Guest Appearance on The Peggy Smedley Show: Building, Engaging and Connecting Virtual Teams

It’s no surprise that more people are working from home now than ever before- 56% of the U.S. workforce has a job that is compatible with remote work. Experts predict that the longer people are required to work from home, the greater the likelihood we’ll see more businesses transition from office to home post COVID-19. 


While this is a big shift for many, at Social Tribe we’ve been a virtual business from Day 1. For the past 12 years, our team has worked remotely from all over the world. We’ve learned a lot through trial and error (we still are) to figure out what works best for building a high-functioning remote culture. I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on the Peggy Smedley Show and we had a great few conversations about how the COVID-19 is changing the world of word and how these new experiences will reshape our personal and professional lives for many years to come. 


Here are a few of the highlights – but listen to the full show for all the goodies (links below!)


Productivity + Performance


When working remotely, we have to rethink the way we approach performance. The key is to focus on outputs and deliverables, making everything merit-driven. Strong communication is key for remote teams to collaborate effectively in a virtual environment, assumptions and ambiguity will derail performance and cause tensions. Managers and leaders need to be clear about timelines, background information, and expectations and provide the right tools to set them up for success.


“Manage performance virtually by shifting to a results-focused performance management system. Have a clear outline of the initiatives you're working on and establish team milestones and benchmarks to track progress. Click To Tweet


Engaging a remote team


If you’re only focused on producing work, you’re missing the big picture. People are wired for connection, and this becomes even more important when in-person interactions are limited. To keep people motivated in a virtual environment you need to find ways to connect and engage with them on a personal level. In my experience, one of the best ways to do this is to make individuals feel seen and valued. At Social Tribe, we start our weekly team meeting with a gratitude call out – team members self-nominate and recognize their peers for a job well done.  We also have a slack channel called #warmfuzzies where anyone can give a shout out to their teammate for doing a great job. Here’s one from just the other day: 


“Okay I already said this in email, but mad props to @Simran Jessel for the NEXT-LEVEL research and analysis she put together surrounding marketing during COVID-19 to help inform ST marketing initiatives and conversations with clients. It’s just👏🏽 so👏🏽 good👏🏽” – Juliet O’Connor, Social Tribe Account Lead


“One of the things that is most important to engage your team and your staff is very simply by showing gratitude. People want to be seen, acknowledged, recognized, and appreciated for the work they do.” Click To Tweet


Redefining the Line Between Personal + Professional


Now that everything is rapidly shifting to digital, are the lines between personal and professional shifting? In short, yes. Your home environment has now welcomed your work life into it. What was once taboo in a professional environment (ie. wearing a sweatshirt to work, kids playing in the background, dogs barking) are quickly becoming normal and offering us an opportunity to experience each other in a more authentic and personal context. Social media was the first time we started to reconsider these boundaries, but this is the next frontier, one that will challenge us to redraw (or completely dismantle) the lines between personal and professional completely.


“At Social Tribe, we do things like happy hours and virtual game sessions to encourage our team members to get to know each other beyond work. Build those relationships and bonds so that when you do work together you feel more connected.” Click To Tweet


Creating a strong, engaged and productive remote work experience is achievable but requires effort and intention. What I’ve learned over the past 12+ years is this – we as leaders have to step up and create the conditions for our teams to thrive. We cannot hope that people will figure it out on their own or assume they’ll read our minds, that kind of thinking simply won’t fly. It’s on us to ensure that we set up the right tools and processes, create clear lines of communication and foster a culture of connection to create the work environment that will empower our teams to do their best work – wherever they are. 


I could write a book on all things remote workforce but for now, listen to my three featured segments on the Peggy Smedley Show: