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Heather Martin, Karen Graham & Amy Sample Ward: Virtual Orgs: Managing Remote Employees
What does it take to successfully manage offsite employees? You start with the right mindset, people & jobs. You also need tools, rules & etiquette. Heather Martin & Karen Graham are in the trenches on this and they share their wisdom. Heather is COO at Interfaith Family & Karen is executive director of Idealware. We talked at the 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
Then, Amy Sample Ward is with me live to share her tips and lessons learned as CEO of Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), an organization with several remote employees.
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Oppcoll hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent on your aptly named host we have a listener of the weak dan kimble in fresno, california. He’s, product specialist at apple owes software at ntcdinosaur just was non-profit technology conference just last month, dan couldn’t say enough good things about the show. So, dan, i thank you so much for loving non-profit radio congratulations on being our listener of the weak dan kimble okay, last friday, i made a mistake last friday was not tax day last week was a pre recorded show, and i hadn’t realized two weeks in advance that you had until the eighteenth for your taxes. I you know, i have accountants and bookkeepers and and attorneys and financial planners dealing with these these mondo ass ity mundane when two triviality things i have a show to produce. Please, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer. You’re a thrill incontinence if you leak the idea that you missed today’s show virtual organizations managing remote employees what does it take to successfully manage offsite employees? You start with the right mind set people and jobs. You also need tools. Rules and etiquette heather martin and karen graham are in the trenches on this, and they share their wisdom. Heather is ceo at interfaith family and karen is executive director of idealware we talked at the twenty sixteen and to see non-profit technology conference, then amy sample ward is with me live to share her tips and lessons learned as ceo of non-profit technology network and ten they have several remote employees on tony’s take two between you’re good data worth fifty thousand dollars, we’re sponsored by pursuant full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled, you’ll raise more money pursuant dot com, also by crowdster online and mobile fund-raising software for non-profits now with apple pay for mobile donations crowdster dot com from ntcdinosaur are heather martin and karen graham on virtual organizations managing those remote employees welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of twenty sixteen non-profit technology conference hashtag is sixteen ntc we’re in the convention center in san jose, california with me now are heather martin and karen graham. Heather is sitting closest to me and she is the chief operating officer. Your faith family. Karen graham is executive director at idealware. Ladies. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks, it’s. A pleasure to have you both. I’ll be here. Oh, thank you. Your topic for the session is virtual organizations managing remote employees in the leadership track. All right, back-up we need to be a little more open, i guess, to virtual employment opportunities. Is that right? Yes. Yes. We’re finding that there’s more talent out there that you might not be able to tap into if it’s only in your local community on dh just there. So you can open yourself up to the whole world. You can potentially the whole country if you’re willing to do that on dh. However, it’s not an easy thing to do necessarily. And so we’re hoping to give some tips and techniques for people who are managing virtual employees or who are virtual employees themselves. Karen so you think it’s a combination? We’re not doing it as much as we could and those who are not doing it. Maybe you’re not doing it as well as they could, right? I think some organizations are held back by fears of, like some of the ms about remote employees. You know, i won’t be ableto know what this person is doing. They’re going to be folding laundry and eating cupcakes all day, things like that and that. Okay, it’s not always untrue, but almost always. But, you know, most most people are pretty conscientious and very productive at home, and in fact, i think i’m probably more productive when i work from home or away from a group of people than i am when when i’m in the middle of all those interruptions. Okay, heather, you you virtual also, i am not virtual, but i manage virtual employees in eight different cities. Oh, excellent. So we have a manager of a different city employees and someone who works virtually you’re virtually my entire team is virtual okay? Arika, uh is the whole company? Yes. Idealware all right. And that’s a recent change for us. So whereas other has a great deal of experience with this it’s really nufer me. And so for the last year, i’ve been learning what it’s like to convert from almost everybody in a brick and mortar office toe having everyone worked from home offices. So i’m really curious what brought about that change? It started with one person who was remote and then as new staff were hired, we just looked for the best talent wherever we could find it and didn’t worry as much about having everybody in one central location. And so just gradually, we’ve evolved into having people in three different time zones and things spread across the country. Ok, whether it sounds like we need to first get over our own objections to know it’s got to be