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Kerry Guard MKG Marketing

MKG Marketing’s CEO Kerry Guard on asynchronous work in a remote workplace

By InterviewsNo Comments

Companies that are newly remote can learn a thing or two from remote veterans like Kerry Guard.

Kerry is CEO of MKG Marketing, a digital agency that helps cyber and cloud security brands. It’s one of the first fully remote marketing agencies to serve Washington state and the Bay Area. Her people-first approach has enabled her to keep her team lean, the productivity high and still offer great flexibility to her employees. 

Remote work is not just beneficial to her team either – MGK Marketing is better for this approach. Kerry shares how flexible and asynchronous work can be a win-win for everyone and empower a global workforce. 

Shifting away from the nine-to-five workday

It’s easy to assume that most remote companies started only recently. Some companies however, like MKG Marketing, have always operated in that capacity. However, it doesn’t mean these companies are not adjusting to the monumental shifts that a more remote-friendly office culture has led to. 

“We’ve been remote for 10 plus years. Being remote isn’t the challenge — it’s just the world as it is today that interferes with our ability to operate remotely,” Kerry says.

Part of conquering that shift is to offer more flexibility. To Kerry, this means moving away from expecting a standard nine-to-five shift.

“Even before the pandemic when we were remote, we didn’t really care what people’s hours were, they just needed to be consistent,” Kerry says. “If an employee wanted to work in the morning from 10 to noon, take a long lunch to work out and then work in the afternoon, that was great. They just needed to keep to that schedule so we knew when they’d be online.”

“Now, given the unpredictability most people are facing, we’re shifting to a mentality where every day is a new day. As long as people are popping on and giving their schedule for the day, outlining what meetings they’ll be in and what hours they’re working, it’s no problem. We are just continuing to lean into the flexibility remote work affords.”

Encouraging more flexible work also helps to combat burnout – empowering employees to go offline when they need a break or need to take care of something.

“With flexible work, if hours are relatively consistent, we can plan accordingly without the nine-to-five rigidity.”

Tapping into asynchronous work is the key to success 

For flexible work to be successful, it requires strong communication. The biggest hurdle to overcome with people keeping different schedules from each other, that can vary day-to-day, is ensuring that there are no roadblocks to meeting deadlines and moving projects forward. Asynchronous work has become a bigger, more important focus as a result.

“Problem solving asynchronously is going to become the new normal — where there will definitely be scheduled times for brainstorms, client calls, or opportunities to chat live — but otherwise, it’ll be working toward figuring out how to work past a roadblock if a person you need isn’t online or available,” Kerry says.

Asynchronous work is possible (and effective) with the right tools and processes. Kerry outlines the following as the key to MKG Marketing’s success with it. She also emphasizes how important it is to find the right tool for each specific organization and the team’s needs:

·  A strong project management system

·  A robust chat system

·  Clear email communication

MKG has several lanes of communication. Internal communication is always through chat. Communication around specific projects happens in the project management system. In this way, if someone needs help with something from a colleague and sees them online, they can ping them – otherwise, if the colleague is off, they can hop into the project management system and keep things moving forward. Client communications are through email, so the team can focus on what the clients need.

It’s not to say there aren’t areas of improvement. Kerry remarks that creating processes around sharing how something gets done, and walking people through it asynchronously is challenging. She cites a time where a team member with less experience had trouble ramping up remotely. Kerry reflected that if there was an in-person presence, this team member may have been more successful. It’s also why she and the team are so intentional with recording and creating clear processes to ensure everyone’s success.

Overall, this shift has been a positive thing for the company and her team.

“I feel like with all the technology we have now, asynchronous work shouldn’t be a problem. We need to lean into the tech and the new normal and stop fighting this idea that we’re going to grab everybody and bring them back to the office. That’s not going to happen anymore – and you’re going to need people to be remote. It opens a world of possibilities.”

The full power of a remote workforce

Beyond the productivity benefits and better work-life balance, a remote work environment is beneficial in its ability to attract and pull talent from around the country – and even the world. While Kerry is in the United Kingdom, she has team members from Portland to Pennsylvania, and even a virtual team out in the Philippines. To her, this is an essential part in empowering great work.

“It’s amazing what can get done in the hours in which people sleep and then be able to be in meetings when I need to. I’m so much more productive now that I’m not in the same time zone as my team, and it makes our communication that much more impactful,” Kerry says. “And then when I am in the same time zone as my team, it is very clear on what needs to happen without constantly being in meetings. It creates very clear communication on a more regular basis.”

Since her team is so dispersed, Kerry searched for a strong system of communication to put in place. Noting that connectivity in a remote workplace is more intentional, she wanted a way for her employees to be able to chat live instantaneously – and actually see each other ‘face-to-face’. For this reason, she moved all chat communication to Zoom (not Slack) for its strong video component.

“It was before Slack had a very good video system. At the time, it was really important to me that people could easily smash that video button and immediately call the person that’s available into a quick meeting to discuss things,” Kerry says. “Trying to solve big problems over chat is incredibly frustrating for all parties involved. Making it really seamless in the technology that we use has really helped in terms of our connectivity and bringing people together.”

As for the future of remote work? Kerry is leaning into her global workforce.

“In the future, I don’t think it’ll matter where you live. I think it’s going to be exciting to give people the opportunity to live wherever they want and tap into those benefits of a diversified workforce.”

Groups of workers with great team morale.

How to Raise Team Morale

By StrategyNo Comments

With widespread layoffs, uncertain economic times, and massive turnover, it is no wonder that employees have lower morale than ever before. And it’s coming at a massive detriment to teams – affecting retention, work quality, and company culture

It’s also coming at a major loss to employers – disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity

36% of U.S. workers plan to leave their jobs in 2023. An interesting counterpoint? A third of employees are staying because of the relationships they have with their coworkers and company. Higher morale also increases productivity and leads to higher quality work.

Increasing team morale is more important than ever. So where do you start?

What is team morale?

Team morale refers to the attitudes and overall satisfaction of employees in the workplace or whatever organization they are a part of, translating to the belief these employees have in the company. When morale is high, team members are engaged, fulfilled, and satisfied by their work and their team. When morale is low, however, employees may feel negative, unhappy, disengaged, and frustrated with their work. 

Team morale doesn’t just show up in physical work spaces. Team morale happens in both in-person and virtual work environments, taking different forms in terms of engagement and how informed and present employees seem to be.

Causes of low morale in the workplace 

Low morale is contagious. If just one colleague feels negatively, it can sink an entire team – especially because so many of the causes of low morale are interpersonal. Leaders must learn the root of low team morale and work to fix the foundational issues that are causing it. 

