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Supporting Psychological Safety and Culture in the Midst of Emergency Remote Work

By Candace Giesbrecht, BSW, CPHR, Strategic HR Consultant.

 

We're grateful to Candace for sharing her expertise. Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily held by Workplaceless itself.

 

It’s noisy out there, isn’t it? Alerts, bulletins, updates, and so much information. At the risk of adding to the clutter, the thing I most want you to hear is—you’ve got this. 

 

As a leader, being thrust into emergency remote work is more than disruptive. The changes in workspaces, tools, and workflows would be difficult enough. We’re additionally concerned about the effects of isolation, triggers related to pre-existing mental health struggles, kids also at home with schools shut down, wondering if our vulnerable family members will have access to the support they need when they need it, and all the varied considerations that each individual employee is encountering. We do not yet know how the...

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Remote Team Building Activities: Create Trust While Distributed

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 28 seconds

 

By Katie D. Scheuer, Curriculum Specialist at Workplaceless 

 

Ice Breakers. Team Builders. Structured Adult Activities.

For some, these words inspire an array of emotions: dread, joy, terror. For me, it’s pure and radiant “this is what life is all about” happiness. Team builders for me are what sports are for others.

It started with theatre games at summer camp (“This is a tick. A what? A tick. Oh, a tick! This is a tock!), and in college I insisted on being “Ice Breaker Chair”, a made-up role for my volunteer organization. I host “Teach Me Something New” parties with my friends. My dreams come true when Charades are played on ski trips and when baby showers have improv games led by zany aunts. 

When I started working remotely, I wasn’t sure how I would handle working by myself after years of leading workshops, teaching, and coaching live on college...

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Tips for Successfully Leading a Virtual Cross-Cultural Team

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 52 seconds

 

By Teresa Douglas, an American professional living in Canada. She is the co-author of Working Remotely: Secrets to Success for Employees on Distributed Teams.

We're grateful to Teresa for sharing her expertise. Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily held by Workplaceless itself.


 

I walked out of the meeting with housing services feeling like I wasted my time. This was the second group session I attended as the finance chair for our local neighborhood association. After (what seemed like) a highly productive pre-meeting email discussion, I had expected to leave with a decision and a course of action. 

Instead, we spent the hour covering the same points discussed in our email chain. The only decision we made was to schedule another meeting to discuss this “very important issue.”

I’ve spent more than ten years as a people and operations manager....

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Expert Advice for Solving Hybrid Team Challenges

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 27 seconds

 

Buffer and AngelList’s 2020 State of Remote Work reveals that 43% of companies are hybrid, meaning part of the team is full-time remote and part of the team works out of the same office. However, an additional 24% of companies allow individuals to work from home on occasion. That’s a total of 67% of companies who are navigating the complexities of remote vs. in-office dynamics. We wanted to understand in more depth the challenges that these hybrid-remote teams face on a daily basis. 

 

At our Networkplaceless event, we specifically asked attendees, “Does your company have a plan in place to address hybrid team communication gaps?” Thirty percent of respondents said yes, 39% said no, and another 30% said not sure. (Note: if your team members aren’t sure, it’s probably time to revisit your policy and make communication improvements).

 

In order to provide solutions to some of ...

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Top Challenges of Hybrid-Remote Teams

Remote work is growing—rapidly. Work-from-home roles have grown by 173% since 2005. But that remote work trend means different things for different people, and for different organizational structures. Some teams are 100% remote, but more often we see teams that are a mix, or hybrid of different working models. 

So when we refer to different working models, what do we mean?

 

  • Co-located: A company or team whose employees all work in the same location.
  • Distributed: An company or team whose employees all work remotely (also referred to as “fully distributed” or “remote-first”).
  • Hybrid: A company or team with some employees who are co-located and some who work remotely (also referred to as “remote-friendly” or specifically as “hybrid-remote”).

 

You can reference all of this terminology in our remote work dictionary

 

Within a hybrid team model, there can be variances of experience: if there’s only...