a local employees, i don’t want to take this on somebody wrote. One of the things that we’re finding is the old culture within some organizations is if i don’t see it happening it’s not happening. Ah, nde. We were that’s embedded in a lot of cultural, a lot of older organizations, and once we get over that and we put in some processes to handle that, people get more and more comfortable. One of the things we’re finding and karen alluded to this also is if you hire the right people, then that idea that i don’t see it it’s not happening and trusting your employees is really key in managing virtual organizations. Where do we, since you’re the manager of a different location, people in a different city? Where do we start with this? Should we start with the hiring process? Cerini so i think what’s, very important, is identifying before you’ve been hyre someone what the skillsets that this person needs, what are their goals going, toby, what is their job going to be? There are definitely some roles that cannot be done, virtually so that it’s, not for everyone, it’s, not for every organization, it’s, not for every position, okay, so identifying where it belongs, okay, can anything you want to add that stage? Not yet, okay. The let’s, let’s. Start with some tips. Okay, wait. We’ve identified what types of people we need, what kinds of skills we need up. Well, actually, i’m taking a step back. What are some things that were sometimes of jobs? Heather, that definitely should not be virtual. You think i think that if you’re a type of person that needs teo, if your role needs to be interacting with people on a regular basis to get something done within an office. So an office manager, um, things that need to have interactions with other people on a regular basis and i don’t know if you come up. I’m talking, karen, if you came across any of this as you all went virtual, but i’m finding that it’s been very difficult to have a virtual employees if their job is to sit down with you and communicate with you on a regular basis and get stuff done enough physical environment. Okay, okay. Gary, i would agree with that and that’s a challenge that technology khun partially solve. But it can be really challenging. Okay. All right, let’s, move it to technology. Will get the tips and, you know we’re playing time together. What are some tools that you find just essential for this? Certain? Here we are at a technology conference, so it makes sense too, really focus on that one of the tools that we use most often at idealware to keep in touch and to sort of simulate the water. Cool the water cooler. Conversations that tend to get lost with a virtual team is chat. And and so we use google maps for our email and calendars and document management and everything. And so it felt natural for us to just use google’s chat tools as well. And we have a channel set up called the virtual break room and there’s usually a little bit of activity on there every single day and people will just post like, oh, it just started snowing outside or my cat is sick. O r, you know, just kind of that casual conversation. That’s not really work related. And yet it’s, so crucial to building a cohesive team and feeling like you really are part of each other’s full lives. How cool is that? Because you have to try to simulate what? What? Being in the office is like you mentioned the water. Cooler tryingto virtually simulate that so that it feels like on office space, another that makes it mine. Yeah, going backwards, you know you’re you kind of have to go backwards in order to make this effective communication is key. What all of the tips, all of the technology, everything you use, it goes back to the ability to create cohesive communication between people who are not physically in the same space. So the same way karen has her virtual water cooler. We use skype for business on a regular basis, and if you want to talk to someone, you’re usually on skype, you click on it, you have a video and you have a quick conversation something that may not necessarily be as effective if you try to do it through email and it probably faster on email has been detrimental somewhere, sometimes to our employees, because they’re just getting hundreds and hundreds of these. And if you want a quick answer, there’s all these other tools like these chat tools that make it a little easier. Okay, okay. Karen, please aren’t our process. That idealware for kind of identifying what technologies we needed to help us as a virtual team really started by looking at what gaps were there that were left by by not being in the same place together. So one of the things that you misses, a lot of nonverbal cues, tio what people are thinking, how they’re reacting to something, and so we use video a lot as well and that’s always our default, what video platform way use google hangouts primarily, but we also have some other, like peskay and other tools that we use for external meetings as well. And so with heather, you know, we actually just met for the first time about five minutes ago, you were in person, yes, but were bent on we’ve been on video chats together several times before, and i feel like we kind of know each other. I knew what she looked like, michael workers know when i get a haircut when i get a new outfit, even though it might be four or five months between seeing each other in person, you’re tuned to non-profit radio tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights published once a month tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation. Really, all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder, am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti dot com that’s marketmesuite n e t t i remember