Some causes of low morale in the workplace include:   

Communication

In a survey of HR managers, 33% of them thought a lack of communication was the main cause of low morale. If employees don’t know what they should be doing at any given time or are unsure about their own trajectory or company future, they can feel shut off from any meaningful work and career movement. 

Additionally, any dishonesty can erode trust between team members and make employees question leadership’s ability to manage. 

Leadership 

Leaders have a big role in managing morale in the workplace. They not only act as a model for behavior, they also represent the company and are the team’s pipeline to management and change. 

The best leaders are able to guide their employees to perform great work, while still giving them the space and trust they need to do what they need to do. On the other hand, micromanagement can make employees feel nervous and not trusted. 

Additionally, leaders that don’t give praise or acknowledge their team’s actions are at risk of affecting morale. Compliments and recognition can increase a team member’s self esteem and encourage them to keep doing their best work. Not recognizing them for their accomplishments can make them feel unseen and like they don’t matter in the grand scheme of the organization.  

Relationships

Think of the different relationships that occur in the workplace: employee-leader, employee-employee, and employee-customer. These relationships have big implications for how a business runs – creating a fragile ecosystem of interpersonal relations. 

Consider the leader that treats their team with disrespect. Or the coworker that doesn’t know their colleagues and feels disconnected from the projects they are working on. The employee can get burnt out, negative, and in turn affect the customer and bottom-line. 

It goes beyond just feeling disconnected. If the team doesn’t have positive relationships with each other, it can also affect how they feel about their day-to-day work life. 

How do you build team morale?

There are many ways to raise team morale. First, think of what the causes of low morale may be and work from there. For example, if you get feedback that there is little recognition in place, you can institute ways to give team members shoutouts. In a virtual environment, this may look like implementing a Slack channel specifically for praise with a Slack app like Shoutouts by Airspeed that encourages teammate recognition.

Leaders can also implement more bonding opportunities for virtual teams. Using an app for Introductions can be a fun way for team members to learn more about each other and kickstart some great conversations. Taking some time during regular meetings for team-building activities can make a big difference too, as it shows your team members that you are prioritizing their happiness along with regular work activities. For an easy way to get started, try kicking off a team meeting with icebreakers using a Slack app like Icebreakers by Airspeed. 

In addition to building team morale from recognition and bonding opportunities, leaders can also communicate more frequently and honestly, spend more intentional time with team members, and explore the best way to manage the team and their workload. 

Team morale examples 

There are more tangible examples from companies that we can pull from when it comes to increasing team morale. 

LinkedIn not only offers unlimited vacation time, they also provide 17 paid holidays a year, and in 2021 gave the company a paid week off. While these additional days off may be more of an upfront cost, they can pay dividends down the road in terms of satisfaction and combating burnout. 

Credit Karma provides not only a wellness and self-care reimbursement, they also offer a stipend for professional development and the opportunity for continuous learning courses. These stipends show employees that they are being invested in and are an integral part of the company’s growth. This also comes amid an acquisition from Intuit in 2020. Their employee retention stayed strong: There were 1300 employees when the deal was announced, when it closed there were 1290.  

Several companies are also taking an innovative approach to team-building activities. Whether it’s week-long retreats, interactive games like Escape Rooms or improv classes, or more social activities like a class, these activities offer the opportunity to team build in an environment outside of work, and have fun along the way. 

Team morale has a huge impact on company culture. While it may seem insurmountable to combat, with a few changes in communication and relationship-building, companies can set themselves up for success with retention and weather this tumultuous workplace storm. 

Laptop with Slack app open.

What are Slack apps?

By Remote WorkNo Comments

Where would remote work be if not for digital technology? 

The reason why the pivot to working from home was so successful in the first place was because of the available technology. It’s not just having a laptop — it’s having communication software that allows you to send instant messages, apps that keep track of projects, and platforms that measure the results of all this work in real time. 

Yet this influx of tools has also come at the risk of overloading teams with the sheer amount of tools out there. How can employees keep track of their tools and use them efficiently?

More than half of remote workers surveyed said they were uncertain if all departments were using the same online tools and communication apps; 43% thought they spent too much time switching between different applications, and 45% thought it made them less productive. 

One way to start streamlining your tools is looking at your most used communications channels and building around it. Considering that more than 12 million people use Slack daily, Slack apps and integrations are a great way to keep work streamlined and your people focused. 

What are Slack apps? 

Slack apps connect other software to Slack – the platform’s solution to streamlining tools and workflows into one place. Currently, there are more than 2,400 apps in the Slack App Directory. With Slack apps, you can keep work in just one spot, enabling faster collaboration and streamlining operations. 

If you have the free version of Slack, you can have up to 10 apps in your workspace. There are no limits for paid plans. Some apps may require a subscription or payment to use their product (like HubSpot and Salesforce), so keep in mind those costs. 

Slack apps do more than streamline operations. They also:

Enable remote work

Apps can help keep your team connected and communication smooth. Integrate your calendar to keep meetings running on time or track progress with a tool like Standuply that automates daily standups. Since a remote workforce doesn’t have physical space, having these kinds of tools can give some structure to your team. 

Optimize productivity 

Remote teams often enjoy greater productivity because of less distractions and disruptions at home. It’s important to remember: productivity comes from a productive space. Building apps and integrations into Slack minimizes context switching, allowing team members to stay on task by eliminating distractions and the need to hunt for decentralized information. 

Build culture

Slack apps can help bring the team together. Scroll through categories in the directory like Communication, Health & Wellness, HR & Team Culture, and Social & Fun and see what lies there. Airspeed has a suite of culture-focused Slack apps that helps celebrate and connect teammates with features like facilitating introductions for employees and new hires, tracking birthdays and work anniversaries, and creating virtual cards for celebrations. 

What apps work with Slack?

There are three different types of apps you will find in the Slack App Directory: apps built by Slack, third parties, and ones built by your own team. Third party apps include popular SaaS platforms like Salesforce, Asana, Jira, and Gitlab, or other tools like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar. 

The most popular Slack apps include:

  1. Google Drive – share, manage, create, and find files within Slack, and automatically sends updates on files in the Drive.
  2. Zoom – start and make Zoom meetings from any Slack Channel by typing /zoom slash command.
  3. Google Calendar – sync calendar to create, keep track, and respond to events.
  4. Simple Poll – create polls, follow results, and gain feedback through customized survey options.  
  5. Zapier – see status of Zaps and start new workflows. 
  6. Jira Cloud – track Jira issues and create tickets. 
  7. Loom – record asynchronous videos and embed them in Slack. 
  8. Outlook Calendar – create events, review schedule, and sync status automatically. 
  9. Workast – create checklists and tasks for yourself or your team to keep track of projects, and import tasks from existing project management systems. 
  10. OneDrive and Sharepoint adjust permissions and share and preview files. 

