productivity tips · Mar 5, 2020

Best 5 tips to Use a Digital To Do List for Remote Teams during a Virus Outbreak

Productivity tips

If you are following the news recently, you already knew about how 2020 kickstarted with the worst epidemic ever. While we are all hoping for the best that the current Coronavirus outbreak will not accelerate to a pandemic phase, many international corporations like Twitter and government authorities have embraced the remote working culture in order to stop the virus spreading.

Working remotely has been a trend for dynamic companies and will continue to grow in the upcoming years. Many managers have mistaken a global remote team means having a stable internet connection; however, internet and trust issues are just half of the remote working equation. One of the challenges for collaborating with remote teams is to ensure the team productivity and work efficiency.

Imagine your team is working from different locations with different time zones, what is the best way to communicate and keep everyone on the same page? Despite what’s going on with the virus outbreak, you cannot tell the Director Board the reason why your team cannot perform at the highest levels is that they work from home most of the time.

Virtual collaboration will soon become the work trend for this new decade, even when the outbreak is over. Managers have acknowledged the power of remote work and started to operate the companies across time zones. Since remote collaboration and communication don’t come with a handbook, this article will share with you how to use a simple digital to do list to keep your team connected.

1. Keep the to-do list neat and let go of the micromanagement

One of the worst mistakes that managers make when preparing the to do list for their team is to give out too much unnecessary information. Maybe it’s the micro-management style that a manager has to observe closely to the smallest details, but remote working culture isn’t about controlling the subordinates or teammates.

A digital to do list can be optimized in the virtual working environment if managers or team leaders remember to narrow down their lists to these four critical information:

  • Project objective: what is the ultimate outcome of this project?
  • Important milestones to achieve: be specific about tasks, the due date and due time, clearly define the definition of done
  • Person-in-charge: who should do what and report to whom
  • Feedback and reports: create detailed guidelines for common roadblocks
🔖 Read more on what project manager did wrong

When listing down the tasks for your team, be specific with what exactly you expect them to complete and attach only the necessary resources to help them achieve the project goal. Never create an information maze that does nothing but drive your team insane.

2. Tracking team performance and communicate more often

To do list report

Most of the to do list apps can help you track the project’s progress closely and how each team member performs. Though micromanagement is proven as a poison for productivity, it’s always a good idea to stay close to your team and give feedback when necessary. Communicate before it’s too late.

Remote teams usually struggle with communications - instead of barging in your supervisor’s office, you have to schedule an appointment and wait until the time slot is open. When you are working with a team that is located all over the world, face-to-face meetings are nearly impossible. But you still have to create an environment for your team to voice about their opinions and as receive honest feedback and suggestions from managers.

A good to do list can help a remote team collaborate seamlessly by replacing all of the meetings in real life with a stable platform to engage team members and support team bonding through virtual offices.

3. Customize different sublists for each team member

to-do list

It’s no longer a myth that we do our best work only when our minds are clear and focused. Collaborating on a shared task list can fail to improve productivity as there are too many distractions and irrelevant information. If you feel lost too often with your team’s shared to do list, chances are your productivity will drop like a rock.

So what’s the solution here? Besides a “master to do list”, you should always create your own customized sublist. Start off with the easiest tasks or the ones that have the most recent due dates. Split the team’s complicated task list into a simpler, smaller and easier to accomplish to do list.

Now instead of looking at a huge to do list with too many people working on it at once, you can have your own little view to focus. If something else comes up in the master list and you think it’s relevant to your job, just simply drag and drop the newly added task to your personalized to do list.

By working side-by-side with two to do lists, you are fully in control of how you want to handle your tasks and in which way you want to tackle the to do list.

4. Share a weekly agenda with the team

Team Agenda

There is one simple way to make sure to keep everyone on your remote team on the same page is to send out a work agenda every week. Quire is an example of how a to do list app should handle the weekly updates. For a project, a team leader can sort all of the tasks by Due Per Week and share the tasks block with the team members. Now that everyone is clear about when to do what and who is the person-in-charge for each task, productivity slump can never be a problem anymore.

5. Take advantages of an automatic documentation system

Remote working culture means a lot of memos and digital notes instead of the traditional yellow patch. If you are a super organized person, congratulations! But if you are having troubles with finding your notes every time your boss asks for it, try to embrace the automatic documentation system of a to do list app.

File management

As complicated as it sounds, actually an automatic documentation system means gathering all of your important notes and key discussions then uploading to the shared to do list app between your team members. All of the documents will be saved securely and it’s so much easier to share and reference those information later.

Team Agenda

One of the reasons why a digital to do list is the future for team productivity is the search function. All documents can be easily searched for and the information transparency can be guaranteed.

There is no big secret when it comes to focusing your mind and getting things done. We’ve already made it through a fifth of the 21st Century and it’s time to embrace the remote working culture as a new trend to boost productivity and ward off unnecessary distractions. Building a global remote team can take a village, but talented people from across the world can still successfully collaborate as long as leaders can choose the best platform for the team to thrive.

During the difficult time, we hope Quire can be a part of your successful stories. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @quire_io or email us at feedback@quire.io. Stay healthy!

Vicky Pham
Trying not to get lost in the city lights.