But... where does your Team work from?
For most teams, it started in the pandemic.
Your team was flung online overnight. You scrambled to get day-to-day operations back up and running as fast as possible.
You grabbed some Zoom memberships to run virtual meetings. You turned the activity up in Slack, to get people connected outside of the meetings. Days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. The digital-first work thing kept going.
Fuck, you thought. We're like.. actually gonna need to do this remote work thing properly.
We're gonna need to 'do' culture. Actual, meaningful team bonding. 1:1s. Establish a meeting cadence. Let people go. Hire people. Get some god damn productive work done. We're going to need to actually rebuild, operate, and grow a company without actually working together in the same place.
So you started assembling tools.
You got the team fun backgrounds for those Zoom calls. You know, so people could express themselves.
Downloaded a tool for documenting and storing documents, like Notion. Remote teams need strong documentation practices! Created process around a task management tool, like Trello or Asana. Google'd 'remote work tools'. Found some more, added them into the mix.
Made a bunch of Slack channels. You know, to do that culture thing. One for jokes. A little designated corner for social stuff. One for sharing pet pics. Gotta help teammates get to know the humans behind those flat video tiles.
Nice. Now all those culture-y things have a neat little corner in Slack. Too easy!
Next was the calendar habit...
"Check the calendar, damnit! You booked me during my 9 hour block of back-to-back zoom meetings."
There were so many needs for sync video calls now! Gotta ensure the team can fill the calendar up efficiently.
Step back. Realized you'd missed a few things.
Meetings and writing aren't the only way people communicate. A picture is worth a thousand words.. so let's add Miro or Canva. And Loom, to walk through it. Dang, maybe we can do this!
Whether you knew it at the time or not (most of us didn't), you were constructing your remote team's tech stack, one block at a time.
And then it started to crack.
It started small.
Things got a little too social on Slack. You know what I mean, right. So you created a 'How we Use Slack' document. Added a 'We use Threads' section, and started to police the practice. All those channels were getting out of control without thread rule compliance.
Meetings seemed to be going into over time. Like, every time. So you tried to make meetings more productive. With all those meetings on the calendar, there wasn't any room to go over. Or god forbid, schedule another one if the purpose wasn't achieved.
But then it got worse.
Teammates (and the entire world) started talking about 'Zoom Fatigue'. All those meetings you used to bring everyone together, to do the work and create the culture.. they were taking over every minute of every day. Killing morale, engagement, and taking productivity down with it. Yikes.
So you did the 'all meetings are cancelled' thing. Or you made a concerted 'async' effort. You asked teammates to record everything. If it happens, write it. Share it in Slack. Communicate. Communicate!
Things were looking up. Teammates were spending hours and hours a day on Slack writing things down and chatting... oh fuck. They're spending hours and hours a day on Slack writing things down and chatting!
Now, they were spending all their time reading, and reading and reading. Writing and writing and writing. Trying to keep up. Staying 'on alert' for the endless urgent red pings.
Now work looked like it was getting done. Bonding looked like it was getting done. But you realized spending 8 hours a day on a chat tool pushing work around wasn't actually driving results.
And then the isolation and disconnection settled in.
Everyone was feeling out of the loop. Teammates were lonely, isolated. And anxious and burned out from all the urgent, always-on mode of the tools they were spending most of their days in.
And damnit, when you actually did have one of those Zoom meetings, it was impossible to keep people on track because they were so desperate to socialize and connect.
Work time became about social time, because that was the only time to connect with the humans on your team.
Where did things go wrong?
Where does your Team work from?
Really, think about it. Where?
For most teams, by default, the 'place' their remote team works from is..
Everywhere and yet no where all at the same time. Fragmented across the dozens of tools in their tech stack?
Where things went wrong is your team didn't (doesn't?) have an actual, working tool that fits the 'where' category in the tech stack.
Your team needs a place to work from, together.
We used to get it for free in the IRL office.
Take yourself back to the last time you worked alongside your team in a physical building....
When you walked in the building, you were surrounded by your teammates. You'd wave hello to Jesse as you walked past the conference room.
You'd leave a note for Sara on her desk before heading down the hall: 'good luck on your presentation today, you're gonna crush it!'
You'd see if anything interesting was happening in the meeting room on your way to the kitchen. Talk to Vinay at the coffee machine - man, that guy has the best tips for espresso machines, keep that in minds!
Smile at the teammates coding together by the window. Sit down at your desk, throw your headphones on so people knew you were heading into deep work.
And as you entered into the zone, you simultaneously felt able to focus on your work..
AND able to feel the communal energy of the room. Like you're with your Team, even when you're not collaborating directly with your Team.
You can feel what I mean, right?
That's what a place is. That's what your team used to have every, single work day. For free, by working in a physical shared place.
A place to be together with your team, to feel like you're beside each other, no matter where you're working from or how you're working. Where expression, bonding, communication... are flexible based on your current status.
Wave when you're deep working. Chat in between tasks. Smile across the hall.
To feel present. To feel connected even when your videos aren't literally connected. To communicate with humans in a way that feels natural.
So you can come together as a team. A real, high functioning, high performing team. And get great work done, together.
We got it for free in the old, IRL office. Now that we're digital, we have to add a 'Place' tool, intentionally.
Without a place, that gap in your tech stack single-handedly takes down your organization, one unproductive lonely day at a time.
But with a place?
Your remote team will be more connected, more engaged, and more productive than ever before. You'll feel like you got your culture back. You'll wonder how you ever worked remotely without it.