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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

Async Wins: What Teams Gain By Going Async

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 45 seconds

Jamar is in the flow of work when a notification pops up that he’s received a new email from his manager. Even though he’s extremely focused, he steps out of his workflow to respond. His manager has asked him to connect with finance to confirm a budget number, but doesn’t specify a timeline. Jamar wants to prove his worth so he picks up the phone to call his finance colleague, Chantel. When Chantel answers, Jamar expresses an urgency to his request and he waits on the line while Chantel stops her work to dig through reports to find what he needs. After finishing the call and sending his manager a response, Jamar realizes he needs to head to a meeting, and won’t be able to finish up his original project work like he intended.

This scenario of regular demands on synchronous time plague many workforces today. Employees experience non-stop phone calls, messages from coworkers expecting a speedy response, and...

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Async vs Sync: Balancing Remote Team Communication

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 10 seconds 

 

Communication is the exchange of messages—in the context of work, communication is how ideas are generated, expectations are shared, connections are made, and work gets done. At a general level, communication modes can be divided into two types: synchronous (sync) and asynchronous (async). 

What comes to mind when you hear the term asynchronous? Pre-pandemic our team would receive blank stares when bringing up the concept during conversations. However, 2020 saw a significant rise in the term as asynchronous communication and asynchronous learning began to play a larger part in our daily lives. 

With BCG’s Decoding Global Ways of Work study reporting that 89% of professionals would like to work fully or partially remote in the future, async communication is going to be critical to success. But what exactly is async communication, what is it not, and why is it so important? A common definition of...

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6 Questions to Ask when Choosing Free or Paid Remote Work Training

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 20 seconds

 

At Workplaceless, we are passionate about learning, and grateful to learn from those whose experiences are different from our own. As the number of companies shifting to remote work arrangements exploded in 2020, we saw a significant influx of resources offering to guide employees and companies through the transition. This influx was essential for many experiencing remote work for the first time. 

Now, as companies are shifting or settling into their long-term vision for remote or hybrid teams, we thought it would be helpful to provide a way to cut through the clutter and learn when to take advantage of free resources and when to invest in external remote work training.  

Here are the top six questions to consider as you weigh the usefulness of paid training versus free resources for yourself and your teams.

 

1. Is the Training Source New to, or Experienced in, Remote Work?

We’ve said this since...

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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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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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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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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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Why Do Remote Leaders Need Training?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

 

Companies across the world are currently faced with questions about how to reconfigure the way to work going forward after the suddenly shifting to remote work in response to COVID-19. Each week a fresh slate of executives are announcing adjusted remote work policies. For example, Chief Operating Officer, Sabine Keller-Busse, of UBS Group AG recently announced that as many as a third of its employees could work remotely on a permanent basis. In numerous sectors, including insurance, banking, media, and tech, the trend toward adopting hybrid-remote work models is spiking and becoming a defining feature of the future of work.

 

Often these announcements include detailed plans for what reopening co-located offices might look like, but what does that look like for employees who remain virtual? We fail to see the same level of care put into outlining a plan for the sustainability and productivity of remote workers. We created...

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Preparing for Emergency Remote Work

Published March 4, 2020  |  Updated January 21, 2021

Quick Access Guide:

Why we’re talking about this
Emergency Remote Overview
Resource: Emergency Remote Checklist
Resource: Unexpected Remote Work Course & Remote Workday Module
Sustainable Remote Roadmap
Resource: Company Remote Effectiveness Assessment
Still Have Questions?

 

Access the Placeless Playbook for strategies to transition from suddenly remote to sustainably remote

 


Frankly, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is not a reason we want to be talking about remote work. We've hesitated entering into the now trending conversation, as it's a serious issue that is affecting lives and livelihoods across the globe. However, as we see
companies turning to remote work as a potential solution to help the stem the spread of the infectious disease, we have additional concerns: 

  • At a company level: Only 30% of business leaders feel their organization is well prepared for the rise in remote work.*
  • At...
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