Office-based teams are sprinting to remote work to reduce the spread of the pandemic but the abrupt change has left many with little time to prepare. In this post I’ll share strategies we use at Purism, a proudly remote company since 2014 with a team spread across the globe.
Most of us don’t like writing documentation at the best of times but when going remote, a great team wiki or docs portal can help keep everyone in the loop and reduce repetitive questioning in team chat.
Choose a solution that tracks changes (version control) and if needed, has an easy to use interface for non-technical people. We use wiki.js backed by git.
You should document something if you have to say it more than once. This will empower people to answer their own questions by searching for the answer.
If you are looking for a good example of team documentation take a look at GitLab’s public handbook (our wiki is private).
It might be quick and easy to share files via email and team chat but things can get out of hand really quickly. Stitching related components together or deciphering cryptic file names to find the latest version is frustrating work. We use NextCloud to centrally store, share and collaborate on files and stay organized.
With your team using email, chat and a plethora of other collaboration tools, keeping up with a stream of notifications and information can begin to feel like work itself.
Help your team decide where topics should be discussed. For example all external communication, HR and payroll via email and the rest on team chat.
You can provide further focus in team chat by directing project conversations to their own channels. For example we have a marketing team channel but created a project channel when developing the Librem Mini.
When asked what people miss the most when going remote they often say their colleagues – well, at least some of them! Try scheduling regular team and individual coffee break calls. Like those informal water cooler and breakout room chats, these calls can be a place to decompress and feel connected in a time that’s both stressful and solitary.
What might feel awkward at first will quickly feel second nature after a few regular calls.
At Purism we keep in touch securely by using our free Librem Chat service powered by Matrix and Jitsi.