A Comprehensive Guide to Empowering Effective Remote Work
in collaboration with
We introduced the Placeless Playbook in April 2020 to provide transparent guidance for companies rapidly shifting to remote work setups as a result of a global pandemic. A year later, much of our advice remains the same, but the way companies and individuals think about remote work has changed. Companies are now taking steps to integrate remote work as part of the new normal. However, adopting a sustainable long-term strategy that includes remote or hybrid teams requires dramatic shifts in mindset, infrastructure, and capability.
McKinsey & Company reports that companies looking to attract top talent and remain competitive in their industry will have to integrate some form of remote work. Companies that fail to implement sustainable remote work practices will be susceptible to the following mistakes that can seriously impede business continuity:
- Putting off strategic decisions, challenging work, and collaboration
- Attempting to recreate everything in the office in a virtual setting
- Spending all day in synchronous meetings using video conferencing technology
- Failing to align expectations amongst all stakeholders
- Failing to prepare leaders for managing distributed employees
- Lack of digital tools or resources designed for distributed employees
- Failing to create an environment that enables equitable experiences and outcomes for all employees, regardless of location
We’ve designed this playbook to be highly practical in a format that assigns ownership. Effective remote work is a collective effort and requires both commitment and alignment throughout every level of an organization. Our Placeless Playbook outlines the steps people at all levels of an organization need to take to achieve healthy, high-performing, and sustainable remote and digital-first business models.
As an executive leadership team, your visions and actions will set the stage for a successful hybrid or fully remote organization. Employees across the organization will look to you for guidance and support so it’s critical you’ve addressed the key elements needed for effective remote work.
Step 1: Assess
Step 2: Set a Hybrid or Fully Remote Vision
Step 3: Allocate Financial Resources
Step 4: Model a Placeless Mindset
Step 5: Empower Decision-Making and Action-Taking
Human Resources and People Operations Teams
Every benefit and challenge of remote work impacts and is impacted by human resources—without adequate support, employees will not be successful in remote and hybrid environments.
Step 1: Support Psychological Safety and Provide Burnout Prevention Resources
Step 2: Refine and Communicate Your Remote Work Policy
Step 3: Adjust Your Hiring Strategy
Step 4: Reevaluate Your Total Rewards
Step 5: Ensure Remote Inclusion is Aligned with Your DEI Principles
Learning & Development Teams
With any large scale organizational shift your employees will need support. As leaders in the learning and development (L&D) space, you will be expected to provide insight and guidance into what support your employees will need.
Step 1: Build Your Remote Learning Strategy
Step 2: Determine Gaps in Remote Skills
Step 3: Decide to Build Internal Training or Hire Experts
Step 4: Establish Structure for Remote Growth Opportunities
Leaders transitioning to adjusted workforce structures will need to flex new skills and integrate new practices that empower both autonomous and collaborative work from your team members. Your employees will look to you for guidance and examples as to how remote work will work for them.
Step 1: Prepare Yourself to Lead
Step 2: Optimize Your Remote-First Tool Stack
Step 3: Establish Practices for Async Communications
Step 4: Create Structures to Enable Outcomes-Based Performance
Step 5: Combat Distance Bias by Modeling Trust and Empathy
So much of individual successes in remote working environments are a result of the support provided by companies. However, there are steps every remote professional can take to ensure they set themselves up for success in work from anywhere.
Step 1: Determine Where You Work Best
Step 2: Upskill Yourself
Step 3: Establish and Communicate Your Boundaries
Step 4: Cultivate Your Remote Social Capital
Step 5: Advocate for Yourself
Remote freelancers, depending on their area of expertise, may need to reference advice in the individual contributor or team leader sections above, however, there are a couple of actions we recommend freelancers intentionally focus on.
Step 1: Proactively Address Isolation
Step 2: Reflect and Act on Your Remote Career Goals
Step 3: Grow and Showcase Your Expertise
About the Workplaceless Authors:
CEO and Founder
Chief Marketing Officer
Director of Customer Experience
Learning Experience Lead