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Grounding Principles for Remote DE&I Strategies

“Remote work has a particularly unique opportunity to offer more diversity and have a more robust, diverse population… But it certainly in and of itself will not resolve diversity issues.” 

Jordyne Blaise, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist with remote team experience, shared this sentiment during her guest speaker presentation for our December Networkplaceless event. The topic of discussion was, “Exploring Solutions to DE&I for Remote Teams”—admittedly, a lofty goal to accomplish in a 25 minute presentation. However, Jordyne provided us with a framework to establish solid DE&I strategies and challenged us as individuals to instill new habits with DE&I in mind.

Jordyne shared the following grounding principles. While DE&I strategies are not one-size-fits-all, these basic principles hold true regardless of the type of organization or current status of DE&I commitment and strategy development. 

  1. Achieving...
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Your Guide to Remote Rewards & Recognition

Whether your team is fully or partially distributed, you know that people are your greatest priority. Talent is the true lifeblood of any company, and employee motivation is one of the key tenets of any healthy organizational culture. In a number of global surveys and reports, remote workers themselves have shared what drives them: a sense of purpose, the ability to work independently, and the chance to accomplish more while achieving a better work-life balance.

If this isn't news to you, you've likely given some thought to how you can specifically encourage your team not only to do more but do better—a focal point for managers who care about progress and well-being of their peers in addition to the trajectory of their company and their own careers. However, a roundup of employee recognition statistics reveals a disconnect: workers acknowledge the need for recognition, but leaders are not equipped with the knowledge, access, or decision making power to provide adequate...

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Why Remote-Focused L&D Belongs in Your Remote Business Strategy

 

"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this oft-quoted proverb holds true in modern work scenarios as well. Anyone who has worked with external consultants conducting one-off training workshops and intensive sessions know that the knowledge shared typically begins and ends with those present. 

Far too often, dust winds up settling on even the liveliest learning and development experience, and desires to make big internal changes give way to the inertia of the status quo. It’s unfortunate that such a significant investment in terms of time and money is often allocated toward a short-term impact.

These isolated experiences that lack sustained attention to an organization's culture can lead to a general avoidance of learning and development (L&D) programs. Rather than approaching these efforts strategically, some companies have sidelined training or left it up to those...

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Sponsorship Creates Pathways for Remote Career Opportunities

The top two challenges highlighted during the September Networkplaceless discussion about remote opportunities were: 

  1. Lack of leaders creating and fostering opportunities 
  2. Lack of relationship building opportunities 

During our October Networkplaceless we welcomed Julia Taylor Kennedy, Executive Vice President at the Center for Talent Innovation, who shared expert advice on how the area of sponsorship could apply directly to remote work environments in addressing these issues.

In all work environments, it’s critical to establish and foster relationships that encourage career growth, however, it’s also necessary to think through objectives and expectations for each relationship. Four categories of professional development relationships include: 

  • Coaching. A coach shares advice on closing discrete skill gaps.
  • Advocacy. An advocate helps a colleague by endorsing an idea or project. 
  • Mentorship. A mentor provides a safe space for...
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Keeping Remote Talent: What's Your Company's Plan for Growth Opportunities?

Stagnancy is an innovation killer. In today’s marketplace, companies and remote leaders that want to encourage and sustain a culture of innovation, recruit and retain top talent, and maintain a competitive advantage must have and communicate a vision for creating career growth opportunities inclusive of their remote teams and remote workers. 

It is vital for leaders to stay tapped into the concerns of their remote employees, who too often are left wondering: 

  • “What kind of influence will I have working from home?”
  • “What if no one notices my hard work?”
  • “How limited are my next potential remote roles?”
  • “How will I ever get promoted?”
  • “Why take that kind of risk at this point in my career?”

They also worry that working remotely puts them “out of sight, out of mind”—uninformed of new opportunities and overlooked for advancement. It is crucial that remote leaders and people operations...

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