Out of Office

Archive for the ‘Leaders and Managers’ Category

Build Their Judgement Part One – Break Down the Walls

The best leaders share their wisdom and experience with their team members, to build their judgement and give them greater power, responsibility and authority. Traditionally, this has been done in person, so this needs new skills for working with distributed teams.

In this first part of our three-part series, we’ll talk about “breaking down the walls” for your team members, so you help them understand how their role fits with the rest of the team, organisation, and the outside world.

Listen to the episode here:

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Design Thinking for Distributed Teams

Employee engagement is an important factor in the workplace, because an engaged workforce is a motivated workforce, and a motivated workforce is more productive. How do you design the ideal workplace in a distributed team? Ask your in-office workers and remote workers for help, and you’ll be surprised by the depth and breadth of their ideas.

Listen to the episode here:


Sodexo published a report, 2017 Global Workplace Trends, which includes a section about design thinking for workplaces.

Continuous Improvement in Distributed Teams

As a leader, you know the importance of constant, consistent, ongoing improvement in your systems, processes, and operations. You might be engaging your in-person team members in this continuous improvement, but are you fully involving your remote team members as well? They bring more diversity, offer novel insights, and fast-track your growth and evolution.

Listen to the episode here:


Managing Conflict in Distributed Teams

Conflicts are inevitable in any workplace, but can be particularly challenging in distributed teams, where team members don’t work in the same office. As a leader, it’s important to understand these differences, so you can prevent conflicts before they occur if possible, and address them promptly when they do occur.

This is a two-part episode.

Part One: Preventing Conflict:

Download the MP3 file here

Part Two: Addressing Conflict:

Download the MP3 file here


4 Tips For Leading Teams Of Freelancers

Freelancers often don’t get the recognition they deserve – and as a result, managers and leaders don’t get the best out of them. If you only see them as small, inferior parts of your team, you won’t fully tap into their range of expertise and depth of skills.

A Fast Company article recently listed four tips for getting more from your freelancers:

  • Freelancers need motivation too
  • Respect the limits of specialization
  • Untangle roles and keep responsibilities clear
  • Don’t lose sight of your own job in the process of managing others’

Read the full article here.

Managing Conflict in Distributed Teams – Part One

Conflicts are inevitable in any workplace, but can be particularly challenging in distributed teams, where team members don’t work in the same office. As a leader, it’s important to understand these differences, so you can prevent conflicts before they occur if possible, and address them promptly when they do occur.

Listen to the episode here:


Build Trust with Virtual Team Members

In an office, people build trust through personal interactions. They work in the same building, park in the same car park, and eat at the same canteen or local cafés. They bring in birthday cakes, send their children to the same schools, and walk their dogs in the same park. They take the same holidays, support the same sporting teams, and watch the same TV shows. Even a culturally diverse team has many things in common.

This isn’t as easy with virtual team members because they just aren’t in the same place. You might try to re-create the same opportunities – for example, insisting they come in to the office from time to time – but that’s only a stop-gap solution, isn’t always possible, and can even cause resentment.

Instead, recognise that telecommuters build trust through work-related cues. They look for reliability, consistency, integrity (keeping promises), and responsiveness as indicators of trust. This is good news for you, because these factors also directly affect productivity and performance. Get these things right to build trust, and you boost productivity at the same time.

On a practical level, here are some standards you can set for your team’s everyday operations:

  • Set clear deadlines, and commit to meeting them.
  • Clarify expectations about how people respond to requests (for example, e-mail responses within one working day).
  • Choose appropriate communication channels based on these expectations (for example, using the phone, not e-mail, for urgent requests).
  • Set deadlines and milestones for a reason, and explain the reasons (“I need that delivered by 1.30 tomorrow, so I can present it to the board at 2pm”).

Don’t just dictate these as arbitrary rules; explain why they are important and how they affect the team’s performance. For example, somebody who delivers a report one hour late might see it as a minor problem, but it could affect a team member in another country and time zone, who can’t complete a presentation slide deck in time for an important meeting the next day.

Because these issues are so important to building trust, monitor them closely and act quickly if you see problems.

Virtual Collaboration and 5 Myths About Leading Virtual Teams

Many managers admit they don’t know how to manage and lead virtual teams effectively — particularly when it comes to trust, communication, managing deadlines, and achieving consensus in decision-making. Even worse, there are some common myths about virtual teams, which can cause friction within the team or even seriously damage its performance.

You can watch the recording here:

The five myths:

  1. Myth #1: It’s too difficult to build trust
    Reality: It’s not more difficult; it’s just different.
  2. Myth #2: It’s too difficult to build synergy
    Reality: Synergy is intentional, not incidental.
  3. Myth #3: Team members feel too isolated and detached
    Reality: Some personalities thrive under remote work arrangements.
  4. Myth #4: Interpersonal skills aren’t important
    Reality: If anything, interpersonal skills are even more important.
  5. Myth #5: You can’t measure and reward performance
    Reality: Sometimes you can do it even better.

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“The opportunities are out there so make the most of them”

“It was all useful and I enjoyed the webinar (although in this case not applicable to me)”

“reminder of how to include others in virtual activities”

“That moving away from a physical office is not as scary as I thought”

“Collaboration tools and debunking the myths”

“Debunking of the 5 myths”

Subscribe to future webinars here.

The Future Of Work Is Here: Are Your Managers Prepared?

“The future of work” is becoming a more common phrase now, as organisations try to predict how their workplaces will change in the near future. Clearly, Out of Office work is one of the biggest changes, and it affects other areas of work as well.

A recent article, The Future Of Work Is Here: Are Your Managers Prepared? lists five trends for leaders and managers:

  • The Positive Impacts of Remote Work
  • Technology’s Impact on Productivity
  • Big Data
  • Changes to Organizational Structures
  • Inclusive Leadership

Read the article here.

Collaborative Overload

Collaborative Overload

We now have so many ways to collaborate – faster, more efficiently, and with more people. But is collaboration always such a good thing? Too much of it can lead to collaborative overload, which stifles decision-making, puts pressure on key people in your team, and defeats the purpose of having a smart, diverse, team.

Listen to the episode here:

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