How to Stay Organized as a WFH Team

Last Updated Apr 2020
How to Stay Organized as a WFH Team

Many believe that working from home can disrupt the company culture; people become inefficient without proper face-to-face supervision, dwindle the team spirit and poor, ineffective communication are a few of the many concerns for managers…

Yet, it doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s how you can easily organize your remote team to be truly productive.

Ground rules and norms

Establish some clear ground rules and norms

This plays a fundamental role in retaining everyone’s commitment. This can be a wiki page, web page, PDF file or an email - make sure that you share it company-wide and update it continually with new found insight.

At Creately, we stick by these rules,

  • Personal Status

    • Always be available on your chat platform when you are working.
    • If you are stepping away from your computer, please mark as ‘away’ on the chat status.
    • If you need to attend an online meeting / video conference, it’s generally better to join with the video switched on.
  • Let others know what you are working on

    • When starting your day, share your work agenda for the day on the relevant channel
    • If you move onto something different during the day, post that as well on the relevant team channel
  • Share discussions/ decisions on the group chats or shared docs

    • If 2 people are to discuss something that may be relevant, please do that on a thread on the group chat so that others can see as well.
    • If discussing something specific, it is best to do so on the Issue/Idea Document/Design itself and share that link in your chat platform and invite others to collaborate.
  • Plan meetings early

    • If you need to have a discussion with 2+ people, send an invite at least an hour before or agree on a time a little earlier.
  • Use phone calls/ video calls liberally

    • A call/ video call is a higher bandwidth way to discuss things. If the person is available on chat, ask if ok to call, and give a call.
    • It is much easier and effective to discuss matters over phone/video calls than typing them out on chat.

Clear team structures

Have clear team structures

Clearly establish the responsibilities of each individual and the reporting relationships between team members. This can go a long way in maintaining effective communication and keeping everyone aligned following an established protocol.

Daily/ weekly rituals

Have some daily/ weekly rituals

Regularly engage and share what you are working on with each other through daily online scrum meetings, or weekly all-hands video calls.

Collaboration & planning

Make prioritization transparent and clear so that everyone knows what to do at all times

Have planning meetings in real-time. Make plans on a visual canvas as the example shown below where everyone can collaborate on.

Action Plan Template

Clear objectives & deliverables

Have clear objectives and deliverables for everyone

An alternative is to use tools like Timedoctor, depending on the nature of work. However it’s better to allow people more flexibility and work on an outcomes basis rather than counting the actions or time spent. Use a task list or project management tool like Trello to manage objectives.

Frequent, planned video calls

Have frequent, planned video calls in smaller teams

This allows time for bonding, especially now that the team can’t see each other at work.

Use ice breakers for meetings

Always leave 10-15 minutes at the start of each meeting to socialize and break the ice

Set aside time so that you get to speak to others and bond before you get down to the agenda.