Bosses should be understanding at this time, especially for those at home with their kids. But if you’re in a situation where your boss is not being understanding, here are some tips that will hopefully get them off your back.
I also wrote another blog post “How to manage your team now that they’re working from home” that you might want to send to your boss Hopefully tip #4 (Don’t monitor your employees) also helps to get them off your back.
1) Document your progress online
Your boss is likely stressing out because they don’t know how to tell whether their team is being productive. They may be used to keeping an eye on butts in seats and peering over shoulders to see whether people look like they’re working. They can’t do that anymore though (how nice is that)! But instead they’re now probably constantly interrupting you trying to get updates on what’s going on. That’s not helping anyone.
Try to get ahead of that by being proactive with your communication. Perhaps you can change the way you work a little so that people can tell you are doing things without having to ask you. You want to create updates online that people can look at instead of coming to you to ask what’s going on all the time. For example:
If you are writing code, submit a pull request or merge request before it’s finished and keep pushing up lots of little commits. This way your boss can easily see the activity on the pull request and so can the rest of your team mates.
If you are working with an issue management system (Jira, Trello, Asana, Github Issues etc) then write lots of comments in your tickets/issues as you discover new things. This can be helpful for everyone, not just your boss.
If you are designing, have a place where you are sharing notes or ideas online instead of just a notebook on your desk.
2) Record and share videos
Your boss can’t come over to your desk anymore and check in on what you have been working on. Instead of having them interrupt you to check in you can record regular video updates when it makes sense for you. For example:
If you are writing code, share a video demo of the latest feature you implemented.
If you are in QA, share a video of bug repro steps.
If you are a designer, share a video if you talking through your designs.
If you are in product, share a video of you providing feedback on a feature or a design.
If your kids or pets are interrupting you, record a video and share that with the team.
Jamm makes it really easy to record your face and your screen and share what you are doing but any screen recording software will do really.
3) Have daily stand-up meetings
You were probably doing this already when you were in person. Even if you weren’t it can be even more important with everyone remote to have that time to be able to synchronise on what you’re wanting to do in the day.
This is not the time though to be going into details about everything you did the day before. That can be done separately in recorded video updates. Use this precious time when you are all together for “bonding, blockers and the future”. Bond over the current state of affairs, share stories and vent together. Then move onto sharing anything that you’re blocked on and helping others to get unblocked. Finally talk about what you want to achieve for the rest of the day.
We would love it if you used Jamm for this of course but any other video conferencing software will do.
4) Hangout with the co-workers you like
Jump on a video chat with the co-workers you enjoy hanging out with. This can feel like you’re back in the same room. Mute yourself when you’re not talking to one another so you’re not hearing unnecessary background noise and then you can easily talk to one another with the click of a button (or keyboard shortcut ⌘⇧M).
If you’re using Jamm your boss will see you’re in a conversation and hopefully assume you’re being productive and leave you alone.