Not Offering Flex Time? You’re in Trouble

Everyone likes perks, and today, businesses are waking up to that fact. Many are offering “in-house” bonuses like fully stocked fridges, free gym passes and employee relaxation spaces with Ping Pong or Foosball tables.

And while these benefits bring a sort of “laid back” vibe, this type of workplace environment isn’t for every business. But there is one perk that virtually any company — in any industry—would be wise to explore: Flex time.

Flex time, allowing your employees to work flexible hours instead of the traditional 9-to-5 schedule, continues to increase in importance for workers across the age, gender, ethnic and culture spectrum. Millennials, in particular, are huge fans. In fact, according to a survey by FlexJobs, “85 percent of millennials would prefer to telecommute full-time and seek flexible work options for more work-life balance.” Fifty-four percent prefer a flexible or alternative work schedule, and 97 percent say that a job with flexibility would positively impact their overall quality of life. Just as significant is that other surveys, like this one from, suggest that, while traditional offices can be useful as a creative and social outlet, employees are often more productive when they have the ability to focus at home.

Here are a few of the key issues companies face when considering moving to more flex time and how to execute it in a way that keeps employees happy while emphasizing productivity.

Instead of measuring time spent, measure goals met

There are more than a few Dilbert and The Oatmeal comics out there that skewer the absurd notion that “time spent” is somehow more valuable than the overall quality of the final deliverable.

In other words, “time spent” vs. “goals met” still requires a significant shift in thinking for many managers. One way to begin changing your thinking is move to a SMART goals methodology and measure progress toward meeting established goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable, timely with written statements outlining their specifics.

Flexibility doesn’t mean anything unless it’s exercised

One current trend that’s beginning to get more attention is “unlimited paid time off.” While it’s gathered plenty of steam, it has also faced skepticism from many HR professionals. They note that, while the concept of unlimited PTO sounds great initially, it’s a stretch to imagine employees taking full advantage of this trend—when most don’t even manage to take the yearly time off currently on offer.

And that raises a good point. Flexibility, like most concepts in a workplace, has to be considered well within the context of your company’s current culture. For some organizations that means working night and day to deliver a massive project and then taking a couple of weeks off, for others, it may mean a parent being encouraged to take a guilt-free few days off when family emergencies pop up.

Perhaps the most important consideration, however, is this one: your leadership team needs to model whatever flex time structure you adopt for the rest of the company. If senior employees continue to burn the midnight oil or drag themselves to work while flu-ridden, that communicates to the rest of your staff that to maintain job security, you had better make yourself always available. And if those are the subtle messages being communicated at your company, that needs to be addressed.

Provide flexibility on the little things, so the big things get done

Of course, how a business operates and the level of importance placed on one initiative over another will vary depending on the vertical and the overall business model.

Problems arise when managers fail to grasp this, and instead micromanage the smallest of assignments, demanding they be completed in the same manner as much bigger initiatives. By allowing even the most junior of employees to have ownership of tasks, and to define how, when and where they get these smaller things done, you will end up with motivated team members who feel trusted and will deliver much better work.

Trust and motivation are invaluable when it comes to job satisfaction and executing on larger priorities. Hiccups in either of those two areas can cost companies a lot.

Regardless of how you structure corporate flex time, keep in mind that it’s a collaborative process. Each company’s ecosystem is likely to be unique. Giving employees a say in how they can develop their careers and create work-life balance will result in a workplace the best candidates are eager to join, and a dynamic organization seeing year-over-year growth.

A version of this post was first published on Entrepreneur on 1/11/16

Image credit: ShutterStock

Remote Working: Easier With These Nine Tools

Remote working can be beneficial for both employer and employee. One study found that remote employees are happier, more productive, and 50 percent less likely to quit. But while working from home eliminates distractions you might ordinarily find in the office, it can be harder to collaborate with your team, monitor your hours, and stay connected with your boss. Thanks to technology, though, there are a few online tools that can alleviate those issues, making your remote work easier and more efficient.