there’s, a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura, the chronicle website, philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals, the better way. Duitz are using video every day. Yes, i probably spend, on average two to three hours a day on video chat there’s that comment through a lot, a lot of video in depending on the positions and who’s working with who? Yes, we actually have a staff meeting through webex, where all twenty eight employees get on to video chat, depending on who’s available and who is not in their pajamas. Sometimes people bow out because they don’t want to be put on video, but it’s really helpful to see people and to connect with them at a visual level, even if they’re not physically in the same space where where humans we want way respond to community and and i think visual visual cues as well, it helps a lot to be to be seeing people. People have a tendency. One of my first experiences with this virtual nus was i was working at ibm, and i was project managing. I was doing strategy consulting as project managing the implementation of lotus notes, and we needed the tech team to do work in in order to get the implementation done. The tech team was in armonk, new york, i was living in virginia and we were implementing this to staff nationwide, and what you do is each project manager had to get in touch with the tech team, get them to do stuff, something broke. You had to go back to them, and what we found was i happened to goto, our monk, for our training, and i went into the room where the tech team was sitting and introduced myself. After that, everything seemed slightly easier. And it was just because when i picked up the phone and i ask them to do something, i knew who i was talking to, and they knew who i wass and just having that physical connection made things so much smoother, okay, you said a lot more eloquently than i did. Thank you. Thank you for helping me recover let’s, identify other tools, it’s gotta be google docks, google calendar or something else, what do using collaborative document systems are very helpful for virtual teams, and actually so at idealware, maybe, not surprisingly, since we’re ah, research and knowledge organization, we have mostly introverts on our staff, and i’ve actually found that when we do brainstorming, sometimes it could be more productive. When we do it virtually by typing notes and ideas into a shared google doc than when we actually do it in person, it helps those introverts kind of get there, get there, say, without feeling like they have to jump into the fray of a really lively conversation and gives them space to think a little bit when they need teo and then participate when they’re ready. Cool. So that’s an interesting benefit of working in this manner you see anything like that? I do. I also think that not only the technology tools are important, but laying the groundwork with expectations is key to making sure that everyone’s on the same page so we back in the hiring no, no, no, not unknown in the hiring, but how? How you’re actually running it. So with karen, if you’re if you’re having a conversation, they do it through video conference for us. We’ve set out some and i know you also have communication charters to make sure that when people are connecting with each other, they know how to connect with each other. Charter, what is this? So, for us way, d’oh, d’oh! Basically, what we do is when we hire someone new when they first come on, they get oriented. One of the things we asked them to dio is to talk to us about how they like to be communicated with and sometimes they can’t answer that question up front. But for us, it’s really important to understand if you don’t like email or there’s people, especially we hear this from various employees, they hate the phone, they don’t want to pick up the phone, they don’t talk to someone, the phone rings and they actually like shake. I don’t want to, but if you were to text them or chat with them online, they’d be more than happy to respond to you. And so understanding how people interact on to communicate with their communication makes it so much easier because you don’t have those visual cues. You can’t see if you’re walking into someone’s office and they’re super busy or super stressed or someone’s sitting there on dh, so we like to set it out ahead of time, so let people know what works for them. And similarly, we have eleven golden rules for working as a virtual team and they charter or the golden rules. Whatever we’re gonna call them, okay? They mostly addressed communication. Our number one rule is assume positive intent, which can be hard when you don’t know that somebody didn’t sleep last night because they were up with their baby or, you know, you missed some of that stuff that you might find out at the water cooler, so assume positive intent is is the number one rule. But then we’ve also talked about, for example, with video chat, it can feel very intrusive to just have that turned on all of a sudden, like someone is calling you and without warning, so we have a practice of doing kind of a virtual knock on the door through chat, and if i want to talk to dan, i’ll send him a chat and say, how are you free right now? Is this a good time? And then then we start the video conference, so there’s just a lot of it’s, a lot of etiquette and respecting each other’s time. Um, another thing we do is with email if there’s an urgent reply needed, then we’ll put that right in the subject line because we get such a huge volume of email. That that helps us to scan and know how to be responsive, teo each other when it’s really needed way have to avoid abusing the urgent your gym tag, too, right? Right. Okay, share another golden rule of the eleven golden rules. I wish i had the