When you work with a team, but never see them.

Recently, the Engage Media Team decided to try the world of Telecommuting. You know, when you do not have an office and everyone works from home, Starbucks, or the Library. We had been in a small house on Music Row in Nashville (we’re cool) and gave it up for the life of waking up, putting on sweat pants, and sitting at the kitchen table with our laptops.

It’s only been a few weeks, but here are some things I recommend doing to help make this work for your team:

  1. Make sure everyone has the proper tools to do this well. Everyone on our team has the same tools – and it does not take much.
    • Mac Laptop – we are all on the same system and everyone is mobile with the best laptop in the world. Do not short change this tool. You can go with $200 laptops, but with Mac, you rarely have issues, they have great connectivity to other devices and having the team on the same system is great.
    • Dialpad – this is our phone system. It helps keep everyone’s mobile numbers private, but they can take and make calls from their mobile phone or even their laptops. I use it on my laptop for conference calls because it frees up my hands to take notes and maybe multi-task a little.
    • Cloud based apps – we have a few things we use to share data and keep things organized: Nutshell is our cloud-based database; We use a team Dropbox and Google docs daily. 
  2. Meet up weekly with those who can gather. Seeing people face to face is great, but do not have a long agenda because you will want to have time to visit about life. One of the things an office gives you is social time to catch up on each person’s life. So, when you meet the time seems to drain away while people catch up. So, just give into that and not expect much from the face to face time. Now, if you have some urgent things you need to get done while together, just plan for it. Let everyone know in advance and make sure you walk away with that done. Do not make meetings too long, 90-120 minutes seems about right.
  3. Don’t let a day go by without communicating with them, even just talking over email or text about a work thing is needed. Some days I am locked into a project or out at meetings and it’s easy to not respond to things or check on them. When you work at home, often you are waiting on one person to get something done so you can move on with your work – be sensitive to this because you can’t just look someone in the eye and ask them.
  4. Pray for each other. I start the day at my home office desk thinking about our team and praying for them on the things they are working on as well as personal things they have shared. 

I am certain more lessons are coming as we move forward. So far it has been a great experience. 

Scott Mills – Chief Engagement Officer and Owner – Engage Media Partners

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