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Insights for Working, Leading, and Learning Remotely

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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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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