Asking for help can be harder than you think when you start to work remotely

So you are sitting at home, stuck on a coding problem.

How do you ask your team mates for help without pulling them out of their context?

At the office, finding help was easy!

You simply looked up and picked the first person not wearing headphones and went over there.

But the same isn’t really true when you transition to remote work.

Why is that?

When a group of people meet in person, they instinctively look for cues about each other to see if they can help.

Like “Susan must be trying to figure something out because she has been silently staring into her food for the last 15 minutes. Let me see if I can help her.”

All these cues gets lost when your office moves to Slack…

So how do you recreate this when you can’t see the people you work with?

First, you need to agree as a team that helping each other is more important than individuals completing as many tasks as they possibly can.

Then create a Slack channel called “#help-needed” where you can write down what you are stuck on.
(here’s how to write good questions)

And finally agree that from now on, this is how you work

  1. Finish what you are working on
  2. See if anyone needs help
  3. If yes -> Help out
  4. If not -> Start something new