The Triple A's of Remote Success

The world is changing, and the workplace needs to change with it. In some cases, it already has. Just as offices have shifted to Work From Home, so too have teams around the world struggled to find new ways to communicate remotely. Gone are the days of stopping somebody in the hall for a quick chat. Instead, many meetings, even casual ones, result in “video conferencing fatigue.”

Yardley Pohl, an angel investor in technology startups and co-founder of Women In Product, has a lot to say about improving the way we work through a triple A approach. Last week, in the New Playbook series hosted by Run The World CEO Xiaoyin Qu, she talked about the new age of WFH; how it should be asynchronous, automated, and accelerated.

“I challenge you to think about how many of the meetings you currently have, and decisions that are being made, [that] could actually be more effective asynchronously,” she said. “Could there be more prep work done upfront, maybe a pre-read for the meeting, an agenda, and then figuring out what are the goals and the decisions that actually need to be made during a meeting? That way you can do as much work, asynchronously, as possible.”

Her second point was automation, both for products and processes. “There could be reports that are set up, emails that go out, or even integrating Slack for the leadership team.” Ms. Pohl suggested, adding that automating certain tasks can save teams a lot of time each day.

Ms. Pohl’s last point was to accelerate, not just in creating products but in changing the way we work. “I challenge us to accelerate a little bit more than how we normally would think in non-COVID situations, and making sure that we’re staying agile and being really sharp to the ever-changing climate so that we’re not slowing down with the unknowns that might phase us.”

Ms. Pohl also touched on the importance of teamwork.  “We really need to invest in a time building relationships with each other in this working environment when you don’t see people face to face. And now, with everything that’s going on, you don’t know what somebody might be facing personally.”

One way to build this naturally into the work day is to include it in scheduled meetings such as standups. Instead of focusing only on task-related matters like what team members achieved yesterday and what they’re going to do today, adding questions such as “how do you feel today” to the meeting agenda can go a long way into building trust between team members over time, especially those who have never met each other in person.

“I bet you that you’re going to find some surprising things.” Ms. Pohl says.

This event was part of The New Playbook, a series of interactive talks with industry leaders about how they are adapting to the changing workplace hosted by Run The World.