Remote Work
Great article on Ars technica "The future of work looks like staying out of the office"

With the current pandemic, more and more of us will be working remote, so it is a good time to think about the impact of remote work.

My questions to you:
  1. What tools and processes need to be developed?
  2. What impact will this has on quality systems?
  3. What skills will we need to build, train and develop? What does this look like?
  4. What short-term steps can we take to make remote work better?
5 Replies
With everything going on and more and more companies working remotely this is a very relevant topic. Some challenges I am seeing comes from video:

Video is strongly recommended to make people feel like they’re all at the “same” meeting. Use of video conferencing technology — such as Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting — helps to personalize the conversation and to keep participants engaged. But no one I know likes to use video, so the question is what works in getting people to turn on video? How do we leverage this benefit of technology in a way that keeps people engaged and invested?

Once we have people using video, Video conferences are more effective when people can see each other’s facial expressions and body language. How do we ask individuals to sit close to their webcam to help to recreate the intimacy of an in-person meeting. What works?

It is important to use every tool to reinforce interpersonal relationships when people may be feeling isolated.  Also, it’s important to know if a participant may have a close friend or relative fighting the virus, so some type of “check in” is in order. What are the best practices for doing this?

Love people's ideas on how to do this successfully!
Advice we are often given for remote teams is "Create the virtual water cooler." Set aside time on the agenda for personal updates, the kind of small talk you might start an in-person meeting with. This preserves the sense of camaraderie. In addition, set norms that people should regularly call one another as needed rather than wait for scheduled meetings.

What are your best practices for doing this? Any advice to share?

I've been in a lot of discussions the last two weeks, first face-to-face and now through instant messenger and other mediums about folk's worries of working remote. Anxiety is something we need to address in our teams, and I might recommend an activity like Åsa Norell's Stinky Fish

This activity is designed to create openness within a group. The stinky fish is a metaphor for "that thing that you carry around but don’t like to talk about; but the longer you hide it, the stinkier it gets." By putting stinky fish (fears and anxieties) on the table, participants begin to relate to each other, become more comfortable sharing, and identify a clear area for change. This activity can work well remotely, as each individual can use paint (or some other drawing program to write and draw their anxities about remote work.

I recommend it as an ice breaker for the next virtual team meeting you have.
Another widely recommended practice is to let your teammates know what you are focusing on that day. This small action increases the common sensibility that we’re all sharing responsibility for getting important work done. When working at a distance from colleagues, we can start wondering: “What’s Susan doing today? Does she wonder if I’m putting in a full day?” Dispel the worry! Simply send a message to your regular co-workers every morning (or the night before) about your focus that day, e.g., “Today I’m focused on responding to at least 20 customer inquiries.” While it’s important to share what you’re working on, you don’t have to provide your schedule.
Transparency builds trust.

One of the recommended practices is to communicate in a spirit of candor and openeness. Document every new piece of information and every decision made. Let others know visibly what you are working on.

In my organization we encourage everyone to document their decisions and work in Teams on a channel dedicated to this. Not everyone loves doing this so I'm certainly interested how others work remotely in a spirit of complete transparency.