Work at High Speeds with the Right Internet

Before you can use any online tools, you need reliable, fast Internet. The amount of Internet speed you need depends on your daily tasks. You want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle your needs, especially if you are streaming music and webinars, sharing large files, or holding video conference calls.

Collaborate with Team Members Using Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the simplest ways to share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time. You can see co-workers’ changes, add comments, and ensure your team has the most current draft without worrying about emailing new versions back and forth. You can also store photos, documents, videos, and recordings in your Drive so you can access them from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Chat with Co-workers at Any Time with HipChat

One of the biggest potential problems with working remotely is the lack of immediate face time with co-workers. When you’re working from home, you can’t walk over to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question. Luckily, services like HipChat make it easy for you and your co-workers to chat, send files and share screens. When an entire company is on HipChat, it’s as if everyone is working in the same building.

Make Scheduling Meetings Easier with Every Time Zone

It’s noon in California, but what time is it in Arkansas or Colorado? Scheduling meetings with people in multiple time zones can get complicated. By using a time zone converter, such as Every Time Zone, you instantly know what time it is around the world. You’ll save precious minutes each time you schedule a meeting and avoid the “I thought you meant noon my time” confusion.

Find a New Favorite Spot to Work with Workfrom

One of the great parts about working remotely is that you can choose where you work. While some people prefer the comfort of their home, others enjoy the creative boost that comes with new surroundings. If you like to change up your workspace, Workfrom is an essential tool that helps you discover cafes, shared working spaces, and other work-friendly locations near you.

Virtually Manage Projects with Trello

Project management is one of the keys to remote work success. You need to be able to see your team’s progress on different projects. Trello is a simple project management system that allows you to create project boards and lists to chart your progress, from the initial ideas stage to the completed virtual high-five. You can also add people to different lists and stages to streamline collaboration. Trello gives you an easy way to create goals, delegate tasks, and let your boss see what you’re working on and accomplishing.

Hold a Video Conference with Skype

Video conferences, as opposed to emails or chat rooms, make it easy for remote workers to connect with their bosses and team members face to face. Whether you hold video calls daily or monthly, Skype is an excellent option. It’s simple to use, well recognized, and reliable. Download the app on your computer, tablet, and smartphone so you can hold a call at any time.

Share Your Screen Using

Sometimes the only way to troubleshoot or explain a solution is to share your screen. With, you can hold webinars, invite up to 250 participants, and record your meetings. Additionally, allows you to personalize your conferences and send invitations for collaboration, which helps establish a professional and efficient workflow.

Send Large Files with Dropbox

Every team needs a repository where they can share project files too large to send via email. Dropbox is a popular Cloud storage service that is intuitive, secure, and easy to use. Use Dropbox to back up important files, work on presentations with other teammates, and access your documents from any device.

By using online productivity tools and technology, you can successfully and efficiently work with your team members from any location. Get started by trying some of these tools to see which ones help you and your team!

Be More Productive with Remote Workers

remote workersAre you seeking a way to enhance productivity in the office? Counter to what you may be considering, it may be beneficial for you to offer employees the opportunity to work remotely.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 24% of American employees are remote workers.  This growing class of employees is also an astounding 71% more productive than their counterparts working in the office.  But before you knock the cubicle walls down and tell everyone to go home, there are some systems and processes your company needs to support its remote workers and encourage productivity.

