Back in the day, there used to be books written about propriety, politeness, and manners in any sort of social circumstance. But what about today? Where is the Emily Post of the digital society? And what might she have to say about the etiquette surrounding the advantages of remote working and digital communication?
If you've started using Wrike and are wondering about "proper manners" when collaborating with remote team members, then allow us to suggest these 11 rules of remote work etiquette (especially when using a tool like Wrike). Incorporating these rules into your daily work should smoothen collaboration and make it much more pleasant for your team, no matter where they may be working.
A. Etiquette When Beginning a Task
1. Don't assign a task without complete context
This means you must ensure that the people you assign tasks to have access to the parent task of anything delegated to them. If all they can see is what's in the task, then they may not understand how this cog fits into the bigger machine, including the goals of the larger task. If, however, the parent task contains confidential information, then proceed to rule #2...
2. Don't assign the task until the description is complete
Otherwise the assignee might get notified, and click into an empty task! Think they'll come back to check if the description is completed in ten minutes? More likely, they'll just move on to the next job. So before you assign someone, provide as much context as possible within the task description (if you cannot share the parent task with them).
B. The Etiquette of Ongoing Work
3. Reassign a task to yourself when you're taking an assignment
By assigning yourself to a task, you're making yourself accountable for completing this piece of work and showing the team this task is yours. This way, two people don't end up working on the same thing and unknowingly duplicating efforts.
4. Start the timer when you begin working
If a task is too minor to assign yourself to, one way to announce that you're working on the task is to start the timer. It's also a good habit that helps when you need to generate a report on time spent working on a project.
5. Pass the baton with the @mention
A really simple tip: @mention the assigner that you're done working on your part so they can continue with the next step. It's just common courtesy: "My part is done @Colleague; back to you!"
6. Update your attachments properly
Instead of uploading multiple copies of a file and having 13 different attachments all named "sales-deck-final.pptx," use the "upload new version" feature. This ensures that you only have one attachment that's properly versioned (sales-deck-final.ppt v.13), eliminating confusion for all involved.
How to update a new version of an attachment:
1.) Right click on the attachment
2.) Select “Upload new version” & choose the file you want to upload
You can also right click on an attachment and hover over “History” to see a list of previous versions
C. The Etiquette of Providing Feedback
7. Always @mention the person you're conversing with
They won't know you're replying to their comment unless you properly identify them. This is the @mention. Don't be afraid to use it every time you add a comment to the discussion. There's no such thing as overusing the @.
Just a note: If your @mention doesn't result in a live link (the recipient's name should appear in blue text), that means your coworker won't get the notification.
Always @mention your teammate if you want their feedback.
8. Don't expect instant replies
This is especially important when your teams are in various time zones: don't expect people to reply instantly to your messages in Wrike. Task comments are not a live chat, after all. When you send an @mention, move on to another task and keep an eye on your inbox for a return @mention or task update.
9. Reframe open-ended questions as multiple choice
If you write questions in the comments section of a task, don't force people to answer in essay format. Instead, rewrite your questions as multiple choice so it's easier for the other person to respond, and you can proceed more quickly.
D. Etiquette When Completing a Task
10. Don't complete a task unless there's no more work to be done
A simpler way to say this is: if you don't own the task, don't close it out. There may be other people who need to work on it and if you mark it complete, they might not be able to find it again. If it's taking up space in your workflow or Dashboard, then once you're done, unassign yourself from the task to stop following its progress.
11. Never delete a task!
Unless it's a private task you created just for yourself, don't go deleting tasks. Other people may need them one day. Instead, complete them, or archive them, so your coworkers can still find them.
There you go! These 11 rules should make collaborating with remote teammates in Wrike a breeze. If the above was TL:DR, then we'll simplify everything into a single general rule: better to over-communicate than under-communicate when working in Wrike.