Remote working

How to Lead a Remote Startup in 2022

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What happens when remote working is fine for most of your team but not all of the team? Here are some thoughts on leading a remote team (with lessons over 6 years).

Virtual fatigue? We are hearing more and more how people are getting tired of virtual meetings. How depression has increased and how mental health is now more important for HR than performance management!

I had an interesting conversation with a 93-year-old on how to stay healthy, fit and ‘all there’. Its called the 3 Hs – hands, head and heart. You need to use your hands (physical activity), your head active (by learning) and your heart (the social element) to keep healthy, happy and human.

So how do companies keep the social element to ensure their staff remain happy, mentally and performing well – remotely? Let me share some tips we have learnt along the way.

1.    Communicate (a lot)

We have always worked remotely, but we have learnt along the way that more communication is required. While your staff wont be having a ‘water-fountain’ talk they will be having a ‘whats-app’ talk about the latest rumor. We started sending a weekly CEO email to the staff explaining what is happening in the background – while reminding everyone on our common purpose. That includes new hires, people leaving, new technology changes, marketing updates etc. So everyone has the same info – on paper! NB point here that we missed for the first few years.

2.    Team Meetings (together)

We are spread across 3 provinces so we cannot all get together in one office all the time, but we can get the provinces together. Once a month each province gets together at 1 place (home/rented office) for some face time, and some fun. We ensure we have a dress up once a month – where someone wins best dressed (themes change monthly). This adds some fun, some breaking the ice for the meeting in case you have never met the others. Important to have some face time for each member.

3.    One on Ones (virtual)

Our team leaders have a one-on-one meeting either weekly or monthly with each member of the team. This is critical to see how things are going and allow the team member to share any concerns. One on ones are so important to allow the one person to talk, share and ask questions. It can be done virtually. Treat others how you would want to be treated – comes to play here.

4.    Employee surveys (anonymous)

Every quarter we do an employee survey! It is critical to see what the whole team is saying – allowing anonymous answers. This is so the management team can pick up any concerns quickly and resolve for the full team. We share the results with the team and how the executive team aims to fix the problems raised. (And then we implement)

5.    Dashboard (weekly)

Our data team sends out a weekly dashboard so everyone knows where we are WEEKLY! This is critical as we have an annual goal, which is split over quarters and monthly – but we keep an eye on the scoreboard weekly. This gives everyone a heads up for where we are in regard to bonuses, incentives and goals we all set together. It gives a collectiveness for the whole team and on direction.

To borrow from Elon Musk ‘Companies are just a collection of people united by a common purpose’. Find those people – motivate them – give them the tools – repeat your common purpose and Just Do It as we say! Remotely or not.

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