Encourage Productivity with Remote Workers

Becoming a virtual office can be very scary for employers.  Whether you turn off the lights altogether and tell everyone to work from home or you hire a handful of remote workers, there are many potential mine fields to navigate.  How do you ensure employees continue to do their job?  What if they become too distracted?  But when executed well, a remote work program can encourage employees to balance their lives.  Suddenly, parents are able to see their children more, there’s more time for the gym without a commute.  But how do you set up a system that works?  Try the following suggestions and your remote worker program will flourish:

  • Create a team environment in a wiki or a project tracking program.  It’s important for companies with remote workers to offer the same spirit of support and collaboration that would exist in the office.  It’s also important to make sure everyone is still involved in their projects.  Company wikis or project trackers are great ways for remote workers to catch up, rope people into ongoing projects, and offer insight into what they’re doing.  If this is a new tool for your team, there will be some period of adjustment and getting used to the technology, the new habits of tracking milestones, and communicating with others online.  But it can be very beneficial to your remote workers.  Nobody wants to feel as if they’re adrift in the company or that their only coworker has become the dog.  Encourage your remote workers to participate and collaborate online.  Without micromanagers or time wasters at the water cooler, find out just how much more productive your team can be.
  • Use video conferencing tools.  When your team is geographically dispersed, it can be hard to meet and go over project details.  This is where video conferencing can assist.  Video conferencing utilizes existing technology- a phone connection and video conferencing.  The difference is it allows team members to meet in a secure and branded environment for a fraction of the cost.  Take for example a company based out of Singapore- now they can meet securely and for a fraction of the cost- with their team members in Australia, America, or even Europe.  The possibilities are endless for these kinds of meetings.  Imagine town hall meetings on site where your satellite offices are conferenced in, board meetings, and more.  All of these are possible with video conferencing technology.  Remote workers don’t have to be left out of the loop anymore.  Now, they can be an integral part of the decision-making process.
  • Offer virtual HR assistance.  Many remote workers complain that their biggest gripe is not feeling a part of the team.  Your company can remedy this with a variety of online tools such as onboarding, training, and even reviews.  Remote workers can receive all the benefits that an onsite HR team can offer.  Encourage employees to make use of these tools to stay in the loop and develop professionally.  Working in the cloud has never been so easy and your remote workers will appreciate the opportunity to stay involved.

It’s Time to Think Differently

In the old days, companies had to have brick and mortar locations or they couldn’t survive.  Technology simply hadn’t advanced far enough to allow for workers to spend time at home and still do their job.  But today cloud based applications make it easier than ever.  The opportunities for remote workers keep growing as more companies are discovering how productive employees can be when they’re not in the office.  Whether working from your daughter’s soccer game or in an airport lounge, the barriers to productivity have been erased.  The key is to put a strong program in place to ensure your remote workers are supported and in constant communication.  Find out how productive your team can be with these simple but actionable tips.

Telecommuting: 3 Honest Truths About This Profession

3 Honest Truths About This Profession

If there’s a lesson to be learned about telecommuting, is that it’s not for everyone. And why should it be? Some of us enjoy coming to work believe it or not. Perhaps, it’s because of the daily human interaction office environments offer. Others, whether by choice or necessity, have become telecommuters, and they offer an entirely new meaning to professionalism. Currently, there are an estimated 30 million Americans that are telecommuting on a daily basis. And guess what? Three million of these telecommuters have never actually stepped foot inside their company’s office. But this particular piece of information is not enough to highlight the attractive features that telecommuting offers. Telecommuting takes professionalism to a whole new level.

Telecommuting means having an entirely modern and different approach to workplace performance and engagement. It goes beyond employee perks and the obvious financial savings telecommuters offer organizations. Telecommuting is more than lounging around groovy coffee shops. It taps into employees abilities to grow and cultivate a very particular set of skills, which have been in high demand since the beginning of time. But it’s through teleworking that we discover the meaning behind these particular set of skills and how to utilize them to the maximum. We begin by learning that:

You Need To Be A Self-Motivator

The heart and soul of telecommuting does not lie in its convenience factor. While working from coffee shops is groovy and good for the soul, that’s not what motivates telecommuters. The heart and soul of telecommuting lies in its ability to change the way individuals work and feel about it. According to a PGI survey, it was discovered from a group of telecommuters that 82% of them experienced lower stress levels, 80% felt a higher sense of morale, and 70% increased their productivity. There’s something to be said about the kind of experience telecommuting offers, but the glue that holds it together is found internally through each individual, it is self-motivation that holds telecommuting together. It’s not about having an entrepreneurial spirit or experiencing “I want to be my own boss” syndrome. Telecommuting requires being a great self-motivator to get work done, because there’s no room for babysitting in this line of work.

