A Placeless Mindset: The Foundation to Successful Remote Teams


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 to clarify what it means to be a remote worker, a remote leader, and a remote team. 

Steps to Adopting a Placeless Mindset

A Placeless Mindset is one component of the three pillars required for sustainable remote work:

  • Mindset
  • Infrastructure
  • Capabilities

The remote mindset goes deeper than a simple switch to using virtual work tools or working from home. It requires you to shift your philosophy about work entirely, as remote workers are not bound by the constraints of brick-and-mortar offices or 9-to-5 work schedules. This can be unnerving for leaders and workers, so we wanted to offer a helpful outline on how to shift your perspective. 

1. Embrace location independence over physical presence

Remote professionals can work from their homes, or (once reopened) coworking spaces, or move fluidly between different locations, based upon where the individual is most productive and their life demands. Work tasks are not location dependent. 

As a remote leader:
  • Recognize the individual differences and cultures of your team’s varied locations
  • Rely on a results-first model, and reduce the need for required presence via time and screen tracking in your organization
  • Leverage communication channels (often asynchronous) that are optimized for location independence
As a remote professional:
  • Develop self-management skills including goal setting, time management, and stress management to take advantage of your independence
  • Consider the benefits of your location independence, such as traveling or visiting relatives and friends while working

2. Empower autonomous work with flexible schedules

Remote leaders and workers must be flexible because change is the only constant in our global, digital economy.

As a remote leader:
  • Establish the foundational best practices and resources for your teams to accomplish work autonomously
  • Learn your team’s optimally productive remote work preferences. For example, recognize if your team prefers a late start on Mondays and an early end on Fridays
  • Encourage individual freedom as not just a benefit but a core tenant of remote work
  • Adjust meetings around your team’s availability (not the other way around)
  • Keep a Business Continuity document updated with your team’s status
As a remote professional:
  • Update your team about your current status, and let them know when things change
  • Take advantage of opportunities to also balance your day for your health, such as a mid-day bike ride or exercise.
  • Flex your hours to care for family

3. Impact productivity with asynchronous communication and collaboration 

Don’t rely on a physical presence to signal that work is getting done. While you want to strategically choose times to connect synchronously, you should prioritize learning the skills needed to successfully engage in asynchronous communication and autonomous work. Not only does this give room for increased productivity, but it allows your team more autonomy and flexibility.

As a remote leader:
  • Set clear expectations with your team about what “done” means 
  • Establish a communication charter with your team to ensure all channels are used effectively
As a remote professional:
  • Use project management tools to align work priorities, stay on task, and showcase completion
  • Regularly reference a team communication charter, and create a personal communication charter to impactfully connect with colleagues 

4. Be open and transparent 

Isolation is a challenge in remote work, but it doesn’t stem from a lack of Zoom meetings or facetime. Colleagues may feel isolated if there isn’t space for vulnerability, sharing, and self-disclosure.

As a remote leader:
  • Share challenges and struggles daily and weekly with your team via Slack, an internal blog, or in one-on-one or group conversations 
  • Document information thoroughly, and proactively ask for honest feedback
  • Create moments for sharing and self-disclosure in meetings, or create spaces to connect openly
As a remote professional:
  • Share your own vulnerabilities with your team; if you’re having trouble achieving your goals or encountering roadblocks to your productivity, make your team aware 
  • Ask about the well-being of your teammates with intention and care—respect the boundaries of your colleagues
  • Take care of your mental health while working remotely—pay attention to signs of potential struggles and learn about resources and strategies to cope.

5. Trust your colleagues and employees

There’s a common phrase that “trust is earned.” However, successful remote teams know that trusting your team members is the baseline. Starting with trust is essential because there are fewer opportunities for casual and spontaneous interactions that build trust. Rather, remote teams focus on the behaviors that reinforce trust. 

As a remote leader:
  • Create a culture free from the burdens of “micromanagement”—dedicate time to learn the skills to accomplish this with the appropriate checks and balances
  • Develop professional and casual rapport to reinforce trust, and respect individual differences
As a remote professional:
  • Assume the best in your colleagues
  • Remember that your perspective is from your point of view—you may not have the complete picture 
  • Open lines of communication to ensure common understanding and avoid communication pitfalls

We’re ready to help your team develop and embrace a Placeless Mindset. 

Ready to translate insights into action ?

Our virtual leadership training builds the skills you need to lead effective and inclusive digital-first teams.

We are ready to guide you through every step needed to transform your team..

Workplaceless Team

Workplaceless Team

Workplaceless envisions a workforce that thrives in a flexible and digital-first future—where performance and growth are not constrained by location. Our team goal is to share insights and practices that will help professionals and companies achieve this aspiration.
Workplaceless envisions a workforce that thrives in a flexible and digital-first future—where performance and growth are not constrained by location. Our team goal is to share insights and practices that will help professionals and companies achieve this aspiration.
Workplaceless logos horizontal full color

We find a consultative process is most effective for companies with 50 or more employees and a rapid process is more impactful for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

How many employees are at your organization?

Answer a couple questions below and submit to schedule a complimentary consultation.

*You will not be automatically added to our mailing list.