memorized, but i don’t want to know what well, okay, we start with positive that’s a great one, right? Another one we talked about was email length. And at what point, when you’re writing a four screen email, does that mean it’s time to pick up the phone or or do a hangout? So that’s that’s another one? We have some guidelines about that. All right, let’s. See so cem cem, other tips about doing this successfully emails a big one for us also, my rule is if i have, if i’m on the third email on the same topic, i’m picking up the phone the minute that you have to go back and forth at least three times it’s too much and it’s so interesting. I was at a session this morning and i just heard the best. The best line about email email should be five lines it should tell me who you are, what you want me to do when you want me to do it by why i need to do it for you. And there was one more that i don’t remember, but if it’s longer than that, you’re going to lose people’s attention it’s gonna go into a file and people may never get to it. If you really need something urgently, whether you flag it or pick up the phone like this is the phone is there or create a chat and do it immediately like don’t put it out there into the ethernet and then hope that someone’s going to respond to it in the way that you would expect them to take time to get comfortable with us? Absolutely. If a person is not accustomed to being a virtual employees very much so. And i also think that setting the expectations up front and letting people know that this is not an easy thing is very helpful because some people feel really lost out there, and what we try and do is when a new employee comes on or someone starts to work virtually who wasn’t working virtually before, let them know that that this might be difficult, there’s going to be a learning curve, and we’re here to work with you on it. You’re not just out there by yourself, and you have to do it without anyone any support, karen, have there been people who decided not to work for idealware because it was one hundred percent virtual, has that ever been a ish? You know, we haven’t encountered that. We did have i’m thinking of one staff member in particular, who is very social and enjoys that aspect of working in an office. And so when he became a home based employees that it was an adjustment for him, perhaps more than some of the rest of us who aren’t quite as social and interactive and, uh, it just it took a little bit of of patients and adjustment on his part, i think, for all of us, it also was very important for us to have our own local networks and people that we could interact with, and so many of us will occasionally work from a coffee shop, or i have a group of local friends and colleagues who also work from home for for various ventures, and so one thing we did was because none of us get to have a holiday party with our co workers. We had one with each other, and i i hosted it at my house, and we had maybe six or seven people there who all work independently from home. And so that was a really fun thing to do to kind of a substitute for the social aspects of working with your own team at an office every day. Is there an annual or semiannual gathering of all the tell us? Fifteen employees of idealware uh, dr bonem right? Fifteen? No, we have five. Oh five oh, yes were fairly small teams and you get together physically at least once a year or so way don’t have a set routine, but yes, at least once a year, we’ll all get together. And in the past year, we have gotten together a little bit more often, too, because, well, various reasons i don’t need to come into here. But, you know, there are times when there’s a big change in the organization there’s a big project that you’re working on that just require you to be together more often. Mother, how about you you have to bring these people from eight cities together. We dio way do, and it was a really interesting learning for us when we first started to expand into these other cities. At first, we didn’t bring that anyone in to meet the internal staff in our boston headquarters. Now, anytime a new employees starts at whatever level, if their virtual they come and do a couple of days training in boston with us just to meet everybody, see what the national office looks like and annually. We have a staff retreat in boston where we bring everybody in for two days to get together and brainstorm and talk and just get to know each other. Okay? That’s interesting like the onboarding process has to be face to face. I think that you can’t you can’t get away from what you get the value you get of meeting someone in person, and if you can and if it’s available financially resource wise, timewise, even if you can get together once a year or even at the beginning so people can meet each other in person, it’s invaluable karen would be one hundred percent virtual doesn’t do employees would they get to meet someone face-to-face physically, we have not made a hyre since we became one hundred per cent virtual, so i’m not. I’m not sure what our plans will be for that, but a related issue that non-profit should think through if they’re considering going to a virtual team is is off boarding our when employees exit, how do you handle that? And we were dealing with that right now. We have an employee who is going to be leaving idealware and so we’re thinking about well, ok, how do we collect the stuff that is in storage at her house? The equipment that is ideal wears equipment that that she has in her possession right now? How do we have a farewell party for somebody on really make that a meaningful event when we can’t physically be together? Those those air, all they require creativity and thoughtfulness, and i’m sure we won’t do them perfectly, but that’s something we’re learning. