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Using Ways of Working to Increase Remote Team Effectiveness


Organizations often rely on employee handbooks to outline things like employment policies, legal requirements, rules and regulations for the workplace. But when it comes to establishing organizational culture and putting forth expectations for how employees are to collaborate effectively and efficiently, how does an organization accomplish that (especially if their workforce is mainly remote)?


This is where a Ways of Working document comes in!


Ways of Working documents, or WoWs for short, are a great tool for all teams, but especially teams that consist mainly of remote workers. Unlike an employee handbook that covers legal, employee-related policies, a WoW document is meant to establish norms and coordinate everyone working together.


So what should a Ways of Working document outline?

Below are the main sections employers should include in their Ways of Working Documents:


Introduction

This is where you share the purpose of the document, including a note about why it is important to your organization’s teams.


Mission, Values + Principles

This is where you will outline your organization’s core values and principles, along with your mission statement.


Communication

This is where you outline your organization’s communication expectations and methods. Tell your contractors things like which communication method to use for which purpose, standing meeting schedules, and communication behaviors such as response times.


Roles + Responsibilities

This where you outline your organization’s team members/roles and ladder of responsibilities.


Work Processes + Tools

This section of your Ways of Working document is key, as it outlines your organization’s important processes and standard operating procedures.


Work Hours + Availability

This is the section where you’ll outline your organization’s remote work policy, time off policies, and important information surrounding standard work hours. If you’re an organization with a fully remote team, it’s important to consider things like varying time zones.


Feedback + Performance

How does your organization provide feedback and how frequently? When are performance reviews conducted and how do they tie in with things like compensation? This is the section where you will provide all of that information.


Conflict Resolution

In this section, you will outline your organization’s procedure for conflict mediation and reporting. Be sure to list the steps that should be taken when conflict arises, including the individuals a contractor can reach out to for support.


Onboarding + Training

In this section of your document you’ll outline the process for onboarding new team members. You will also provide information regarding the training resources that are available within your organization.


Health + Well-Being

If your organization provides mental or physical health support or offers supports to encourage work-life balance, this is the section in which you’ll outline the details of those supports.


Updates

This is where you’ll outline how frequently your organization will review and update this Ways of Working document. You can also provide a standard process here for contractors to suggest edits or changes to the Ways of Working document.


Acknowledgement

Asking contractors to sign acknowledging that they’ve read, understand, and agree to follow the Ways of Working document is optional, but suggested.


Best Practices for Implementing with a Team

When implementing a WoW document, it’s important to follow some of these best practices:

  • New employees that are onboarded are walked through the WoW as part of their onboarding process

  • For current employees, the WoW should be rolled out at an all-hands meeting. To promote initial buy in, you could gather employee input before finalizing and rolling out.

  • It is important to reference back to the WoW as a guiding document when teamwork is out of alignment

  • Regular review and updating of the WoW should be completed. When updating, it’s important to gather employee input and feedback

 

Putting a WoW document together can feel like an overwhelming task to undertake. Afterall, it contains a lot of information that employees will rely on and refer back to. Well we’ve got you covered! Reach out to Cause Capacity today to schedule a FREE Discovery call and learn more about how we can support your organization with this important process!


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