Last June 29 & 30, The Paystaff team is blessed to attend the Running Remote summit in Nusa Dua, Bali. Top speakers and thought leaders from all over the world flew in to impart their valuable knowledge in scaling up remote working operations. Why am I giddy about it? Well, it is just the BIGGEST CONFERENCE about remote working in THE WORLD.
Why Your Team Should Attend Conferences Like This
Especially for SMEs and Start-ups, attending conferences such as the Running Remote or the Working Remote Conference will help your team reach new heights! For one, your employees (and yourself) will get to have more skills to be used in your business.
You can network with a lot of people. And you might even have a greater vision and understanding of your company moving forward. Because after all, the number of brilliant people working together in your company is directly proportional to the potential and growth you can achieve moving forward.
Here is what our dashing CEO, Rica Jankulovski has to say about it:
That's why Rica made it a point to include her core Filipino remote team to raise the bar for Paystaff, her rapidly growing business offering Payment Solutions for Australian businesses with Filipino virtual staff.
After handling multiple Filipino Remote Teams for the past 10 years, Rica heard the qualms of people having their pay getting delayed, not to mention the horrible foreign exchange rates. That's why Paystaff was born just for you! Just look how happy one of our colleagues with this benefit.
If you want to be happy even further, nothing beats attending these major events in person. But not everyone can be here. So as an alternative, we will provide you a glimpse of the learnings we had in this magnificent event. Here is a sneak peek on the top-secret key takeaways from Running Remote 2019!
In remote work, you don't see your employees. You don't know if they are really working or just playing the new release of PUBG. For managers, this can cause sometimes unfounded doubts towards your workers.
Andreas pinpointed that you should trust your employees. They should have the autonomy to do their work on their most productive state and not micromanaged. Because in the first place, remote working only works with people who don't need supervision; who are driven to finish their tasks whether you are there or not.
But autonomy doesn't equal abandonment. That's why we need to "systematize trust". What does this mean? This means you should devise ways to manage autonomy with checks and balances.
For example, the work done should be transparent to the team. You can have catch-up meetings (preferably very short ones) to let everyone know what you're up to. Also, the need for deadlines and a central project management system.
You might need to experiment what works for your own business. But the point is, it all boils down to trust before everything works.
Flag Theory: The Ability to be a Totally Remote Company (Literally)
Normally when we go remote, we usually set up the company in our home country and just hire people remotely. You can now go further than that. You can actually register your company remotely!
This is a great discovery because it's like the world is yours to keep. There was even a segment in the day where 1Office CEO, Ragnar Everest talked about how to set up an actual company in the beautiful European country of Estonia thru e-residency. Imagine that?
What if you can actually legally set up a company in Estonia, have your banks in Argentina, and actually live in Thailand? With the Flag theory concept, you can now be truly remote. To check out more about Flag Theory,visit their website link here.
Effectively Managing Your Remote Team Wherever in the World
Shield Geo is a company that helps other companies hire international talent for their remote teams. And in their management, they found that you should have the values in place to grow your team together.
Two values stood out from their talk. One is the value of compliance. In their company, they aim to do the right thing. Pay the right taxes. Comply with all the employment rules in the country they are gathering talent. And amidst this compliance, you can still thrive as a growing business.
And for the second one, accuracy is greater than speed. For the name of fast growth, more and more companies skip steps in training and honing their virtual staff. This should not be the case.
For a company to prosper, you shouldn't leave out steps. One should find a balance. In the long run, it would provide fruitful benefits.
Hire Globally, But Choose the City You Can Be the Best Employer In
Shopify has grown at an exponential rate all over the world. And some of this growth can be attributed to the impeccable customer service team built by Marcie Murray.
Marcie is the director of support for Shopify with over 1000 remote workers under her wing across multiple countries. One of the secrets for their success is choosing the right city to hire in.
