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Creating Virtual Celebrations with Purpose

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 40 seconds 

 

As we approach the 2020 holiday season, many of us will not be celebrating in our traditional ways or locations. The realities of our current distributed working situations are forcing us to rethink our previous ways of gathering, like coming together in one physical location for holiday parties, and adjusting our plans to a virtual environment.

Our Networkplaceless community came together in November to share ideas about celebrating virtually. Thanks to everyone who attended, we walked away bursting with new ideas for connecting with our colleagues. The framework for this conversation came from Priya Parker’s book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (you can also watch her excellent Ted Talk here.)  

In the process of considering what makes a gathering meaningful and impactful, attendees shared ideas related to three topics highlighted in Parker's work: purpose, environment, and...

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The Ultimate Remote Team Holiday Gift Guide

While we hope you’ve been showing appreciation to your remote teams throughout the year, we've reached the season where gifts can be a capstone token of appreciation for your employees’ contributions through what has assuredly been a difficult year.

Our team has pulled together a robust list of gift ideas that are specifically for professionals who work from home or as a part of distributed teams. We’ve focused on physical gifts as well as virtual presents for teams. Since we’re a small business ourselves, we aimed to include fellow small businesses throughout our suggestions.   

 

Physical Gifts that Require Shipping

Image source: Leon and George, Canva, Mashable, A Year of Boxes, Frères Branchiaux, NY Times

Because so many of us have been physically disconnected from friends, family, and co-workers this year, it can be especially meaningful for employees  to receive a physical token of appreciation. Note: many of...

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7 Warning Signs Your Remote Team Needs Training

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 30 seconds 

 

We speak regularly with experienced and newly remote leaders and clients who feel that for the most part, their teams are operating smoothly—they’re just experiencing a few “hiccups.” But really, who isn’t experiencing hiccups, especially in 2020?

As we dig deeper into some of these hiccups, we often uncover true gaps in skills, processes, and overall alignment that are hurting business performance. It's vital that leaders can determine whether a hiccup is temporary and easily remedied, or rather a warning sign indicative of a deeper issue with harmful future effects.

To that end, here are seven of the most common symptoms that indicate your team is working suboptimally, and where we know remote work training is the most effective intervention to ensure the long-term vitality of your remote team or organization.



1. Team Members Experience Miscommunications

Charles: “But during...

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Remote Worker Burnout: Is It You or the Company Culture?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

 

Even though the sun is setting earlier in the Northern Hemisphere, the remote work days are getting longer—48 minutes longer according to research that explores teams impacted by COVID. We’re all feeling the impact—69% of employees are specifically reporting symptoms of burnout. As winter approaches, remote leaders need to prepare for increases in feelings of isolation and fatigue among team members. It’s time to be more conscious than ever about putting safeguards in place to protect employees from overwork and burnout.

 

With such a weighty topic, we called on Cait Donovan, a burnout expert and acupuncturist, to lead our October Networkplaceless event and share strategies for preventing and managing burnout. She maintained a positive atmosphere and created an open space for conversation, guiding the group through the key reasons why remote workers experience burnout. 

 

From her years of...

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How Trust and Training Boost Remote Productivity

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

 

The debate continues: are remote teams more productive? If you’re in the Netflix CEO’s camp, there are no benefits to remote (our quick thoughts on that here) and you would feel bolstered by this study shared by Tech Republic. On the opposing view, some research has revealed stabilization or gains in productivity, such as from BCG

 

The reality is that not all remote professionals are productive because not all remote professionals are given the tools and support they need to thrive. This is especially important in the context of COVID-19, when the shift to remote work for so many people has been unstrategic and unexpected. The two key factors that determine whether or not remote professionals, and subsequently remote teams, are productive are trust and training.



How Does Trust Impact Productivity?

 

Effective remote work is based on the premise that professionals are more productive when they...

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7 Actions You Can Take to Elevate BIPOC in Remote Work

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is a common sentiment that “everyone” is working from home. However, research shows that accessibility to remote work varies by race. While there is tremendous opportunity for remote work to create opportunity, remote does not automatically equal diverse nor equitable nor inclusive. We’ve yet to see comprehensive data on the true diversity of remote professionals; however, anecdotally within the US, the remote community agrees that reality does not yet reach the potential. For remote work to be truly accessible to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), we have more work to do.

 

At Workplaceless, we have been having the conversations internally and with our community to understand what role each of us can play to both break down barriers for and elevate the voices of BIPOC professionals in remote work. We embarked on discussions in late 2019 with regards to diversity,...

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A Placeless Mindset: The Foundation to Successful Remote Teams

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

 

Remote work has been around for years. However, what separates the remote winners from the remote quitters isn’t just a matter of tools. It’s recognizing the difference between a co-located and a remote mindset. The philosophies underlying successful remote work are fundamentally different from those of a traditional office workspace. We refer to this remote mindset as a “Placeless Mindset.”

 

What is a Placeless Mindset?

A Placeless Mindset is not just a process of getting tasks done but rather an integrated way of thinking, living, and, yes, working. It’s a philosophy and an attitude that can be summarized as: 

 

A Placeless Mindset is a keen understanding that our lives, and therefore our work, are not rooted in a singular place, but rather require flexibility in location and communication in order to balance multiple goals and priorities. 

 

Adopting a Placeless Mindset helps...

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The Guide to Giving Feedback Remotely

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

 

One of the top mistakes remote managers make is failing to give timely and meaningful feedback. Improper—or a total lack of—feedback quickly leads to disengaged employees and poor performance.

As many leaders continue to work through how to best navigate virtual interactions with employees, we’ve developed a quick guide on how to give effective feedback, remotely

 

When providing remote feedback, DO: 

 

  • Be specific. Use extended messages to communicate the purpose and direction of your feedback. Highlight specific examples of what was committed to, what was said and done, as well as the implications.
  • Be prompt. It’s important to establish and communicate timelines for performance reviews. However, when addressing specific situations remote leaders must share the feedback as soon as possible. Even if you and the team member are not able to connect immediately, reach out via Slack or email and...
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Start. Stop. Continue. Our First Virtual Team Meeting without Zoom

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

 

As a remote team who doesn’t see each other in an office everyday, it’s important for us at Workplaceless to stay connected with one another, beyond just the work. While we integrate this throughout our daily routines through apps like Donut and remote team building exercises, we also aim to meet once a month in a live all-hands team meeting. It’s a meeting we all look forward to every month. However, with much needed vacations, staycations, and team relocations, a synchronous meeting wasn’t going to work for July, so we decided to run our first Asynchronous All-Hands Meeting. 

 

Here’s what we did and an evaluation of what we would or wouldn’t do again from both the perspective of the meeting organizer, Megan Eddinger, and two team attendees, Katie Scheuer, and Jacqueline Zeller.


For the most part we lead with remote-first asynchronous collaboration, and limit meetings as part of our daily...

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6 Expert Steps To Improving Your Remote Team’s Communication

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 30 seconds

 

How do teams choose how to communicate? 

In a co-located work environment, the answer is pretty clear: walk down the hall or pop into someone’s office for a quick check-in; send an email if they’re not there. 

As researchers remind us, face-to-face may be the richest medium for communication, but when teams want to be more productive, cost-effective, and have access to talent, companies turn to remote and hybrid work. But as remote teams know, there are hundreds of choices for meetings, chatting, collaborating—synchronous and asynchronous communication tools . . . where does one start? 

The selection of communication tools begins with understanding the unique challenges of remote team communication and defining processes that work for professionals who are not physically located in the same office space.

During our July Networkplaceless event, we welcomed three experts who led us in a...

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