Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, we have been working remotely. This will continue for the foreseeable future. Working from home has also helped us tap into talent from remote locations across India.
There are many good books about how to do remote work more effectively. For us, it boils down to work ethics.
As a team, we strongly believe in work ethics, as explained below, and consider it the basis of how everyone should be, remote or in-person.
Work ethic is about showing up, being reliable, doing what you say you’re going to do, and being a good person that others can count on and enjoy working with.
Here are some important ground rules we follow.
Set up a designated workspace
- Demarcate a separate space in your home for work to set up your desk and utilities.
- Ensure you have a reliable internet connection and good headphones.
- Whenever possible, keep your webcam on during calls, especially when you’re meeting someone new for the first time.
Inform about your unavailability
- We do not have a fixed in and out time - we expect you to follow your team’s and client’s working hours. Typically, these are 9 am - 6 pm IST timezone.
- As far as possible, plan your unavailability and inform your One2N and client teams well in advance. e.g., you need to be away for a couple of hours, or stepping out for lunch, etc. You can do this by updating your Slack status or display name.
- If you have applied for leave well in advance, remind your team again when the leave dates are close.
Communicate in groups instead of 1-on-1 conversations
Transparency is one of One2N’s core values, and it applies to communication. You should have most of your communications in group channels instead of 1-on-1 communication with individual team members. Here’s why:
- Everyone on the project gets the same context when discussed publicly.
- You allow other team members to contribute even if you didn’t consider them potential contributors.
- As a team lead, you don’t have to repeat the same information to everyone individually.
Use the async nature of work to your advantage
- Share your updates on Slack instead of synchronous standup meetings.
- Record a demo locally and share the recording on Slack. That way, anyone who couldn’t attend your demo can also watch the demo and share any feedback.
- Set up deep work timeslots for yourself and let team members know you will not be available on Slack during that time.
- Set up dedicated learning hours (at least 1 hour daily) for self-learning.
- Make yourself reachable, especially for SRE roles, when on call. Add your phone number on Slack so people can reach you if needed.
- When working with a client team, some of these aspects might vary based on the overall team’s way of conducting meetings and standups.
Take notes and share meeting summaries
- When proposing a meeting, share a brief agenda beforehand.
- Make it a habit to take meeting notes. These should include a summary, action items, owners, and timelines.
- If anything is still unclear after the meeting, write that as an action item in the summary notes.
Highlight issues and share feedback early
- Don’t wait for things to fail. Feel free to highlight possible issues and share suggestions for improvement.
- If some policy, action item, or expectation is not clear to you, ask and clarify before you take action. e.g., When making any purchase, if you don’t know how to get a GST invoice, contact the admin before you make the purchase, not after the reimbursement is rejected.
- If you are facing any issue at work, e.g., with a laptop, stay arrangements, Razorpay usage, etc., contact the admin immediately. Don’t live with broken windows.
- Ask questions the smart way (must read)
- How do I ask good questions (must read)
- Only saying “Hi” in the chat message. Read https://nohello.net/en/ to find out what to do instead.
- Asking people if it’s okay to ask a question. Read https://dontasktoask.com/ to find out what to do instead.
- Asking people about your attempted solution instead of the actual problem. Read https://xyproblem.info/ to find out what to do instead.