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Photo for article on stand-up meetings

Why you should be ‘standing up’ in your remote workplace

A concept you will likely see and hear mentioned frequently during these times of increased remote working is the stand-up meeting.

Like many work trends, stand-up meetings first gained popularity in the technology sector, with software design teams literally standing up for daily meetings. The theory was that by making people stand, the meetings would stay short and focused.

The good news is you no longer have to physically stand up to do a stand-up. The even better news, given the ongoing focus on working from home, is that you can do them remotely via technology and make them key parts of your team’s working day.

Here are some things to start thinking about as you incorporate stand-ups into your daily operations:

  • Tools: take your pick, there are plenty. Microsoft Teams will be an obvious choice for many but Smartsheet, Skype for Business and chat platforms like Slack can all be part of your approach. Work out exactly what you need and give different tools a trial run to see how they work. Test out bots that are likely needed to prompt your team that the stand-up is on.
  • Structure: a good stand-up will be preceded by three permanent and automatically generated questions that team members will answer to flag what they have been working on and what they will be working on through the day. Each member of the team then gets their turn to speak and offer insights into the challenges and opportunities they are dealing with. Think of a stand-up meeting as a way to establish the rhythm for the day.
  • School’s in: when you get reminders that stand-up is happening, you should treat them like the old school bell. It’s time to sharpen your focus, concentrate on what needs doing in the next few hours and work out what capacity you have to take on extra work – or if you need to off-load some. Good stand-up meetings promote both accountability and transparency within teams.
  • Speed: what is the best thing about a stand-up? You don’t need to book or find a room to do it.  You can organise one with a few keystrokes or clicks on your phone and be up and running and talking about the day’s important issues within minutes. If you need to have more than one a day, go right ahead. Given they should last no more than 15 minutes, stand-up meetings are not an outlandish demand on people’s time.
  • Mobility: want to know how I spent the two stand-up meetings that I had last Wednesday? Walking outside, using my phone to dial in. At a time when a lot of us may feel cooped up in our homes or remote working locations, the opportunity to take in some fresh air should be relished. Don’t be fooled into thinking stand-up meetings mean you have to stay still.

Above all, experiment. My idea of a perfect stand-up meeting might also be yours. But equally, it might need some tweaks to meet the needs of your business.

The way we are working is profoundly changing and there is no one-size-fits-all model. We will likely return to our offices in greater numbers in weeks to come but there’s an equal likelihood that working from home at least some of the time will become part of our regular routines.

Embrace these changes, work out what is really important and design a stand-up format that suits you and your team.

Cannings Purple’s Head of Digital Glenn Langridge is an expert in digital campaigning and data analysis, including the use of analytics to inform and guide digital strategies.

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