At the beginning of 2020, many dreams and plans were in place concerning the work culture. But, not many of that would have been about working remotely.
At Skcript, talks on remote work were in the air all the time, and someday we wanted our teams to be equipped to work remotely. Though this wasn’t our first choice, the result of the pandemic led to remote working. But, this is here to stay; it is going to be the new normal.
The millennials have already started adapting to this way of working and we are no different. At Skcript, we are a tad bit proud of how we manage our work and our effective routine. Below are a few of the tools we use and the practices we follow.
We love staying organized and setting clear cut goals, this is possible even with remote working and is more required. With our love for tools, we have tried quite a few tools and one of our favourites is Flow.
Our main goal with a tool is transparency and task management with ease. Here we are sharing how Flow has helped us organize our daily tasks.
- Teams, projects, and project groups.
With the help of Flow’s features, we created teams for every respective team; Marketing, Operations, Sales, Product, and Consulting. The accessibility of each team can be controlled.
Under each team, we have project groups. Say, for example, under Consulting we have regional groups like APAC, MENA, etc. and under Operations, we have People Ops, Office administration.
Each of these project groups has projects which are filled with tasks.
- Distributed responsibilities
It can be overwhelming to view tasks if you are a part of more than one project. That is why, we suggest all the team members, except managers, focus on the ‘My Tasks’ section which consolidates all the tasks assigned to each individual.
It will be the responsibility of the managers to ensure tasks have been assigned and due dates are set. They keep the projects clean and organized.
The team members are responsible for updating the status of their respective tasks and comment roadblocks if any.
With our task management sorted, let us have a look at our communication process. Yes, it’s not possible to completely rely on one particular tool for communication. There are going to be emails, direct messages, team messages, video calls, audio calls, onsite calls, etc.
When we realized we needed more than one tool, we did our best to streamline the best and effectively used the required.
- Core Communication
All major announcements, customer interactions, releases, are carried over e-mails. At Skcript, we practice on following the best email communication. E-mails are professional. It has always been a skill to write beautiful emails and takes another to stay on top of them too. Our team consists of more developers and instead of forcing emails, we have made it a habit for them to check emails at least twice a day, allowing them to focus on Flow.
Like many remote teams, we work with Slack too. Apart from the messaging, appreciations, sharing articles, and internal communication, we also use some of the Slack bots too. We integrated Flow and GitHub to our Slack groups and channels.
- Video conference
Our meeting etiquettes are like many others, but now we have adapted to a couple of new practices. We use Zoom literally all the time for our meetings. Morning and evening stand-up calls, breakout rooms for group discussions, and customer calls.
Here are a few other tools that we use:
Meeting Management: HearApp
Customer Feedback Management: hellonext
Real-time Collaboration: Google Docs and Sheets
While working remotely, communicating the core values and sustaining the culture among teams might sound difficult. To overcome this block we have a handbook comprising all the practices we follow at Skcript. We use Notion to write our handbook, RedBook. As the team grows and as we adapt to new practices we update our handbook and communicate it to the team so they’re up to date as well.
Routines and Productivity#
Remote working is challenging. When Skcript started working remotely, we tore at the guidelines to be followed and wrote a detailed process. As we settled in, our routine has evolved.
- Starting the day fresh.
A good start to the day has a great impact on work. Our team starts the day with a 10 minutes meditation session guided by Chennai Yoga Studio. It is very refreshing and has been working out well.
- Daily sync-up calls
Despite our planned communication protocols, we have sync-up calls for teams to catch up on the day’s work and give status updates at the end of the day. This works best when combined with Flow.
- Work Sessions
Everyone likes to work at their own pace and own style but when combined with the presence of a team around them, virtually, they work better. There is a sub-conscious connection between this practice that our team has loved.
- Book review sessions
It is not always about work, sometimes it is also about the other knowledge we want to share. Not all are good readers, but we want everyone to share their knowledge. On the other hand, people could also grow the habit of reading or at least listen to audiobooks. In our bi-weekly sessions, the team takes turns to talk about a recent book they read. We do fiction, non-fiction, self-help and literally everything under the sky!
- Team activities
This is probably the best time for the teams to connect beyond work, that we have experienced. Activities include online games like Secret Hitler, Pictionary, and other virtual games available here. But our favorite activities are the ones that help us know our team better like the ‘Do you really know your team’ we played, two weeks back.
We love all hands which happen once a month or 45 days. It is more like any other meeting, but with all the members of the team. We plan it well in advance and send out calendar invites, so people are available to attend.
Zoom is where we gather, instead of a physical place, for our remote all hands. Our videos will be on for all hands so that we can see the team and their families and pets too. The agenda of our All Hands is simple,
- Host keynote: Mostly done by Pankaj Harita, Head of Operations or Ayeesha, People Ops Manager.
- CEO Keynote: Our CEO, Karthik Kamalakannan, talks on the agenda.
- Growth updates: This is the most important session, as everyone understands where the company stands, and how their work has impacted. Transparency is one of our priorities.
- Celebrations: Though we celebrate achievements over Slack and email, it is important and joyful when we do it together with our faces seen.
- Milestones to achieve: The goals we are working towards are discussed here.
- Thank you note
- Activity: Most of our calls end with an activity. Our People Ops Manager, Ayeesha, plans these activities and hosts them.
Remote working is not as difficult as you think. Yes, it can be made easy to work with the team, once we have all settled into our routines and adapt to work culture. Our team is always open for you to talk about remote work, anytime. If you want to share your remote work experience or take a leaf out of our book, please feel free to reach out to me, Pankaj Harita at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a tweet tagging @skcriptHQ.
P.S: We will be sharing more on our remote work processes and reports as we learn.