Feel like escaping from the monotonous 9-to-5 grind? Working remotely can be a good idea as you’re away from being under the watchful eye of your boss. You now have complete freedom and autonomy over your day. However, working remotely might sound like a piece of cake, but it's actually not. As everyone working remotely is based in different cities and countries, and it becomes quite a challenge for everyone to stay in the loop.
Remote work has its own set of guidelines that one has to follow to maintain the remote culture of the company. Here we take insights into Flock’s remote operations from Sam Mallikarjunan - the Chief Revenue Officer of the company.
1. Evolution of Communication Tools
Sam Mallikarjunan, Chief Revenue Officer, Flock says,
We believe in the right communication tool for the right communication task.
Most communication tools today are built for tech teams, which makes sense since most of the early remote workers were from the tech industry.
In Flock, they use their own tool as well as emails. Sam doesn’t believe in the whole ‘email is dead’ thing. Email is still an excellent way for businesses to communicate. But they’ve taken all their bad email habits and shifted them on Flock to ensure smooth and efficient communication among team members. They’ve also integrated video conferences, calendar, emails, and more on the tool.
2. Right Communication Tool for the Right Task [What does it really mean?]
Sam Mallikarjunan said - “I have a mug that says ‘I survived a meeting that should have been an email.’ And this is something that often happens in a remote environment.”
Sam defined it with an example - that they are communicating on a video platform because it’s the right tool for this specific communication task. But if he gets one of his team members on a video call to discuss something that would have been better communicated on a messenger, therefore, it's not the right tool.
Similarly, if he sends a 500-word message to his team on instant chat, it isn’t ideal. Email would be a better platform for this.
3. Importance of Communication Guidelines in a Remote Team
Sam revealed that he’s the kind of person who can stay up all night and work but would require a sledgehammer to wake up in the morning. Remote work does allow the flexibility to do so but can significantly impact communication within a remote team.
To state this better, Sam gave an example -
Suppose, I sent a message to my colleague at 2 am on an instant chat tool. There are this expectation and urgency that comes with real-time communication that forces the colleague to respond at 2 am. On the other hand, if we have defined guidelines for sync and async communication, I would send the same message on email and not an instant chat tool.
4. Defining Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication for Remote Teams
Flock has everything built in a single place - it has an instant chat, group chat, video & audio calls, calendars, project management, and more.
When you’re working remotely, it's a highly useful tool for remote teams as teams have a single tool for all processes and communication.
From the employer’s perspective, a single tool for all operations means a single bill for all operations, which further simplifies complex tasks.
5. Communication Guidelines for Developing a Leadership Culture
When remote members of a company can work together effectively, chances are it stems from being able to communicate in an organized way. How remote employees within a company interact determines whether projects will run smoothly or be fraught with challenges. That’s how leadership comes in, with a smooth communication process comes the great leaders.
At Flock, they recently put up a ‘Game of Thrones’ video, which was actually made by someone on their support team who runs a wildly popular YouTube channel. Without one-on-one human interaction with the employee, they would have never found out about it if they only choose to communicate asynchronously.
A lot of managers have dropped the ball and think they don’t need one-on-ones anymore. Since all major communication can be done asynchronously, the scope of operations and tasks are limited for team members. Both sync and async communication guidelines are essential for remote teams.
6. Should One Replace Email with an Instant Chat Tool?
Even a coin has two sides, so, just like a coin, Emails have their perks and limitations, and so does instant chat tools. To conclude, they surveyed 2000 employees and found out that if you try to replace email with an instant chat tool, your employees start feeling more isolated.
This is because instant messages restrict the urgency of human connection in a virtual environment, which is usually achieved through video calls or regular one-on-ones. When managers replace this communication with instant chat tools, the employees feel disengaged, and it increases burnout and isolation. Therefore, Emails and instant chat tools have their significance.
7. Managing Culturally Diverse Teams
Sam Mallikarjunan says -
You’re not a great manager if you don’t understand the emotional aspects of an employee’s life and their relationships with the rest of the team.
As per Sam, managers need to focus less on tools and boards and more on the people. They need to acknowledge that team engagement is a part of their job.
For instance, if a team member is facing burnout and he is unwilling to talk to them about it, there is definitely someone at his competitor organizations that’s willing to do it. Disengagement is also one of the primary reasons why you lose great talent.
Facebook offered one of his employees 3x the salary that they paid him. Regardless, he stayed with Flock because he could observe growth opportunities and a healthy work environment with them. Well, that’s a sign of a big fortune company!
Well, these were the insights of Flock’s remote operations. I hope you find it helpful in running your remote organization or working remotely in your current company.
As we are reaching closer to the future of work, i.e., Remote Work, we must get to know the complete knowledge of remote work environment not just as an organization but also as employees seeking flexible opportunities.
To get the perfect insights into remote work, join The Remote Work Summit that covers the entire spectrum of discussion on Remote Work and become an expert today. Also, get to know Trello’s flexible work culture.