Recently, many companies have been forced to have people work from home in an effort to contain the coronavirus disease. At Passfolio, however, we’re lucky to have been a remote team from the start.
Given our experience with remote work, we thought it might make sense to share a little bit about how we manage to stay productive with a team spread out across the globe.
Before we get into how we do things at Passfolio, perhaps it’s worth mentioning a few stats about remote work that might surprise you. If you haven’t considered adopting remote work policies at your company, think again:
If remote work is something new to you, here are 204 additional remote work statistics you might appreciate.
One of the things that most helps us stay productive at Passfolio is planning our work every Monday. This way, we create alignment within the team and avoid micromanagement - instead, we establish a clear understanding of what each of us should deliver by the end of the week.
We plan our weeks during our “Sprint Planning” meetings, which usually last about 1 to 2 hours and happen over Google Hangouts or Zoom. Throughout the meeting, we discuss what should be accomplished during the week and how the work will be executed.
During the Sprint Planning, we also assign a specific amount of tasks to each team member in order to make sure we all stay productive without burning out. Each of us is assigned up to 12 points worth of tasks (the tasks are attributed points based on their difficulty using a common estimating technique in software development called “Planning Poker”).
Planning poker, also called Scrum poker, is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals - Wikipedia
At Passfolio, everything is everyone’s job. Since we’re still a relatively small company, it’s crucial for us to move fast and improve quickly on all fronts of our business.
In this sense, micromanagement isn’t really even an option. There is no robust “chain of command” - decisions have to be made quickly, by everyone, all the time. Excessive management is a bottleneck we cannot afford.
We are, however, very good at keeping track of the work we do. All tasks are centralized, labelled and routinely updated in Github. If someone on the team wants to know what someone else is working on, they can just visit www.github.com
Employers who allow employees to work remotely should grant these employees true autonomy and flexibility, rather than trying to micromanage their remote work. Our results comparing WFH (Work From Home) and WFA (Work From Anywhere) employees indicate that granting greater autonomy can actually enhance employee productivity. - Harvard Business Review
Weekly Sync Meetings are also something we do to ensure team alignment. Once or twice a week we have meetings with the entire team in order to provide everyone with a broader perspective of what is being accomplished and in what direction the company is moving.
At the end of every week, we also review the work that was delivered and adjust our strategy for the following week.
We try to keep meetings to a minimum, though, in order to free up more time to focus on work itself. Meetings are only held if they are absolutely necessary and if they have a clear goal.
You don’t have to take us for our word when we say remote work gets things done. Check out what we’ve accomplished over the past months: