How we work together while being apart

    Anna de Vries

    As a flexible data company, the decision to start working from home was a no brainer for the team of Data4Development. And since the nature of our work does not require us to meet in person, we can continue to deliver the same quality as prior to the coronavirus measures. 

    Nevertheless, we are probably experiencing similar issues as most people are who are currently working from home: such as having too many people in the house (and feeling like we are stuck in a tent on a camping in France on a rainy day) or navigating pets and children who try their best to make it as hard as possible to get any work done! Because of this, it has become extra important to make space for each other and ourselves, from sharing tips for working from home and encouraging a positive attitude with the team, to creating a comfortable working space with lots of light and plants around.

    As for our work, using a combination of tools and agreements, here is how we improve communication across multiple workspaces and keep our emails to a minimum:

    • Our Daily check-in moment has become more important than ever: each morning we have a short (5-15 minutes) call via Google Hangouts where we discuss our work for the day. This way we make sure our priorities are aligned, blockages are addressed, and nobody is doing any double work.
    • We use a variety of tools to manage our workload, improve cooperation, and control the process of our projects: We keep an overview of our workload and track the status of our tasks using Trello. Any short communications go through Slack and for fun chit chat we use Whatsapp. When needed, we collaboratively work on documents using G-suite. Then, naturally, we have more Skype, Hangouts and phone calls to facilitate our meetings!
    • We frequently plan calls and meetings to avoid long email chains and keep them efficient: When we have calls with more than 5 people we notice that strong ether discipline is needed: Everyone mutes their microphones to keep background noise at bay and one person is in charge to make sure we speak one at a time and keep us on track. At the end we ensure that the meeting results and agreements are clear so we can successfully continue our work. Planning calls ahead of time also helps to plan ahead for your day and respect each other’s agenda.

    Although work continues as (sort of) normal, we do find we spend a lot of our time in calls to ensure communication which otherwise takes place more organically. So we are of course already looking forward to getting back to the office. In the meantime, we hope you all stay in good health and we wish you the best of luck with your work during these strange times.

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