You Have To Be A Prioritizer

Telecommuters face different obstacles than regular office workers. Since telecommuting requires a different level of commitment and meeting certain expectations, being or learning to become a great prioritizer is lifesaving. The term “boss” takes on a different meaning when you’re a telecommuter. Because technically, no one manages telecommuters but themselves. They have to be self-sufficient, because telecommuters rely heavily on prioritizing and meeting deadlines without the same kind of support that office workers have. This support, needs to allow telecommuters the free range to perform without many, if any limitations. Because the truth is, a telecommuter may be able to produce on average 43% more business volume than office workers. Anyone against this?

You Must Master Your Communication Skills

Telecommuting doesn’t work if communication is non-existent or under utilized. While most of us enjoy a good conversation located at our office water cooler, telecommuting revolves around transparent communication. Virtual meetings and daily emails help keep telecommuters in the loop, but this all falls apart when poor communication is allowed to linger. Telecommuters don’t have the option of leisurely strolling around the office to ask questions. Telecommuting starts with asking questions, but the conversation has to grow and evolve to a point where open dialogue is the star of the show. Being able to communicate your ideas, recommendations, and daily challenges is how telecommunication is mastered. Ideally, this kind of communication cannot be built unless you’re on a two-way street.

And Understand What These 3 Truths Mean…

It honestly takes a special kind of person to be a full-time telecommuter. Your work schedule is flexible, but you spend more time working. You need a strong support system built on great friendships and loving family to counteract your daily solitude. Regardless of how your organization holds you accountable, nobody can claim greater accountability on your performance than yourself. According to extensive research from Gallup, employees that spend 20% or less of their time working remotely are engaged by 35% versus employees who do not work remotely by 28%. Why this information is important, is because the research also showed that the more time individuals spend as telecommuters their level of engagement drops accordingly. Maintaining a healthy and professional telecommuter lifestyle is dependent on an individual’s ability to monitor their own engagement levels effectively. Learning the truth behind how you motivate yourself, prioritize work, and communicate with others is the difference between succeeding and failing as a telecommuter. Remember, you are your only line of defense as a telecommuter.

photo credit: Rayi Christian via Unsplash cc

Why Working Out Of Office Might Not Be For You

Working from the beach, conference calls from the pool, emailing from your back yard. All these ideal scenarios come to mind when people think of working from a non-traditional space.

While this is true for some, for many it is far from this paradise. For some it is an endless hop from coffee shop to coffee shop — moving so that they don’t outstay their welcome in any one establishment.

For others their workspace is a series of airport lounges, hotel rooms or short-term office space rentals. This doesn’t sound like paradise to me.

Beyond just location, there are a number of reasons why not working from a traditional office might not be for you, here are just some of them.

You’re too social

One of the advantages of working in an office is the social connection to co-workers. Whether you work in a large open office, cubicles or individual offices, the familiar faces that make up your day, the hallway conversations and the shared lunch table all help satisfy that most basic of human needs; to be social.

Catching up on stories from the weekend, sharing plans for vacations or even just trading ideas about business are all essential elements of the social interaction that takes place in most offices. For some individuals the solitude of working alone is too great a distraction and hampers their productivity.

You need a formal space for clients

I’m not sure about you, but if I were looking to hire an attorney and had to meet them in their living room and discuss my legal situation while their children played around our feet I might feel a little uncomfortable. Similarly if I were hoping to sign a contract with a new client meeting them at a coffee shop might not set the right tone for our future business, though of course that would depend greatly on the type of business.