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. The off boarding right. All right, hyre we still have a couple more minutes together. Uh, you well, party. Your session was gonna be ten key steps. Way covered. Any of the ten key? Steps i think you’ve covered most of them in a variety of different ways, but the other thing that we do just one other tip while we’re at it is i’ve spoken to other organizations who have virtual friday drink beers, get togethers, and friday afternoon everyone gets on video, gets their glass of tea, glass of wine, glass of beer, whatever it is and makes it a very low key social environment on video, which takes getting used to when you’re not when it’s not something you do on a regular basis, but it does give you that personal connection again, that you don’t normally get on a day to day basis. And so there’s things like that that you khun dio that seem a little farfetched sometimes that are really helpful. Hi, great, we’ve i’ve had lunch with one of my co workers where we just get on video together and we’re eating and and just chit chatting about things, and it felt very awkward at first but ended up being a really enjoyable experience for both of us. So i recommend just taking some risks getting out of your comfort zone a little bit. I’ve done a wine, wine, chat with who’s there were maybe half a dozen of us the furthest was in in vancouver. I think so. But, you know, you know, half a dozen people what kind of wine do you have? We’re toasting mean, it could be fun. I mean, it is fun, it could be done. It doesn’t have to involve alcohol way happening. Choose wine, you could do a cough, you can do a coffee date and have everyone you know, on video drinking, whatever their seventeen dollars, coffee is heather would use for video, so we use webex when we do our staff, our staff meetings, we’ve used skype for business. We’ve tried google hangouts also, it depends on who’s running the session and what technology they want to use. We haven’t found the perfect one yet we’re still looking. I think that some of the challenges with video are the number of screens you could get on at one time and who you can see equality has improved significantly over the last five years, even but at first, when we were doing this, the line would drop or you couldn’t hear someone or it was pixelated, you know, i’m feeling like i’m talking old school a little bit, but the technology has improved enough that it makes it seem a little bit more realistic and in person and you can get the visuals, which was something that was a challenge. You couldn’t get the facial expressions without the high definition and the faster response time. All right, so i’m gonna wrap this up and bring it full circle, that kind of belief in the technology i can help listeners overcome their reluctance. We talked about initially and in mindset because that’s really what you got to start, and i would also say the technology isn’t the savior to this it khun definitely help it, but you need all of the other pieces to i feel like you shouldn’t use the technology technology to drive this, but there are some great technologies out there that can help with pieces of this. I couldn’t have said it better. All right. Wonderful. Thank you very much. Heather martin is chief operating officer at interfaith family and karen graham, executive director idealware ladies. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks. Great advice. This is tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of sixteen ntc san. Jose, california, thank you so much for being with us. Amy sample ward is coming up first pursuant and crowdster pursuant has a free webinar dahna relations of the disney way if walt disney was your ceo, how would you treat your donors? How would you inspire staff? What would you do differently? Webinars on may third it’s free registration and info at tony dot m a slash pursuant disney tony dahna slash pursuant disney you need to check out crowdster for peer-to-peer fund-raising they’re micro sites dashboards admin pages are all simple to use and elegant simple for donors, their networks that they’re going to be bringing into the cause and for your campaign management all easy to use, they added. Apple pay for mobile donations you could talk to the ceo joe ferraro, he wants he wants to talk to you, we’re going to get you going. Talk to ceo kickstarter or indeed, go go, joe dot ferraro at crowdster dot com tell him you’re from non-profit radio now time for tony’s take two. My video this week is a client story of how good data is worth fifty thousand dollars by researching addresses to move in active alumni too active brooke college moved a non donor to become a consistent annual donor-centric two hundred dollars, a year level. And the man passed away. Left a fifty thousand dollar bequest in his will. So my question to you is do you have bad addresses that need to be cleaned up? It could be worth your time the video and the story tony martignetti dot com and that’s tony’s take two we got to do live listener love we’re going to be without live listen, love we’re going nowhere with this. The core can’t alienate the core we got to do the live listen love it’s going outside st louis, missouri westbury, new york that’s out in among alan florin park, new york floren park, new jersey. Pardon me. New jersey, newark, new jersey. New yorkers. They don’t like that. It’s florin park in new jersey. Make no mistake about that. San jose california’s with us. New york, new york, fort lauderdale, florida. Ah, multiple, actually. New york, new york. Thank you. New york city checking in. We got to go abroad. Tokyo, seoul. Ah, well, multiple in japan besides tokyo, nagoya