Not searching for a specific app, but looking for one that will serve your needs? With 19 categories, users can discover the right tools in the Slack app directory.

How to add an integration and build workflows in Slack 

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of Slack apps available. You may have discovered something new or found that the software you already use has an app. Don’t be intimidated – the best part of Slack apps is how easy it is to download apps and start using them right away. 

  1. First, explore the Slack App Directory
    Note: If you’re already working in the Slack app, you can explore the apps available in the directory by clicking “Apps” in the left sidebar. 
  2. Then, find the app you want to install and go to its page 
  3. Click “Add to Slack” 
  4. Finally, install the app or connect to your account! 

Paid users can use Workflow Builder to create custom workflows in specific channels. In the left sidebar, go to tools then Workflow Builder to start. You can either create custom workflows or use one of Slack’s templates. If you choose to create your own, you will need to identify the trigger for the workflow and what action you want to follow. 

Making Slack apps a part of your digital toolkit

Slack apps make it easy to bring together all of the tools you use into one cohesive digital toolkit. Now your team can enjoy the benefits that different services provide – without having to leave their digital hub! 

Digital tools have been the saving grace of hybrid and remote workspaces everywhere. As one leader who has been remote for 10+ years said, the introduction of tools changed the remote work game – enabling more to happen than ever before, no matter where you are in the world. 

Want to start building your remote work culture through Slack? Request a walkthrough of Airspeed’s Slack apps by emailing [email protected]

Woman using her iPad for a remote job.

How to Find Remote Jobs

By Remote WorkNo Comments

While some companies are transitioning to a hybrid model or going back into the office full-time, there are many companies who have adopted a fully-remote workplace. If you are in the market for a new job, you may be interested in trying remote work (or have enjoyed working virtually in the past). Remote work offers built-in flexibility, opportunities for increased productivity, and can suit any family or health needs you may have. 

Finding the right remote job may be a bit different than your usual Indeed or LinkedIn search. We’ll walk you through how to search for remote work and find the best job for you. 

What is remote work?

Before the right technology existed, remote work meant something very different. With no easy way to get in contact with a colleague (besides a landline, pager or fax), working from home was a lot more independent and siloed. 

As Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media, said in an interview, “Ten years ago, remote employment basically meant a telemarketing or customer service position…it rarely was connected with a full-time career. Now, technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are.”

IBM was one of the first companies to offer employees the opportunity to work from home – allowing five to do so in 1979. Just four years later in 1983, 2000 IBM employees worked remotely – the same year that the Internet was created. 

By 1987, 1.5 million Americans telecommuted. This was later transformed with the invention of Wi-Fi in 1991. Digital tools like Slack (2009) and Zoom (2011) facilitated more remote work-friendly environments over the years. By 2018, 70% of the world’s population worked remotely at least once a week. 

Today, remote work is defined as work that can be done from anywhere besides a corporate office. While it can be known as ‘working from home’ or ‘telecommuting’, the term ‘remote work’ highlights how flexible it can be with varied hours and workspaces. Today, 27.6 million people work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Benefits of remote jobs 

There are many benefits to remote jobs. In fact, a new study shows that remote work increased employee happiness by as much as 20%, and that happiness at work is directly correlated to overall life happiness.  

Other benefits include:

Increased focus – Remote workers are only unproductive for 27 minutes compared to 37 minutes for office workers – a 37.04% decrease in unproductiveness.

Productivity – Remote employees work 1.4 more days a month than office employees – adding up to 17 additional days a year. 

Flexibility – The decreased commute time, ability to work from anywhere, and flexibility that remote work affords can increase work-life balance and overall employee satisfaction.

There are also other valuable benefits to working remotely, like having the opportunity to work with people from all over the country and the world, and learn from their experiences and cultures. Even though you may not have to leave home to work, you can still transcend your own bubble and expand your personal horizons in a remote role. 

What kind of roles can be remote?

Today, a variety of roles can be remote. The pandemic was a good indicator of just how many jobs can be done from home. While some teams may prefer more in-person work for collaboration or client interaction, others have found that remote work suits them more and enables more productivity.

Typically, these industries are the most remote-friendly:

  • Management & Consulting 
  • Media & Communication 
  • Information Technology 
  • Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology 
  • Personal Consumer Services 

There are also specific roles that offer the most flexible work arrangements, including:

  • Database architect
  • Salesforce developer
  • Solutions engineer
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Product marketing manager 

As you’re seeking remote opportunities in your field, don’t hesitate to ask your network and prospective employer how a role may work in a remote setting. Companies may differ by department – while one team may have flexible hours, another could keep a strict schedule to make communication and collaboration seamless.  

How to find remote work 

Traditional job posting sites may not be as friendly to finding remote work as newer platforms, although some job sites like Indeed have added ‘Remote’ as a location option. Consider the following sites as starting points and tools to jumpstart your search. 

Technology-specific sites like Built In are also good resources, considering the amount of startups and tech companies they feature. 

As you are perusing these sites, consider asking yourself the following questions to narrow your search – and to vet companies for your job application process. 

  • Are there any in-person components to the job? For example, are there quarterly or biannual events where all employees are expected to be in attendance?
  • What time zones are the team members you will be working most closely with? Are there any time zones that are preferred for your position to be located?
  • Are there expected hours that employees must keep? Or does the company practice flexible work and employees have the opportunity to create their own hours?
  • Are there special benefits for remote work, such as a stipend for office supplies or Wi-Fi? 

Who is hiring for remote jobs?

If you’d prefer a strategy that is more company rather than policy first, the following list may be useful to you. Legacy companies have years of experience in adapting their own policies to fit what their people need now, while newly remote companies and startups may take an innovative approach to what benefits they offer. Explore the following below:

Legacy companies

Spotify 

3M 

Amazon

Fully-remote companies 

Toptal

Airspeed

900+ startups hiring remotely database 

Applying for remote roles

Remember, finding and searching for a remote job is only the first step. The next step is to apply and interview! While the initial stages of interviewing may be similar to an in-person role with screening calls, it can be daunting to leave a lasting impression over Zoom when you start to meet with more of the team virtually.

It’s important to treat any video interview like you would if you were going into the office to meet people in person. Make sure you look presentable and camera-ready, that your background is neat and work-appropriate, and your equipment is set up properly. Then go and put your best foot forward!

Man on laptop applying to remote jobs.

5 Ways to Stand Out When Applying for Remote Jobs

By Remote WorkNo Comments

97% of workers desire some form of remote work.

Remote jobs also means remote hiring — a challenge newly remote companies are still trying to solve to attract the best remote workers. Since a massive number of workers want to work remotely, organizations are flooded with job applications. And unlike traditional in-person interviews, it can be harder to build rapport over Zoom calls and email threads.

But standing out in a sea of applications boils down to one key strategy – understanding what employers are looking for.

