Last week, John Lewis & Partners announced the effective closure of their head office in Victoria, which means that a lot of staff have had to adjust to working from home.
Our experience has been that John Lewis & Partners has taken to the new remote model extremely well. For one team, the change has had a positive impact on their ability to deliver. In the first week of the change, they almost doubled their throughput and performed more releases to customers than in any other given week in the last five months.
This team considers collaboration to be their superpower. They continue feeding and watering their team spirit in the new context. There is no single correct way to do this, but here are some of the experiments the teams are trying.
Running a perpetual mass Hangouts to mimic a live office environment where you can hear each other working. Back in the office, you would be able to simply turn around to a colleague and say, “Can I chat with you for two minutes about X, Y or Z?” and that’d be fine. Not only that, but due to collocation, others could eavesdrop on the conversation even if they were not directly involved. The team has emulated that by occasionally having meets on Hangouts and keeping Hangouts always on. This helps the team feel in touch with each other, and conversations can spontaneously spring up. Even though these meetings don’t necessarily involve everyone, team members still benefit from being able to listen in.
Time is set aside each day to do some form of meditation or mindfulness exercise. This is not a group activity, but team members do this at the same time each day. By synchronising these activities, the opportunities for collaborative working are maximised. The effect of taking this time is really felt. Afterwards, team members are all very much more relaxed and able to focus.
As part of this transition, we hosted a number of webinars to share good practices for a team working fully remote. Most of the John Lewis & Partners teams that we work with were already set up to enable home working. However, moving from a few people occasionally working remotely to everyone working remotely all the time is not a trivial transition. Our webinars are designed for teams that are already comfortable with working remotely. We share tips and practices that will really help them gel and perform in a remote-first environment.
For example if you want to learn some of the techniques we use to build high-performing remote-first teams watch this webinar.
Part of our mission working with John Lewis & Partners is to enable their Partners. This means that our consultants transfer the necessary skills and knowledge to the Partners so they can continue to develop new digital services and products for their customers.
At Equal Experts, we have been building a remote-first mindset for years and have engaged in a number of fully remote deliveries. That’s why we published and open-sourced our remote delivery playbook earlier this year.