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4 Less Common WFH Rhythms/Tools to shape your Company Culture
Batko OS #2
Let’s face it - working from home sucks.
It’s fun to do it every week or two.
But for 3 days, 3 weeks or even 3 months in a row it really sucks.
😑 You lose motivation.
👯♀️ You lose track of what others are doing.
🥴 You lose your sanity.
However, in light of the current global COVID-19 crisis, working from home is going to be the reality for a lot of people going forward. So rather than complain about it, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to share some of the best tech tools I have come across. They will help your team work more effectively, foster connection and shape the culture of your company.
🙌 Shoutout to Clark Carter (Head of Productivity @Blackbird) who pioneered many of the below initiatives and Nick Crocker (Partner @Blackbird) for implementing the #fun-sanity channel, otherwise I would have gone loopy by now 🥴🥴🥴.
1. #️⃣ Set up your Slack for WFH
First things first - clean up your Slack channel naming convention.
My recommendation is to structure your slack channels into five buckets:
self-explanatory and only one of them
underscore is important to keep it all the way in the top
pro tip: rename your #general channel to #_urgent, as everyone is already part of it
each team gets their own channel - marketing, sales, etc
each geography gets their own channel - sydney, melbourne, london, etc
here you can get creative (see examples below)
pro tip: rename your #random channel to #fun-random
each project deserves its own channel
once you have finished the project, discard the channel
Now the fun stuff. To encourage your team to keep the office banter alive and stay connected on a social level, try implementing one or more of the following Slack channels:
👻 #fun-random - Everything goes in here. Keep it truly random.
📚 #fun-reading - Interesting tidbits articles, news, books, etc - incl a one liner why it’s interesting.
🎧 #fun-podcast - Same as reading but for podcasts.
🥴 #fun-sanity - Stay healthy. Stay sane. Inspirational channel to encourage each other to exercise or simply do something else but work that day and share it with the team.
What’s unique to your company?
Does everyone game?
Love esports or board games?
Get inspired by great photography?
Or cute dog pictures?
Create a slack channel for it.
📆 #fun-edrolo - See my #1 newsletter - here, if you want to keep Edrolo OS’ in Slack rather than email.
2. 🙋♀️ Daily Standup
You’re at home. By yourself. All day. Every day.
It can feel really lonely and demotivating if you have no idea what everyone else is up to.
Daily standups help alleviate these feelings as they keep everyone informed of each person's top priorities on a regular basis.
There are two good ways of doing this. Pick one or do both.
1. 🎥 Video call
It’s a daily calendar invite with a videoconferencing link for 15mins (ie 8.45am-9am, pre-meetings).
Starts with a bit of chatter as everyone joins.
One person leads the standup calling out names alphabetically.
Everyone has three sentences to call out their top 3 priorities for the day.
No questions allowed during the meeting.
You can save them for later (see #3 Hour of Chatter).
Actually stand up for the duration of the meeting.
Keeps the blood flowing.
And it will keep the meeting to actually be 15mins rather than an hour-long exposé.
2. 👨💻 Slack Reminder Message
Instead of a video call, you can also set your standup up as a slack reminder.
It loses the human element, so ideally I recommend it in combination with the video call.
You can either install Geekbot or set up your own reminder on Slack.
Both will ping everyone asking them what they’re up to and share it with the team.
Here is an example of how to set it up on Slack.
/remind #team-startmate “Hey Team!
Please post your daily standup ✍️
💫 How do you feel today?
🚀 What's your Top 3 for Today?
🌵 What's blocking you?
>> XXX” at 8:00AM every workday.
3. 🗣 The Hour of Chatter
When working remotely and being physically isolated from your team, often what people miss most is the office banter.
The random, unplanned interactions/jokes/discussions with colleagues that makes going to the office fun and engaging. Whilst I believe there is no full substitute for face to face contact, there are a bunch of ways you can use your existing tech tools to simulate the office environment and facilitate these types of interactions remotely.
The biggest thing we miss when working from home is that work chatter.
It’s video conferencing on the go.
Tandem is synced to your calendar so you can see when others are free or busy. It allows you to spontaneously jump on a call with anyone (if they accept) or hang out in the “Watercooler” room. Others get a notification and if they feel like chatting they can join you in that room.
💧 The Watercooler room is the substitute for the chatter that happens in an office when you go get some water. You randomly bump into someone and... oh how interesting, they just got engaged. Glad I went to get that water. 💧
It allows for seamless video and audio chatter without the formal set up of a meeting and sending a link.
To simulate the office environment and facilitate top-quality office banter remotely you can also set up a daily “Hour of Chatter”.
We do it every day straight after the Daily Standup.
The only rule is that there are no rules.
We usually smash through our inboxes, if something interesting pops up we chat about it or just sit there typing for an hour with the occasional sigh 😩 or jubilant fist pump ✊.
4. 💪 The Hour of Power
This is a weekly or daily meeting in everyone’s calendar. You make the call on this.
It’s the same as the Hour of Chatter.
There is one key difference.
Rather than having no rules, this meeting only allows you to do one thing.
Everyone has to do deep work!
📹 You turn on your video.
🔇 You mute yourself.
💬 You slack everyone what you’re going to do in that hour.
💪 and off you go - do it!
No distractions. Just all your coworkers up on video doing exactly the same.
✨ There is magic in just seeing and knowing your colleagues are all smashing through work together for an hour and it makes everyone feel less isolated. It might sound strange but definitely give it a go!
This week’s randomly themed Hat-HoP (Hour of Power).
The company culture is going to be different when the entire team is working remotely.
It’s going to be different, but it doesn’t have to be worse.
Set your team up to create and maintain those human connections and lean into it!
Did you implement any of the above?
I would love to hear about how your team is adapting and thriving in this time of great change and uncertainty.
Send me a screenshot or post it on Twitter and tag me @batkomichael
Operator Spotlight 🔦 - Olivia Panzic
Each edition, I’ll also share one awesome operator, who is looking for a role in a startup - hit me up if you’d like an intro.
🤓 Life Journey
After finishing a Bachelor of Communication, closely followed by my Masters in International Business, I started at Suncorp advising on brand, content and stakeholder relations. Three years later, I’m in role number three at the company having worked in marketing automation and now leading conduct and culture across our sales, insights and marketing teams.
Put simply, that means I make sure every interaction across our brands prioritises brilliant customer experiences.
At the same time, I have also experimented in the startup world with the creation of a platform that provides personalised cosmetics recommendations called Shook. While it didn’t end up being a commercial success, the experience taught me so much and made me realise that my next career move needed to be joining a startup.
October last year I was selected as a Startmate Fellow and now the hunt begins to find a company I can add value to!
Marketing, communications and culture are my three loves.
I’m happy to join a startup at any stage. The mission is what’s important to me!
I’m eager to join a company that has global ambition and a real sense of why their product or service exists and how it’s contributing positively to the world.
Industry doesn’t matter, as long as I feel passionate about the problem being solved!
My key motivator is feeling like I’m making a positive difference in the world at my place of work.
Let me know if you’d like an intro to Olivia.
My Ask for You
💌 If you started using one of the above tips or one of your friends should - share this on Twitter and tag me @batkomichael!