A week ago the entire Swedish nation were celebrating one of our most favorite holidays – Midsummer! As I was sitting in a car on an 8 hour long journey to the northern west coast to eat herring with flowers in my hair, I encountered a behaviour from a friend which stuck with me: He was sitting in the car with his laptop to be online, in case his boss would call him again, as he did yesterday when he logged off for an hour to get a haircut 🤯
I can not push down the feeling of how off-putting it is to make your employees be online between certain hours and the need of controlling adults, even though they often are not engaged in the work they do, but are rather logged in because of fear. It strikes me how some organisations still have not learned about basic human behavior and the positive effects of implementing processes which give us certainty, flexibility and autonomy to take responsibility of what we commit to and feel that we contribute for real. (sidenote; I can recommend all leaders to get familiar with the SCARF model)
Obviously I realise that it takes a lot of effort implementing new processes in organisations which are rolling in their old ways with no questions asked. Still, I think someone might get value of reading about how we have planned our summer at Vaam and hopefully get inspired to try something new that fits the world of today better.
As a distributed* team that strives to be asynchronous** we have committed to these guidelines below, so everyone can have the best summer and vacation possible. It goes without saying that well-being drives quality in the work we do.
*many are located in other cities/countries
**not live at the same time always
During summer (and maybe also afterwards) we will do asynchronous check-ins if we work. We check in daily in the Slack channel #status-updates to keep our team updated on what they can expect from us, and we can ask for help if we need any to avoid blockers as much as possible.
During summer we will not have live planning meetings but will rather plan the week, for those who are working, async in the team documents on Slite (we always take meeting notes, to document decisions and keep everyone aligned even if they are not present, inspired by Mentimeter). As a planning lead, we make sure to elaborate the notes so everyone in the company can understand the status of things and get a good recap when they are back.
We demo things we need to share in the #demo channel as a routine to get input and feedback. We are generous with sharing the progress of our work to involve others. To not scatter important information over several channels/threads, we collect everything in this channel so everyone can quickly find relevant updates and get a recap when they are back.
For async processes to work and to decrease information overhead, it's important to be as transparent as we can. We keep our tickets updated and detailed on Linear, especially if the ticket concerns others. We use the comments on tickets to update on progress so others in the team can get an overview of the information they need, without having to ping anyone.
Vacation dates are added to our company calendar so everyone have the right expectations on when anyone can be reached during summer. If we go on vacation, we turn off Slack notifications in case others ping us on things which are not urgent. It's okey to ping team mates who are not on vacation, but we don't expect anyone to reply instantly.
I would love to hear any thoughts or questions and get input about different ways of working from others, feel free to send me an email anytime!