it might be the only one right now. Many organizations on different scales have gone fully remote, and many have extended their temporary remote working period for months.
Solutions to shape the new normal has been creative. HR people are facilitating remote lunchtimes over video conference sending raw ingredient packages to employees, and colleagues are practicing yoga together over Zoom calls to help them deal with COVID-19 stress. Most of our tools though are not designed with remote working focus in mind. If we think about it, we have always developed tools to address our newly faced challenges throughout history, and I believe it’s time to fix remote working team communication.
When we dig #WFH challenges deeper, we can observe most of them are not directly attached to performance and productivity. The majority of remote workers feel a lack of regular informal communication. In an interview I had with a “recently gone fully remote” software developer, she mentioned she could not connect with her newly joined teammate as well as before; there is a significant barrier to know, feel and communicate with them now. These ubiquitous challenges are easy to spot and describe; addressing them however, is a different story.
Managing a recently-gone-remote design agency and helping three other distributed startup teams on their product and strategy roadmaps in the past two years, I have faced almost all mentioned challenges, which made me have an empathic point of view in this space.