This series on “Working Remotely” is inspired by “Remote,” the book by the 37Signals guys, and by my own experience working remotely for many years.
Process – Many large organizations have processes and policies in place for the range of activities and responsibilities of their departments and employees. These need to be updated to include the challenges and nuances of working remotely
Expectations – Communication and process help manage expectations. These can include flex time (do remotes need to be available 9-5?), workload, turnaround time on projects, self-improvement, and so on.
Team Building and Personal Growth – Lots of companies do wonderful things to deepen relationship and help build a stronger team. They have an “idea room,” ping-pong room, the occasional happy hour, luncheons, celebrating milestones, discounted kick-boxing at the local gym – the list is endless and activities are limited only by one’s imagination.
These are all very good and should be encouraged. But what about the remotes? Employers must find ways to include remotes in these activities. This can include joining by video feeds, planning quarterly or biannual visits to the mother ship, attending webinars and conferences, and making arrangements for similar initiatives locally – like subsidizing a yoga class.
A quick question to wrap-up: do you know your company’s core values or mission statement? No? Then you should find out and write it down.
As I reviewed this post, a common theme emerged: employer, manager and remote worker are all responsible for creating and ensuring that elements of the company’s culture extend beyond the office walls. Working together, they can create a nurturing environment that not only leverages, but strengthens the culture.