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A Crash Course in Remote Management

Curious about managing teams while working remotely? Watch this free webinar for best practices.

Remote work is a prominent topic lately, as people around the world are doing their best to live their lives and keep themselves and their families safe and prepared during the COVID-19 outbreak. The impact of this outbreak is felt across societies and cultures as well as in the workplace.  

Automattic, the company behind, is a primarily distributed company with more than 1,000 employees across 76 countries. I’m an engineering lead, currently working on the Developer Experience team. As Automattic has grown, we’ve learned a lot about working remotely and across time zones, and have shared insights on what we see as the future of work on the Distributed podcast, hosted by our CEO, Matt Mullenweg. 

This week, Nicole Sanchez, the founder of Vaya Consulting and an expert on workplace culture, and I had an opportunity to co-present a Crash Course in Remote Management, a free one-hour webinar hosted on Zoom. Nicole has previously held social impact and leadership roles at GitHub and the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Nicole and I walked an engaged audience through proven practices and what they’ve learned about leading, communicating with, and measuring the success of remote teams. Participants offered insightful questions, leading to lively discussions around:

  • Collaboration and relationship-building.
  • The cost, benefit, and ideal frequency of bringing teams together for face-to-face interaction (in general, if not as commonly right now).
  • Communicating and prioritizing messages across a variety of channels. 
  • Encouraging people to go outside, exercise, spend time with family, or otherwise step away from the computer (also known as being “AFK,” or “Away From Keyboard”) without the fear of being judged or anxiety over being less productive.

Some companies are encouraging employees to experiment with working from home, which can feel very different from in-person and office work. If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the full video recording of the course:

Matt’s latest blog post, “Coronavirus and the Remote Work Experiment No One Asked For,” is also worth a read. For more information and advice on COVID-19, please visit resources from the CDC, World Health Organization, and other health authorities.

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  1. RISE

    The COVID19 crisis will definitely change how we operate as a global culture. I believe we will see many more working from home, not just through the crisis, but into the future as well. This is just one way in which our systems will change. And why not, we have the technological capabilities. The downside is we don’t want to miss out on human to human contact.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Andrea Frazer

    I think about this a lot lately, not so much because of Coronavirus but just writing remotely. I’ll be thinking more now! Thanks for this post. And good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My Haute Talk

    Thank you. I’ll pas this along to some VA’s that I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. max

    I am affected by the virus too…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. justscreening

    This is some knowledgeable content. Great writeup.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jknapp

    Good blog post!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Sheryl's Light

    I have worked remotely before. I started in 2001 and stopped in 2016. I was a chatmaster at one of those pay to play Bingo sites. I had to learn from the very bottom for I was late in purchasing a computer only because of the urging of my children. You do learn how to stay connected with your co-workers who are scattered all across the U.S. and even in the U.K. and London. My co-workers and customers all met after a year at my first Bingo job in Los Vegas, Nevada. That was fun! I miss it and haven’t worked on-line since my last time working.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. BigCityJJ100 JoverJ Music

    Thanks for the information

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kurt Stevenson

    I’ve only ever worked in the military so I didn’t really need to know it, but I’m very surprised at how many companies don’t utilize remote work/management.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. erinransom

    My husband’s aunt has worked from home for decades and absolutely loves it. She said it’s very different and requires discipline (kind of like online courses) but can provide a more open schedule for kids and life itself. Good post.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Dr. Anupama Rahalkar

    Nice reading this. I have been thinking on how companies, corporates, educational institutes can ensure smooth working and maintaining productivity levels. Is there some way for monitoring employee performance remotely? I have tried recommending ‘ Work from Home’ to people in my social circles as it can save so many resources but I am always asked what about productivity? Will people actually ‘Work’ ?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. guangjoe

    Thank you for sharing this with us. In these trying times, it is of the utmost importance to see these opportunities for growth and professional development. I’m the Deputy Head of an International Primary School in China, where we are all working hard to overcome the difficulties of remote teaching and learning, as well as management and leadership strategies. Feel free to have a look at my recent posts on this topic.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. vickynagy10

    Very interesting!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. jakewelchvalueact

    Super insightful!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. demanditsinc

    I worry about the sudden rush to remote working, the problem is most people won’t do proper due diligence with cyber security. Many people who install teamviewer never limit it to their account, even IT providers. This is a scary situation, and if any recalls that 9 months after the last polar vortex hospitals saw a increase in births, I worry if a few months down the road we will see a dramatic increase in cyber-security events.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. albertnwanne

    Absolutely significant in this global technological informative age.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Walt B.

    What advice do you have for employers that have trust issues around allowing employees work from home?

    Liked by 3 people

  18. matthewbrannellybrisbane

    Informative post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. albertnwanne

    Absolutely necessary in this global information dissemination century.

    Liked by 1 person

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