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The Secrets of Remote Teams: Office Jargon for the Uninitiated

Remote teams have a different set of challenges than the usual in-office setup. One thing that can make or break a remote team is if everyone on the team understands what’s going on - and it's not always easy to know what people mean when they say "BC", "Hybrid," or even just "coffee." We've compiled some words and phrases you'll hear as a remote worker (or as someone who interacts with remote workers) so you can keep up with your coworkers.

WFA

WFA is a term used to describe those who work from anywhere.

Free Range Worker

The term "free-range worker" is the new spin on what we've been calling a digital nomad for years. It's intended as a counterpoint to those home workers who felt increasingly like caged battery hens during lockdown.

Desktop dressing

Business on top, party underneath. This is a great description that could be used to describe video calling in general or even just the concept of blending work and play together seamlessly.

Blursday

When you're WFA, every day is a blur of Blursday. Before long, it's hard to tell what day it is and whether or not today's Thursday. If this continues for too much longer without checking the calendar once in awhile then even days start blending into each other until all that remains are endless Thursdays with no beginning and end like an everlasting blurry mess that never ends!

Synchronous communication

Communications with someone in real time, like phone calls and video meetings.

Asynchronous communication

Where you communicate with someone when it is convenient for both of you, often by email or message.

Zoom bombing

When someone gets into the meeting uninvited and appears on a video call unexpectedly!

Hybrid team

This type of team is also known as a "distributed team" because it has workers that are in different locations, unlike other teams where everyone works out the same office space.

Shadow IT

Employees are increasingly using their own devices and software, such as Zoom or Google Meet instead of sanctioned suites like Microsoft Teams. Employees could also be storing information in unauthorised cloud accounts like Dropbox. This is called "shadow IT" that employees run on the side while at work without approval from management. It's considered naughty.

BC

Before Covid. People at your company use Covid to compare how the business is performing with previous times.

Collab

Collab is short for collaboration. WFA is increasingly concerned with how to get colleagues to collab. It's an important part of most jobs. But collab can be difficult in a remote team, especially when the team has been physically together for years and now suddenly individuals are spread across multiple time zones.

Communication modalities

No matter the tech, communication is a complex process. People communicate through different modalities including visual (video calls), written (email) and audio/visual to name a few. It's best for people to use various combinations of all these technologies especially when it comes time to talk about some important issues in person or over video chat so that they have more options at their disposal than just an email thread with one voice clip attached which might not be enough information on its own depending on what type of question you're asking someone!

Know of any words or phrases we've missed? Share them in the comments below.

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