With remote and hybrid work, we're all using different tools in different ways. Even if you've been working a certain way since the initial shift-to-remote in 2020, it's okay to raise your hand and say "hey, wait, can we do this differently?"
Since shifting to remote work, my team has always posted a quick "good morning" message in our slack channel when we're starting our day and sharing our top priority for that day. We also post as we're in-and-out of availability, running to an appointment or taking a lunch break. The purpose of these posts isn't to track time; it was just to give a general idea for our closest collaborators of when we're around vs. when we're busy.
But, then a few of us adopted dogs (as did many folks during the pandemic). And our slack channel blew up with well-intentioned, norm-compliant "I'm running the puppy out, back in 10!" several times an hour.
Our team had also set the norm that slack messages should be treated more urgently than emails, so these pings interspersed with real urgent messages were extremely distracting. But, at the same time, we had agreed as a team that letting people know when you're unavailable was a "best practice."
I don't remember who raised their hand to say that we didn't need this level of detail and accountability, but I'm grateful to them. We had set a rule that worked really well for our team — until it didn't.
Asking to reset a norm will depend on the structure of your team. If your team is small and self-organized, without a clear leader (ie: my company has a peer group of all the writers), bringing your suggestion up as an agenda item may be the most appropriate. If your team has a clear leader (like my boss's team of direct reports in the slack channel I mentioned above) it might be most appropriate to share your idea with the leader of that group first.
In either conversation, you should do the following:
In the Spring of 2020, many teams had to quickly switch to remote or hybrid work arrangements without much time to consider process and norms. Now, it's clear that "back to normal" doesn't mean a complete rewind to how we were working two years ago. If you've been "putting up with" something or waiting for another huge catalyst to start working differently, we've seen that it might not be on the way!
And, with all the New Year energy flowing throughout the month of January, it's a great time to talk about ways to improve your working style or habits. Use the timeliness of the new year to set some new norms that fit all the audacious goals your team is setting.
What norms has your team established in the past two years?
Are there any processes, habits, or routines that really bug you right now?
Have you changed a team norm recently? How'd it go?