su wan bit. No, beijing is china. So for those in japan, of course, konnichi wa and in china now south korea always glad, always grateful for your checking in so regularly south korea on yo haserot then there are people in sweden, moscow, russia, romania is with us, tehran, iran is with us and also up someone else from china non-cash dong non-cash young china so glad for all the live listeners podcast pleasantries we got over ten thousand listeners. I don’t know what device i don’t know what time you fit into your schedule. Whatever you’re doing, you’re painting your house, your washington dishes, whatever it is you’re doing over ten thousand podcast listeners pleasantries to you, our podcast crowd and the affiliate affections am and fm stations throughout the country. In fact, after the show, i’m going to record a ah, a promo for our latest w l r i in southeast pennsylvania, affiliate affections are am and fm listeners. Any sample ward you’re there, you’re there with us, aren’t you? I sure am every sample word our social media contributor and ceo of intend, the non-profit technology network there it and ten dot or ge she’s at amy r s ward her latest book is social change any time everywhere kayman sample ward. Welcome back. Same it’s. Fun to get to follow-up anew. Interview from the ntc. Yeah, no kidding. And congratulations on a very successful non-profit technology conference. Thank you. I can’t believe it was already a month ago. Hard to believe i agree. That’s that’s. True. Now you sound a little echo here. You and your ah, you in your office. And and ten, i am in my office. If it sounds a little echoey, i can it’s not bad. No, don’t have. It just sounds. It sounds different. It sounds different. Cubine, have you, uh, have you hung all your your artwork? You have your carpeting down in the new office. Maybe that’s a way. Do have carpeting, and i have a big print right in front of me. Well, it’s under it will get better as we unpack even more. Okay, just sounds like a different environment. That’s all you’re, uh you’re all settled now in the new office in portland. Yeah, we’re all settled. Word. We’re up and running. Yeah. It’s fun to be in a new space. Cool. Congratulations. All right. Thank you. So i know you. Were listening. Teo, heather and karen and and ten, of course, is a virtual organization. How, how many, uh, in office versus virtual employees does then ten have good question we have i think this is something that i thought was interesting that i wanted to bring up from listeningto, karen and heather’s interview with you from the conference was i actually think there are mohr organizations who have teams or individuals that maybe virtual while they still have a physical office than there are organizations who are one hundred percent virtual all right, and they have no physical presence, so i think a lot of organizations, when they’re thinking about this, how do we adapt to virtual staff? And what of the policies with the advocate ex center? I think a lot of that comes from, they still have a gn office, but now they’re trying to incorporate folks and make people who aren’t in the physical office feel included versus just everybody is having the same kind of remote situation, right? That’s. Interesting because heather and karen idealware, where karen is ceo is a hundred percent virtual and heather at interfaith family is not so right. And you are you are hybrid too, yet you have i know you have people in the portland office, and then you have remote employees? Yep, exactly. Someone ten people. You have ten people here in portland, and then we have five people that are remote, okay? And they’re in different time zones to write not all pacific. Exactly. And i think that’s one of the big considerations with a physical office versus remote staff is that it can become easier or the default time for everything to be in the time zone where the office is, even though you have staff that are another time zone. So i think it’s a challenge, but very important. Try and be mindful of time zones when you try and say, oh, my gosh, you know, we’re having a conversation. We should totally loop someone in to realise thirty six p m their time, they’re not online. They’re not waiting for you to invite them to this meeting. Yeah. Interesting. All right, so how do you how do you manage that, then? On dh something early in the morning? If your east coast staffers are talking, you know your office isn’t open yet. Same thing. Exactly, i mean, when i previously was based in new york as a remote employee of intent, whereas now i’m in the office, there was another employee that was on the east coast, and we found the morning to be super productive because the two of us could just, you know, get through all kinds of things on, and we we often worked together on projects it in that way. It was very convenient that we were the two awake early and could get some stuff done and then present it to other staff when they woke up and got online. But now and ten has just one person in east coast time, one person in mountain time and then remote or, i guess, to eastern and then to pacific outside of the office. So it spread enough that i think it helps us force that conversation. You know, we have to say, okay, we have people in enough time zones. What time is it? Really? Right now on dh once, once it gets after two or three o’clock in the portland office, it gets pretty quiet because we know we can’t engage other staff across time zones. Yeah, all right? Do you have mindfulness? Basically means you have to be mindful of this not planned meetings for three o’clock pacific. Exactly. And you know so many of our meetings, and i don’t think this is unique to intend, but so many of our meetings are already