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Remote work deep dive: Are you a track or football team?

Lucidly has been 100% remote since its inception. Our team members have never once been in the same physical space in our 3-year history. Wild, right? But not uncommon these days.

Recently, we had an all-team deep dive where we explored the advantages and disadvantages of being a remote company.

(“Deep dives”: weekly, all company, hour long gatherings to discuss various topics that mostly have nothing to do with our work, but sometimes do. The purpose is to expand our thinking and build trust.)

We started by sharing our current experiences. Some people expressed their needs were being met while others voiced their needs weren’t being met. Can you relate?

Addressing the challenge

This is one of the great challenges of the time: How do employers accommodate the diverse needs of its employees?

  • Do we need more or less asynchronous vs. synchronous meeting times? What technologies facilitate the best collaboration?
  • What works should be done in-person vs. remote?
  • What matters to us in this post-pandemic era?
  • What type of company culture do we want to foster?

These are very important questions to be asking now and beyond because things will evolve over time.

As our discussion continued, it became even more clear that having clarity on individual employee needs can be impactful when designing a thriving remote team. We designed the Hero Index Assessment to help people understand their internal energy patterns, preferences, and motivators. When we compared our assessment results to needs being met or not, patterns emerged. For example, there are those that lean more autonomous while others lean more social. Personally, I lean more social, and after making a recent shift to a more autonomous role at lucidly, I’ve felt more disconnected. The assessment made it clear that we’re a diverse team that has to be conscious and intentional about the type of remote experience we’re co-creating real-time.

Which type of team are you?

When it comes to thinking about the type of remote company you are, the question that came up for us was, “Are we a track or football team?” On a track team, athletes compete in mostly individual events with the occasional collaboration on a relay team. In the professional world, this would be considered a mostly asynchronous company. In contrast, on a football team, athletes need to effectively coordinate plays throughout the entire game. This would be a mostly synchronous company. Through our discussions, we deduced that we are mostly a track team. However, we agreed that there are many times where we would need more collaboration.

This led us to, Whose responsibility is it to ensure those needs are getting met? The people with managerial responsibilities or the individual contributors?” Turns out, it’s a bit of both. I had not been scheduling meetings on others’ calendars because I thought they were busy and wouldn’t want to be interrupted (showing little gaps in their calendars). But no one ever said they wouldn’t be able to meet with me—it was an assumption I was making. Our conversation reminded me that, being remote, I must be proactive and intentional, otherwise those meetings won’t happen—especially with colleagues that prefer autonomy. It also showed the opportunity to create experiences for greater inclusivity, collaboration, and connection.

So, we landed on experimenting with “rounds.” This would involve project-based teams meeting at some regular cadence to check-in, provide updates, offer perspective, resolve stuck points, or anything else they deem important. (We’re ironing out the details.)

The bottom line

Fun stuff. Important stuff, really. After all is said and done, the only way to wrap your head around this as an employer and as an employee is by understanding your and your team’s needs and through discussion. No strategy is a strategy—and usually a bad one. Talk it out, generate ideas, and agree on a time-bound experiment. Then, circle back to reflect at the end of the quarter, and adapt accordingly.

I will leave you with this great insight from my colleague Doug Magnuson:

“There is an increasing desire for all employees to connect to the purpose of the organization, and I believe they will prioritize the time to have synchronous meetings (remote or same place) to be part of that and connect to others in the organization.”

✌🏾

P.S. I invite you to take the the (always free) Hero Index Assessment with your team and have a discussion around it as it pertains to how to best design your remote experience. Need some more guidance? Book a FREE 1:1 no-sales-pitch strategy call with a lucidly advisor today.

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