December 14: Distributed work at Google

Tips on how to optimize the experience of working from home.

Source: Google (PDF)
Published: April 2019

Distributed work at Google

Google published a research-backed guide for how to optimize the experience of working distributedly. Here are the tips for “working together when we’re not together”:

Area of focus: Place

  • Send productive invites –as the meeting scheduler, add an agenda and document(s) to the calendar invite.

  • Share the time zone burden – acknowledge participants joining off-hours and consider establishing team “friendly” meeting times.

Area of focus: People

  • Share words of affirmation – check-in on teammates by sending a funny meme, gif, or heartfelt words such as these.

  • Be present – give verbal and visual encouragement to teammates, such as a head nod, “yeah, good idea,” or “mmhmm.”

  • Social team meetings - if the agenda is light for a team meeting, don’t cancel it! Instead, use the time to better get to know each other.

Area of focus: Practices

  • Pass the mic – it can be intimidating to speak up over others! Create space by inviting quieter participants to provide input. Consider using a process to determine speaking order, such as the “Raise hand” feature.

  • Recap – kick-off meetings by recapping where things left off previously. Don’t assume that everyone remembers the details of previous discussions.

  • Practice self-care – Set limits on your workday so that you don’t accidentally work more hours than you plan to.


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