All Out’s best practices for working remotely

3 minutes read

Before COVID-19 forced many of us to stay home to protect our lives and the lives of people we love, All Out’s team was already nailing team meetings and regular online check-ins over Zoom.

As a global LGBT+ rights organization, our small team is based around the world, working in different time zones. We’ve always worked from our homes or from co-working spaces.

So we’ve decided to share some of our best practices to work effectively and efficiently remotely and from home. 😉

1) Chats 

Chats can be used for general team communication and  quick check-ins with your teammate.

Avoid asking critical questions or assigning important tasks on chat – people don’t review group chats all the time and might miss your message. 

Start a separate chat.

If you need to have a chat conversation in which one or more people in the group doesn’t need to be included, start a separate chat with the people you need to talk to.

Make sure you’re using the correct chat room.

Creating different chat rooms for different core groups is a great idea to not overwhelm people with messages, but always make sure to double-check if you’re messaging in the correct group chat.

2) Conference calls

For bigger group meetings you should consider having a protocol to avoid confusion.

Assign a facilitator for each team meeting. 

These can be assigned in rotating fashion. The facilitator will be in charge of bringing up the important points of discussion to the meeting. 👩‍💻

Keep an updated document.

It’s good for folks to be able to see the meeting points, so they can be prepared for the discussion and raise up any assignments or updates. 📝

Create a protocol for communicating.

You want to avoid people talking over each other. You can use a simple ‘hand raised’ protocol to call out each person when you are discussing any items. 🙋‍♀️

Mute yourself when not speaking.

Background noise can kill a conference call. When you’re not speaking, mute yourself. 🔇

3) Setting up regular check-ins and meetings

To re-create effective workflow, permanent team meetings and check-ins are important. Following a pattern will help everyone get in the right headspace and prioritize the correct items. Here are some suggested meetings you can re-create:

  • Weekly team meeting: Full team meeting to go over important work items for the week.
  • Department team meeting: Dedicated meetings for different departments or sub-groups in your team. This can be done once a week or as needed. 
  • Daily huddles for smaller groups: Shorter daily check-in on priorities and pending items.
  • Weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with supervisors: Should be set up for each team member.
  • Bi-weekly open-agenda meetings: Try to change it up,  a chat surrounding your organizational strategy or inviting external guests, but not necessarily based on current items – This can be a great opportunity for team-building sessions!

4) Email etiquette

Copy others only on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Before you click ‘Reply All’ or put names in the CC or BCC lines, ask yourself if all the recipients need the information in your message. If you’re only sending it as an FYI to someone, make that clear. If you’re responding to a conversation that folks who were CC’d no longer need to follow, move them to BCC (so they’re not “trapped” in the following emails).

Be clear in your subject line.

Your subject lines should be reasonably simple and descriptive of what you have written about. 

Feel free to add prefixes to them, like [PLEASE READ], [IMPORTANT], [ACTION REQUIRED], [The name of whoever needs to pay immediate attention to this message], etc.

Avoid sending one-liners.

"Thanks" or "OK" can go on chat to avoid overloading inboxes.

Click here to check out our "Working from home" handbook.

 

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