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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

Learning from 2020 and Guiding Better Remote Work In 2021

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds 

 

This time last year we were focused on supporting businesses who were building sustainable remote teams as part of their growth and people strategies. Then March 2020 happened, and everyone was suddenly thrust into remote. It wasn’t planned, and it certainly wasn’t strategic. Like everyone else, our business needed to adapt. 

 

It was important for us to remain true to the core of our mission—to positively impact sustainable remote work opportunities—but we had to do this in a situation that was in its essence unsustainable. We jumped into action, leveraging our years of experience, to help. We also recognized early that this sudden shift would significantly alter remote work adoption, and impact how businesses perceive remote work for the future.

 

Here’s what happened in 2020:

  • Refreshed or newly launched 5 of 6 self-paced remote work elearning courses
    • Unexpected Remote...
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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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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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Remote Work Communication Challenges - Are You Prepared?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 20 seconds

 

You’ve seen the announcements by now—Twitter is allowing employees to work from home forever, Zillow through the remainder of 2020, Nationwide will be permanently hybrid—it’s safe to say that the shifts to remote work have accelerated rapidly. But with all of these sudden expanded remote work adoption policies, are organizations ready to tackle some of the biggest challenges of remote teams at scale? Always rising to the top of the list is challenges in remote communication.   

 When teams are distributed, what are the more effective ways to share information, transfer meaning or understand one another? We gathered as a remote community during our May Networkplaceless event to brainstorm in detail the types of challenges in remote team communication. 

We first asked attendees to consider the four components of communication:

  • written
  • verbal
  • nonverbal
  • visual

Fifty-nine percent...

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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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Challenges to Building Meaningful Virtual Relationships at Work

We hosted our March 2020 Networkplaceless event on a regular schedule prior to the surge in remote work and school closures due to social distancing recommendations to stem the spread of COVID-19. These are the results of those conversations, however, elements are applicable to many more professionals as they enter virtual working relationships for the first time.

 

Humans are social beings. While this may manifest itself differently in every individual, it's important to recognize that interacting with colleagues is essential to building and maintaining trust in any team. And that trust is a critical element in any team’s success.

Continuous interpersonal interactions aid in achieving business objectives, reaching personal development goals and frankly keeping our sanity. These interactions become more important, yet more challenging, when team members are distributed. By not being physically located next to one another, employees miss out on the impromptu conversations...

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Preparing for Emergency Online Learning

 

Quick Access Guide:

Why we’re talking about this
Emergency Online Learning Guidelines
Resource: Trainplaceless Remote Facilitation Mini Course
Resource: Emergency Online Learning Checklist
Additional Resources

 

As COVID-19 continues to spread, educational institutions are updating their contingency plans. Italy has ordered the closure of all schools and universities. Inside and outside the US, responses from universities have varied from completely canceling classes to putting lectures online, while public school systems are considering shutting down completely. 

The implementation of social distancing in education parallels the actions taken by businesses to encourage or require employees to work from home. Workplaceless has pulled together a Guide to Preparing for Emergency Remote Work full of immediately actionable resources to specifically meet the urgent remote work needs of those organizations. Yet, we also recognize the immediate need for resources...

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Preparing for Emergency Remote Work

Published March 4, 2020  |  Updated May 1, 2020

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 Readiness 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 a...
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A Positive Impact on Remote Workers and Remote Companies.

 

“Workplaceless aims to positively impact both the supply and demand of sustainable remote work opportunities.”

 

We believe in the power and potential of remote work, and we’ve been working to define for you how we make remote work work for the long-term. Let’s break down our mission.

The demand of remote work refers to the number of workers seeking remote or flexible job opportunities. People are seeking remote work for a wide variety of professional and personal reasons. 

Entrepreneurs, working parents, freelancers, travelers, digital nomads, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, students, military spouses, retirees, and anyone who wants better work-life balance might be able to find work where they couldn’t before.

However, when we take a look at remote-first companies, such as Doist, we see that the number of job applications far outpaces the number of roles available at 1,000+ to 1 ratio. The likelihood of getting hired...

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