Creating remote work rituals that stick

It lends itself to remote work. People have some freedom in how they do their work, so it’s not surprising that an asynchronous work style is one of the side effects of not working from a centralized location.

But it is not always good for workers. In this arrangement, people often stop working more, and the meeting culture takes over, because people cannot see their colleagues in the office, which is a natural habitat for collaboration and communication.

And when you’re talking to people online, it’s really hard to understand each other because you don’t really know what’s going on in their lives at that point. Jumping on the phone with someone isn’t for everyone.

Finally, to reduce the number of meetings so that people can focus on other tasks, employees must find new ways to develop a culture of clear communication and cooperation, and individuals and teams must introduce boundaries and rituals in their work.

The habits people form are negotiated over time, but it’s something we’ve come to take for granted. Any organization hoping to scale can create rituals that engage people in their work and inspire them to be their best selves.

Setting up work practices around people

Finally, asynchronous work only works for you when you share work steps with your team.

With remote work, hours of video conference calls and employees come and go and never contribute a single word. People often avoid turning on their microphones and many don’t turn on their cameras, leaving the speaker with only a dark screen to talk to.

To make matters worse, on a call with a large audience, important information may not be discussed. Even setting up a quick five-minute clarification call can sometimes be difficult to negotiate.

To stimulate active listening and get people invested in the meeting, try a Socratic speech structure. In this approach, the moderator encourages participants to summarize what the previous speaker said and build on the whole discussion.

Such conversations include examples, interpretations, subquestions, and inferences, and they help people look for arguments that prove a point rather than proving their point. It’s a surefire way to start a constructive conversation and get multiple perspectives on a topic so you can reach a common point of view. It also shows employees that every point of view is valued, which promotes an environment of trust.

If there is an elephant in the room, pay attention to people and put them at ease before it becomes a big deal. It is key to remain open and empathetic and accept that others may not agree with your opinion. Leaders must lead by example here and ask questions and encourage team members to speak up and take initiative.

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