On Remote Work

5 Things I Have Learned

5 Things I Have Learned

On Remote Work

What I Have Learned

What I Have Learned

1. Communication Is Key

1. Life is a constant correction of errors.

1. Life is a constant correction of errors.

1. Communication Is Key

At Ubiquiti Networks, we worked remotely 2 days a week. I did that for nearly 2 1/2 years. Every day we'd have a Google Chat for our daily standup. Every time we needed to say something that was longer than an email we would have a Google Chat. Basically, every time you felt even the slightest bit of confusion you would ask if you could clarify over a chat. Sometimes it was hard to get every stakeholder in on that chat and in that case you'd just make a meeting as usual and give the chat link. If something was shorter than an email then a Slack message would suffice. Easy peasy. ✌️

At Ubiquiti Networks, we worked remotely 2 days a week. I did that for nearly 2 1/2 years. Every day we'd have a Google Chat for our daily standup. Every time we needed to say something that was longer than an email we would have a Google Chat. Basically, every time you felt even the slightest bit of confusion you would ask if you could clarify over a chat. Sometimes it was hard to get every stakeholder in on that chat and in that case you'd just make a meeting as usual and give the chat link. If something was shorter than an email then a Slack message would suffice. Easy peasy. ✌️

2. No Need To Micromanage

2. How you do anything is how you do everything.

2. How you do anything is how you do everything.

2. No Need To Micromanage

I think the initial fear 😱 of managers is the looming question "How will I know if my subordinates are doing work?". There's an answer for this: By seeing the work get done. 

I worked with a designer. Let's call him Terry. We were working on the same project albeit different features. For the better part of a week, Terry worked on the same small ticket (a ticket is basically a unit of work). This ticket had a Story Point or time estimate of a 3. This is something a competent designer could finish in 1 day max. And yet here was Terry still working on it come Thursday. By Thursday, our Project Manager called him out on it. Why was this taking so long? Did he need any help? etc. Terry was eventually let go because incidences like this would pop up too often.

If the work is trackable then there should be no need to micromanage. The tickets manage themselves.

I think the initial fear 😱 of managers is the looming question "How will I know if my subordinates are doing work?". There's an answer for this: By seeing the work get done. 

I worked with a designer. Let's call him Terry. We were working on the same project albeit different features. For the better part of a week, Terry worked on the same small ticket (a ticket is basically a unit of work). This ticket had a Story Point or time estimate of a 3. This is something a competent designer could finish in 1 day max. And yet here was Terry still working on it come Thursday. By Thursday, our Project Manager called him out on it. Why was this taking so long? Did he need any help? etc. Terry was eventually let go because incidences like this would pop up too often.

If the work is trackable then there should be no need to micromanage. The tickets manage themselves.

3. Some Face Time Is Needed

3. Talent + Effort = Skill

3. Talent + Effort = Skill

3. Some Face Time Is Needed

"Moments of truth are best handled face-to-face." - Patrick Lencioni

Humans are social animals. How we work in any culture is hugely dependent on the number of touchpoints we have with each other. The more...the better. On top of that, there are so many emotions that are conveyed through our faces. Studies have shown that "the emotional expressions presented by faces are not simply reflexive, but also have a communicative component." We develop these facial cues over time and perhaps we have been for quite a while. This is why it's still important to meet in person from time to time. There are just some emotional cues you can't get through a camera.

I think a good balance of remote work and in-person face-time is probably best. That in-person time doesn't have to be all work-related though, just meeting to discuss your normal lives or the news of the day can go a long way in developing more personal bonds among your co-workers.

Humans are social animals. How we work in any culture is hugely dependent on the number of touchpoints we have with each other. The more...the better. On top of that, there are so many emotions that are conveyed through our faces. Studies have shown that "the emotional expressions presented by faces are not simply reflexive, but also have a communicative component." We develop these facial cues over time and perhaps we have been for quite a while. This is why it's still important to meet in person from time to time. There are just some emotional cues you can't get through a camera.

I think a good balance of remote work and in-person face-time is probably best. That in-person time doesn't have to be all work-related though, just meeting to discuss your normal lives or the news of the day can go a long way in developing more personal bonds among your co-workers.

4. Celebrate Victories

4. Let go or get dragged.

4. Let go or get dragged.

4. Celebrate Victories

Some things are just easier in person. Eating lunch with your co-workers' lets you have some personal touchpoints with them. Looking at someone's screen allows you to point out issues a bit easier. And everyone being in the office allows you to celebrate victories together. Just launched that new feature? Let's all get a drink after work. Fixed that crazy bug that was crashing all orders over $100? Chipotle for everyone and lets all chill in the park for the last half of the day.

If it's one thing I learned it is that we all need that moment of basking in our work. You know, that moment when you finish mowing the lawn and you stop and stare at it for a few seconds....yeah that one. And when you work on a product together you need to take this moment with your team. It's a bit harder digitally but hey...we're creative people 👨‍🎨. Have a digital party where you all order from the same restaurant online ( expensed of course ). Or spend the last half of the day playing Fortnite on the same squad 😜. Anything that will create collective memories and bring the team together.

Some things are just easier in person. Eating lunch with your co-workers' lets you have some personal touchpoints with them. Looking at someone's screen allows you to point out issues a bit easier. And everyone being in the office allows you to celebrate victories together. Just launched that new feature? Let's all get a drink after work. Fixed that crazy bug that was crashing all orders over $100? Chipotle for everyone and lets all chill in the park for the last half of the day.

If it's one thing I learned it is that we all need that moment of basking in our work. You know, that moment when you finish mowing the lawn and you stop and stare at it for a few seconds....yeah that one. And when you work on a product together you need to take this moment with your team. It's a bit harder digitally but hey...we're creative people 👨‍🎨. Have a digital party where you all order from the same restaurant online ( expensed of course ). Or spend the last half of the day playing Fortnite on the same squad 😜. Anything that will create collective memories and bring the team together.

-La Fin

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© 2020 Jonathan Brazeau

© 2020 Jonathan Brazeau

© 2020 Jonathan Brazeau

© 2020 Jonathan Brazeau