Remote teams thrive on efficient and effective communication. In order to manage remote teams effectively, you need to set the right processes in place. These include regular meetings, structured workflows, and robust collaboration tools.
However, nobody likes sitting on a call for several hours. No matter how important the meeting may be, there’s only so much you can achieve on a single weekly call.And if you try organizing more calls during the week but fail to structure them properly, you’ll only hinder performance and engagement in the virtual workplace.
One effective solution to this time sink is to conduct daily sync calls instead. Here’s what daily sync c daily scrum calls are, how they work, and the benefits they can bring to your organization.
Sync meetings, daily huddles, daily scrums, quick syncs - regardless of what you call them, these virtual work meetings are an inescapable part of the remote culture of today.
The idea of conducting daily meetings with your remote teams might not seem all that appealing at first. After all, who wants to jump on a call every day when there’s so much work to do?
The beauty and the key benefit of a sync call (sometimes referred to as a standup call) addresses this concern — it’s quick and to the point.
The purpose of a standup call is to bring small groups together to resolve specific problems and ensure daily, incremental progress. The daily sync call can thus quickly become your best tool for keeping productivity, performance, and employee satisfaction high in the virtual workplace.
Before we dive into the benefits of sync calls over standard meetings, let’s draw a clear line between these two forms of workplace collaboration.
A sync call or standup meeting is:
Short, lasting no more than 15 minutes
Conducted in small groups
Organized to remove specific roadblocks
Concise, focused, non-strategic
Transparent, allowing employees from other teams to listen in
Centered on ongoing and completed work
Used to identify pain-points and bottlenecks
On the other hand, a traditional meeting can:
take on any form
involve any number of teams
focus on a wide variety of topics.
That said, both sync calls and regular meetings share some common features. Specifically, both:
bring your remote workers and teams together
aim to move projects, plans, and strategies forward
have a mediator or a meeting head, and a clear agenda
You can probably see that sync meetings are not intended to discuss strategy, nor are they brainstorming meetings. You can think of these quick calls as a tool to help you keep every team on the right path.
If you imagine work as a straight line that tends to veer a little bit off track every day if left unattended, a standup call is your way to ensure that line remains straight and focused.
With all of that in mind, here are the benefits and the best practices you can implement for your sync calls today.
The first and probably most obvious benefit of having a daily sync call with your team is that it allows you to stay agile. Being agile and leading an agile remote workforce means that you are able to respond to new and unforeseen scenarios without wasting vital resources such as time, effort, and money.
In the new normal, conserving all of these resources as much as possible is vital for retaining the best employees and investing in business opportunities.
So, how do you ensure team agility through daily standup calls?
The key to remaining agile is to set clear levels of prioritization for every sync call. Prioritize emergencies and focus on the latest developments that take precedence over other talking points. Allow every team member to present the problem they’re facing, and allocate a specific amount of time for each member to be heard.
Typically, you’ll only need a one minute introduction to explain the situation before you can dive into the problem-solving phase.
Tying directly into our previous point, a major benefit of these short daily calls is that they focus on specific tasks and problems. You have a very limited time frame where you need to focus on concrete problems and their solutions before you let your employees get back to work.
Given the fact that even some of the smallest roadblocks can hinder the performance of the entire team, this is a great opportunity to resolve the issue as a group. By taking a collective approach to problem-solving in this narrow time frame, you’ll identify the ideal course of action quickly, and lay out a concrete plan.
You can then follow up after the meeting with a quick video recording. This is a great way to keep everyone up to speed. You can even create short clips with automated video editing to give each team or team member the part of the recording that’s relevant to their work.
All of these efforts will ensure that each problem is addressed by the end of the day — allowing everyone to move forward as a group.
You’re having virtual calls every day, so how is it that you’re actually reducing the amount of time spent in meetings with your remote employees? While it might seem counterintuitive at first, daily sync calls are the reason.
Consider the fact that a standup meeting doesn’t last longer than 15 minutes. That’s one hour and 15 minutes on a weekly basis you’re spending in meetings, as opposed to spending one or more hours in regular meetings several times a week.
However, if you don’t structure your daily syncs properly or regularly breach the time limit, you’ll inevitably fall back into your time-wasting habits. That’s why you need:
A 15-minute timer
Clear talking points
Strict timeframes for each topic
A good pre and post-meeting email plan
The last point is an important one to keep in mind, because you will get more done and reduce time waste if you simply email relevant information to your team members before and after the meeting.
While many business leaders focus solely on performance, consider the fact that daily sync calls help build, nurture, and promote a positive workplace culture. By encouraging collaborative problem-solving and teamwork, a daily sync call can help eliminate team cliques and encourage team bonding.
You can achieve this growth even if only one team or a handful of employees are present on the call too. In fact, according to Modality Systems, 73% of meetings are conducted in smaller groups of two to four people. But, by allowing other teams to listen in, you can keep everyone informed of the situation, as well as the steps you’re taking to keep projects moving forward.
But you don’t even have to pass this information on verbally either. Simply record the meeting and send the recording out to other teams. Any free video editor should have all the features you need to trim and cut the recording quickly, send it to other teams, and incentivize them to chime in with their own ideas and expert opinions.
This will further contribute to collaboration, co-dependence, and teamwork, and the best part is that you can do it all remotely.
Last but not least, running daily standup meetings makes it much easier to track the progress of every team, their work and performance, as well as their overall levels of happiness in the virtual workplace. Instead of rushing over these key points in your lengthy meetings and desperately trying to get through everything while maintaining everyone’s attention, you can simply discuss them on your daily sync calls.
If there are no pressing issues and everything is moving along, allocate those 15 minutes for talking about the satisfaction and mental state of your remote employees. The beautiful part of these discussions is that you can still shift the focus of the meeting to a specific issue if necessary, so devoting some time to the happiness and well-being of your team shouldn’t impact prdouctivity.
For instance, take the time to talk about what your team or company has recently achieved, provide notes on progress, and then move onto any individual pain points that your employees might be experiencing. This group approach to personal workplace issues can be a great way to ensure accountability in leadership while reaching a solution as a group (on teams where it’s appropriate).
Daily sync calls can potentially be the best thing you do for your remote workforce - it simply depends on how you organize and structure these quick meetings. With these tips, benefits, and tactics outlined in this article in mind, you should have no problem introducing daily standup calls with your remote teams to ensure daily progress and keep their spirits up throughout the week.
Author Bio: Geoffrey Scott is a prolific content creator and copy editor with 5+ years of experience writing blog posts, landing pages, product reviews, product copy, and more. He currently works as the head of content at ResumeGenius.com and BigPDFConverter.com, and writes regularly for sites like Movavi.com and GoDaddy.com on the weekends.