kind of reserved on the calendar, right? You you already know when your staff meeting that’s going to be because it’s a recurring meeting and so just making sure that you use those recurring calendar items as a way that start building in that pattern of this is these are the times during the day you could meet with folks. I think that really helped, because then outside of that is when people, maybe, you know, just kind of go head down and work on their own. Whatever is on their to do list. And you set a pattern by the meetings that you schedule in advance. Okay. Yeah, i see. All right. What about the personalities the heather and karen mentioned one of them mentioned. You know, then a lot of introverts, karin said i do. Do you find that in a few different people’s personalities when we’re talking about virtual hi. I actually don’t find it to be different than if you were all in the office together. I mean, i think that if everybody was all in one office, you’re naturally just by probability, right of humans. You’re naturally gonna have some folks that maybe regardless of their personality or just not folks who maybe process in real time in a meeting and are gonna have something to say there people who want that information and they want to go back and think about it before they have an answer, whether they’re an introvert or not. That’s just how they process information. And so in a in a meetings, they were all in one room. Whoever is running that meaning it’s probably i would hope, you know, reaching out to folks who are quiet in the meeting insane. Do you? You know, pulling something out? Do you have something you want to share? Their questions that’ll help you think about this, you know? What are we not considering and that that process, that kind of managing a meeting happens whether everybody’s all in the same room or you’re all of that google hangout? Or you’re talking to two people? In a instant message conversation, you know, i think being thoughtful and intentional about how you interact and kind of manage meetings and manage conversations, it’s the same lessons it’s the same processes, andi, i think, you know, karen’s point about sometimes using those online tools that folks feel like they can participate when maybe they wouldn’t have spoken up in a meeting that could totally be true. I think for me and that antenna it’s really about just regardless of how this meeting is happening, is everybody contributing or does everybody have the answers they need so that we can end the meeting and you know where to go back? Do you find it difficult? Tio include members, employees when if the meeting is by phone, you know and like three or four people are sitting in the conference room or something. And then however, many people are remote and it’s just and thereby phone, not video. Sometimes you have to be very mindful that there are two other people on the phone and it’s hard for them times for them to speak up because they don’t know when the pauses air coming. I mean, you find any awkwardness? Around that, yeah, that’s a good point, i think. Well, two things they’re two strategies one if it’s i think anton has a similar experience, as karen and heather both shared in the interview that if it’s an internal meeting, if it’s really just with other staff, we wouldn’t use the phone, we would use video conference people can kind of raise their hand, or they can post a chat that says, hey, i want to bring something up once we’re done with this point, you know it, and we can manage that easier when it’s on video and then the other strategy that that i think is really helpful, just like best practice generally for mediums, is that if we’re having the meeting, we have a shared document where we’re taking notes, so sometimes that means we could kind of go down a rabbit hole, right? And three of the five people in the meeting are going off on this thing with the other two people maybe don’t want to lose a thought they could just put it into the notes, doc, and we come back to it once we’re done with that rabbit hole, right? We’re we’re still capturing things in a couple different channels, plus as the best practice. Now you have notes from that meeting, right? Yeah, school. All right, all right. Um, what about the part about bringing new employees in who aren’t accustomed to working remotely? Yeah, i think it can be very overwhelming for a new staff person. We try and include processes, best practices, etiquette, social norms in our orientation, but not we don’t do it as a great you’re an employee for the next two hours. We’re going to tell you how we do everything in this, like, remote team versus office environment instead, you know, maybe there’s a section of the orientation where you’re talking with your manager, whoever you’re going to be working with and they’re talking about, okay, these are the meetings were goingto have regularly here’s how you and i are going to check in here’s how i encourage you to check in with others and then in that conversation, you know, talking about some social norms around how to engage folks that are remote verses in the office and where to post content for others to see it and, you know, so we kind of embed the lessons around how we want to operate together into the full process of orientation it’s not a stand alone great here’s how to use instant message er, right hand here’s, here’s, howto chat with folks or hey, remember that these folks were in these time zone, so send them a quick ping before you try and call them, right? Because you don’t know, you can’t see them, so maybe they’re gonna call already or something. You know, i like the suggestion of some virtual knock on the door before you open a video chat with somebody well, and, you