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Companies shouldn’t be afraid of remote work: Our definitive guide

Our definitive guide

We are living in extreme times and we’ve been forced to go remote. Many companies are doing remote work and some are wondering: What is remote work? Will my company run efficiently while working remotely? Are my employees really going to work? 

This is why at Fuckup we decided to create a guide for Remote Work. Thanks to Trello and Zoom for the inspiration and for helping us to improve our processes, we hope that this guide helps you too.

Keep up with the routines

One of the most common tips is to stick to a daily routine. One of the advantages of working from home is that it helps you to understand yourself and identify at which times you are most productive. The advice is to start your day as if you are going to the office:

  • Wake up, exercise, take a shower, have breakfast and then start working. It’s important to have a routine and organize your day.

  • Set working hours and allow time to eat and rest.

  • Set up an “office” at home. It’s useful to have a space to work and to keep it separate from personal spaces (like your bedroom), this will help you to disconnect properly from work.

  • To maintain focus try not to work more than 45 minutes in a row. Pomodoro, is a tool that helps you to set periods of time to work and rest.

As with any other workday, you need to finish your day. This is key to maintaining your mental health and happiness. When you have finished your work, disconnect and enjoy your personal time. Turn off all chat and email notifications.

4 Tips for maintaining effective communication

When working remotely, especially if it’s for the first time, you need to over-communicate. If you’re asking yourself whether or not you should ask or clarify something, do it! The most important thing here is assertive communication, this is why you need to make sure that ideas, tasks, and objectives are clear for all.

Fuckup Tip no.1: At Fuckup we organize our work with OKR’s , these create clarity for our direction and how each individual’s work helps to fulfill the purpose of the whole organization.

When working remotely it’s important that we compensate for the fact that we are not bumping into each other in the corridor or at lunch to share ideas and have conversations. Because of this, we need to have a messaging tool.

Fuckup Tip no.2: We use Slack, it’s our first tool for communicating and allows us to compensate for face-to-face interactions.

It’s vital to have a clear communication process and to assign certain channels depending on the priority level and urgency of each communication. This means choosing the right time and channel for your message (chat, video call or email) to avoid saturation and interrupting work flow.

Fuckup Tip no.3: At Fuckup we’ve designated our channels this way:

  • Slack is the first channel for communicating.
  • In-person (when you can) for team meetings and co-creating.
  • Video calls for brainstorming, team meetings and to share ideas and new processes that the whole team needs to be aware of.
  • Email is for important documents, to give official announcements and to send weekly reports.

Fuckup Tip no.4: At Fuckup we hold weekly team meetings, 1:1’s,  monthly meetings to share updates on how each area is advancing on their objectives and quarterly meetings to present final results and what comes next.

Team dynamics

One of the most common myths about remote work is that employees won’t work and that they are lazy, this is the reason why so many companies fear remote work. This feeling is the elephant in the room that we also struggled with at some point. We understand that the key here is the trust you put in your team.

How can you build trust and accountability within your team? Ensure clarity of purpose and company values. If everyone knows why they are part of the company, how their work impacts others and helps to achieve goals, they can work from home or from a coffee shop in Thailand without losing focus.

At Fuckup Nights we have a flexible working scheme, this means that:

  • We set working hours according to our HQ office in Mexico City and we ask the team to connect for as many of those hours as possible. Doing it helps to send a message of trust to the team.

  • It is important to consider team members working in other countries. We have a team in Mallorca, Spain, and a team member in Argentina. They organize their working hours according to their team meetings. Flexible working hours are key.

  • We have a solid purpose and we created our objectives based on it. These objectives and purpose help us to set our OKR’s per area. We have a quarterly meeting to review the OKR’s, share our achievements and set next steps.

  • Each individual sends a weekly report every Friday, here we share our results, challenges and opportunities of the week.

  • On Slack we have different channels, one of them is called “Random” we use this for sharing miscellaneous information, from memes, to family pictures, this also helps to compensate for the time we’re not spending together.

It’s important to remember that working remotely will always bring new challenges for your company, such as how to create team dynamics that boost creativity and growth. This is why we recommend setting processes and systems that help to generate accountability, leadership and ownership, in this way, you won’t need to micromanage.

Tools for team dynamics

As soon as the current crisis forced us to go remote, we created a Slack channel to communicate our daily priorities. This is useful for letting the team know how we are doing our job, we send a message before lunch and when we finish our day.

These are some tools that we’re finding useful:

  • Google docs for creating and co creating documents, presentations, etc. Google offers a business platform called G-Suite.
  • Trello for organzing projects and tasks.
  • Asana and Basecamp are programs to support project management. These tools are great if you decide to go 100% remote for good. 

Video calls and meetings

When we need to ask for opinions or to have clarity about something, a video call is always the best way to do this, because we can see each other and this helps with understanding. Also, video is a great tool for sharing knowledge, you can do a tutorial or demonstrate how to use a tool or program.

Consider planning your meetings and time with the team, set priorities and analyze if a video call will help to speed up your processes. Remember no one wants to say “that meeting could have been an email”.

Remember to setup a space for video calls at home, choose a quiet and well illuminated area and try to use headphones to make sure you don’t miss anything. Here is an article with some hacks to improve your video calls with Hangouts Meet.

Fuckup Tip: Don’t forget to keep it real and human. We can’t control everything that happens in our homes, sometimes the kids cry, the dog barks, someone comes to the door, etc. Sharing your life helps with team building (and it’s funny).

Personal & professional life

One of the perks of remote work is to have a better work-personal life balance, thanks to flexible working hours.  Here are some good practices that we use internally to better organize your day when you have family around:

  • Yannick Kwick, our Global Sales Lead is a dad. On the days his daughter is with him, he tries to have less calls so that he can spend more daylight time with her. He  spends more evening hours working and shares this info with the team.

  • We know it’s not always easy to plan your day without calls because of teamwork. Another tip is to look for didactic programs/content for your kids while you’re on a call, with these they are entertained in a healthy way. Not all screen-time is terrible.  

  • During our webinar on “Resilience in times of crisis” one of our partners shared that he sets periods of time to share with his kids and locks those slots in his calendar. This way, he can actually spend quality time with his kids and concentrate on work.

Remember, keep it real. We’re all human and sometimes life gets complicated. Here’s an interesting Forbes article which goes deeper on this work-personal life balance topic.

A happy partner showing us her son’s favorite toy.

Know your team

It is important to know the personalities that make up your team, this simplifies the process of designing meetings and assigning times and methods to connect with them. 

To keep it simple, we can consider three personality types: introverts, extroverts and ambiverts (a combination of the two mentioned above)

Fuckup tip:  Each team at Fuckup Nights organize meeting differently and accordingly to their needs. For example, the Movement team enjoys having a 15 minute meeting everyday to catch-up and organize their priorities.

The reason to consider teams personalities is because if you have a lot of extroverts, you’ll probably need to schedule extra video calls and perhaps set more meetings to help them feel connected. 

I hope this guide is useful for you. We recommend that you create your own guide for clarity in your team, including what works best for you. You can share it with us, if you want.

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