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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

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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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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How to Improve Remote Collaboration

By Casey Zheng, Growth Marketing Manager at RemoteHQ. RemoteHQ is a collaboration platform for modern remote teams to optimize their virtual productivity. 

 

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

 

With a new normal of working remotely for the foreseeable future, teams must learn how to better collaborate in order to maintain high performance. It isn’t surprising that many employees who recently tried remote work for the first time prefer it to being in an office. The flexibility remote work provides has been a game changer for most people. A July 2020 Gartner survey found that 82% of company leaders will allow employees to continue working remotely at least part of the time, and almost half said that their employees may continue full-time remote work. 

Companies must now prioritize creating a consistent and sustainable...

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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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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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Virtual Volunteer Opportunities Round-Up

Pre-pandemic many remote professionals expressed having more time to connect with their communities, especially via volunteering. Unfortunately, as the pandemic wears on, there are two powerful impacts: remote workers are feeling increasingly disconnected and isolated, and non-profits are experiencing a shortage of volunteers.

We're sharing some volunteer opportunities that allow you to give back to communities in need while you continue to stay safely at home.

Please share more ideas with us and we will add them to this round up!

 

Schoolhouse.world

"Schoolhouse.world is a free, peer-to-peer tutoring platform on which anyone, anywhere can receive live help, earn shareable certifications in the topics they learn about, and have the option to become a tutor in the topics they master. The current focus is on high school math and SAT prep."

 

Goodera's KarmaHub

The KarmaHub is a repository of handpicked virtual volunteer opportunities. With opportunities in 90+...

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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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