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5 easy tips on how to begin with your newly remote team

  • Tech
  • remote
  • Meeting
  • Tool
  • brainstorm

5 easy tips on how to begin with your newly remote team

Jen Goertzen
Story by
Jen Goertzen

he IDAGIO team clearly started alive accidentally this week. The same week I was declared to run brainstorming sessions, in-person, with people who don’t usually “do brainstorming.”

I spoke to the design team the day before the first affair to ask, “Can we do this? Is it going to be awkward?” The answer to both of those questions was a resounding .

We did it. Then we did it again and again. It’s working. We’re brainstorming accidentally and churning out ideas as if we’re all continuing in front of the same whiteboard. If your team is new to alive remotely, brainstorming, or both, here are some tips for you. It’s alive that in the examples below, we used Google Hangouts, Slack, and Miro (a free alternative).

Words to (remote) work by: Plan, communicate, and, above all, adapt.

In the words of @DHH: Write it down.

If there’s commodity you’re going to say that people need to bethink during the meeting: write it down.

  • Write down instructions for brainstorming exercises. You can explain it over audio, but access are laggy, syllables and sentences get lost. Writing it down gives people the aplomb that they understood, and they can advertence it during the activity. Pro tip: If you have assorted activities and don’t want people to see aggregate right away, draw a rectangle on top of them, then delete it later to reveal the instructions.
  • Share advice that people need to advertence during the activity. There’s often advice people are using as a starting point for an exercise, make sure they have it. As an example, I write down the goal of the action on our Miro board and put the analysis award arbitrary in a slide deck or anon on the board. If you can: Share links to the boards and abstracts ahead of time.
  • Don’t forget to make it inclusive. Choose tools that have explanation appearance so that anybody can follow the conversation. Captions help everyone: hearing-impaired, those who aren’t using their native language, and anyone with a bad internet connection.
Screenshot of action instructions on a Miro board. Two of the activities are covered up with purple rectangles to hide them
Instructions accounting on the board for anybody to reference. The layers are locked down to ahead adventitious moving or deleting.

Use a countdown action to onboard to new tools

When you’re first transitioning to alive remotely, people are acquirements to use applications in new ways. Using a countdown action gives your team a airy ambiance to get acclimatized to the controls and behavior of using a new tool.

Here’s the action we did to start using Miro:

  1. Before people open the board, create a sticky note for each person with their name on it.
  2. When people open the board, “Find the note with your name on it.”
    (Learn: abyssal around the board)
  3. “Click your note and drag it to a space where you can work.”
    (Learning: how to move things, that you can see each other’s work)
  4. “Double-click your note to type in it. Type in an acclimatized object.”
    (Learning: how to type in a note)
  5. “Make a copy of the note by acute ALT and click-dragging it or using Command-C and -V.”
    (Learning: how to make assorted notes, how to alike a note)
  6. “How’s anybody doing with that? Any questions?” Double-check that anybody was able to do it successfully.
  7. “Here’s the activity: You have 2 account to think of as many uses for your object as you can.”
  8. After 2 account have passed, “We’re going to share our favourite one and craziest one. I’ll call you each by name, and you can share with the group.”
    (Learning: Unmute/mute microphone while using assorted tools)

This 5-minute action taught anybody on the team how to use Miro after action the burden of brainstorming at the same time.

Screenshot of Miro board with notes. Each note is a altered colour and has a person’s name in it.
Starting notes to acceptable anybody to the board. (Names in image are not actual names of team members)

Be flexible

We each know how we think most creatively, and that’s not commodity that changes brief just because the policy did. Transitioning to a new way of alive means there’ll be hiccups, but you can ahead and plan for many of them.

  • Give people the abandon to begin in the tool (physical or digital) that works for them, and plan to regroup in a single tool (such as Miro) when the exercise moves to group discussion.
  • Expect to use assorted tools — and, sometimes, assorted calls. One tool is absurd to solve all of your needs, abnormally when brainstorming. You may find yourself moving from one app to the next and back again — much the same way you move from markers to sticky notes and back to markers. Yesterday, we did brainstorming in pairs, within a group call, and one pair had the idea to start a accessory audio-call for just the two of them.
  • Some things will take longer than expected. Because people are acquirements a new way of alive and moving amid tools, some activities might take longer than they would in person. Near the end of the planned time, see if cursors are still moving in the collaborative board and ask if people need more time.

Facilitate like the leader you are

It’s more important than ever to lead the affair and check in consistently because when the cameras are off, and everyone’s muted, you won’t be able to get a read of the room. Blackout has never been so silent.

  • Explain everything, but pace yourself. Since you likely can’t see everyone, you can’t tell if anybody is afterward along. Present advice in sections, then pause for questions.
  • Ask if people have questions. Silent pauses are awkward for anybody in meetings. They don’t know if your affiliation chock-full or if you’re attractive for something. When you ask for questions, be okay with at least 5 abnormal of silence. People may need time to unmute or could be cat-and-mouse to see if addition else wants to talk.

Ask for feedback

The first affair — the first five sessions, even — will be clumsy, and there’ll be awkward moments. Like aggregate else we do, we iterate. Reflect on the meetings, on your own and with your team. After the meeting, ask for acknowledgment in a space where people can write it down in their own time.

Screenshot of Slack conversation. Main letters are from Jen, asking for feedback. Icons announce threaded responses.
In this instance, I used Slack to ask for feedback.

We’re all adapting right now. When we have backbone with and animate one addition through transitions like these, we grow closer as teams even when we’re added apart.

Appear March 18, 2020 — 07:00 UTC

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