A couple of weeks ago I talked about the need to stay productive while working remotely. Now that many of us are working from home, the work spaces we were used to have changed. The open plan office space, physical meeting rooms, huddle boards and even the communal kitchen area are out of bounds to many of us for now. Instead we are looking at our peers and clients through a screen. This is the reality.
Some of you may be feeling a bit lost without the normal contact opportunities you once had. The ability to drop by someone’s desk to ask a quick question. The intel you gathered at meetings and in the hallway. Even the social chat over the water cooler is much harder to do now that we are all more remote. One of the consequences of this disconnection can be a lack of visibility with what you and your team are doing. Because you are not interacting face-to-face there is a risk that you lose a sense of what people are working on, where they are up to, and what the team might be falling behind on.
I reckon we need to reset our thinking on the traditional work space. I believe that the new work space we need to embrace is a digital one. This means we need to harness the tools that are often already at our fingertips to create virtual works paces where we can make work visible, interact with others and ensure that the right work is being moved forward.
A perfect tool for this, that many of you will already have access to, is Microsoft Planner. Planner is part of Microsoft 365, and is a simple project planning and management tool, very much based on the agile sticky-note boards used in many workplaces. It offers a virtual space to visualise and plan project work and provides a powerful platform around which to meet and discuss in the online world.
Here at Adapt, we’ve thrown ourselves into using Planner to help us work effectively together while operating remotely. Whenever we meet, we make sure we share a screen with the relevant project plan in front of us. This helps us to focus and to talk about where we’re at, what’s slipping behind, and what’s coming next.
For the moment, most teams need to work effectively from a distance. I hope that one day soon we can again work face-to-face. But in the interim, do yourself and your team a favour and embrace the electronic tools already at your disposal. You’ll never look back.
So, are you and your team using tools like Microsoft Planner to maximise your productivity?