#1. Highlight your remote experience

Most companies prefer candidates who have experience working remotely in some capacity. 

Here’s a peek at what various employers shared when asked what they look for when hiring remotely. A common thread ran through all the comments — previous remote experience.

Appen blog post specifying qualification of 'people who have worked remotely before.'
Articulate blog post specifying qualification of 'people who have worked remotely before.'

Source

So if you’ve worked a remote job before, tailor your resume to highlight that. In fact, if you have a mix of remote and in-office experience, prioritize your remote work experience by placing it at the top of your resume.

Also, update your experience on LinkedIn to showcase which positions you worked at remotely. Add “remote” to the location field when adding a new position.


#2. Share your “why”

Whether you’ve worked a remote job before or not, your “why” matters.

Why do you want a remote job? What about working remotely appeals to you?

Hint: Companies are looking for more than you saying “it’s convenient.”

InVision app's job description saying 'we look for people who see remote work as an upgrade'

Source

Think about your reasons. Perhaps it’s easier for you to enjoy a greater work-life balance or it takes away the stress of commute. Maybe remote work allows you to move closer to your family or live the life of a digital nomad. 

Now, tie your reasons to the benefits employers experience with remote work. Less stress, zero commute, and the ability to work from anywhere equals more productivity, increased retention and engagement — important metrics all companies care about. 

Make sure you share this in your application or cover letter. You may even be asked this by recruiters. This Indeed article has a few sample answers you could use: 

  • “I am excited because working from home allows me to collaborate with a company I admire. I would not have been able to offer you my services in other circumstances because of the distance. My creativity is at its best in my home office, and I am convinced I can contribute to the success of your business.”
  • “I understand your company prioritizes work-life balance and effectiveness, and I share those values. I know I thrive in such an environment and will be more productive when I work from home.”
  • “Working from home allows me to begin my workday sooner. I can skip traffic and avoid delays due to weather conditions, which gives me two more hours daily that I can dedicate to my job.”

Quick Tip: If you’re not camera-shy, include a quick video of yourself explaining why you want to work remotely with your application.

#3. Show your personality

In an article for ProofHub, Anthony Martin, CEO and Co-Founder, Choice Mutual shared his #1 problem with remote hiring:

“The main challenge I faced with hiring employees remotely was that it was difficult to gauge a candidate’s personality and background in a virtual setting.”

This isn’t a unique stance. Recruiters and hiring managers that are new to remote hiring miss the cues they were able to pick up on in face-to-face interviews. 

While Anthony and other recruiters find ways to get around this problem by monitoring communication, elongating the hiring process or inviting potential candidates to a virtual happy hour, you can proactively share more of who you are. 

Your resume, LinkedIn, and even your Zoom background should be infused with your personality. Don’t be afraid to bring your whole self to work. The right company for you will embrace your professionalism and your quirks. 

In fact, you can use Airspeed’s profiles to easily show prospective employers who you are at work and your interests outside of it.

Here’s an example from Doug Camplejohn, CEO at Airspeed: 

Doug Camplejohn's Airspeed Profile

You can share all your interests, your social media profiles, your favorite places, and a picture of you looking awesome at work and in your personal life.

And the best part? You can create a profile and pop that link in your email signature, on your LinkedIn profile, or on your resume.

Recruiters can easily get a glimpse of your personality without having to scour through your social media. 

Claim your username here

#4. Display remote-specific skills

Aside from job-related skills, companies hiring remote workers look for a specific set of traits:

  • Ability to work autonomously
  • Great communication skills
  • Inclination to learn
  • Interests outside of work
  • Ability to collaborate remotely
  • Focus on results over activity

Here’s a peek at things Github values and why:

Source


Craig Hewitt, Founder & CEO at Castos explained how these soft skills are tested:

Candidates are assessed on communication skills, emotional intelligence, and self-management. A big part of this is observing how they answer questions and interact with the interviewer.“

While other companies monitor your interactions from the minute you apply. How quickly do you respond to emails? What kind of questions do you ask? Do you join interviews on time?

Every bit counts.

It isn’t enough for you to include these skills in your resume. You have to demonstrate them throughout your interview process. 

Look at Glassdoor interview questions, the company’s career page, or talk to employees that work there to find out more about the organization’s culture and values so you can work those things into your conversations.

#5. Build an online brand

You’ve probably heard this one a lot. Build a brand and your next job will come straight in your inbox.

A consistent online presence means you can generate more brand awareness or even help close deals quicker because you’ve built trust with your network and they see you as a trusted advisor. This is especially true if you’re vying for a sales or marketing position.

And you don’t have to resort to oversimplified Twitter threads that add zero value or broetry on LinkedIn.

Source


Your brand is an extension of your work. Share lessons you’ve learned from first-hand experience, your current projects, small wins, and your roadblocks. 

Here’s a prime example of how you can leverage LinkedIn, courtesy of Amanda Natividad, VP Marketing at SparkToro:

Quick Tip: If the idea of self-promotion still makes you nauseous, consider picking up Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work.

Imbibe. Implement. Iterate.

The best advice for anyone looking for a remote job can be summed up in three words: Imbibe. Implement. Iterate. 

Learn what remote employers are looking for. See if those findings align with your values. You’re more likely to thrive when you find your person-organization fit.

Then, implement your learnings in your application process. Spruce up your resume, invest in your online presence, and dust off your LinkedIn profile.

If you don’t make the cut, follow up and ask for feedback. Most recruiters and hiring managers are happy to share what you could improve and what stood out for them.

Absorb those insights and iterate. For instance, if it’s a skill you need to work on, take on a consulting project or an internship to build it.

Even though the competition is fierce, remote work is here to stay. And your dream remote job is only a click away. (Okay several clicks away, but you get the idea!)

A cool tip you can implement in 5 minutes? Create a profile with Airspeed to show recruiters that you’re both a professional and cultural fit – add it to your email signature, resume, or LinkedIn.

Related Resources:

Home office setup for remote work including laptop, monitor, mouse, notebook on desk.

Setting Up Your Home Office for Remote Work

By Remote WorkNo Comments

Over the last two years, employees have become used to the idea of working from anywhere. At the beginning it was a necessity – now, it’s more of a choice that can empower workers to balance both their professional and personal lives. 

As more employees join companies that are fully remote, they have the time and space to craft a perfect home office setup for remote work. For those that continue to work from home only, home offices are more important than ever before. 

Why set up a home office?

Gone are the days of makeshift desks at kitchen tables, using dining room chairs for eight hours a day, or propping your laptop up on a pillow in your living room for a full day of work. 

It’s easy to get distracted while working in front of the TV or in a high-traffic area like the kitchen. Having a separate office area can help prioritize work and optimize your productivity while working from home. 