The point is, for some professions and for some professionals, having a formal office space is a necessity or at the very least a nice to have. It provides the individual with a sense of separation from their personal space and life and allows them to convey a certain gravitas that more informal settings do not.

You don’t have the space

The space you set aside for working from obviously varies from individual to individual. I work from our spare room that, although it doubles as a guest room when we have people to stay, for the most part is my office. Equally I will sometimes write from the dining room table, the couch or even sitting in bed. That is part of the luxury of being a writer. However, for others the need for a more defined space is part of the work they do. For example, it isn’t really appropriate to conduct a video conference from the comfort of your bed. So having a space that can be both professional and look appropriate on camera is a need that an increasing number of out-of-office workers have to meet.

There are many other considerations to take into account before you decide to take up the out-of-office workstyle. There are however, many benefits to it and those, for most people, outweigh the negative aspects considerably.

Bio: Photographer, author, writer, and speaker Simon Salt has been working from locations that are definitely out of office for more than six years. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and various other print and online publications and has spoken to audiences across the globe. “Out of Office,” published in March 2014, is Simon’s third book, a book that will help individuals and organizations find ways to adapt to the growing trend of employees and individuals working out of office.

photo credit: Kevin H. via photopin cc

#TChat Preview: How To Successfully Work From Anywhere

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about empowering HR and the hiring process, and this week we’re going to talk about empowering your world of work wherever you work.

Because we can work from anywhere today. Some of us anyway. While there are no definitive statistics, last year a CBS News poll revealed that 24% of workers telecommuted regularly for their jobs. (How many in their pajamas you ask? Probably more than you think.)

Could be more, could be less, but the reality is that many more full-time, part-time and contract workers are not only working from home, they’re successfully working from anywhere.

Whatever the remote mix, how to do it right, what to consider before you make the “workshift,” and what technologies you’ll need to perform better, all need to be addressed.

Today’s realities include: what it takes to run a meeting from a coffee shop, managing a Skype call from 35,000 feet aboard an airplane, and juggling the demands of a domestic situation while you’re working at home all day.

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creators and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about how to successfully work from anywhere with this week’s guest: Simon Salt, six-year workshifting veteran, photographer, writer, speaker and author of Out of Office.

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: 5 Reasons Why Workplace Flexibility Is Smart Talent Strategy

Paula Fernandes: Inclusion, Technology Keep Remote Workers Up Close & Personal

Darius Mirshahzadeh: How To Incentivize Remote Workers

John Zappe: Why Aren’t We Training More Managers To Manage Virtual Teams?

Donna Fuscaldo: How To Stay Productive Working From Home

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guest and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Successfully Work From Anywhere

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, October 1 — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune in to the #TChat Radio show with our host, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guest: Simon Salt.

Tune in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, October 1st — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Simon will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the perceptions companies have about virtual workplaces? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How does technology help telecommuters stay successfully integrated with work? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: When does telecommuting not work and why? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

photo credit: danielfoster437 via photopin

Job Auditions: Secret to Successful Hires?

By Matt Mullenweg, Founder, Automattic.

Hiring potential employees on a trial basis can help you quickly discover things about them that you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks. Here’s how it works in our organization.

Automattic (the fuel behind employs more than 225 people who live all over the world, in 190 different cities. Our headquarters office is in San Francisco, and it operates similar to a coworking space. Employees who live in the Bay Area can choose to work from that location if they wish. However, most of our employees choose to work from other sites.

For us, this arrangement makes sense — our business is based on open source software, which is a decentralized product. However, outsiders have been skeptical as we’ve moved forward with our distributed work model.

At the outset they said, “That works great when you have 10 or 15 employees, but when you reach a team of 30, it falls apart.” Eventually we passed 30 employees, and we started hearing that the magic number is 100. Then people said Dunbar’s number — 150 — would be the point at which it didn’t work. Yet we keep blowing past these thresholds. We hired more than 100 people in 2013.

