Our first response to transitioning to remote is often to start scheduling more video calls to stay in touch. This works in the short term, but ends up blocking our focus on real work eventually.
Here’s two simple examples where we can take an honest look at our calendars, and part ways with meetings that slow our team down.
Catch up calls
Everyone scrambles to think of their updates and gather at the same time, blocking that moment for everyone.
Updating in our own time
Everyone writes and reads updates when they can. Giving us all headspace to focus when we need to.
Research shows that brainstorming at the same time reduces the quality and quantity of ideas. When one person is talking at a time it blocks others’ thoughts, and introverted types tend to share less.
Think in our own time, synthesize together
Maximize each person’s creativity by ideating separately, then gathering to build on the best ideas.
Meetings aren't all evil, and they're crucial to maintain a social bond with our teammates, and a project's momentum. They're a precious moment, and should be treated that way.
We can’t rely on the office anymore. On overhearing, ad-hoc meetings, announcements, posters or conversations. Transitioning to writing down what’s important can help us stop spending our days answering the same questions over and over.
Individuals are our source of truth
Time is wasted with repeat questions and important knowledge is lost when people move on.
We have a central, written source of truth
We save ourselves time, and clarity in the long run by being explicit and centralized.
Handbooks from great companies ☝
Slite gives me peace of mind. I know that the great things my team is creating are in one place, where we can share it to newcomers and find it.
More time to think
Taking pen to paper at the start of a project helps us to reveal our blindspots and clarify our plans. It's the surest way to not jump to the solution, to ask the right questions, and focus on defining the why, before jumping to the what.
Jump into projects without planning
The sense of immediacy felt by being around people makes us dive into our projects without proper thought and research, costing us time and quality later.
Give room to think through lasting ideas
We give headspace to innovate: brainstorm, plan, write clear goals. We write key decisions and feedback in one place, so we don’t get lost in the middle.
Templates for a remote workflow
It has become a team habit to write out the background and goals of all new projects in Slite before kicking them off. We document our hypotheses, workshop notes, and decisions each step of the way.
Being a remote team that is trying to innovate with speed, this written culture helps us stay on track and move forward, and it gives everyone the autonomy to clearly find and share up-to-date information.
When we're apart, chat helps us feel connected to our team, which is something we all need. It's perfect for asking "how was your weekend?", or "what time works for the meeting?".
But it's also where we're losing important information, or causing unnecessary interruption.
Shifting from a chat culture to an async culture makes everything much easier and less stressful.
Chat for important decisions, brainstorms and feedback
1. People who aren’t online miss the opportunity to contribute.
2. There’s nowhere to summarize takeaways and next actions.
3. All the feedback and takeaways get lost.
Using docs instead
Give mind-space to innovate: brainstorm on a project, lay out a clear plan, think about the goals, and collect feedback.
Give feedback with docs to build clarity
One example is when giving feedback. Rather than start a chat thread, which is difficult to edit or make conclusions from, we can all give our feedback in a doc in our own time, and let the owner address each issue separately.