(And other stories from a Rooster Wrangler)
Remote work is fast becoming the new normal and for a good reason. First, employees and freelancers love the freedom of working from anywhere, and second, the pool of available talent is dramatically larger when you aren't limited to your city for workers.
With more and more families exiting to big cities for that elusive work-life balance a tree/sea change is by no means odd anymore. Lots of people I come across are working a few days from their home in the mountains, farm, beach or whatever!
John McGrath, Real Estate mogul and Agile People Partners client, has commented “Sydneysiders are leaving in growing numbers and relocating to major regional centres within commuting distance or cutting ties with the big city altogether and moving to coastal seachange areas or regional treechange areas for a complete lifestyle make-over. In his opinion, we’ll see more Sydneysiders making a complete seachange/tree change in the future due to the following trends:
- More retiree buyers
- Decentralisation due to technology
My family included. Two years ago we chucked in the 9-5 life and a great place in North Sydney to move up to the lovely Hawkesbury on acreage where we breed alpacas. We call it Elmhirst Alpacas. In fact, at a recent Board meeting I attended, 4 out of 9 present were dialing in from their houses scattered about regional NSW.
Our kids love it – chickens, dogs, alpacas. Lots of room and a small country school. We manage like most couples – the google calendar from hell, so our clients don’t see the madness that is our world, but we love it!
Managing your remote workers
Whether your remote workers are actual employees or people you outsource to, it's important that you manage them effectively to ensure consistency and productivity.
With that said, the ability to work remotely is a huge incentive to many employees, you can easily have a loyal, productive and satisfied team of workers to help you and your business succeed. Here are seven ways to accomplish just that:
1. Provide the right tools
Your workers need tools that work. They need to have access to files, information, tasks, deadlines, updates, news and more. Be sure that everyone is on board with the right tools. Slack, Asana and Trello are three excellent examples of tools that can help you run a remote team.
2. Create a company culture
Yes, you can create culture even if the entire team is remotely scattered. Your culture is your values, your way of doing business, your communication style. Each person who works for you or with you should be privy to your values. Understanding and being aligned with your values create a sense of loyalty and community even among those freelancers you outsource to and never meet in person.
3. Communicate clearly
Be sure you are always communicating clearly. Double-check. Ask them lots of questions. Don't assume. Be sure you only work with remote employees and outsourced talent who possess excellent communication skills. Find ways to communicate that work.
4. Have an onboarding process
This is super important and helps facilitate 1, 2 and 3.
5. Set clear expectations
It goes without saying, but it's all too easy to forget to set expectations early on. Be clear and consistently revisit those expectations. Have goals, timelines, and hold people accountable for their deliverables.
Think you’re up for that sea/tree change?
This was my Wednesday morning!
Rehoming a rooster is easy! Jason, my husband, managed that while dropping Heidi, our daughter at ballet - because that's what parents talk about in the country nowadays.
Lovely lady says she'll pick him up Tuesday afternoon - brilliant I say.
Go to get Seamus ( that's the rooster's name, cos of his "shameless" tendencies with his girls. I had already been for a decent run & to the gym & had done enough exercise - Seamus led me on an impromptu set of sprint intervals around the paddock.
If alpacas can smirk, I saw 4 smirking alpacas yesterday & could hear the Benny Hill theme song. Seamus 1/Mel 0 and husband mildly amused at the story.
I'll get him in the morning. Up I go, stealth mode, I'll catch him sleepy & still in bed. No chance - call in reinforcements after a couple of go's - Jason, in clean work clothes in the middle of the paddock - eyes pleading "what was wrong with our Nth Sydney life?" - "shut up - get the box ! " Seamus 0/Mel victorious!
Halfway to pre-school, Seamus in the car, heading to the pre-school car park where all shady rooster deals take place... much squawking & flapping - the flipping rooster has escaped & is flapping around the back of the car! Heidi, my 3year old, wants him to sit next to her with the seat belt on, "cos is dangerous isn't it Mum?” Eloise, my 5 year old, squealing & burying her head in her lap. I pull over, deep breath, take a sip of coffee - forgot the sugar - dammit!
Seamus re-contained, as I try not grabbing his scrawny neck! Heidi crying cos she can't see him & I'm looking for a stiff drink before 9 am. Glancing at the clock anxiously, knowing that conference call is going ahead with or without me.
Seamus handed over, new family thinks he looks lovely.
Best wishes big guy! I'll miss your antics. Don't screw it up with those nice people.
Remember, to talk to your remote workers – they’re not all living the dream every minute of every day! Oh and that conference call, I made it with a minute to spare - never a doubt! Phew!