What’s special about us? We don’t hire the way most companies do — both in our mindset and our actions.

Mindset: We Think Differently About Work

In many businesses, if someone shows up in the morning and he isn’t drunk, he doesn’t sleep at his desk and he’s dressed nicely, it’s assumed that he’s working. But none of that takes into account what he’s actually creating during the day — and that’s really what matters.

Many people create great things without having to follow established workplace norms. Our organization measures work based on outputs. I don’t care what hours you work. I don’t care if you sleep late, or if you pick a child up from school in the afternoon. It’s all about what you produce.

This arrangement isn’t for everyone. But a lot of people like the autonomy we offer, and that’s important. So we’ve arrived at an unorthodox hiring system that serves our needs perfectly.

Behavior: We Hire by Audition

Before we hire anyone, they go through a trial process first, on contract. They can do the work at night or over the weekend, so they don’t have to leave their current job in the meantime. We pay a standard rate of $25 an hour, regardless of whether a job candidate wants to be an engineer or the chief financial officer.

During the trials, applicants perform actual work. If you’re applying to work in customer support, you’ll answer trouble tickets. If you’re an engineer, you’ll address engineering problems. If you’re a designer, you’ll design.

Seeing Is Believing

There’s nothing like being in the trenches with someone — working with them day by day. It tells you something you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks.

At the end of the trial, everyone involved has a great sense of whether they want to work together going forward. And, yes, that means everyone — it’s a mutual tryout. Some candidates decide we’re not the right fit for them. For others, the experience solidifies their commitment.

The Payoffs of Careful Hiring

Overall, we end up hiring about 40% of the people who try out with us. It’s a huge time commitment — coordinating the short-term work our applicants perform — but it leads to extremely low turnover. In the past eight years, only about 10 people have left the company, and we’ve let go of another 25 or 30. Those are great numbers in today’s work environment, so it’s a system we plan to keep utilizing.

Today, I spend at least a third of my time on hiring. And even though it’s a small part of our process, I still look at every resume the company receives, and I conduct the final interview with everyone who joins us.

It’s worth the effort. Nothing has the impact of putting the right people around the table. The aphorism is true: You can’t manage your way out of a bad team. We’ve done experiments to find the best way to hire based on our unique organizational structure. I encourage your business to do the same.

252691_10150856254811651_681132284_n(About the Author: Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging platform,, as well as Akismet, Gravatar, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, Polldaddy and more. Additionally, Matt is a principal and founder of Audrey Capital, an investment and research company. Connect with him on Facebook or on Twitter.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from a post at Brazen Life, with permission. It is based on a talk by the author at the December 2013 Lean Startup Conference. It originally appeared on Harvard Business Review. For more information, visit the Insight Center on Talent and the New World of Hiring. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credits: Wikipedia (feature) and Kevin Abosch (author)

Putting a Face on Remote Work #TChat Recap

Say, “Good Morning.”

Go ahead. Say it out loud. Oh, but say it to someone else. Preferably in the morning. In person. Or on the phone. Or even online.

If it’s later in the day, maybe you can say, “Good Afternoon.” Or “I’m going to grab a bite to eat” when you leave for lunch.

Or when you want feedback on an idea, simply ask, “Gotta minute?”

Face-to-face — keyboard-to-keyboard — whatever it takes. Human interactions are the glue that keeps us all grounded and helps us get work done. And these days more than ever, more of us are getting more work done remotely.

Collaboration platforms, video conferencing, social networks — even our phones — these are the tools that keep us connected and empowered, wherever we roam in today’s fluid world of work.

These technologies help us plan and problem solve more efficiently than ever. Of course, they can also help us interrupt and disrupt workflows. It may be harder to be a dreaded “gotta-minute” goblin when you work from home, but it still happens.

