5 Keys for an Effective
Fully Remote Team!

Katie Wight | November 22, 2023

“Butts in seats” does NOT equal productivity.

Odd that we have to say this in 2023, but forcing people to be physically present in an office does not automatically lead to higher productivity. In fact, stats say the opposite. Beyond the wild amount of time saved by not having to commute every day, giving employees the autonomy to manage their own schedule and structure their day based on how they function best will lead to better work and happier humans behind it. Not to mention that we could never attract the high caliber talent — almost all of whom are women — if this was our philosophy. It’s an antiquated, misogynistic mindset that serves no one except the egos of the paranoid leaders at the top.

Accountability is key.

You should really take more time off.

In fact, workers with full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus according to a new report from Future Forum. Meanwhile, Elon is arguing that working from home is morally wrong while treating workers as totally dispensable, which is unfortunately all too common.

Start-up culture is notorious for expecting every employee to work as hard as the founder, but at the end of the day, that’s unreasonable unless you’re being compensated accordingly. Not to mention, a recipe for high burnout rates and turnover. Don’t be one of those brands who tout “unlimited PTO” but everyone is too afraid or overloaded to take a day off. Instead, foster an environment where everyone acknowledges that we are entire humans outside of work and we have each others' backs — because employees who feel supported are happier, more confident, and better at their jobs.

We don’t even know how to respond to Elon on some of his delusional claims, but there are some ACTUAL challenges with remote working. Our team works across time zones from Los Angeles to Greece, so communicating efficiently is essential — knowing when it should be a meeting, or an email, or a Slack, or maybe a Loom? You get the picture. And as most of us quickly realized during the pandemic, it can get lonely. Really lonely. Working full-time 40 hours a week alone can feel like 60 hours when you’re not talking to other people. While taking the time to catch up with coworkers at the start of a meeting, scheduling time to meet up for coffee, or even just getting out of the house to work around others for a bit definitely helps — it’s still not the same.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, here are some of the tips we’ve found most helpful to overcome them while building a fast-but-sustainably-growing business:

  → TRUST your team.
A huge part of the success of our team is the trust we have in one another. We take responsibility as leaders to define a clear, sustainable strategy and how we’re measuring success. And then we’re able to collaborate on creating systems and workflows and a way of working together that works for everyone. If you foster an environment of collaboration with these systems in place, there’s less of a need to verify and make sure things are getting done. Unless someone has done something to call your trust into question, there’s no reason to waste your valuable time micromanaging. Empower them instead.
    Visibility/transparency is key. We’re HUGE believers in time blocking in calendars, creating intentional blocks for both solo time and time to connect with others. We also have visibility to our team’s calendars, so we can see when people are working on projects and plan accordingly.
  → Come prepared. We set really clear expectations for meetings so everyone shows up prepared the same way so that the meeting can be as efficient and effective as possible.
   → Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Communication is even more crucial with remote teams to keep everyone engaged and informed, so we use tools like Slack and Trello to keep people in the know and projects moving along.
   →Don’t work in silos. We’ve worked to create a collaborative work environment where people feel a sense of shared purpose and responsibility.

So yes, while people can and do take advantage of remote work, that’s the exception and not the rule. Remote and hybrid teams can work wherever the f* they want without sacrificing productivity or an engaged team by focusing on clear communication, mutual trust, and support. If you empower your team with the respect and the tools needed to do their best work and be a whole human being, you’ll create a foundation for a productive, successful company. Let Elon sit over there sounding like your cringiest micromanaging boss (who somehow still never understands the work you’re doing), we’re busy getting shit done.