Stay High Performing while Working from Home. Tips and Tools from an Agile Coach

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We asked Paolo Damelio, one of our experienced Agile coaches at Dandy People, to share some of his best tips and tools on how to maintain sustainable and High Performing Teams, now that many of the team members are working from home.

Hi Paolo! What are your thoughts on the situation right now?

This is a challenging time for everyone. For us as individuals, for organizations and for the collaboration inside teams as well as cross-team and cross-organization. And it is a challenge that, I believe, will take us to a place we only could have dreamed of just a few months ago. There is no going back to where we were before.

So what have you done previously and what have you learned from that?

For more than 10 years now I have been working mostly with and in multicultural organizations, with leadership groups working remotely and fully dispersed teams with members working all over the world (like Sweden, Vietnam, Italy, and Australia), and that experience has taught me a lot about both people, culture and different organizations. For many of us working remotely isn’t something new. But, of course, it requires us to be innovative and curious to stay high performing, and to help others who have not been doing it before. We have to find new ways to weave all experiences together. I have set together some of my learnings below, both from my current work but also from previous organizations.

Paolo´s Tips and Tools for High Performing Remote Teams:

1. Adapt – and do it Fast

When the Covid-19 forced me and my workmates (a team of experienced Agile Coaches helping others with their Agile transformation) to work from home we understood directly that we needed to adapt our way of working to the new situation, as quickly as possible. Because what really makes a difference when things change is how well you adjust and change to it. And time is of the essence here to make sure people are able to join in on the changes being made and don´t fall behind.

2. Meet the Needs of the People

The people are always the core of any organization. And working remotely, the need for “seeing” each other and sharing both how we feel and our learnings are more important than ever. We cannot stroll over to the coffee machine to socialize. To maintain our sense of belonging to the team and the culture we have built, we have introduced morning check-in video talks where we share how we are doing and what our plan for the day is. We also have afternoon check-out video talks to share the outcome and learning from the activities we had during the day. This way we still connect, both on a personal and professional level.

3. Make it Easy to Work as a Team

We have increased our internal collaboration by pairing up as much as possible and work together on different tasks. We also push ourselves to have the video on during all our calls, since faces say more than just a voice. Our main collaboration tools have become our digital boards and we have dropped e-mail communication in favor of instant chat groups where everyone can see and participate in ongoing discussions.

We have also introduced extra buddy talks (a great way to enable peer coaching) and increased the frequency of breaks during the day to rest eyes and brains from screens.

4. Inspire and Have Fun Together

On the social side, we don´t just organize remote coffee breaks, but we have taken it to the next level, what I like to call built-in team building. This is basically using any moment available (maybe while waiting for a meeting to start) to socialize, talk, have fun, and share personal stories.

Even more importantly, we don´t cancel any scheduled activites. Instead we have added some extra. For example, trainings and demos where we share with the rest of the organization what and how we are working at this time. Simply just to share and receive some good inspiration and of course keep ourselves educated. We have a standing slot in our company calendar for demos every friday, and anyone who can come into the office is welcome to do that. We usually start by having breakfast together before the presentation starts. Everyone is welcome, of course also to join on-screen.

And since we have two Yoga Teachers on our team who has offered their knowledge to all of us, anyone can now join in on live online yoga classes. Perhaps someone on your team has a skill the rest of the team can benefit from? Ask them to share it with the team!

Dandy People meet at the office
On Fridays those who can meet up at the Dandy People office for breakfast and learning together. Always fun to meet your crew!

Any last words you would like to share?

We don’t know how long this will last but what I know is that it is teaching us a lot of things about ourselves and it is pushing us faster toward more remote working, something that will inevitably increase in the future.

These are some examples that work for us. In general, anything that enables quick interaction is the way to go, and experimenting is how to discover what works best for you and your team. Never stop trying something new!

If you wish to know more or to get some help in finding the tools and solutions that could work best for you and your team, just send me or any of my colleagues a message!

PaoloDamelio - Agile Coach at Dandy People
Paolo Damelio has been working in the Agile trenches for more than 10 years, mainly with helping organizations and leaders to work remotely and to form, ramp-up, and create high performing geographically distributed teams.
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