Shauna spent 4 years working in partnership for eCommerce site platforms Shopify and Kooomo before founding her own business Operate Remote in 2018 to help businesses create remote working environments that create highly engaged and productive teams. Although the Operate Remote business is only a couple of years old it has already been name done of the Top 10 Leadership Development Coaching Companies in Europe!
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When Shauna was managing relationships with Shopify, she was working in Ireland with a team across 8 or 9 time zones and reporting to Shopify’s main offices in Canada.
There were a lot of complexities at that time largely because Shopify was not yet digital by default.
Everything from performance management to communications were complicated by her remote status and she was trying to work through them both as part of a team and on a personal level.
Shauna said that managing her own day was difficult and she really had to dig into time management and self awareness. She got so curious about the subject that she went back to University to study innovation management and based all of her research around remote teams.
What she found was that a lot of people were coming to her with the same challenges she had experienced at Shopify.
And in the eCommerce space especially, people were having a hard time attracting and retaining talent in a single location and they didn’t know how to get started building remote teams.
Primary Factors For Successful Remote Work
Shauna found that the complexity of optimizing remote teams is very much two headed — there is the operational nuts and bolts and the leadership style that makes remote work successful.
She found that the mindset shift leaders and contributors need to make for remote teams to be successful is actually the more difficult of the two.
Certainly 2020 has been a trial by fire for remote work and it has exposed huge challenges for remote workers.
Primarily, there is a lack of self awareness and a lack of coping skills foremost remote workers who became burnt out in 2020 — logging on average an extra 4 days of work monthly.
In addition to the difficulty of adapting to remote work, a lot of people are struggling with distractions and worry from the stresses the year has brought.
Time Management for Remote Teams
In 2020, a lot of people made a similar mistake with time management by trying to replicate the office with lots of virtual meetings.
But, as people quickly learned, the key to successful remote management is to properly balance synchronous and asynchronous communications, not overload everyone with Zoom calls.
Shauna distinguishes synchronous (real-time) communication and asynchronous (delayed time) and helps people figure out when each is optimal for their objective.
Synchronous communication—In real time
Asynchronous Communication—In delayed time.
Trying to communicate in synchronous time exclusively burns everyone out. Teaching teams how to communicate using asynchronous communication really benefits everyone.
Moreover, teaching people to communicate clearly and effectively is a really exceptional way to make life better for everyone.
A favorite tool of Shauna’s is Loom Video — a great way to share updates in asynchronous time. It’s a free tool that you can sign up for online.
Top Three Things To Work On
Cultivate Self Awareness
People are really busy these days and they often fail to genuinely investigate what works for them in terms of when and how they work best.
Shauna says one of the best things you can do for yourself is to understand what your best routines are, what coping strategies work for you and so on is critically important to working remotely.
The best way to do this is by increasing your emotional intelligence skills. A great way to start? Simply begin reflecting, in writing, at the end of each day about what worked and what didn’t.
Then aim to make it a little better the next day.
Boundaries are critically important in establishing a healthy remote working life. Shauna points out again that this is a very personal process.
For instance, she prefers very early meetings because she shuts off earlier in the day and maintains that as a boundary. To get started, Shauna recommends setting one boundary for yourself.
For example, if you choose something like shutting down at 6pm, spend some time really figuring out how that’s going to work. Understand how to create a routine that supports your boundary and find someone to hold you accountable.
The interesting thing with boundaries is that people are afraid to set them. Starting by setting realistic, smaller boundaries is a great way to ease into it. Then it’s really important to communicate those boundaries with your team.
When you set the stage, Shauna says that people are typically receptive and life gets better all around. .
Leaders wanting to focus on how to increase performance remotely are going to have to shift their old ways of thinking. The old office mentality is to judge performance by time spent at work.
But that doesn’t hold water for remote work. Leadership needs to shift their mindset from input (hrs logged) to output (deliverables). Achieving this comes down to trust and communication.
If a leader doesn’t have solid trust in their team, then Shauna suggests that they might need to take a hard look at leadership blind spots. Being clear regarding expectations and accountability is really important and Shauna says that two sided conversations, trust and accountability are all really complex things, but absolutely critical to making remote teams work.
Leaders should spend some time reflecting on what trust looks like for them. Often, when there are problems, it’s from a breakdown in communication between leadership and the team.
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If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Email Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?
Shauna says that one of the best ways to accelerate your success is to work on yourself and cultivate self awareness.
She quotes Jim Roane: “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become” Shauna encourages people to do the work — whether that’s as a leader or individual contributor.
Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve Email marketing performance?
A great way to improve is to get your team’s feedback and input. She really likes the stop start continue model — ask your team — what should we stop/start/continue around a specific topic?
Another great way to optimize performance is to get better better at asynchronous communication. You can get Shauna’s guide on the topic by reaching out directly via DM on LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in Email marketing?
Even though we all want to get back to normal, it’s worth doing the work to make remote working a good option for your business, because it’s not going to go away completely even after Covid.
Shauna on Social media:
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