It’s a work-from-home world now. Even before COVID-19, many businesses worked with remote web designers and developers. What is the best way to interact on web projects with your remote team?
- Keep meetings to the absolute minimum! If it can be an email, then send an email. The truth is that meeting time is not working time, but you are still paying for it. Here is a rule of thumb – if you find yourself scheduling many calls that end up being under 10 minutes, it could’ve been an email. Often there is a technical knowledge gap between the client and the web team. Use the length of your meetings to gauge if you rely on meetings for your comfort and not for critical communication.
- If you use a project management tool, actually use it. If you use Asana, Basecamp, Teams, or one of the other project management tools, stick with it. We often see good intentions with these tools, but then emails start coming in separately sometimes. Or communication that should have a more permanent record is sent in Slack. Keep your communication location consistent, and the likelihood of a forgotten task drops immensely!
- Check-in but not the day something is due. If your remote team says they will have something next Wednesday by the end of the business day, don’t check-in until the following day. It is so tempting to ask that day for an update. Chances are they are working to meet that deadline. Checking in at this point adds stress and frustration. If it is a critical deadline, push back and make it earlier.
- Communicate hard deadlines to your remote web team! We get this one all the time. The scenario plays out like this. The client says, “can you get this to me on the 10th?” We say, “of course!” The 10th rolls around, and we get a check-in with this new information – “I need this done ASAP because this mission-critical component launches tomorrow at 9 am.” It is easy to understand why this happens. Nothing feels as urgent when it is weeks and months away. But communicating these kinds of deadlines gives the entire team the ability to meet the goal – without being surprised by new information!
- Make it business in the front and a party in the back. That’s right. I am talking 100% workplace mullets – as an analogy anyway. If you can’t have a few minutes to have fun on your next Zoom call with your remote team, it will impact the work. I am not talking about Zoom games, although those can be fun. Just keep it personal but professional. We all need a little fun. We all need to feel seen. If your remote web team is stuffy, consider hiring a team with personality and skills. You can have both! In the end, better work gets done.