For those that don’t have the extra real estate to have an office so to speak, there are other ways to separate your work from your home life. Even just having a dedicated space only for work can put you in the mindset to focus and to minimize any distractions that may crop up at home. Try dedicating a desk set in a quiet corner of the house with work tools such as laptop and notebooks nearby to help boost productivity and avoid spending time tracking down work supplies.

Your home office reflects who you are at work 

While boosting productivity is a great reason to set up your home office, you may want it for practical reasons as well. Your background is what your coworkers and employees see all day. You may want a separate space so your coworkers don’t see the mess you left behind in the kitchen as you scrambled to make lunch. 

Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health, sees working spaces and backgrounds as an opportunity to build a strong remote culture and enhance connection. 

“One day, I had our team members log in all on mobile and just show us a little bit of their space – tilt up, tilt down, look sideways. Show us what’s outside that door we always see in your video,” Jennifer says. “It was amazing how much extra context and connectivity that gave everybody, putting them in a three dimensional space.”

There are other ways to show who you are when working remotely  besides just showing off your physical space. Teams use the tool Airspeed to share more about their interests and discover what they have in common.  

While your home office will serve as the team’s window into your home life, it ultimately is for you and should be designed to fit your needs. So, how can you personalize your space and make it yours?

3 steps to setting up home office for remote work 

You may recognize it’s time for a change in your home office but it’s been so long that you don’t know where to start. Before going online and shopping blindly for miscellaneous office items, take the time to reflect on what you need out of your workspace, and other ways you can maximize this update. 

  1. First determine your home office priorities 

You can have different priorities for your home office. Before designing and thinking through your office, it’s best to align yourself with what you need in your role. Does your job require a lot of productivity? Can you only focus when it’s quiet? Do you work in a creative role that needs inspiration? 

Based on this, perhaps there is a different location in your house that works better for your needs. Natural light encourages alertness, decreases stress, and increases productivity – and a window is a natural break from the blue light of a computer screen. You may also consider having a more flexible working arrangement if your job requires different types of work throughout the day (for example, needing to take notes or free sketch versus being on video calls all day). Being able to rearrange your space to match your needs of the day can help emulate the benefits of a physical office. 

You may also reconsider how you decorate based on your goals. One thing to note: workers that decorated with plants and pictures were 32% more productive than those that didn’t. Make your space your own with unique touches – just because it’s for work doesn’t mean there can’t be elements of play and your personality! 

  1. Then, review what your home office already has, and what it still needs

When first deciding to upgrade your home office, take stock of what you have and the resources you have available to you. What office items do you already have? For any items you do get, are your home office supplies tax deductible? 

Some offices might offer a remote work stipend. Based on budget, get the necessities first. 

Some necessities include:

  • A supportive chair
  • Webcam (if your laptop doesn’t have one)
  • Microphone (if your laptop doesn’t have one)
  • Mouse 
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor

Then it’s time to think through fun nice-to-haves. This can include good lighting, plants, decor, standing desks (which can help combat negative effects of sitting and improve productivity), air purifier, and mini fridge to stow any drinks or other snacks you need throughout the day. You may also choose to invest in a bookshelf, filing cabinet, or comfortable sitting chair to make your home office space complete and comfortable. Ultimately, it’s important to think back to your home office priorities when thinking of your nice-to-haves for your home office. 

  1. Finally, plan around your entire environment 

Having an optimal home office goes beyond the furniture and tools you put in it. You need to think through the entire environment – like fuel for the day, temperature, and ambiance. You can have the perfect office set up but if you’re cold from poor insulation or the place where you work has too much street noise, you’re setting yourself up for distractions and low productivity. 

It takes about 25 minutes to return to your original task after you have been interrupted. If you have to get up every 20 minutes because you don’t have access to what you need, that’s a lot of concentration time being lost. Keep your most used items on your desk – like pens, sticky notes, and chargers. Make sure you have water or any other drinks you may need. For any other items, keep them close by but not cluttering your desk. 

You may also want to create space for breaks. Having a yoga mat in the office, or a puzzle and notebook on hand can be useful for taking a quick mental break before your next meeting.

Your home office is worth the investment

As you go forward in setting up your home office, remember that it’s your space. It’s worth the time and money to ensure that you feel comfortable and productive.

If something isn’t working, adjust or change it so it suits your needs. While it may take some time to get it all together, it is an investment in yourself and your work life that will pay off. After all, jobs may change – but your home office will remain your home base! 

Jennifer Ernst CEO of Tivic Health

Tivic Health’s CEO Jennifer Ernst on how to build a culture remotely

By InterviewsNo Comments

Starting a company is more than simply establishing a product. It involves hiring and building a team, supporting the team to ensure they work well together and have a strong culture, and creating processes for smooth operations. 

Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health, a bioelectronic device company focused on managing disease through noninvasive bioelectronic medicine, has mastered that process. Despite the company being founded in 2016, it went public just five years later. 

While Tivic Health started off in a remote capacity with just a small team of five, the team is working to evolve given its increased scale and hiring. Jennifer discusses the tips, tricks, and growing pains of building a culture remotely. 

Creating culture in a dispersed remote workplace

The future of work is remote. But that means more unique hurdles when it comes to hiring and building a team. 

“Even though we have been largely remote from the beginning, the greatest issue facing us has to do with our onboarding,” Jennifer says. “We’re hiring over Zoom. We’re never meeting people in person, so deciding on what our practices and policies are going to be as we’re growing our culture and as we’re adding new people is challenging.”

It’s part of the nuances of starting a company remotely. Since “face-to-face” time is more intentional with Zoom meetings and video chats, conversations with team members need to be more direct when tuning a culture. Leadership needs to explicitly communicate about decisions and action items and plans.

“Those critical, little nuanced things can do so much to tune a remote culture,” Jennifer says. “Our goal is to create a context where it’s safe to be able to say, ‘I didn’t think that was quite how I want us operating going forward. Or I really liked the way you handled that situation,’ without it being unusual to do that.”

Another way this takes shape is after employees are onboard. With Tivic Health in a growth mode, Jennifer is trying to create bonding moments for team members while also recognizing the great balance of working from home. Jennifer seeks to bridge the two by having team building activities take a different shape. 

“One day, I had our team members log in all on mobile and just show us a little bit of their space – tilt up, tilt down, look sideways. Show us what’s outside that door we always see in your video,” Jennifer says. “It was amazing how much extra context and connectivity that gave everybody, putting them in a three dimensional space. There’s something about having shared proximity through this window that I think is going to continue to emerge in the future of work.”

Empowering productivity and collaboration with the right technology tools

We know by now that people are more productive at home without distraction, but how do you balance that with in-person collaboration?

