REMOTE WORK STARTER KIT
We can still connect as humans, work together and support each other even when we’re not in the same room.
That’s why we’ve created the Remote Work Starter Kit, the people side of going remote, to help you to establish a healthy and human way of working remotely with your team.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
This is the playbook for the people side of doing remote work well.
This Kit Addresses
Norms & Principles
Remote Work Policy
Principles & Norms
Rhythm & Rituals
Resources & Tools
Practices & Workflow
What's In the Kit?
What if ain’t nobody got time for that kit? (tl;dr)
Copy a Team Health Survey
Get the Remote Work Canvas
Get the Remote Work Agreement Doc
Download the Team Calendar
Download the Experiment Board
Add Your Plays to a Public Library
Send fortnightly, review fortnightly.
Review practices monthly in a team retro.
Codify your practices in a living Team Agreement doc.
Modify after two weeks of experimentation.
Get into the habit of fortnightly or monthly cycles of experimentation.
Help others out - add what’s working for you in your team.
If you can’t access Dropbox or Google let us know on [email protected] and we’ll send you the kit.
PRINCIPLES TO INFORM YOUR PRACTICE
Climatic forces have prompted your team to go remote, fast. At high speed you’re asking that people in your team change their mental models about work, adapt their routine and habits but still maintain their productivity.
Let the team doing the work decide how it gets done
Grant teams the agency to align on the outcomes of their work. Encourage them to make decisions autonomously and build trust with one another in ways that might not adhere to your organisation’s structure or way of working.
1. Change is a team sport🙏🏽
Empowering over Controlling
🙏🏽 https://www.responsive.org/manifesto 🙏🏽 https://agilemanifesto.org 🙏🏽 Adidas ‘Change is a Team Sport’ campaign
Change is complex which means it’s unpredictable. Good practice will rise out of your context and deliberate, ongoing experimentation - not copying the startup next door.
2. Don’t copy-and-paste culture🙏🏽
Experimenting over ‘Best Practice’
🙏🏽 Bud Caddell, Nobl, from https://openviewpartners.com/blog/where-companies-get-culture-wrong-and-how-to-fix-it/
When everything around you is emerging or you’re trying things out for the first time, a regular cadence for getting things done provides a sturdy scaffold on which to build new ways of working.
3. Slow and steady wins the race🙏🏽
Build ‘scaffolding’ to Support Teamwork
🙏🏽 Notes on Scaffolding and Constraints in Complexity by Mark Rettig
“In this world of abundant information and connectedness the potential benefits of trusting people who share the organisation’s purpose to act on information as they see fit often outweighs the potential risks of open information being used in counter-productive ways.” - Responsive.org Manifesto
4. No team member gets left behind🙏🏽
Access over Ownership
🙏🏽 ‘Mentally Friendly’ - Remote teamwork guide
Our hope is that you consider and experiment with flexible work long-term
🙏🏽 Google Future of Work Report
LET’S GET TO WORK
REMOTE WORK PULSE
Take Your Team’s Pulse
To measure a team’s level of psychological safety, Amy Edmondson, Harvard’s organisational behavioural scientist, surveyed team members on how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 7 statements.
Remote Work Pulse
Support Psychological Safety
HOW TO RUN
Build the survey with a sliding scale of 1 - 10, gather anonymous responses.
Share the link with an explanation of your intentions, the use of data and a guarantee of anonymity.
Gather and analyse responses and assemble the report.
Convene the team to work through the team’s score per question. For each, ask your team to identify a tension or propose a solution which might explain or address the scores.
Repeat and Review as a team fortnightly
If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
It is safe to take a risk on this team.
It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.
Copy the Team Health Survey Google form
Remote Work Pulse
Listen to Amy Edmondson discuss her research on team work
Watch Amy Edmondson’s TED Talk on Psychological Safety in Teams
Read Google’s Guide on to Fostering Psychological Safety on Re:Work
Use Atlassian’s Team Health Monitor: Assess Your Team Against 8 Attributes of Healthy Teams
Use a simple check-in with your team to determine how their remote work experience is going (Slack HQ)
REMOTE WORK CANVAS
Work Through The RW Canvas
Use the RW Canvas as a thinking tool to help your team develop practical ways to identify principles and practices for how you’ll work remotely across common operating themes such as Resources or Agreements.
