Many people this past week have found themselves suddenly working from home due to coronavirus. Maybe like me, you also found yourself rounding out your pantry with some more non-perishables and stocking up the freezer. I also spent some time coming up with tentative childcare coverage in the event schools close in Berkeley.
As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we may be uncertain about how our social lives, travel plans, childcare, etc., might be impacted. Work is also starting to look different, with many offices in cities with coronavirus cases encouraging or requiring employees to work from home until further notice.
Fortunately, we're not totally without guidance on best practices for working with a distributed team. We can draw on the wisdom of managers who have been leading fully distributed teams for years.
If you're a manager and find yourself suddenly in a work-from-home situation, check out these resources:
- Crash Course: Remote Management — Cate Huston and Nicole Sanchez co-hosted this webinar last week and kindly recorded and shared it. Cate is an engineering lead at Automattic, which has over 1,000 employees across 76 countries. Nicole Sanchez is the founder of Vaya Consulting and an expert on workplace culture. They've also continued to respond to questions on twitter under #rfrw (Ready for Remote Work).
- Juan Pablo Buriticá, who has been leading distributed teams for 10 years, most recently as VP Eng at Splice, shared his thoughts on what makes for effective remote collaboration and coordination. “When you are separated (time, distance, culture) you can only bridge it through communication...Write it all down is a poor recommendation. Write down what matters. What matters? It depends on your business context. Teaching your team how to gauge if something matters can be more effective than writing it all.” Also check out his resource on how to make remote collaboration easier.
- A Guide to Distributed Teams — Co-written by Juan Pablo Buriticá and Katie Womersley (VP Eng at Buffer), this guide discusses how thoughtful systems (and lots of emoji) make for happy, efficient teams — whether your desks are distributed across floors, cities, or continents.
Even if you're not managing a team, how do you personally prepare yourself to work from home?
- Quick, work remote! A guide on how to set up your remote working strategy — The second half of this guide covers a lot of tips on how to be productive at home. How do you set up a designated workspace? How do you create rituals to mark the beginning and end of your workday? How do you set boundaries? How do you minimize distractions?
And if you're looking for even more resources, check out this upcoming webinar on Wednesday:
- Preparing Your Team for Remote Work (March 11th) — Join leaders from Range, Gitlab, and Terminal to learn best practices for working remotely. How do keep feedback loops going? How do you help the team feel connected?
Also remember that others are also navigating these changing times. They may be struggling with the change to their routines, or they may be worried about their family and friends. Be kind to each other and ask, “What can I do to support you?”
Stay safe, and wash your hands!