“We have historically always had an anchor point, at least where a couple of us got together regularly in-person. Now, while the individual employee productivity is higher, the cross coordination costs have increased when we all meet together.”

Whether it’s working across time zones and scheduling meetings, or finding those face-to-face connections, Jennifer is leaning into technology to help bridge those divides. Yet for some pivotal and celebratory moments, it’s still challenging to bring that energy. 

“I realized when we did our IPO, we got together on Zoom. We had a bunch of bells and we rang them together. But as soon as you closed the computer, you were done, it was over. Having that kind of continuity and figuring out how to manage celebration remains a challenge.”

Finding ways to maintain employee engagement beyond work is important – many teams leverage a tool like Airspeed to stay connected. Tivic Health is also looking at different SMS and live feed solutions to create that persistent presence in a digital workspace. 

Jennifer does recognize that there is a bit of a generational split across which tools people gravitate to for their personal communication. Understanding that has helped her determine which tools fit the best or feel the most natural in work situations. 

Jennifer has also been taking inspiration from WeWork, finding that the physical look of them, no matter location, can be quite similar. 

“I’ve found it to be a really interesting social construct that regardless of whether I was connecting to someone in any city around the country, there’s enough physical similarity to feel like we were somehow in a shared workspace,” Jennifer says. “I do think there’s an opportunity to emulate it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about here as we basically have recently leased a blank slate, more or less, to be able to find those anchors that no matter where you are in the company, we can create something that is present with you that connects you to others.”

Communication as the foundation for remote culture

Companies with connected employees see 20-25% increased levels of productivity, and 97% of workers think that communication impacts everyday tasks. It’s clear that connection and communication are related, and are the foundation for a strong and productive company culture. So how do you begin? 

Jennifer has been trying to start the process of bonding team members as soon as they join – besides having them just connect to their direct manager. To her, those bonds are important to making sure people feel like they are valued and a part of the team. 

“The first company I built had headquarters in Norway and I was in the US. And we found that the time we traveled together–not even just when I was in Norway or they were in the United States–were the most important times for creating that synthesis between the spaces.”

“That’s something I’ve been thinking about more as we build out our company, is how to create that social connectivity. It’s really not just about: Oh, I like this person, or we have a good working relationship. It’s more about: Do you know enough about the person to understand where they’re coming from, or what their thought processes are about a topic, so that when you’re having dialogues later on not in person, you can actually reach through the screen and be in the space with them, as if you were having that direct contact?”

Establishing those relationships, continuing to build them while working from home, and harnessing strong communication and connection is part of what makes Tivic Health successful. For Jennifer Ernst as the CEO, she continues to hone those processes to  make them as effective as possible and build the strongest remote culture.

Salesperson woman remote selling at a table on sales call.

Virtual Selling Tips For Remote Sales Teams: Stand Out, Build Trust and Hit Your Quota

By Remote WorkNo Comments

The shift to virtual selling is another drastic and permanent shift the pandemic is responsible for. But the good news is that buyers love remote sales. 

LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2022 report revealed that 55% of prospects find buying easier because of remote work. And since both buyers and sellers want to work remotely, virtual selling is here to stay.

But remote selling is also significantly harder. We can’t discount the impact in-person meetings have on building relationships with buyers and winning deals.

While it is difficult to replicate that virtually, it is not impossible. A renewed focus on the buyer’s needs, replacing busy work with research, and aligning with marketing can help you humanize your approach, build trust and drive more revenue. 

What is virtual selling? Virtual selling or remote sales is the process of converting prospects into customers through digital interactions. Unlike the traditional sales process involving in-person meetings, conferences, or physical events, virtual selling happens online.

#1. Join 9 in 10 sellers to make cold warm calls

Cold calling is dead.

You’ve probably heard that one before. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get on the phone with prospects. Only that you shouldn’t reach out to them before you research them thoroughly.  

LinkedIn’s study found that while 46% of sellers conduct warm calls, 88% have begun to take a shine to “warm” calls. A warm call is the anthesis of a generic sales script. Sellers research buyers, the company, and the industry before reaching out to them.

And what do buyers think? They aren’t a fan of cold calls. Only 21% of buyers want to be cold-called.

How buyers want to be contacted by sellers graph, showing email as the top.
Source
“I hate being cold-called. I hate being treated like a name on a list. Approaching potential clients with a customized script that treats them like the unique human they are — that’s how you maximize impact.” Cherilynn Castleman, Managing Partner, CGI Executive Coaching

(Source)

Research could mean performing a Google search or browsing through a prospect’s LinkedIn before sending an email or calling them.

While research may have already been a part of your process, studying the buyer is becoming increasingly necessary because irrelevant information can kill the deal. The same LinkedIn report found that 68% of buyers said they wouldn’t entertain sellers who reached out with information that wasn’t pertinent to their role.

Solutions like Clearbit’s Prospector, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator or ZoomInfo can speed up the research process. From helping you filter prospects to finding out who would be most interested in your product based on their search history, these tools have features you need to scale the warm call.

You might like: How to Make Your Sales Kickoff Kickass: Practical Advice from 20+ Experts 

#2. Use sales tech to appear human

Sales technology can sometimes prove to be a double-edged sword. While it allows for mass outreach, it can very easily turn spammy for buyers. 

Data from HubSpot showed that sellers sent almost 60% more emails compared to the numbers pre-COVID. But the response rates were pitiful since the emails lacked a personal touch.

So instead of using sales technology to just scale outreach, top sellers use it to humanize their interactions and connect with buyers.

For instance, buyer intent can reveal where prospects are in their journey and who’s ready to buy. You can use this information to send them relevant content or reach out to them right after they check out high-intent landing pages.

And don’t forget buyers research sellers too. LinkedIn’s data revealed that 52% of buyers Google you and 42% check out your LinkedIn profile.


Source

The reason? Buyers want to work with sellers they can trust. In fact, 88% of buyers will only do business with salespeople they see as trusted advisors. 

So consider using social media tools to schedule posts on LinkedIn, make sure Google results are flattering, and add a bio on your company’s team page.

Another easy way to humanize your interactions? Use your email signature to direct prospects to a profile. Airspeed’s Profiles allow you to share who you are at work and your interests outside of it.

Here’s a sneak peek of what yours could look like:

Lauryn's Airspeed profile showing professional and personal sides to stand out.

Want your own Airspeed profile to help humanize your sales reach out? Claim your username here

#3. Don’t dismiss non-selling activities

Sales reps only spend 27% of their time actually selling. 

This kind of statistic is heavily cited in posts about sales productivity followed by how sellers can increase the amount of time they spend selling. 

But here’s the thing: Top performers spend 10% less time selling compared to average performers. 

