Working remotely went from a rising trend to a necessity in a few short years. Teams were forced to adapt to an interesting turn of events and turned to work agreements to help them stay on top of things.
Defining what a working agreement is and what it means to you and your team is an essential first step. Working agreements outline mutual responsibilities, guidelines, and regulations agreed upon by a team to improve communication and foster a productive working environment. Ideally, these rules should speak to the team’s core values to be effective.
“… Mutual Unity in things necessary, in things non-necessary, liberty…”
Outside of a sign in the office bathroom reminding employees to flush, having an explicit set of rules for working together is unusual for many workers. However, in recent times the highest performing teams have agreements that are separate from their employment contracts and detail what team members and their employers deem as professional behavior, best working practices, and good social policy. This can be inclusive of minor details, such as when to have a meeting, communicate by email, or send a message on Slack. This leaves no room for assumptions and ensures that teams of diverse individuals are clear on how to go about working with each other. Making regular modifications means that agreements are always up to speed with the team’s social policies. Read on to download our working agreement template free.
Many employees are begging to continue working from home, and many employers are listening. Today, companies in a diverse range of industries are fuelled by remote teams with professionals working on contracts from various time zones across the world. Integration of these workers is made simple with a solid remote working agreement template that details best practices for individual and unique companies.
The legal industry is arguably one of the most traditional industries in the world. However, many industries are going digital, and even attorneys have a lot to learn from progressive industries such as tech. Law firms, along with professionals from other industries, are taking on a different perspective and employing agile and flexible working techniques, citing an increment in motivation and productivity as a major reason for moving toward it. Agile team working agreements are a great way to keep this going and ensure that all team members feel valued and respected.
A key feature of a product team is that it is collaborative. Team members are typically cross-functional and carry out different jobs to produce top-tier digital products. Having a clear-cut team working agreement template to start with can help ensure that product teams can have synergy on each project and are able to build exceptional products that appeal to their intended customers.
What you include in a working agreement should be decided according to what will suit you, your team, and the type of business you work in best. Some examples of what to include in working agreements are:
You know working agreements are a great, remote-friendly teamwork tool, but you have no idea how to begin drafting one! Here’s a FREE template to get you on your way.
To begin with, a great first step to ensure that the terms of a working agreement are complied with is to run a working agreement workshop and, by the end of its attempt to come to an agreement as a team. This allows for team members to communicate their challenges and expectations without feeling like the terms are being dictated to them by the persons with authority. With the entire team in agreement, enforceability is easier, and discussions on ways to enforce, such as weekly reminders or buddy check-ins, are encouraged.
Automating working agreements allows agreements to be enforced without the hassle of constantly having to remind people to follow them. You can automate team habits, processes, and checklists using tools that are long-term, cheaper solutions and eliminate room for human error.
Use version control systems such as Bitbucket or Github that support workflow policies and will allow quick reviewing with independent workstreams that can be merged back to verify that work is coherent and up to par.
Not all working agreements can be automated. Some agreements may be too abstract in practicality or simply subjective. With these, using retrospectives with an open atmosphere and code reviews to provide feedback on terms agreed by all members of the team makes enforcement easier.
After settling on ways to enforce working agreements, using flip charts as a way to evaluate progress and collect data on employee blunders can inform whether the format of agreements needs to be changed and is a good way to get feedback on the incorporation of agreements.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Working agreements can be set on a variety of topics. An important consideration is what suits you and your team best. Remember to consistently review the agreements to determine whether the format needs reorganizing.
Working agreements are SUPER easy to enforce! This is because everybody had a hand in drafting them, making it easier to ask people to follow the rules. The terms are clear-cut, so insisting on strict adherence leaves no bad tastes in anybody’s mouth.
Working on a contract means that an employee was hired to perform a specific job, typically within a specific time as stated in the contract. A contract employee is also sometimes referred to as a freelancer or an independent contractor.