Get Your Copy of the RW Canvas
Download a Print-Ready PDF
🔗 Click Here
Editable PDF Canvas
🔗 Click Here
How To Use The RW Canvas
Gather your team together on a 2-hour video call. Assign a facilitator and a note-taker beforehand.
Define what the experience of work should feel like (North Star section).
Work through each block on the canvas using the provided guiding questions. Allow participants a few minutes to think individually then have a group discussion.
Find at least one practice to try for each block with the aim of amplifying enablers and reducing hindering conditions to progress.
Adapt or adopt a habit from the Habit Kit or explore inspiration items available in each theme’s resources section in this kit.
Live and measure your new practice for two weeks and then review the results together as a team.
ADOPT A HEALTHY TEAM HABIT
Adopt a Habit from the Kit
To get you started we’ve included general patterns of behaviour which have proven repeatedly successful to remote teams. For each theme you’ll find a simple tool and a habit or practice e.g. our guide to running awesome remote calls.
INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION
DEFINE KNOWLEDGE-SHARING STANDARDS
Develop a Policy For Collaborative Work
Ensure no teammate is left behind by establishing how you’re going to share knowledge as a team. It’s crucial that every member of your team has access to the same tools and information. It should be easy to keep your team’s collective knowledge stored and updated.
This living, centrally stored document could include:
Living playbook of your team’s ways of working, like the playbook you’ll create to work remotely.
Decision Log: Broadcast and store the latest information (decisions, news, etc.) in a decision log.
Work and data from the beginning of a project. To do this you’ll need to define a standard for how you’ll track progress e.g. like storing notes from every meeting and working collaboratively on documents.
Product or Service Roadmaps to establish a direction and help your team to take decisions on the prioritisation of tasks.
Template library: a practice for how you’ll share, reuse and adapt documents across teams to encourage cross-functional collaboration and diminish duplicate work.
List of teams and roles their team contracts and rules of engagement to know who is doing what and how to “hire” them.
BUILD A SIMPLE COMMUNICATION PLAN
Develop Your Comms Toolkit
Think about how effective the office is as communication tool. You can spontaneously pull someone aside and get the info you want quickly. We lack the visual cues to know when this is appropriate to do so remotely. We have to be intentional about how we communicate as a team.
Your Plan Should Include:
Rules of Thumb for how you’ll communicate remotely as a team like “we don’t change tracks in emails”.
Social plan: to create opportunities for connection belonging.
Channel Plan: most appropriate ways to communicate for a given task or stakeholder group (like third-parties)
Expectations for communication and how we individually indicate our availability.
Comms Pyramid: see the pyramid of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools to help you start mapping the tools to your communications plan.
Information & Communication
Get August’s Team Working Agreements Document
The Art of Asynchronous Communication
Asynchronous Communication for Remote Teams
Slack’s Mini Internal Communication Guide
Basecamp’s Employee Handbook (comms)
GitLab Communication Plan
G Suites’ (Google) 10 tips to improve communication
Gov.uk’s Guidance on Open Standards
View the Gov.uk Design Team’s Product Roadmap
Download Google Suite Way of Work Report
INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION
MEMBERSHIP & ROLES
BELONGING & PRESENCE
Design for Belonging and Presence
A recent article from The Wall Street Journal suggests that the most successful companies of the present and future are those that give employees a sense of belonging. Missing out on the banter at the office and the daily conversations can dramatically affect how connected people feel to teams.
Action: Build regular opportunities to connect socially and personally during the work week and make them part of your team’s stable rhythm. Here are thought-starters to encourage connection and belonging.
Morning Catch-Ups: A chance to discuss what’s got your team’s attention. We repeat, these are not status calls. Capeesh?