5 Steps For Focused Work In Remote Teams

Innovation, change, new work - buzzwords of getting used to?

How is focused work possible in remote teams? We give you 5 Tipps on how to stay focused and productive while you are in home office and working remotely.

In 2016, the word “digital transformation” became one of the most used words. Many have dubbed it “the word of the year”. Since then, organizations and employees almost seemed tired of digitization. Innovation, change, new work – buzzwords for getting used to? 

But these days around the hustle and bustle of Corona we notice once again: Buzzwords are important drivers of movements that are not without reason. Sometimes we may not see the effects immediately. However, we should not simply put them aside because current day-to-day business is more important. Read in the article how insecurities become a virtue.

The end of “smiling away” from home office & co.

When it comes to innovative approaches to collaborative work, it is currently noticeable whether the appropriate tools for online meetings are available, dialing into the Internet also works from a business PC and whether the team has agreed on modes of digital collaboration. It’s the little things from dialing up to starting work digitally in the home office that is now being tested. Questions of lack of time for the setup and the agreement become obsolete. Likewise, nobody is currently interested in whether a home office or remote work was tiredly smiled away just a few weeks ago. But away from the past to the chances of the current state.

A good read to get started: Coronavirus – remote work? Home office in a week – here is how

How do we work in a focused and collaborative manner via digital media?

1. Respect others’ time

Who does not know it? The meeting is just before the start, and you are ready to dial in front of the computer. But that doesn’t have to be the same on the other side. Up to $37 billion in opportunity costs accrue annually in the U.S. due to meetings starting too late ( Rogelberg et al., 2013). Valuable time and resources are lost. Time is lost not only for those who wait but also for all those who wait. Important steps to gain this time, especially in digital meetings, can be:

  • Check which conference tools the meeting is taking place 30 minutes before the start of the meeting. Download and install the tool if necessary and dial in for security reasons.
  • Update your software regularly.
  • In case of uncertainty, short-circuit with the corporate IT to ensure a smooth start to the meeting.

2. Focused start to the meeting

The same rules apply for an online meeting as for any other meeting. But digital meetings are often more exhausting than real meetings. This makes a clear structure, a moderator, and agreement on the goal of the meeting even more important. Tips for a successful start to a meeting:

  • Allow a quiet minute of arrival at the start of the meeting, during which everyone switches to “Mute”. Encourage participants to arrive at the meeting at this minute and to close browser windows that are not relevant for the meeting. This greatly increases the focus of the meeting.
  • As a moderator, split * into an agenda and agree with the participants on a common goal.
  • Also, clarify the documentation of the results.

3. Use of digital collaboration tools

Daily scrums, morning stand-up meetings, Kanban, and more have become part of everyday life for many companies. The visualization of projects, goals, and progress facilitates the collaboration and agility of project employees. The advantages of these methods do not have to be waived at the digital meeting either. On the contrary: they make it easier to coordinate and record jointly developed results.

  • You can share project management tools such as Asana and Co. on the moderator screen without any problems and so coordinate the next steps in the project and agreed tasks.
  • Miro offers useful templates for Scrum Boards, Ideation Boards, Business Model Canvases, etc. At the same time, multiple users can dial into the board on Miro using the desktop app and app and work collaboratively with each other. There are no limits to digital design thinking.
  • Zoom, Hangouts, and many other providers are currently updating their offers. Find out here about the constantly new opportunities for digital collaboration.

4. Less is more

All of these ways make it easier to hold goal-oriented and focused meetings. But meetings – whether digital or real – cost time and effort. The current situation is also an opportunity for everyone to look deliberately at the calendar and think about which meetings you really need to attend.

  • Focus on the essentials and cancel meetings to which you already know in advance that you cannot make a valuable contribution.
  • Instead of large digital rounds, it is better to suggest dialogues for two, if possible. Reduce the frequency of meetings together with your colleagues.
  • Clarify in the team which digital channels they like. As a consequence of digitization, we are increasingly using more and more channels today, which leads to confusion and overload. Clarity about the important and less important channels reduces the “pressure to perform” to always have to answer all messages immediately.

5. Mindfulness digital? – Yes, of course!

Uncertainty and fears are very present these days. The media and the 1,000th display of a curve that is supposed to flatter the overexert out system. Mindfulness and awareness are becoming more important than ever. Mindfulness can be expressed on many levels:

  • Individual: Take a break every day to consciously breathe deeply in and out. The best way to do this is to go outdoors. This stimulates the body and mind and is good for the respiratory tract. It’s also an easy way to distance yourself from the flood of news.
  • Together: Ask your team colleague carefully and consciously how you are doing. This is also good via digital channels. And clarify in the team how to deal with the current news situation to perceive the uncertainty together, but not to turn it into a panic.
  • Everyone: Make room for optimism in the team and the other organization. Laughter is good for the soul and strengthens the immune system!

In summary, the current hustle and bustle can also develop great strength in organizations. Conscious and mindful collaboration – whether digital or real – is essential in the new world of work. By appreciating time and togetherness, focus on the essentials, and clarity in the collaboration, projects may now be possible that you would never have seen before. Let us make a virtue of uncertainty together.

Have fun and optimism when growing together.

    Dr. Martina Dopfer verknüpft digitale Innovation, Entrepreneurship und Achtsamkeit. Ihre Promotion (Universität St. Gallen, UC Berkeley) handelte von Geschäftsmodellinnovationen. Die Neurowissenschaft ergänzt ihren Zugang zu Change – wichtig bei der Gestaltung von NewWork. Sie ist Autorin von “Achtsamkeit und Innovation in integrierten Organisationen”, Speaker, Coach und Gründerin von myndway: Bietet achtsamen und digitale Trainings für Unternehmen.

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