Working remotely - what we've discovered so far
As of 6 months ago Furthermore has not only grown in numbers, but in locations. We’ve implemented remote working and have currently people working from London (where our home base is), Sheffield and Sweden. It’s 2018 and working, communicating and collaborating online is not only necessary, but the future. We’ve had some experience working like this previously, with clients located in the US, Italy and other cities around the United Kingdom. We’ve collected a few insights and learnings on how to make remote working as seamless as possible.
1. Daily check in points
Stand-ups are now almost an old school practice within our industry, and they become even more important when we’re not all working in the same place. Does anyone have any blockers? At what time will people be out and not available for a quick call? We have daily stand ups and make sure we notify everyone in the team via Slack if we’re heading out for lunch or leaving for the day.
2. Included in the banter
When I first moved back to Sweden I was a bit afraid that I’d lose my mind. Sitting in an apartment all day, not talking or interacting with anyone about things outside of work, but, thankfully it hasn’t turned out like that. Instead we all share fun links, playlists, pictures of our design and enjoy some good old fashioned banter. It’s almost like I didn’t leave my desk next to Hana and across from Gabrielle. It's important that in a collaborative team not to forget to laugh and have fun together, it's in those moments the good ideas comes up.
We have also introduced a ‘Design Party’ every other Friday. During these one hour sessions we take turns to host,share and discuss different designs and experiences within a certain theme and end the party with a creative exercise that contains anything from sketching to sculpting Play Doh. This is a fun way for us to hang out and also helps us to become better at discussing and describing design and giving actionable feedback.
3. Video calls and sharing screens
We’re a big fan of Google Hangouts where we share screens for feedbacking sessions or during remote workshops with clients around the world. We also found out that if a problem or question takes more than three back and forth messages on Slack we simply set up a quick call instead. Slack has multiple plugins and shortcuts that helps us to quickly start a call.
A thing that we’ve noticed is that sometimes things can gets lost in translation so jumping on a video call where you can speak “face to face” with video switched on can take out a lot of the confusion that might appear while writing about different matters. It also forces you to not go to work in your PJ’s everyday, as you’ll still see and talk to people all day.
4. Live documents and other lovely collaboration platforms online
Google Docs is just one of many collaborating tools we use to easily work together and feedback on projects. We use google docs for script writing; google calendar to sync our meetings together; InvisionApp to create and collaborate on prototypes and branding mood boards. We use Trello to quickly see what other people are working on and Teamweek to plan our weeks and projects ahead.
Instead of Emailing back and forth we try out newly released tools to see how that could increase our productivity and collaborations.
5. Put on some trousers and take a real lunch break
Something that might happen when you work remotely and especially if you’re working from home is that you might forget to go outside or have a real lunch away from the screen. Getting away from the screen and going outside for some fresh air does not only increase your energy levels but also keeps you inspired. Since we’ve launched our own walking app, Go Jauntly, we have definitely become better at stepping outside and exploring our own neighbourhoods, even if its only for 30 minutes. You can never know enough about your area and Go Jauntly helps you discover new strolls wherever you live.
We’re still learning and re-iterating on our remote way of working and we feel like its getting smoother and smoother the further along we get, and we’re in the process of writing another piece on how we workshop together online. Do you work remotely? Have any tips or insights to share? Please hit us up and let's us know.
This insights piece was brought to you by Mikaela Larsson, Product designer at here at Furthermore, a Digital Product and Service Design Consultancy and Design Lead at Go Jauntly - a walking app that helps people discover walks, curate their own and share outdoors adventures with friends.