So seriously. Gotta minute? Because it’s those disruptive, frictionless human connections, those moments when we’re relating to one another personally and professionally – that’s what keep us moving forward, together. The connections may be virtual, but the results are real.

As we explored the virtual work frontier this week with #TChat guest Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, two core themes emerged:

1) Be yourself: Whether you operate from home or a centralized office, it’s essential to “show up” and be authentic. Acknowledge me throughout the day. Keep me in the loop on the good, the bad and the ugly — and don’t be afraid to tell me why. That’s the stuff that binds us in a common mission, even through rough times. Paychecks are great, but there’s no substitute for genuine human connection and shared purpose.

2) See yourself: When you work virtually, don’t forget that, in the eyes of your colleagues and managers, you’re part of something larger than yourself. It’s smart to invest in that context. It may mean periodic in-person visits to the headquarters “mothership,” or catching up at conferences and training events, or even regular (perhaps awkward) team video conferences. It may not always be fun, but the effort can make a big difference in the quality of your performance and your team’s results.

So let’s learn from the wisdom of our talent-minded crowd, and let’s stay connected. OK?
“Good morning, #TChat. How are you doing today?”

#TChat Week-In-Review: Remote Work Continues to Rise

SAT 1/11:

Mike Hostetler

Watch the #TChat Preview hangout

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a “sneak peek” hangout with guest, Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo. See the #TChat Preview now: “Virtual Workplace? For Real!

SUN 1/12: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro discussed what’s at stake for leaders as the future of work becomes increasingly virutal. Read “Telecommuting Is The Future Of Work.


Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit” by Daniel Newman
Telecommuting Tools: What’s Your Plan?” by Dr. Nancy Rubin

WED 1/15:


Listen now to the #TChat Radio replay

#TChat Radio: Hosts Meghan M. Biro, and Kevin W. Grossman talked with entrepreneur Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual teams. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay…

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Virtual Workplace? For Real!

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mike Hostetler for sharing your perspectives on creating and managing remote teams. We value your time, your thoughtful ideas and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about remote workgroups? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Our month of forward-thinking #TChat Events continues on Wednesday, January 22, when China Gorman, CEO at Great Place To Work, reveals emerging trends in employment practices, with illustrations from Fortune Magazine’s recently announced “2014 Best Companies To Work For” list. See the #TChat Radio preview now.

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. and elsewhere on social media. So join us anytime — don’t be shy.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Virtual Workplace? For Real! #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “Putting a Face on Remote Work.”)

Distributed workforce. Virtual team. Telecommuting.

Whatever term you use to describe remote work models, the concept continues to gain momentum in today’s business environment — and with good reason.

High-speed connections, mobile technology and cloud-based collaboration tools now make it easy and cost effective for people to “go to work” anytime, from almost anywhere.

XJyGYBut infrastructure and good intentions, alone, don’t guarantee that virtual organizations will be productive and profitable. So, what does it take? That’s the focus of  #TChat Events this week, as we look at why and how successful virtual teams really work.

And what better way to explore this topic than with an entrepreneur whose business is driven entirely by remote contributors? Our guest this week is Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, a highly successful web engineering firm, powered by a far-flung workforce.

“Sneak Peek” Hangout: Trifecta of Awesomeness

To kick-off this week’s discussion, Mike joined me for a G+ Hangout, where he outlined the “trifecta of awesomeness” — three key reasons why the virtual workplace is taking hold:

What are your thoughts about how to build and manage awesome virtual organizations? This week, we’re seeking wisdom from the crowd — so share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat virtual community!

#TChat Events: Why Remote Work Continues to Rise

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 15 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT


Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual workplaces. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 15 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where the entire TalentCulture community will join the discussion. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of virtual workplaces?
Q2: How do remote work models affect employee and customer engagement?
Q3: What factors should leaders consider when creating virtual teams?
Q4: How can recruiters identify traits of successful remote workers?
Q5: How can we apply technology to foster virtual collaboration?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!