Build work processes on a remote site: practical recommendations

Hello everyone. The following article, in anticipation of the start of the course Team Lead 2.0, wrote one of our subscribers. And how did you go to udalenka? Write in a comment about your experience.

Almost all companies, including IT, as well as those indirectly related to this area, are now experiencing problems associated with switching to a remote site. What recommendations should your employees form? What line of behavior should be chosen by the authorities? How to build communication? We will discuss some problems associated with the transition to remote work.

The technical side of the process

The problem is deploying the remote work process of the entire team. In particular, my familiar tester for the first week of self-isolation did almost nothing and not because he didn’t want or something like that, but because none of his department knew how to raise k8s on his local machine and for some reason the work of the department was so built that no one could help him raise the server for testing. But such problems lasted the first few days, then the work more or less lined up.

At another job, the employee was given access from the IP only to the home computer, and then, when he wanted to move to the country, he had to set up a whole VPN. And let it be true from a security point of view, it took a lot of time to configure.

I hope that by now you have been able to rebuild your development pipeline to work on a remote site. In another case, you need to do something, otherwise the result will be sad.

When udalenka is not a joy

One of the biggest problems that arise in remote work is, no doubt, blurring the work / home line. It is a well-known effect to all remoters, in which your work that you do at home stretches from standard 8-9 to 15 and you simply do not have any personal time of your own, in which you have every right to what you want. Now, after the end of your working time, you can’t write “I’m sorry, I’m not in the office, I can’t solve the problem”, because in the home office you are at work almost all the time.

Decision The solution here is quite simple: each employee needs to independently build their time zones together with the employer, otherwise it will end in burnout in a few months. You are far from the first it – a specialist who is in a remote place, so it is worth using the experience of colleagues.

First, make yourself a time zone for exercise. According to statistics with StackOverflow, most programmers do not perform physical exercises, but now the situation is somewhat different – for a good functioning of the body you need physical activity, some exercise. Ideally, this is a load corresponding to at least 10,000 steps (you should study the recommendations on this topic) It can be either just physical exercises or running in the mornings (but since in some regions of our country for some reason one cannot go outside (naturally without explaining the reasons why one cannot run alone in the park in the morning or in the evening, and how this will affect to spread the coronavirus), or one of the most ideal options is a treadmill on the balcony or in a well-ventilated room, but not everyone can allow this option). Besides running, you certainly should try other physical exercises for statics, some can be found here. In addition to physical activity, you need to build a mode of operation in a certain way. Despite the fact that the employees are on a remote site, which means they are always ready to work, this does not mean that you can load them with questions about work 24/7 and try to squeeze even more of them on a remote site, this story will end badly. Any person with experience of remote work will confirm that an attempt to work more than 5/2 for 8-9 hours a day is fraught with shattered health and quick burnout. Whenever possible, employees should monitor the regimen (this issue is of particular importance in connection with physical activity, because I did not get enough physical activity -> I couldn’t fall asleep on time -> I couldn’t get enough sleep -> I gradually destroyed my sleep mode -> I lost productivity -> burnt out). And despite the “now there will be a crisis, which means we need to develop more product”, “people don’t have to spend their time on the road to work, which means they have to spend it on work”, the boss should try to more accurately describe the tasks and demand their implementation on time. As for physical activity and schedules, here IT departments traditionally show some restraint in telling employees what they need to do. Therefore, if you have not yet rolled out to your employees a list of recommendations for the period of self-isolation (compliance with the regime, physical activity, work / rest schedule, then I recommend that you do this until your IT department has begun to show the first signs of burnout).

Loss of a sense of integrity with the team

While you are working in person at the office, you constantly meet with colleagues, greet them by the hand, and get joint positive emotions at birthdays and corporate parties. However, on self-isolation it becomes much more difficult to maintain contact – you get the feeling that you are not connected with this company in any way and you don’t particularly know these people, the feeling of personal belonging to the team and the importance of maintaining normal personal relationships are lost (they are my friends and comrades like me I can let them down). Therefore, the motivation in such cases begins to suffer – after all, except for monetary motivation (which also works poorly during the period of self-isolation, because in essence everything you can spend now on is just food and a slight improvement in living conditions, trips abroad, some offline entertainment is being delayed for an unknown time), the employee also has non-material motivation in the form of communication with the team, in which he may not even give a report directly to himself – but it is still extremely important.

Decision Try to keep in touch on issues not related to workers. Organize on some platform for mass meetings regular (but not more than 1 time per week, preferably 1-2 times a month) meetings in the format of Show & Tell, in which you can congratulate those who had a birthday / holiday or any Some other pleasant events that are not directly related to work. Try to organize some semblance of a joint leisure of colleagues – for example, cooperative intellectual games, joint lunches on webcams and something like that. Create a separate channel in Slack, similar in content to the smoking room, where people can discuss what they had in their free time at work – where you can discuss their hobbies, personal problems, latest news …

Remote communication

Well, it would seem that there will not be much questions here, and I don’t want to dwell on this section. Here you can make a few comments:

– Try to include webcams, if possible, in order to feel personal communication with their interlocutors (unless of course they have the opportunity for this because people who do not have their own separate space will feel uncomfortable if they are asked to show their home)

– Zoom is actually not so good;
– The discord is good, but sometimes the servers do not withstand user overload;

In addition, be prepared for the fact that self-isolation will drag on for at least two months (do not be naive and think that this will end soon). Therefore, if some movement of employees is taking place in your company (changing the team / expanding / opening a new IT department / transferring part of the development to outsourcing (because why now hire expensive specialists from your city, if you can hire him from any location) points in the world)), then you should take care of creating your own wiki about the departments of the company, who is the boss in it, and what are your responsibilities / who has subordination, because now you can’t take an offline tour and employees can experience feeling of loss and not knowing who to turn to (if you don’t know on which platform to write all this, here this seems to have established itself quite well. And not knowing who to turn to is often the same unresolved problem -> lost time -> lost money.

Employee motivation

The question of motivation on the remote should be put separately. What should move an employee forward? Personally, I work in several places and in each of them there was a touching and long hour-long talk by the chief for all employees that the crisis is now and “this is not easy” if you omit all the details. Some bosses were even not ready for a speech to a remote audience (making speeches of this nature without audience reaction is quite difficult, I must say), and besides, they could not form a line further “ok, we work further in the crisis conditions”.

The question here is how great is the trust of employees in you. It is worth considering whether you have an exact plan of action for the current crisis (in which the conditions for doing business are actually quite clear), and whether you are ready to voice them.

Firstly, it is necessary to make it clear to employees that the crisis is a story about the survival of the company and, according to the results of the crisis, most of the companies will close, but some will stay afloat, and as a reward, the survivors will get part of the market. Therefore, competent and smart solutions are now more valuable than ever. If now you have no changes in clientele and monetization, this is no reason to say “it works like it worked.” You don’t work how you work, because at least the transition to mass removal affects you. Therefore, show people where they should develop now -> reorganize in accordance with the recommendations that I gave above; be prepared for a sharp deterioration in the situation due to the crisis. If the situation worsens for you, you should express the idea that only those who are ready to change are going through the crisis -> and if you do not demonstrate to the employees that the company is changing, you should not be surprised at the wave of doubts whether to work in this company further .

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