Today’s topic in our series for remote teams is Getting Started with Remote Teams, where we’ll go over home office set up, fundamental digital tools for remote work, and daily video huddles.

These first tips might sound basic, but are fundamental to your success whether you have experience working as a remote team or are just making the transition. We’ll get into more advanced remote work hacks later in the series.

Home Office Setup

First, make sure each team member has a quiet space to work away from other household members who may be present and a steady internet connection of 50-100Mbps or more.

Video conferencing capabilities are fundamental to maintain daily, face to face contact with each team member so a webcam and a good headset are key. Use a headset that connects via USB as the audio quality is better than most other options. Avoid using earphones that connect via bluetooth or none at all since the poor audio is distracting during calls.

Many of us use two monitors and other accessories to work efficiently at the office, so consider providing support for remote team members to outfit their home offices with these items.

Digital Tools for Remote Work

Good communication is the key to remote teamwork, so make sure everyone has access to a reliable video conferencing (ZoomGoogle Hangouts Meet), a messaging platform (SlackGchatMS Teams), and work email. In future installments we’ll go over how to set expectations for how each channel should be used.

Another indispensable element for remote teamwork is a project or task management platform. We use Trello to create a Kanban board for each of our departments. The key is to have a central space for all team members to work in the open. Getting the team’s buy-in to manage all tasks on “cards” or “tickets” might take some getting used to, but works really well once it clicks with everyone. Take a look at how we organize our tasks weekly using Trello below.

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Depending on your company’s policies, you may also want to consider time tracking software. We’ve found Toggl to have one of the best user experiences in the industry.

Daily Video Huddles

In our experience it is imperative that each team member has a daily video huddle with their team. This helps everyone feel connected, and comes in the form of a 10-15 minute huddle or “stand-up” call where each person answers three questions:

  1. What have I been working on since last meeting?
  2. What do I plan to accomplish before the next meeting?
  3. Do I have any blockers or need anyone’s assistance?

We can’t stress enough how much having this daily video huddle for everyone organization-wide helps keep team members synced up, moral high, and progress humming along.

With these basics: the physical space, digital tools, and daily meeting rhythm, you’ve got the foundation for the success remote team established.

In the coming installments, we’ll dig deeper into setting communications expectationssetting notifications intelligently, and how to inspire your organization’s culture while working remotely.