“Don’t be so quick to dismiss ‘non-selling activity.’ The modern sales cycle requires more than just smiling and dialing to be successful. Research, training, and collaboration are key elements required to move deals forward. The key is asking if an activity has either short-term or long-term value or if you are just doing it because of inertia or poor planning.” David J.P. Fisher, President, RockStar Consulting (Source)

Instead, they spend more time researching their prospects. According to LinkedIn, 82% conduct research “all the time” before outreach. And 18% of top reps spend more time updating their CRM. This process helps them have updated data on buyers.

Sellers who hit 150% of their quota are also spending more time on LinkedIn. 53% of reps reported they were going to write more articles on LinkedIn and share company and third-party content. 

You might like: Suzy’s CEO Matt Britton shares how to reframe workplace expectations for a digital world 

#4. Challenge your buyer’s assumptions

Put the buyer first. This sound piece of advice has no doubt made its way to you before. In fact, data from LinkedIn shows that 70% of top sellers “always” put the buyer first.

But prioritizing your buyer’s needs doesn’t only mean giving them what they’ve asked for. It also means influencing them to see things a different way.

Buyers want to feel challenged. 54% of buyers change their opinions often thanks to sellers.

And the best part? 89% of prospects are more likely to choose a brand that changes their way of thinking. So don’t back down from challenging their assumptions. It can lead them to reconsider you and close more deals.

Work with your team to create a strong narrative. Question the status quo and position your platform as the solution to those challenges. 

#5. Lean into the power of smarketing 

Smarketing (sales + marketing) is a strategy where sales and marketing teams are aligned and have common goals.

With the rise in revenue-driven marketing, marketers aren’t chasing MQLs anymore. Their metric for success is the same as sales — revenue. 

Shared goals and KPIs mean the war between sales and marketing can finally end. No more fighting over which leads should be attributed to marketing or what percentage of prospects converted purely because of the sales team.

And so if you’re not collaborating with marketing closely yet, it’s about time you did.

Meet with your marketing team at least once a month to understand how customers are interacting with your brand and which pieces of content are they consuming.

Share what you’ve learned about your ideal prospects’ needs, the jargon they’re using, and the questions they have so your marketing team can create content tailored to your ideal customer persona. 

This alignment between sales and marketing ensures customers have a delightful experience in their interactions with your brand. As a result, they’re more likely to buy from you and boost your revenue. 

A recipe for virtual selling success

Dave Egloff, Vice President, and Analyst in Gartner’s Sales Practice shared some virtual selling tips on Gartner’s blog that Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) can implement:

  • Forget “casual” when selling online 
    Sellers should dress professionally for meetings even if they’re working from home. Credibility is still key. Egloff also recommends dialing in early and controlling the video background.
  • Set up sellers with the right hardware
    While sales teams can make do with their laptop’s camera and microphone, CSOs should invest in professional hardware to help them stand out. 
  • Crowdsource ideas from sellers
    Since sellers interact the most with buyers, they’re most likely to see new buying patterns. So it’s crucial to create a space where they can share ideas, ask questions and learn from each other.


A virtual selling tip you can implement today? Make a profile with Airspeed in less than 5 minutes – add it to your email signature, meeting invites, LinkedIn profile, and more.

Person using laptop on couch to apply to jobs

5 Ways to Attract the Best Remote Workers 

By Remote WorkNo Comments

Remote work used to be a rare benefit on job listings. It was a way for companies to stand out and attract the best talent. After the pandemic, remote work has become an expectation for many. So how do you attract the best remote workers and differentiate your company from the competition? 

How to Recruit the Best Remote Workers 

If you’re a remote company looking to attract the best remote workers and enable a virtual-first organization, look no further – we break it down for you. Here are five ways to recruit top talent for your remote workforce. 

Go beyond LinkedIn and Indeed to find remote-first workers 

Traditional job posting sites like LinkedIn and Indeed may be great for recruiting, but their focus isn’t remote workers. In a recent viral Twitter thread, Sergio Pereira offered examples of other sites that help job seekers filter out companies that are truly remote friendly. Consider posting on the following sites:

When you post, be concise and clear in your job description. You want to attract qualified candidates that want to work remotely. Are there any time zones that won’t work for your team? Will candidates have to travel regularly for offsites, conferences, or meetings? ? Laying out all expectations, job functions, and information on the application process will help save you time and find someone that is truly the best fit for the role. 

Tap into your current talent community 

Working at a fully remote company also means recruiting in a fully remote capacity. Meaning, managers have to evaluate and determine the best fit for a role without relying on cues like in-person vibes or seeing if a candidate is reading off a notecard for answers. 

This is where your current talent community comes in. Your employees may have friends from school that moved across the country but are the right fit for a role, or old coworkers that they left behind a couple of jobs ago that would be a great value add to the team. Having your team vouch for candidates can give you an instant vibe check and benefit the culture since you already know they work well together. Try offering a bonus for employees if they refer a colleague that ends up getting hired.

Share your company culture publicly 

You don’t have to be in-person to have a strong company culture. Whether it’s sharing the details of when the team gets together, what you value at your organization, or how team members connect virtually, demonstrating your culture goes a long way in helping candidates visualize themselves working at your company. 

In a remote work set-up, your team is your culture. Be sure to highlight them! Snap extra pictures when you’re in-person or encourage teammates to send in photos of their remote work set-up or neighborhood. 

A fun idea to showcase the diversity of your team is pinpointing everyone’s work location on a map using Airspeed. A team map allows your team to discover any coworkers who live in the same area as them. Your team can also share who they are behind their laptop screens with Profiles. Each teammate can add their interests and show who they are outside of work. Applicants can review their potential teammates’ profiles to get a rich feel of the team’s culture.   

Offer a remote work stipend 

How are you setting up your employees for success? As job seekers look for remote opportunities, they may have never worked exclusively from home before. Think about what remote workers might need to succeed in a remote workplace. Offering a stipend – and being upfront on what it is – can be a big differentiator for remote job seekers. 

A stipend can help pay for:

  • Strong Wi-Fi
  • A supportive chair
  • Coffee machine
  • Good lighting
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Mouse 
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor

The average stipend can range anywhere from $250 to $800, with some large tech companies offering up to $1000 in a lump sum. Some other organizations prefer to do a monthly amount in the ballpark of $50 to $100 to help offset either coworking space costs or other monthly expenses like Wi-Fi and other utilities. 

Incorporate more comprehensive benefits 

Tech companies like Facebook or Google tout benefits like snacks, free booze, and foosball games to entice employees to come into the office. It’s why these companies are historically on the lists of best places to work – they make going to work fun! 

In a remote work set up, consider thinking outside the box on benefits that would help make your employees’ lives better. Can you offer a childcare stipend? Are there meals or snacks you can expense for your team for special occasions? Do your employees need to be online for certain hours or can they enjoy a more flexible work schedule? This is an opportunity to stand out and think outside the box.These types of benefits complement a remote work lifestyle and can make your company even more attractive to job seekers.  

