Managing Your Remote Workforce

The remote workforce trend shows no signs of slowing down. According to an article by FlexJobs, there’s been a 159% increase in remote work since 2005.

Fine Point implemented its first remote hire about 18 months ago, and it’s been an exciting challenge. I didn’t think it would be much different because we’ve had a full remote-work benefit for a long time. It always ranks as everyone’s favorite benefit, so how would having a remote staff person be any different? However, it is, and we’ve learned a lot.

Managers must now alter the way they manage – It was a bit of a challenge, but one that our managers were soon able to accomplish.

One of the things I try to do frequently is attend staff meetings remotely to see what it’s like and to make sure the technology is working properly. Doing this helped us notice that even minor cross-chatter can make a listener feel left out.

We also asked one of our remote team members to take on the additional role of Remote Culture Manager. Her role is to help to extend our culture and core values among the remote team. This includes acting as a trusted resource for the remote team members as someone they can go to for guidance, questions, and advice, outside of their team and manager. This has been a beneficial way to get feedback about how we can better manage the remote team


CEO, Fine Point Consulting


Client Success Story – American Provenance

“They looked at what we were doing and translated their suggestions in a way we could understand and relate to.”

Kyle LaFond, Founder

 

Kyle LaFond is a former middle school and high school science teacher. He was amazed that his students were using so much of a popular body spray, so he investigated what they were actually spraying on their skin.

“I was shocked to discover they were using such harmful chemicals, so I started showing the students how to make their own without all the harmful additives. They were the driving force behind starting my own company.”

 


Set a Winning Tone with Your Employee Handbook

The employee handbook (AKA the “culture code”) is a great tool for new and existing employees to learn the company’s mission, values and norms. The most basic elements of a handbook are expectations about everything from the dress code to employee benefits. With a growing importance placed on company culture, an effective handbook can be the driving force for reaching this goal. In short, a winning employee handbook should reflect the tone of the company it represents.

When it comes to an employee handbook, the Valve Corporation, an American video game developer, has driven home a winning formula. It even contains a step-by-step guide to surviving the dreaded first day! The easy going and humorous style covers all the basics with flair, embodying the leaderless “flat” structure that Valve bases its company on. This page turner is filled with a mix of pertinent information and hilarious illustrations, a stark contrast from straight yawn-worthy legalese.

While the Valve Handbook style may not work with every company, the ‘takeaway’ here is your handbook is not only a reference source, it’s also an opportunity to show off your unique company culture.


Pixar: A Pro-Collaborative Workspace

In 2000, Steve Jobs relocated his recently-purchased company, Pixar, to an abandoned Del Monte canning factory. His original plan called for three buildings, with separate offices for computer scientists, animators, and Pixar executives. Being the free-thinker that he was, Jobs scrapped this idea. Instead of three buildings, he visualized a single space, with a central, plant-filled atrium.

The primary challenge for Pixar, as he saw it, was getting its different cultures to work together and collaborate But for Jobs, it was not just about creating an open space: he needed to make people go there.

Even after completion, Jobs saw the still-separated offices as a design problem, employees were staying in their comfort zone! He solved the problem by shifting the mailboxes to the atrium. He then moved the meeting rooms, the cafeteria, the coffee bar, and the gift shop to the center of the building as well.

“The philosophy behind this design is that it’s good to put the most important function at the heart of the building. Well, what’s our most important function? It’s the interaction of our employees. That’s why Steve put a big empty space there. He wanted to create an open area for people to always be talking to each other.” – Ed Catmull, former President of Pixar


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