Month: August 2017

So what have I learned so far about remote working…

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For the past 5 months I have been looking into the area of remote workers…I have learned much and I know I have only begun to scratch the surface. So, as summer comes to a close I want to hit pause and reflect on what I have gleaned so far.

  • Remote work is alive and well across all industries, in all sizes of organizations from start ups to those that are well established.
  • Remote work is not a ‘fad’…it’s here to stay and will only grow in it’s reach and impact.
  • People are at the centre of a successful remote workforce
  • Many reasons exist for people to choose this form of work: freedom, flexibility, increased productivity, and greater opportunity for creativity to name a few.
Unsure of the destination, but the journey is delightful!
  • There are also challenges inherent to working remote: limited communication, lonliness, poor or limited technology, time management, self discipline, focus …however, each can successfully be overcome.
  • Trust is the key ingredient that will make or break a successful romote working arrangement.
  • Communication needs to be intentional and customized to each situation.
  • Face to face interactions still need to happen, even if only once every 6 months.
  • Distributed vs co-located work arrangements does not necessarily mean organizations will save money…that can’t be the motivation.
  • Organizational fears that remote workers will slack off is unfounded; research actually shows the opposite is true…remote workers have a tendency to over-work.
  • Great locations like Co-Lab in Kelowna are available around the world so that remote workers (and those amazing digital nomads) have a place to connect and collaborate.
http://okcolab.com
  • The resources available on this topic are excellent…people continue to learn, to perfect, to mentor, to share, and to dedicate their efforts to support others entering into this exciting world of remote work.
  • Working remote is not for everyone…and that’s ok.

So where do I go from here? I keep learning, keep experiencing, keep asking questions, and do whatever I can to share what I learn with those who want to know.

Some ideas? Continue to include this critical aspect of work with my business students (both in class and on-line); create a case study on the topic; be a resource to managers transitioning from supporting co-located teams to supporting distribute teams…pretty exciting from where I sit as a remote worker, business coach, and professor

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Remote Working ~ Intentional Communication

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According to Jeff Robbins with Yonder,

All communication needs to be intentional.

Seems fairly simply and straight forward…but is it?

Think about it…how much time do we honestly put into choosing our words? To be fair, some of us take time to measure and analyze our thoughts before giving voice to them while others are more apt to give voice and then reflect…or not!

In face to face interactions, even though our thoughts have been voiced, we generally have the opportunity to ‘take back’, or clarify as soon as we realize the message was not received in the manner intended. Not so easy to do when communication is shared through virtual channels.

Not only do we need to pay attention to the content of our messages, but also to the channel, the breadth of who receives the message, the frequency of communication, and the amount of information shared.

Working remotely, or virtually, calls for excellence – and intentionality – in communication. In fact, it can be our life line to clients, colleagues, contractors, and bosses! So how can we ensure that we are communicating to the best of our ability…and beyond? How can we be so intentional about our communications that ‘delete’ is not the first reaction when our name shows up on someone’s screen?

I believe this can be as simple as 4WH…yup, the old who, what, where, why, when, and how. Let’s build that out…

It's for you!
It’s for you!

WHO addresses the receivers. Who needs the information that I am communicating? Who really needs to be included in the communication? Do I honestly need to hit ‘reply to all’?

WHAT considers the core or content of the message. What is the most important information that needs to be communicated?

WHERE thinks through the location of both sender and receiver. Where should each be when the communication takes place. Does the communication call for interaction that is best suited for a phone call, FaceTime, or Skype? Is privacy of utmost importance? Is dependable internet vital? Should there be limited noise?

WHEN pays attention to the timeliness of the communication. When does this information need to be communicated? When does the receiver need to receive this material: Immediately? By the end of day? No urgency at all? I like this excerpt from Fried and Hansson’s Remote: Office not Required

Questions you can wait hours to learn the answers to are fine to put in an email. Questions that require answers in the next few minutes can go into an instant message. For crises that truly merit a sky-is-falling designation, you can use that old-fashioned invention called the telephone.

HOW thinks about the channel of communication. How can I communicate this information in the most concise manner without compromising the content, urgency, sensitivity, or clarity?

WHY…perhaps the most important question of all. Why am I sending this message? What is the purpose? What is the expected outcome? What is my motive?

When you think about it, we can think through each of the 4WH filters in a very short amount of time, but the result of doing so will have long term benefit. Ready to give it a try? Ready to be intentional in your communication?