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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

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. 

 

Symptoms of burnout

From...

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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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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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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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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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