Tips & Tricks to Stay Connected with Your Team During Lockdown

With companies large and small suddenly thrown into unfamiliar work-from-home routines, the tools and tricks we use to stay connected are more important than ever.

In our article Work in the Time of Coronavirus, we mentioned that Wibbu had been working remotely for the past 6 months. So here we are, to share some of our favourite tips and tricks to stay connected with your team:

 

Morning Check-ins

During lockdown, it’s even more important to make it clear what the rest of the team is working on. Each morning at Wibbu, we write a summary of the previous day’s actions, today’s tasks and any blockers we’re facing, and we’re able to read through these while having our breakfast and coffee.

We use the recurring questions feature on Basecamp, but even a Google Doc or a Slack channel would work. Using Basecamp, we’re able to tag people to draw their attention to something, and we can comment on each person’s update, to ask further questions or simply to tell them that they’re doing an awesome job!

With our Engineering Lead Matt being in a different timezone, he writes his update at the end of his day so that the rest of us are able to see it in the morning. (And he is able to read ours when he sits down to work each morning).

 

Automated Stand-up prompts are a great way to keep everyone in the loop

 

Slack Workflow Builder: Automated Messaging

Another fun way of doing this is to use Slack’s Workflow Builder. They even have a preset Stand-up Reminder for you to apply to the channel of your choice:

You can use this feature not only to automate recurring messages, but to make other tasks more engaging, such as when you need to ask your team for feedback on a piece of work. Check out all of Slack’s presets here.

Slack’s Workflow Builder can save you time and keep you connected

 

Video Calls: A Cool Zoom / Slack Trick! (Our favourite…)

We’re 6 weeks into lockdown now, so I’m going to assume that even your grandma knows how to jump on a Zoom call and change her background to outer space… But something we’ve found really useful for when we want to hop on an impromptu call is Slack’s Zoom integration.

  • To add the integration to your workspace, simply go to Slack Apps, sign in, and find the Zoom integration.
  • Once installed, simply type /zoom in any Slack channel (group or 1-on-1) to generate a Zoom call for everyone to join. Super cool!

Type /zoom once you have the Zoom app installed in Slack

This will create a unique call for everyone in that channel to join

 

Objective Tracking: 15Five’s HR Tool

With everyone separated in their homes, it’s often tricky to know how people are feeling. And with the additional sense of disorientation, it’s easy to lose track of the days, as well as your personal objectives and priorities. Giving everyone an outlet to express how they’re dealing with lockdown is really important. And providing them with a place to track their weekly, monthly or quarterly goals is vital for keeping things moving forward at pace and for ensuring that everyone’s progress is tangible.

We use 15Five as our HR platform. These are our favourite features:

  • High Fives: Possibly the most important feature of 15Five is the ability to give your teammates high fives to encourage them, or to congratulate them on an achievement or a piece of work they have done. This can be a nice way to end off the week, particularly during this time where the line between weekdays and the weekend is ever more blurred.

High Fives are a great way to keep employees (or yourself!) motivated

  • Objectives (OKRs): 15Five’s OKR system allows us to set and track the progress company-wide, team and individual goals across any timeframe. It’s a great way of making personal growth tangible and visible.
  • Weekly 15Five Check-In: The feature we use most frequently. At the end of each week, we fill out a short survey to rate how we’ve felt at work that week, to record what progress we’ve made with the objectives we had set ourselves, and to answer a couple of targeted or broader questions. This self-awareness exercise is great for all team members, and incredibly insightful for team or organisation leads.

 

Whatever your work situation – whether you’re a freelancer working with a client or a startup that’s been forced to work remotely – we hope these tricks help to keep you connected.

 

Written by Dean Jacobs, CEO