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BONUS: Remote work tips for successful distributed teams by Lisette Sutherland

Lisette’s journey into remote work began approximately 20 years ago when she started working for an online project management tool. What made this tool unique was its objective of bringing scientists together to find solutions to the aging problem. This experience got Lisette thinking about the possibilities of removing distance as a barrier.

Due to the nature of her work for the tool vendor, Lisette had the opportunity to work remotely while being a tour manager for a music band. At some point, someone suggested that she start a podcast on remote work, which sparked her interest in exploring and sharing her knowledge in this area.

To get her main remote work tips in one neat, freely available kit, download Lisette’s remote work super kit here.

Unveiling the Challenges of Remote Work: Communication Overload, Bonding Struggles, and More

In this podcast, Lisette discusses the most common challenges in remote work, which can be summarized as follows:

    1. Missing osmotic conversations: Remote workers often feel the absence of spontaneous, informal conversations that used to happen naturally in office settings.
    2. Information dissemination issues: There is a difficulty in effectively sharing and disseminating information as compared to traditional workplace setups.
    3. Meeting and communication overload: Remote work can lead to excessive meetings and communication, which can be overwhelming and hinder productivity.
    4. Blurred boundaries between work and personal life: Remote workers often struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as they tend to work at all times and from any location.
    5. Difficulties in bonding and closeness: Remote work can create a sense of detachment and lack of closeness among colleagues, leading to challenges in building strong relationships.
    6. Challenges with organizing work for introverts and extroverts: Remote work requires finding a balance between the needs of introverts and extroverts in terms of communication and collaboration styles.
    7. Need for inclusive work practices: There is a genuine need to develop work strategies that cater to the needs of both extroverts and introverts, fostering a productive and inclusive remote work environment.

The Great Debate: Office or Remote? Lisette’s Thoughts and Practical Advice

Lisette shares her thoughts on the “go back to the office” versus “remote first” debate, offering insights and practical tips based on her experiences. She highlights virtual co-working as a potential solution to address the challenges faced in remote work. Lisette mentions Superkit as a handy resource for virtual co-working.

She expresses confusion regarding the ongoing debate, pointing out that the past three years have demonstrated the viability and success of remote work. However, she acknowledges that certain company cultures and teams may thrive in an in-person environment, emphasizing that some individuals simply enjoy working together physically.

Lisette discusses the importance of team building, noting that many companies are struggling in this aspect. She suggests creating agreements within teams and shares an example of a team member who organizes collaborative work sessions every Monday. Lisette emphasizes the need to consider the purpose of the office and recommends virtual co-working as a solution.

She explains that virtual co-working involves opening a Zoom call and working together while discussing tasks, simulating the experience of sitting next to someone in an office. This approach has helped create a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Lisette offers tips to make virtual co-working successful, such as trying different approaches based on individual preferences, being mindful of video fatigue, and establishing team-specific etiquette.

Overall, Lisette’s insights shed light on the complexities of the office versus remote work debate, advocating for a nuanced approach that considers company culture, team dynamics, and the potential benefits of virtual co-working.

Remote Success Strategies: Lisette’s Advice for Scrum Masters

Lisette offers crucial advice to Scrum Masters, guiding them through the challenges of remote work. She highlights the usefulness of her SuperKit, a remote working kit available at collaborationsuperpowers.com/superkit. This kit equips Scrum Masters with essential tools like team agreements, user manuals, and meeting agreements to enhance collaboration in remote settings.

Recognizing the importance of human connection, Lisette emphasizes that productivity cannot be solely measured by output. Scrum Masters should prioritize fostering a supportive and connected environment for their teams. They should encourage open communication and create opportunities for team members to express their needs and preferences to ensure a sustainable and productive work environment.

Lisette encourages Scrum Masters to seize the opportunity to redesign work processes in the remote context. They should explore innovative ways to visualize and share work progress, as relying solely on text-based communication might not be sufficient. Creativity in visualizing work together can enhance clarity and collaboration.

Lastly, Lisette reminds Scrum Masters of their influential role as leaders. They should model the behavior and practices they expect from their teams. By embracing and demonstrating effective remote work practices themselves, Scrum Masters can inspire their teams to follow suit and achieve success in the remote work landscape.

Building Bridges, Not Barriers: Lisette’s Insights about Conflict Resolution in Remote Work

In this segment, Lisette addresses the topic of conflict in remote work environments, sharing personal struggles and offering advice. She acknowledges that she also faces challenges with conflict, expressing her inclination to avoid it. However, she emphasizes that sometimes it is necessary to confront conflicts rather than running away from them. It is crucial to create a safe space where conflicts can be addressed openly.

In remote work, bringing up conflicts may seem more significant than intended due to the lack of face-to-face interaction. Lisette advises teams to establish a protocol for handling conflicts as part of their team agreement. One important tip she shares is to avoid engaging in conflicts over text-based communication.

To navigate conflicts effectively, Lisette recommends seeking training, specifically mentioning Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a valuable resource. She provides links to resources related to NVC and difficult conversation.

Lisette encourages Scrum Masters to consider the needs of their team members and how they handle conflicts. Understanding individual communication styles, especially in written communication, can contribute to better conflict resolution within the team.

Lisette’s resources for successful remote work

Lisette shares some resources to help you succeed in a remote work environment.

About Lisette Sutherland

Lisette is the author of the book on remote work titled: Work together anywhere. She is also a Keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and remote-working champion for individuals, teams & managers.

You can link with Lisette Sutherland on LinkedIn.

 

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