Video calls are cool but have you tried writing

A train in a railyard. The Mall of Tripla shopping center can be seen in the background.

It takes some skill to work remotely. When migrating from office to remote work, you can’t just set up some communications tools and expect the work to work as if nothing happened. You and everybody else have to learn how to use the tools to collaborate.

Now software development organizations are mass-migrating to remote work. Everybody is setting up Zoom or Teams that to enable video calls and learning to raise their hand to get their turn to speak. That’s a great start, but the real remote transformation (in Finnish: et√§loikka?) will happen when you move to asynchronous communication. That means communicating by writing.

Replacing meetings with asynchronous communication in text has a couple of benefits.

Your schedule is not dictated by meetings. You can manage your time and your energy yourself. You don’t have to sit through irrelevant meetings in full and this gives you time to focus the issues that really need your attention.

There are fewer interrputions. They can’t interrupt you if they can’t reach you.

Text has great features. Text can be reread, searched, and shared easily.

Organizations usually already have good-enough tools for this. For example, we have a chat, a wiki, an issue tracker, a code review tool, and there’s always e-mail. It’s more about the mindset and developing the skills. Do you really need a meeting?

Video calls are a great tool when you need it. Personally I think that they’re great for creating a feeling of human connection in a way that is hard to have in text. I just wanted to say that you can go further.


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