They aim to be the best company to work for in that certain city to work for. And it's good to know the kind of talent present in that certain area. In their case, they chose cities and countries with highly entrepreneurial spirits. Also, they concentrated on places with people adept at customer service.
By targetting these cities and providing perks in remote working employment, they attracted a lot of talent that built this solid customer service team.
Do You Need Venture Capital? Are you Venture Scaleable?
Funding is important in any business. And one way to get that is to receive venture funding from different financial institutions.
“When do you need Venture Capital?” Ultimately, you use venture capital not to start a business but to achieve your goals ultra fast from an existing thriving business. You have to have the numbers and the processes in place already.
But not all are funded. Leading to the question: "Are you venture scalable?" Many start-ups are rejected because the idea is not something that can scale that big to return the investment of the investors. For example, an online retail shop might not be that scalable compared to a marketplace model (let's say Upwork or eBay).
And you can't blame them. After all, what they want is the success of the business to have an ROI worth it of their money. It's simply business.
The next thing is, “Do you actually need venture capital?” Some folks might be happy to raise money but venture capital does have tradeoffs. For one, you are not autonomous anymore. You can't just make crucial decisions in just one shareholder's meeting. Your "new bosses" needs to be consulted.
Also, they have requirements and business practices that they might implement in your company, which you might not be keen to do. So even if you can get funding, you do have to weigh your options for your company.
Remote Work: A Solution to the Innovation Bottleneck
The world is continuously evolving. With the rate of innovation now, we are just a few more years before we see a truly flying car. And actually, there is a prototype already. Ilyas Vali, the cofounder of rLoop, was awarded funding by SpaceX for creating the first levitating vehicle in the world. And they had made it work all because of remote working!
Welcome to the future! Bright minds of science and academe are hard to come by. But with remote working, Ilyas had access to brilliant talents in the world. Who would’ve thought that this was possible?
rLoop is the organization that connected multiple collaborations and made this feat possible. Imagine what possibilities it opens up for the next millennia. Exciting!
Protect Your Time and Attention
This may be obvious but it’s so hard to balance between just being busy and being productive. One thing is your personal productivity. Are you in an environment where you can work without distractions?
But the question is, what if your virtual office culture is the distraction? Ken Weary the Vice President for Operations of Hotjar discusses how we should protect our time and attention.
With close to a hundred virtual employees, this European start-up has all the right to teach us how. Of all the tips, the best one is about meetings. Daily and impromptu meetings are the biggest productivity sinkholes in a business. Moreso, in a remote working setup.
He provided some practical tips like no agenda in place, no meeting. Beforehand, the attendees should not what will be talked about so that they can prepare for solutions before the meeting actually starts. They also have a “No Wednesday meetings” rule where they have a day for just absolute productivity. No distractions.
Surprisingly simple but effective. You might want to try it in your own business as well.
Culture Should Lead Your Team
When you have less than 5 employees, it’s relatively easy to manage them effectively. But what if you have a lot around the world? Adii Pienaar, the founder of Conversio, speaks about the importance of culture in place.
Culture is like an implied set of rules that were developed organically that determines how a company’s employees and management interact and handle situations. It’s like an invisible standard that people just instinctively follow.
Although easier said than done, one should build a culture that automatically leads your team and influences them to succeed whether you are there or not.
Who Says Remote Work Isn’t Fun?
Going up the stage with an actual pink basketball (their company logo), Zack Onisko, the CEO of Dribble, talks about handling their remote team. And how fun it actually is to be in one.
With remote work, it can be lonely without anyone to talk to or to see for that matter. But your company can be an outlier to that. Dribble devised ways to be an enjoyable company even with this setup.
It's all about being human. I mean, your workers don't even see you in person (or might not even see you forever at all), why not include your personal touch.
In managing their group, they do weekly perky calls with a different theme like “Your Worker’s Selfie Impression Call” or “Highlight your Pet Call”. There was even a call where one of the team members attending as his miniaturized muppet self. Quirky!
