The power of check-ins for distributed teams
In a normal office setting you can easily check in on how someone is doing.
Person A: “How is it going?”
Person B: “Good.I did …… it was great.”
It has been shown that this type of simple, friendly check in greatly increases worker satisfaction and the feeling of a coherent company culture.
To clarify, a check in is not a standup. It is a less formal ‘greeting’ that is asking a person how they are doing personally and professionally. It brings us back to base during busy work days.
Where is this reflected in distributed team tools?
We could asynchronous communicate by sending a text message with the same type of check in. But if the recipient does not see it for hours or responds only briefly, the whole purpose is highly diminished. At My Digital Office we are strong proponents of cross-over times for distributed teams. This is 30 to 60 minutes a day where team members crossover with other team members in their digital office at certain times of the day.
One team member could be in Japan while the other is in California. The crossover time is in the AM for Japan where it is early evening for CA. We use this time to use our mics in the digital office. By simply turning them on, we can easily check in with our distributed colleagues. Since we are in the same virtual space, and we are potentially speaking and seeing one another it feels equivalent if not better than the same experience in a physical office.
How does your distributed team handle check ins?