Remote Work and Submarine Warfare

You are in your submarine deep under the waves. You have been pursuing your critical objectives for weeks. Although other ships are all around you, you are isolated from them by depth and distance. Your sole link to the friendly fleet is your precious radio. If the radio goes dark, you've learned to brace for impact: either everyone is celebrating a victory (and forgot to tell you), or (much more likely) everyone is reacting to something disastrous.

Feel familiar?

Remote work can feel like submarine warfare… you can't hear or see the action outside. Whatever chat app or system serves as your radio, you have to build practices and systems to communicate and align your team. Clear practices of communication are not included in the box. Critical information can slip by completely invisible to your team, both disasters requiring reinforcements and morale-raising victories. Each of us is responsible for surfacing the information and intelligence we encounter on our own missions.

Some things to keep in mind:

Find an open channel. For this to work, we all have to be able to send and receive. Don't make it too complicated. If your whole company uses five different systems… just use email. Whatever is an accessible common denominator.

Bad news travels farther. By default your team will hear about more negative events than positive. Intentionally broadcast encouragements and victories loud and clear.

Boost the broadcasters. There are people in your fleet who have gifts of encouragement and community. Re-post, share, and reward those who create alignment and cooperation.

Start from the brass. Executives have access on the biggest wins and most urgent problems… but often get focus-locked on only problems. Without a commitment to clear communication, the only messaging coming from them can be negative. Be intentional.

Build people. Unless you visit with your team, your only interactions will be demands and commands. Invest in relationships. Push through the awkwardness of zoom lunches and one on ones.

Remember that in remote work… everyone is alone together. With care and coordination, we can be tune in to each other and work as a team.

  • 2022-06-08 11:31:29 -0500
    Rename articles

  • 2021-01-20 14:57:35 -0600
    Trailing space

  • 2021-01-20 08:26:58 -0600
    post: remote work