Blog Remote Life: How do we not just survive, but thrive!

The way we work has changed drastically within the last month or so. This opens the door for problems we have never experienced before. The goal of this blog is to share our principles of remote work, life and operation. We have trial and error-ed these principles and hopefully they can help you navigate these times. They are a work in progress and would love for you to share anything that has worked for you.

We got a lot of inspiration from Invision who have a great couple of blogs about remote work.

Remote life provides new hurdles,but it is also an opportunity to improve our operating practices and work more productively than ever before. It will rely on:   

  1. Clear team operating practices
  2. Overcommunication – asking for what you need, when you need it. 
  3. Holding onto our culture 

Team operations

The expectation is we can find solutions that work for us even in this crazy environment. We all will have to become somewhat creative problem solvers. Below is an example of what that may look like and what we are doing internally:

Team innovation

  • Create a company-wide slack/communication channel #remote-work-hacks to share 1) ideas/articles for what could improve how you work, and 2) give feedback on existing plans.  
  • Try to experiment with things that may improve your productivity flow.
  • Host a brainstorm with your teams (if you haven’t already!) on ideas to stay connected and productive. 

Social connection

  • Host EOD optional “virtual water-cooler” events – which will break-out into small groups of 3-4. Intent is to debrief/shoot-the-shit.

Communication

Thoughtful, proactive, and clear communication helps us stay connected to our teams, work, and company goals. In a remote environment, we have to use different techniques and tools.

General Best Practices

  • Don’t make assumptions. If something isn’t clear–ask. 
  • Thoughtfully over-communicate and get comfortable with being more forward. 
    • Ask for what you need and note when you need it.
    • Be specific with regard to desired outcome and the time by which you need it.
  • Start by believing in positive intent, as both a giver and receiver of information.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch communication methods in the middle of a conversion. 
  • Air on the side of over communication. Send info to anyone who may need it.

Calendars

  • Keep your calendar up-to-date and publicly visible. 
  • Life is different now, many of us have people in our homes that need our attention throughout the day, be it kids, parents or pets. Try to make a consistent schedule for both work and home and make it clear on your calendar.

Meetings

  • Allow yourself more time than usual for socialization and catching up in meetings
  • When having discussions in small groups, make sure to push the problem and outcome to a shared communication channel. 
  • 1:1s with managers should continue on a weekly basis 
  • As a general rule (there are exceptions of course) – meetings “to align” should be email/docs, meetings to “decide” should be kept but made explicit and cut in half, and meetings to “build relationships” should be made more frequent.

Culture

I know times like these can be scary, but they also create opportunities for breakthroughs. We all have an obligation to our customers, partners and investors to maintain our focus and continue our mission. Luckily, we have some pretty great values that can help:

Ownership

Many of us are trying to get our life in order and caring for family, as we should be. However, in the moments where we are covered down on those essentials, how can we still win, vs. just survive, in this environment? How can we unlock the creativity of incredibly talented team in this environment?

Innovative (also adding in some boldness!)

Foster more direct communication and remove blockers to moving fast. The ask for this group is while human nature is to avoid change – it’s on all of us to embrace and lead change. 

Team-first 

Support each other and also take care of ourselves. Don’t forget to block chunks out of the day for lunch, for exercise, for time with loved ones. Be respectful of people’s time and space, and when they are/aren’t working. Also if anyone just needs to chat, let us know. I know this can be a time of loneliness. No one needs to get through this alone. 

In addition – here’s a great resource on how to avoid isolation and burn-out from remote work (here).

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