The Key to Successful Teamwork With Remote Teams : Transparency

remote working tools

Remote working is going to be the norm post Covid-19. Organizations, while forced to initiate it, are seeing the benefits that come with it and will implement remote working as business as usual. Quoting The News Minute:

As part of its earnings announcement for the end of FY20, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) made a revelation that in the future, it believes that it doesn’t need to have more than 25% of its workforce at its offices to have 100% productivity. This would mean that 75% of TCS’ workforce could be working from home by 2025.

What’s also a fact, however, is that managing distributed teams is much harder than managing in-office teams. There are geographical hurdles like time zones, psychological hurdles like procrastination, technical hurdles like a loss in internet connectivity, the list goes on. Why is it still poised to become a norm? Because the benefits far outweigh the cons (we won’t list them here because it is not the purpose of this blog), and more importantly, the cons can be easily solved.

We’ve already spoken a lot about what remote teams need to do in order to stay in sync and enhance productivity. A recurring pattern on this subject is collaboration, and we have scores of articles on this topic:

5 Collaboration Issues Every Remote Team Faces [And How to Fix Them]
How to Save Time on Daily Standup Meetings [Fixing the #1 Issue]
Tracking Productivity When Teams Work Remotely
4 Challenges Faced by Virtual Teams [And How to Solve Them]
11 Collaboration Tools For Virtual Teams [For Increased Productivity]

Covering collaboration and communication channels covers most of the issues that arise from remote working. But we can take the topic of collaboration a step further and refine it. What can make collaboration and communication between remote teams even more fruitful and productive? The answer is transparency.

How Do We Make Communication More Transparent?

What does transparency in communication entail. It means the team is aware and informed of what each other is working on, has completed, and will be working on. This is equally important between managers/leads and the team, and also between team members themselves.

Transparency is something we take for granted when we work in-office, because it happens inadvertently. The team lead walks into the team’s bay in the morning on his or her way back from the coffee machine and asks ‘what are you working on guys’ and each member lazily replies I’m doing this and I’m doing that. Inadvertently, the team has informed the lead and each other what is going.

But when we work remotely, this does not happen. Each member is completely sequestered from the other. Now, an active effort has to be made in order to be transparent. Teams can make this extra effort via meetings. Daily morning standups, weekly status meetings, daily task update meetings, etc. What this does is allows information to flow between team members keeping them in sync.

This, however, leads to another issue - conducting meetings with remote teams is difficult.

Why? Time zone conflicts, technical disruptions, etc. Sigh. So, are we just stuck in a loophole? No, not really.

What’s The Solution Then?

The answer to solving this dilemma, is asynchronous meetings. They let you bring in transparency by allowing you to run multiple meetings for information sharing, and since they are asynchronous, teams don’t face any of the issues that are common with remote working.

Firstly, here’s how asynchronous meetings work-

You select a platform for communication, one where the team can be brought together. For example, Slack. This works great for all communication, not just asynchronous meetings.

You set the agenda for the meeting - what you want the team to answer. What tasks were completed today, what’s pending, how much time do you need for each pending task, etc.

You set the schedule for the meeting. The meeting has a start time, for example every morning at 10 am, and a window, for example the meeting stays active for one hour.

The teams log in to the meeting channel at any time between 10 am and 11 am (because of the one hour window) and answer the questions you set.

The answers are published on the team’s channel, so everyone is aware of progress.

This is how an asynchronous meeting works. Since each team member answers the question individually, issues like time zone conflicts don’t matter, and since there’s a time frame, issues like technical difficulties can easily be overcome. Another great benefit is that team members can simultaneously answer these questions, greatly reducing execution time.

Is There a Tool or Software That We Can Use to Run Asynchronous Meetings?

Yes, we’ve built Dixi to let you do exactly that: run meetings asynchronously AND on autopilot. Firstly, Dixi works only on Slack. If you don’t already use Slack for communication, consider starting. It’s a great platform for remote teams. If you do use Slack, you can integrate Dixi and start automating your meetings immediately. It’s a simple 3 step process: Select the channel, set the questions, and select the schedule. It’s free, give it a shot:

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