What History Can Teach Us About Crafting Better Remote Workplaces

Renegade Tours
Corporate January 18, 2018 Featured Image

Remote workplaces are the way of the future, but the past can teach us a lot about how to manage a remote workplace.

No matter how you’re communicating with your remote team, you can ensure your team’s success through better management. With enough preparation, effort and even a little bit of luck, any remote workplace can be a successful one.

So, how can you get your remote team ready for any challenges that may come your way?

We took a look through the history books to deliver three tips for creating a more successful remote workplace.

#1: Learn a Shared Language

“One if by land, two if by sea.”

According to the folklore, Paul Revere learned this infamous set of signals to alert a whole militia and prepare its troops for the Revolutionary War. Using these lanterns and then spreading the word through a system of over thirty riders, Revere alerted his fellow colonists to the attack plans of the British.

However, this plan would have never worked if a shared vernacular was not agreed upon ahead of time.  

Without a plan, Paul Revere’s exploits would be the sad story of a man who thought that lanterns made incredible decorative pieces. Instead, these lanterns told the colonists all they needed to know about impending doom.

You and your team may not be trying to win independence from a ruling nation, but a shared set of messages and meanings is still vital.

Whether you communicate via Slack, email or video-conferencing, understanding each other is pivotal in a remote workplace. Take a moment to sit down with your team, establish clear communication guidelines and make sure everyone is on the same page.

On Slack, these guidelines may look like acceptable abbreviations, best practices for channel creation or guidelines on which files to share in a message. For instance, at Museum Hack, we use emojis to mark a message as read, a task as completed, or to vote on a topic or decision being discussed. Over email, these practices may include standardized signatures, which helps clarify which role the emailing party plays in the company, or suggestions for message length. On video-conferencing, you may want to address dress code, a speaking order or rules on how to get the attention of the group.

When executed poorly, remote workplaces can quickly devolve into communication chaos, with each party speaking over the other and causing further confusion. When your team learns a shared language, order can be kept and productivity increased.

#2: Get It In Writing

The Founding Fathers knew that in order to win their independence, they had to win two wars against England: the war of weapons and the war of words.

This is why the Declaration of Independence was written. It wasn’t enough for the Founding Fathers to seize control of the colonies, they had to convince the world that it was their right to rule independently. By communicating their reasons for declaring war on Britain, the Founding Fathers justified their cause and gained attention from across the world.

In the same way, writing can be the best way to communicate a clear message to your team. Your words may not carry the weight of war, but sending an email (or, in our case, a Slack message) to clarify a meeting time or a particularly confusing set of instructions goes a long way.

Not only will putting a message in writing ensure that it is delivered clearly and accurately, it also creates a paper trail for your remote team and a way to reference past events.

#3: Develop Relationships

Skipping to more recent history, we can find many examples of relationship building as a key factor in business success. For example, take former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg famously started Facebook as little more than a social experiment in his dorm room, and now is considered one of the most influential men in the world. As an early user of Facebook, Steve Jobs knew the Zuckerberg was on the right track, and often met with Zuckerberg to help him develop his business plan.

Jobs identified talent in Zuckerberg at a young age and helped develop Zuckerberg into who he is today. This relationship was valuable, not only because of a personal connection between the two men, but because of how they shared goals and expertise.

In the same way, taking your team under your wing, sharing the experience you have learned and helping develop them into more productive and happy employees is a great way to foster the strength of your team.

Not only will you help your employees to grow, you will also earn their trust and learn more about their perspective and potential. Through bonding with your employees on a professional level, you can begin to assign them tasks that they are equipped for, ask their advice when you need it most and build your team in a way that fits each other’s strengths.

Are You Ready?

Take a moment, think about your remote workplace and plan out your next move. No matter how you go about creating a better remote atmosphere, the fact that you put effort into the remote experience will impact your team members.

So, how do you plan on improving your remote workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

written with 💖 by Museum Hack

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