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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

10 Practices of Productive and Inclusive Hybrid Teams

 

Sixty-nine percent of companies intend to involve some sort of “hybrid” in their workforce location plans for the fall of 2021 and into 2022. Yet, these setups are uncharted territory for many teams. Finding what works for your organization will involve experimentation. But, you can learn from those who have done this before. We reached out to experienced hybrid teams to ask about the practices they’ve established to ensure their teams are inclusive and productive.

We specifically wanted to focus on how teams overcome challenges that can make hybrid work harder, such as:

  • In-office vs remote workforce inequities
  • Remote employees left out of decision-making
  • Unprepared leaders
  • Executives out of touch with workplace realities

Here are some routines from a wide range of teams worth considering as you experiment with your own setups.

 

“At Loom, our very own asynchronous video messaging tool is foundational to how we communicate, collaborate, and...

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7 Ways to Build an Effective Remote Team

Hrishikesh Pardeshi is the co-founder at Flexiple, a fully remote bootstrapped company with $2 million+ revenue. He's passionate about remote working and has also built Remote Tools and Remote Clan.

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


 

It’s been a while since the world had to go through a sudden shift to working remotely. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to go remote, the reception was mixed. Companies had to restructure their teams, find remote practices that work well and ensure that there was no loss of productivity, all at the same time. Given the suddenness of the situation, this definitely wasn’t easy.

In a remote environment, the way a team functions is very different from a co-located setting. Teams have to find what works best for them and effectively coordinate with each other. Processes such as hiring and...

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20 Habits of Healthy and Productive Remote Teams

 

Successful remote teams understand the need to develop the fundamental skills necessary to function efficiently and effectively in a distributed environment, but they also iterate on best practices that work for their particular organization. We reached out to fully remote teams and companies to ask “what are some habits or rituals your team uses to stay healthy or productive?”

Here are some habits they shared that we can all learn from.

 

“Schedule flexibility is key to health and happiness, and GitLab is consistent about prioritizing time away from work. Every Friday is a meeting-reduced Focus Friday; About once per month, the entire company shuts down for Friends and Family Day. 

In 2021, we piloted an experiment in Async Weeks: every sixth week, my team clears all non-critical meetings from our calendars to create space for deep work and innovation. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a wide-open calendar and all the time you need to...

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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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Let’s Play! How to Create the Perfect Blended Virtual Retreat Experience

Our Workplaceless team is proudly fully remote and globally distributed. However, we still get giddy whenever we get the chance to connect in person, and we normally aim to meet in person once or twice a year. With the travel restrictions in 2020 and into 2021, we weren’t able to make it happen, but we all needed the opportunity to connect as if we were together. So we set out to plan a synchronous and asynchronous virtual team retreat.

 

Planning the Retreat.

We started planning two months prior to our targeted retreat timing.

  • Select a planning committee. We wanted elements of our retreat to remain a surprise, so we selected a small planning committee and delegated responsibilities for organizing activities based on expertise and interest.
  • Set goals. Outlining goals for the retreat will help team members see value in the event and help them focus on the aspects that are most important. Thinking about purpose first makes planning easier, because you’re less likely...
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24 Tips for Inclusion on Hybrid Teams

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 30 seconds

 

“I’ve been doing this for over a year, I’ve got it figured out and don’t need to develop skills.” This is the 2021 fatal mindset flaw for managers of remote employees. Reminder: emergency remote work doesn’t develop the same habits you’ll need for sustainable remote work. And critically important as offices reopen, hybrid is harder than everyone working fully remote.

Hybrid teams have an increased risk of inequitable experiences between in-office and remote team members. Establishing policies, practices, rituals, skills, and benefits that actively level the playing field and focus on inclusion will prove critical to the health and success of hybrid teams. Here are important themes and helpful ideas to get started.

Craft policies with clarity and intention.

One attendee referenced the quote “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”

1. As we emphasize in our Placeless Playbook,...

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Experienced Advice for Leading Hybrid Teams

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

 

Have you heard? Hybrid’s the word.

Hybrid’s the word (is the word, is the word that you heard)

It's got a groove, it's got a meaning

Hybrid’s the time, is the place, is the motion

Hybrid’s the way we are feeling

via GIPHY

 

Most executives still see the need for some in-person interaction and physical offices—63% according to this PWC report. This increased presence of hybrid work requires shifts in working practices and behaviors, especially for leaders. To unlock proven practices for leading hybrid teams, we welcomed Meaghan Williams, Remote Work and Inclusion Program Manager at HubSpot and Scott Wharton, VP & General Manager, Video Collaboration Group at Logitech to share advice at our most recent Networkplaceless event. 

In the words of Meaghan, “Hybrid work requires us to pivot from a reliance on in-person communication and collaboration towards a more intentional, asynchronous, and...

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Setting Boundaries for Remote-Friendly Teams

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 40 seconds

 

Boundaries are important. They’re important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and they're important to maintaining healthy relationships. In a professional setting, where you may not have control over some decisions and priorities, it can be challenging to define, set, and enforce your boundaries. For remote and hybrid teams, a culture centered on trust is crucial for getting work done and for supporting one another by expressing and respecting boundaries. Establishing and maintaining this culture is a critical responsibility of remote team leadership. 

In this article, we walk you through how to set daily, goal-oriented boundaries for yourself, but also how leaders can ensure boundaries are used effectively for remote and hybrid teams.

 

Setting Individual Remote Work Boundaries

To start setting effective boundaries for yourself, complete the following steps:

  • Identify Areas of Your Life and Days that...
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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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