#UKGC221G quick post - Are we getting better at remote & hybrid working ?

Decorative header

How might we improve things?

tl;dr - I ran a session at GovCamp 22 asking people how we might improve remote and hybrid working. My particular interest is in reducing the number of meetings and finding ways for us to work well together, apart.

2 mins - We had 20 people joining in on the call and some additional people who joined part way through. I set up a Jamboard so that we could use a technique called *Brainwriting rather than a video call. We each started on a different page of the Jamboard answering the initial question and then moved to the next page to build on the ideas already there. After 20 minutes we affinity sorted each page and then fed back to the group.

The findings so far - I will properly analyse all of the results but wanted to quickly get a post out with some of the main points.

  • Create clear goals
  • Find ways to build relationships
  • Suggestions of ways to 'meet' without video calls
  • Include people who are isolated
  • Improved equipment e.g. bigger or multiple monitors, mics etc
  • Make it OK to be remote and in the office
  • Use co-location well
  • Create team charters to set expectations
  • Understand equality, diversity and inclusion needs
  • Support managers/leaders to work in this way
  • Create organisation wide practices
  • Set core working hours for meetings and allow flexibility around that
  • Consider shorter working week
  • Make social things optional but keep up 1:1s and support people
  • Ensure equality of access
  • Make training and support available
  • Model the behaviour & leadership we want to see
  • Allow more time for context and environment switching (avoiding back to back remote meetings too)
  • Skilled facilitators available to allow everyone else to take part in the call
  • Think about how we bring physical interactions into the digital world
  • Share ideas widely so we can all learn from each other

How we did it - I was joined by around 25 people in all (it is difficult to keep track in Google Meet) over the 45 minute session. I introduced the subject and then asked people to create a sticky note on the Jamboard with their name and move it next to a page number. In part to make sure that they were able to use the tool and also to work out where we would start.

Jamboard (tool) with sticky notes from 1-20 and names next to those e.g. 1 Joanne
Jamboard (tool) with sticky notes from 1-20 and names next to those e.g. 1 Joanne

We then answered the initial question on our own pages and then moved through the pages responding to and building on the points each person had made.

Jamboard page showing the question at the top 'Are we getting better at remote and hybrid working? How might we improve things? and instructions along the bottom

There will be more to follow. If you would like to discuss this further please let me know on Twitter

*Brainwriting is a technique where participants write down ideas and then pass them on to the next person, moving them around the group as participants build on the ideas of others. In person this might be on cards, if online we would use online whiteboard, shared document or tool e.g. Jamboard.