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7 Actions for Effective Async Communication and Collaboration

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

 

Organizations continue to tackle remote and hybrid work challenges like overwork, Zoom fatigue, burnout, disconnection, and interruptions. Leaders, managers, and their teams recognize that finding the right balance between async and sync communication is critical. But coming from a work context where decision-making, creative thinking, and connection all take place in a co-located office environment, professionals often struggle to shift to this new paradigm of async-first work.

Before you start to learn how to implement asynchronous communication and collaboration, it’s critical to understand both:

But HOW can teams implement impactful async communication? Here are the seven fundamental steps to implementing effective asynchronous workflows, collaboration, and communication:

 

1. Establish a Placeless...

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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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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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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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More Effective Virtual Meetings in 9 Easy Steps

For remote teams, meetings are essential to building relationships, communication, and collaboration. But virtual meetings can also be one of the biggest time-wasters for remote teams. 

Which of these situations sound familiar?

  • You're at a meeting that you probably don't need to attend, but attendance is mandatory.
  • All anyone is doing at the meeting is presenting updates.
  • There is no interaction between meeting participants.
  • One person, or a couple of people, dominates the discussion.
  • The meeting runs long.
  • There is no clear agenda.
  • By the end of the meeting, people are confused about next steps.

Virtual meetings don’t have to be this way. 

Our recent Networkplaceless conversation focused on building and facilitating more effective virtual meetings. Mark Tippin of MURAL, Waikit Lau of RemoteHQ, Megan Eddinger of Workplaceless, and all of our attendees shared experienced advice. Here are some critical steps you can implement today to make your virtual meetings...

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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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The Guide to Giving Feedback Remotely

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

 

One of the top mistakes remote managers make is failing to give timely and meaningful feedback. Improper—or a total lack of—feedback quickly leads to disengaged employees and poor performance.

As many leaders continue to work through how to best navigate virtual interactions with employees, we’ve developed a quick guide on how to give effective feedback, remotely

 

When providing remote feedback, DO: 

 

  • Be specific. Use extended messages to communicate the purpose and direction of your feedback. Highlight specific examples of what was committed to, what was said and done, as well as the implications.
  • Be prompt. It’s important to establish and communicate timelines for performance reviews. However, when addressing specific situations remote leaders must share the feedback as soon as possible. Even if you and the team member are not able to connect immediately, reach out via Slack or email and...
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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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Kid Approved! Tips to Get Work Done From Home

 

By Jacqueline Zeller, CMO of Workplaceless. Currently working from home alongside two kids at home.

 

As many more of us are shifting our working habits to work from home, parents are increasingly finding themselves at the intersection of both emergency remote work and emergency online learning. Even for those of us who have been working remotely for years and have found solutions to some of the challenges, working from home with kids (#WFHWK) is a whole new ball game.

 

Step One. Forgive yourself. (This underpins everything that follows.)

There will be days that will feel like productivity triumphs and days that feel like the triumph is solely that everyone is still alive and fed. Forgive yourself. And forgive your teammates. This is hard and no one has a perfect solution. 

 

With expected stay-at-home timelines continually being extended, looking back at the original two week guidance seems like a utopia. On top of that, advice is conflicting. Set a...

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