We don’t have to tell you that COVID completely changed the way we work. Even though we don’t know what the workplace will look like even 6 months from now, we do know it’s going to continue to evolve in the months and years to come.
Some companies will remain completely remote, others will adopt a hybrid model.
Remote working is still a learning experience for many of us. Software companies old and new have adapted their solutions to make remote work easier.
Working with hundreds of organizations that are deeply invested in Asana, we’ve seen how remote organizations of all sizes are leveraging Asana to help their teams work asynchronously, reduce reliance on messaging, and centralize knowledge of key projects.
In this post we compiled our top 5 findings on how remote teams are best leveraging Asana:
1. PLAN YOUR DAY
Getting the team into the habit of using My Tasks first thing each morning helps keep individual members of the team on track for the most important tasks for the day to come.
Asana just recently released a brand new update to My Tasks with new views, rules, and customization tools. It’s been one of the most requested Asana features and a very helpful addition when you just want a quick view into your most important tasks.
Read more about the new My Tasks on the Asana forum here, and watch this video where Marcus Murray, an Asana Certified Pro, breaks down the new My Tasks.
2. COMMUNICATION PLAN
Without the casual conversations in an office, working remotely can feel lonely. At the same time, constant emails and Slack notifications can be overwhelming and distracting, especially when some team members are in other time zones.
So finding this balance of the right level of communication is challenging, and each team and organization will have their own unique cadence and style for communication.
There aren’t any one-size-fits-all rules. However, we can share that the most successful remote teams maximize communication through Asana, and leave only the most important and urgent items to instant messages or email.
The simplest way is to add feedback and updates to the Comments block at the bottom of every task. From here you can tag specific people, link to documents, and give in-depth updates.
Many teams also leverage custom fields to keep track of tasks as they move through a particular flow. We often see “Priority Level” and simple status levels such as “In progress” or “Completed.”
By maximizing communication in Asana, all updates and questions will be consolidated in one place to enable your team to work at different times, without having to wait for a response to understand status and important information on a given task.
For organizations that use Slack, there’s a simple integration between Slack and Asana. We think it’s helpful for simple use cases (i.e. opening an Asana task directly from Slack) but there are some strong arguments against integrating Asana and Slack.
Whether you are a fan of the integration or not, tell your co-workers to check Asana and stop getting those “what’s the status” questions!
3. SET SHORT AND LONG TERM GOALS
We think goals are even more important in a remote setting. Whether they are small goals that can be accomplished in a week or company-wide goals that span months, goals are important to set a high-level direction for your team.
Goals in Asana are a flexible goal-tracking system that helps both your company and teams’ goals to be set, tracked, and managed. Much like tasks, goals can be stacked with parent and sub-goals.
Goals have individual metrics and progress, so it’s important to keep these up to date when there’s significant progress that’s been made. You probably won’t update your goals daily, but they are an important reminder for the high-level priorities of the team.
4. MEASURE SUCCESS
Whether setting goals or monitoring weekly tasks, tracking quantitative metrics is even more important in a remote environment.
Without seeing your co-workers in person every day, the qualitative metrics and casual updates that you would typically hear in an office get lost.
Because the natural “water cooler talk” doesn’t happen as frequently, if at all, companies must be much more thoughtful about making sure communication is occurring across the entire organization.
The lines between personal and professional are increasingly blurred when working from home, so it’s important to make sure that expectations and boundaries are clear.
For employees and managers, it’s important to quantify your team’s workload and make changes accordingly.
Metrics could be as simple as “tasks completed,” “tasks completed on time,” or “tasks open.”
After determining which metrics to track, there are a few ways to report and understand status in Asana.
Dashboards are a great way to get quick reports on your team’s progress.
For instance, with Project Dashboards, you can get a quick understanding of the number of complete vs. incomplete tasks.
If you’re looking for more robust Asana reporting, Velocity + Asana is a simple and powerful tool to create advanced reports on your Asana data. With Velocity’s reporting tools, you can create custom reports that track across projects and many metrics, including custom fields.
5. LEARN FROM ASANA EXPERTS
OK, this one isn’t really in Asana, but we highly recommend taking advantage of the Asana ecosystem and learning from how others are using Asana to manage their remote teams. (We go deep into the Asana ecosystem in this blog).
Asana itself has some really good blogs, (more blogs), and resources. We especially recommend the Asana Community Forum which has tons of advice and discussions with Asana exports.
Investing in an Asana Consultant or Certified Professional can also be beneficial to make sure your team has the right processes to set the team up for success.
Remote work is different, challenging, but opens up opportunities for companies and individuals alike.
It will take some tweaking and you won’t change habits overnight, but over time a meaningful investment in your processes and systems will save a lot of headaches and greatly improve efficiencies.
As your company begins to return to the office or experiments with hybrid models, make sure that your Asana or other project management tools are set up for success. It can go a long way to building an organization of happy employees and customers.