Remote work experts: The Remote Coaches
The Remote Coaches are a community of industry experts and thought leaders in the field of remote facilitation and coaching.
Jay-Allen Morris and Kirsten Clacey, https://theremotecoaches.com/
What kinds of challenges do you solve for organisations?
- Remote collaboration: creating engaging, effective online spaces
- Remote communication: bringing about healthy synchronous and asynchronous communication
- Team building, culture design and organisational structures in distributed organisations
- Remote training: Design training for effective remote learning and engagement
Flex for us, what’s a not so humble brag we can share with the world about you?
We’re the co-authors of The Remote Facilitator’s Pocket Guide and have spoken at events on every continent, with our biggest audience size being over 5,000 people.
You can find our book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Remote-Facilitators-Pocket-Guide-ebook/dp/B082MSK33P
What is a common pattern you’ve observed with regard to remote workforces struggling to achieve organisational alignment?
The absence of visibility and traditional alignment tools often leaves leaders feeling quite insecure. This fear can lead to over-controlling behaviours, such as an abundance of status reporting meetings and other monitoring mechanisms. Rather than taking a principles first based approach and intentionally designing what organisational alignment looks like, it's very easy to respond in fear and with control, which often creates a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy.
We've also noticed companies wanting to copy what works in other places with the belief that if it works for others it could work for them too. Occasionally companies want easy answers to problems instead of spending time understanding their own context.
What is a common pattern you’ve observed with regard to remote workforces struggling with having disjointed and disconnected teams?
We've noticed that when remote workforces are struggling with connection or the feeling of being disjointed a few things can happen:
More meetings: People tend to schedule a lot more meetings than they would in person. Part of this is because it's not as easy to accidentally connect (ie. catching someone in the kitchen to ask them a question). Another possibility is that people simply are feeling a lot more isolated and lonely and gravitate to the most familiar tool: meetings.
More mandatory fun: In response to the absence of connection companies try to force fun or social activities. While the intention makes sense, we need to be cautious of mandatory activities, given the online fatigue and the challenge of multiple time zones.
Silos become chasms: Where different teams previously may have struggled collaborating, in a remote space these silos can become chasms. Being remote amplifies existing patterns.
What are some of your favorite things about working remotely?
- The diversity of the people we get to learn with
- The flexibility of our lifestyles
- The questioning of traditional structures and opportunity to reinvent how we do work and life
How would you describe a typical day in the life of working remotely for you?
We try to create our own rhythms and rituals. For Kirsten it’s usually:
- Taking the dogs for a walk along the ocean in the morning
- Having my morning coffee and learning Portuguese
- Starting work around 9/10am
- Often popping out for coffee with friends during the day and working in the evenings as she’s a bit of a night owl.
- Having 2 coffees
- Going to the gym
- Start work anywhere between 9-10am
- Doing random chores in the middle of the day (like laundry that never ends)
- Do some work in the evenings (before downtime), like Kirsten I'm a night owl
What are your ‘must have’ remote working tools and/or networks?
- P2 - asynchronous communication
- Slack and Zoom
- Google Slides, Miro and Mural
- Hacking Remote Facilitation community network