Proof of concept: Companies that are killing the recruitment game for remote workers

Consider how legacy companies that have traditionally been in-person only have pivoted their operations to be remote-friendly. 

Spotify recently unveiled their “Work From Anywhere” program. While they still have offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, they offer a co-working stipend for employees that relocate and are no longer near a city.k. 3M is another company that has a new policy, a trust-based “Work Your Way” plan that empowers employees to choose how to do their best work.  

Fully remote companies like Toptal, FlexJobs, and Buffer are differentiating themselves through their benefits. Toptal has flexible paid time off and offersa subscription to the Calm app to combat burnout and any mental health issues. FlexJobs offers a variety of stipends, including those for professional development and meditation and fitness expenses. Buffer is pioneering four-day workweeks and provides employees with a free Kindle and access to books. 

While those tech companies are offering either fully remote or hybrid opportunities, all of them are established companies that can recruit based on name recognition or word of mouth alone. For more inspiration, look at newer startups to see how to attract the best remote talent. Take Airspeed –  in addition to having a remote work policy, we also offer unlimited paid time off, fun company offsites, and a co-working space allowance.

Remote work should look different than traditional in-person work. You wouldn’t expect office workers to be operating like remote workers – sitting alone with their laptops. That’s why attracting, recruiting, and hiring the best remote workers for your team needs a unique strategy.  

inDinero’s Founder Jessica Mah on differentiating a company with a global workforce

By InterviewsNo Comments

While it used to be a differentiator to simply offer remote work, the competition for talent is forcing companies to rethink how they’re offering it post-pandemic. 

It’s something that Jessica Mah, the founder and executive chairwoman of inDinero, knows well. inDinero is a ‘virtual-first organization’ providing account services and financial help for small businesses. Having founded it at the age of 20 in 2009, Mah transformed inDinero from a struggling startup to a million-dollar company in ten years through refocusing her efforts on building a strong team and securing key hires.

In 2022, she is continuing to evolve her companies and how she attracts and retains talent in a global workforce. Jessica Mah joined Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, for a conversation on what is missing in today’s remote culture. 

Investing in in-person opportunities to cultivate a motivated community

For Jessica Mah, a new take on hybrid work is the future. She recognizes that creating the kinds of connections that motivate employees to work and stay at a company can be hard to do remotely, especially with a global workforce. To account for all styles of working, there needs to be a balance between facilitating fully remote work and offering opportunities for employees to meet, engage, and learn about one another beyond a work setting. 

Mah offers the following levels to an ideal hybrid environment, recognizing the different value of both depending on what the team needs:

Level One – enforcing mandatory, engaged in-person hangouts. Not just coming to the office for in-person coworking.

Level Two – doing a focused, creative team activity to brainstorm new campaigns or other projects. Level two is done less frequently, taking place once every three or four weeks. It is a full day event where the team is actually collaborating, and not just sitting side-by-side on their laptops. 

Mah emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to time spent together in-person. “I think that’s something we’ve forgotten about as employers. We just assume sitting next to each other is quality time together – it’s not.” 

While a hybrid workforce is the goal for inDinero, Mah faces an additional challenge: managing a global workforce. 

“With inDinero, I’ve got hundreds of employees all over the US and in the Philippines, and I can’t get into the Philippines without a two-week quarantine,” Mah says. “We hired so many remote people during COVID so there’s no way for them to go into an office even for two days a week, because there’s no office where they moved to.”

The balance Mah is seeking now involves investing in in-person components of remote work. She has seen it firsthand in her company; it makes a huge difference when people are able to engage in in-person coworking. Mah is also pivoting to hiring in hubs so employees can hang out or cowork one or two times a week. 

For Mah, it’s about finding the middle ground so employees don’t feel completely isolated and disconnected from the workforce. By investing in creating connection as a remote-first company, she is able to differentiate herself from other companies. 

“For companies that were already open to remote work and hybrid work before the pandemic, like me, it’s been harder to attract great people because everyone else is doing the same thing,” Mah says. “Two years ago if someone told me to differentiate myself I needed to offer in-person [interactions], I’d call them crazy. But it’s true – offering and investing in it is different now. Remote work is great but you need the connection to sustain performance.”

Offering opportunities beyond just one job – and gaining insights too

Jessica Mah has a unique insight into what works best for employees, having a built-in dataset with her portfolio of companies. She has found that the company spending the most time facilitating connections has the best performance and retention. 

“What’s key is that I can compare and contrast across several companies. I give the CEOs free reign to decide what kind of culture they want but I can give some guidance with what I’m noticing across my portfolio.”

Another area that Mah can look into is what exactly her employees at different levels want. While a more junior employee may need more mentorship, a senior manager may need the resources to be a great leader (Mah herself read 100 leadership books five years after inDinero was founded to aid her own personal growth). 

“In a remote environment, it is a little bit harder to get that mentorship if newer employees are scared to ask for it. Now we have to be so much more intentional about it,” Mah says. “It’s important for the managers and mentors to be more proactive about what employees want to learn and have a development plan in place.”

This portfolio of companies comes in handy for other opportunities besides data comparison. In addition to incorporating more ways for employees to connect, Mah has also been able to account for turnover and the Great Resignation by giving employees the ability to work at multiple companies. This opportunity isn’t just for junior level roles either; Mah has been encouraging any type of creative role regardless of level to work across companies. 

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“Ultimately, I’m going to empower my leaders to decide what’s best for their teams. But don’t fall asleep at the wheel and assume that remote work the way we’ve been doing it throughout COVID is going to be the only way in the future,” Mah says. 

Prioritizing connection above all else for a remote global workforce

This evolution of remote work is particularly of note thinking of an entire company’s strategy. As Jessica Mah has evolved from a do-it-all-herself founder to an effective multi-company leader, she recognizes the power of a strong human resources team. It’s something she takes seriously, as one of inDinero’s earliest struggles was hiring the right people. She sees the HR professional as having a strategic role in deciding how to hire and manage a global workforce, and how and when to bring people together. 

“It’s a very interesting time to be a leader. Now more than ever, the HR professional is going to have more influence and power and the CEOs are going to need to rely more on their HR professionals. Whereas before, HR might have been seen as that administrative paperwork, compliance position, now it’s very strategic – whether or not the HR person was ready for that, now they are a strategic partner.”

Innovative Chief People Officers are now prioritizing connection, especially in remote or hybrid global workplaces. It’s not enough to offer the benefits of working remotely anymore. Today’s workers crave a sense of true belonging and community, in addition to a flexible workplace.

The future of work is remote – though offering opportunities for connection and collaboration is more critical than ever before. After all, that may be what differentiates your company from the rest of your competition.