Again, the main goal here is to avoid wasting people's time. Most of the following tips aim to achieve that.
Documentation and Phase In
To achieve that, your team can start by having processes and any other type of flow “documented”. This can make the phase in / onboarding of newcomers very easy while preventing someone to have to spend some time on repetitive tasks over and over again. A list of software used by your team, and the reasons behind, as well as a list of obligatory appointments everyone must attend is a good start.
But be careful to not end up with a team too “cold” on newcomers. It's always a nice thing to spend some time and talk with them, specially if this is their first experience being remote. It must be clear to them that your team is open to answer any questions they may have.
Some Notifications are Welcome
As I mentioned, remote workers spend most a good chunk of their day on text chats. For some teams, it may be useful to have some automatic notifications on, to prevent people from having to do the same thing twice (doing the action AND notifying about it). For software developers, for example, it's useful to have a notification every time a new release is made available to their users of if someone found out a critical issue in their code.
You only have to be careful to not flood everyone with each and every type of notification possible. Too much noise can prevent people from focusing or even to paying attention to notifications at all, which can lead too important stuff to going unnoticed.
Make a Good Use of your Means of Communication
Sometimes, only text chats aren't enough. More detailed explanations or long discussions can often be done way more efficiently on online calls in services such as Google Hangouts, Skype and others (Slack, for instance now has this feature built in).
Other important topic on this matter is always try to involve in a conversation the least amount of people needed. If the subject is not from the interest of someone, they should not be involved. Again, this is to prevent people from going out of their “flow”.
I have a whole post about means of communication, so take a look if you're interested.
Some Meetings are Okay
Having a short daily meeting to where people describe what they have worked on the previous day is a good way of achieving two good things:
1- Keep everyone on the team on the same page
2- Increase the notion of team
Make sure that those meetings are short and in a good time for everyone. In the middle of the morning or the afternoon are not usually good times for meetings since they can break people's concentration during an important task.
Screen share and Pair Programming
This is a practice where usually two developers work together to solve a problem. Remotely, it can be done through screen sharing tools, which allow your “pair” to see and sometimes even interact with your desktop while having a voice chat at the same time.
It's an excellent practice to promote knowledge sharing and reducing the feeling of loneliness.
Some chat clients like Slack have a built-in screen share tool. Google Hangouts also has this feature (even though it takes much more of your CPU). Screenhero is another great alternative and personally my favorite (but at the time I'm writing this, it's only accepting new users by invitation of current users).
When screen sharing, one good thing to do is to disable notifications to keep up your privacy. Apps like Muzzle for macOS (their site is just great) can automatically disable notifications when a screen share tool is on. Using different a different desktop area for work can also help.
But be careful: too much pair programming (like any other type of meeting, actually), can be very tiresome. Ensure that people have time to rest between work sessions. Some people like to use the Pomodoro Technique or other variations on it.
Don't Go Full BIG BROTHER on Your Team
Some companies that allow remote work do that under very strict conditions. They require their employees to install software to monitor stuff like keyboard activity, webcam and microphone, OS processes and others to ensure that their employees were being “productive”. Time spent away from the computer (like bathroom breaks) are discounted from the employee's paycheck.
I should not have to say that it’s very stressful to work under strict vigilance.
If you're a manager, and you're trying to implement remote work for your team, keep in mind that tools like that are not well-seen by many. Trust your teammates and avoid this kind of stuff at all costs.
And if you're looking for a remote job opportunity, be sure to know if the companies you're applying to implement these types of policies.
And now, some tips for individuals on a remote team.
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Finally, I want to thank you for taking your time today to read my post, Allen.