They also make it a point to meet in person to finally weave that close relationship with their fellow teammates. And it proves to be fruitful with their successful business.
Coworking and Co-living Spaces: The Hub for International Talent and Innovators
If you decided to be a remote worker, being productive is a must. And sometimes, your physical environment can drastically affect that productivity. That’s why coworking and co-living designed for digital nomads became a niche among travel destinations.
In their discussion, it revolved around community building. This coworking co-living business set up is not all about gathering the most people for rental income. It’s actually the collective effort to bring talent in one location so that they can possibly make a difference. You get to meet new people. And that chance encounter might be the start of something innovative.
That’s what makes these special places desirable hostels to stay in when you are working remote.
Hit By a Bus Test: Will Your Business Survive Without You
The aim of any businessman is not only to earn money but also to be not important in his/her business. It’s the ability to free up your time to do the things that are more important for you. It may be for other business processes. Or might be for personal reasons.
And Jonathan Ronzio, the CMO of Trainual, reiterated that concept. Remember the “Hit by a Bus Test”. If for unfortunate circumstances you are hit by a bus, will your company survive while you are recovering?
If the answer is no, you should rethink your processes.
As much as possible, your company should automate all that can be automated. Streamline everything that can be made easy. And delegate the decision making that can be delegated (at least 80% as effective as you).
Trainual’s tagline says it best: Do it. Document it. Delegate it. A fitting mantra for the business goal we all want.
Your Team’s Purpose is the Nucleus of the Team
A thriving business almost always has the right mix of talented people working interdependently towards a common goal. A dream team is challenging to build. That’s what Peter Ivanov, the author of Virtual Power Teams, conveyed to us.
To build a dream team, you should first establish your team’s purpose. Expressed in a formula (he is a mathematician and can't help express it this way. *chokes*):
Virtual Power Team = (P + V + I) / Self Where, P = Professional Confidence, V=Vision, I=Intimacy, S=Self
The interplay between these qualities proves to be an important formula to remember. Pretty much like a nucleus, It’s the commonality that binds your remote team together.
Synchronous vs Asynchronous Remote Working Schedules
Another panel discussion, Nick Francis (Co-Founder & CEO of Help Scout) and Amir Salihefendic (Founder & CEO of Doist) was pitted head-to-head on the ways of handling remote staff. (But to be honest, I think it became more of a “holding hand-to-hand” rather than a battle because they agree on almost all their different practices.)
The first bout is about remote working. Should your remote working team log-in at the same time, or whenever is more convenient for them?
With Synchronous schedules, you are sure to be prepared to address whenever a problem is there. And to boot, it’s easier to socialize because you can actually chat with someone.
For asynchronous schedules, it gives more flexibility and consideration to the current location of the person and might make his/her work-life balance much significance.
Both answered is should be a combination of both. Depending on your business model, there should be times that you can expect to get an instant reply with your same time frame. And there are times when contact is not needed (which might even increase productivity).
Transparency is a cornerstone of remote working. So you need to strike your own balance.
You Need to be the Grease, Not the Glue
And speaking of management, many business owners want to be hands-on in every step of their business. This is understandable. But if you’re building a large enterprise, if most of the decisions (even what laptops to buy, in the case of Nick), you will have a very hard and exhausting time managing.
“You need to be the grease, not the glue”, a quotable quote from the panel interview. As leaders of our team, we need to be the substance that makes the work easy and with direction for our respective teams.
We should not be the glue to spoonfeed and be present with them or decide of the every single time. We need to delegate decisions not only to free up our time but also to grow the leaders on our organizations as well.
There you have it! Pretty heavy top secret learnings from Running Remote 2019! If you missed the chance to attend, the next conference available for you is the Working Remote Philippines Conference happening this coming September 13 and 14.
We have invited highly caliber inspirational speakers from here and abroad to share their expertise for your remote working careers. Tickets are running out fast. So reserve your slots today! The Paystaff Team is sure to be present! See you there!
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