know, we honestly we do that in the office, i can see you, but that doesn’t mean that i know if you’re actually muted running a webinar just because it looks like you’re sitting in your desk, so because we are all online or on the phone or running webinars, whatever it might be, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the office or not that’s become kind of standard practice. I am somebody before you walk over to them anyway. Eyes that right? Okay, see, it’s so been so long since i had to work with other people in an office. You had to work with you one of punishment that wass well, okay, i don’t think i’d be a very good employee anymore. We’ll put it that way. Yes, i can see that. Thank you. I don’t think i would hyre myself. I would. I would. I would kill it in the interviews. I mean, why kill it? I mean, i would i would i would kill a possibility. Yes, i would ruin my chances in the interview stage. I would not be a good employee, but so i didn’t know that. So so so in offices, people you i am someone before you, uh, you go and knock on their door anymore before you just walk down and see them. Well, i think part of it is that most staff don’t have a door because we’re working in an open, more collaborative space. And so folks may go behind the door to run a webinar, for example, and then you definitely know they’re offline or not available for you to go talk to, but sometimes you might just be on a phone call and have your line muted for a minute, right? Because someone else is speaking of course, because you’re not speaking out loud doesn’t mean you’re ready for somebody to walk right up to your desk and say something because one ear can still hear the phone call, so okay, i yeah, it’s been since ah nineteen when’s the last time i worked for somebody else was nineteen, no, two thousand three, two thousand three was my last employer for you. Did you know, i think defect tio the idea of being in office where people have really accepted that norm of let’s, just quickly hop on a video call right and have this conversation kind of face-to-face even though your remote, it also means that the folks who really are in the office have to anticipate that at any given moment of the day, they could be in the background of someone’s video, you could be walking past somebody who’s on, you know, has their camera on or maybe the way they’re seated, you know, you’re kind of close enough to them that if they hop on a video and don’t move their screen, you’re kind of in the background doing your email on dh i think that’s just part at least at an ten. It isn’t seen as a negative it’s seen as like, oh, well, i was talking to you, i saw that so and so was was, you know, talking to this person, i didn’t realize they were in the office. Could you tell them this for me? You know? And it makes it feel that much more connected. I can see what’s going on right now that we’re in a new space. As you noted, when when i first talked on the phone, we’re in this new office, we’ll remote staff haven’t seen the new office, and so on monday, everybody in the office wanted to have a conversation about okay, we’re in here now, like, what else do we need? Do we need more chairs or tables? Is there any? Are there any problems we need to address in? There? Were you know, there were problems with, you know, sometimes if we turn the air on it’s too loud for webinar rooms, it’s just too noisy in the room and, you know, just surfacing these issues that you don’t know until you get into the space. Well, all of the remote staff requested to be part of that conversation because they want to know what we’re struggling with. They want to know that if they hop on a quick, you know, video call with us and somebody’s complaining, or or something, they could say, hey, is it because the air is on and it’s really loud, like i understand what you’re going through? I have some insight into that. They want to be a part of it. Cool, all right, that’s, a human, human connection. All right, we gotta take, we got to go away for break. We come back, you and i’ll keep talking about remote employee management. Stay with us. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon. Craig newmark, the founder of craigslist marquis of eco enterprises, charles best from donors choose dot org’s aria finger do something that or an a a me levine from new york universities heimans center on philanthropy tony tweets to he finds the best content from the most knowledgeable, interesting people in and around non-profits to share on his stream. If you have valuable info, he wants to re tweet you during the show. You can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit radio twitter is an easy way to reach tony he’s at tony martignetti narasimhan t i g e n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end he hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a short monthly show devoted to getting over your fund-raising just like non-profit radio, toni talks to leading thinkers, experts and cool people with great ideas. As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard, you can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests are there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guess directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. If you have big dreams in a small budget tune into tony martignetti non-profit radio, i d’oh. I’m adam braun, founder of pencils of promise. Welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I mean, what about the face-to-face like, do you have face-to-face orientations for new employees? Or do you have annual gatherings where everybody’s together? How do you manage the face-to-face part? Definitely. I think the face-to-face piece is huge. I mean, we we consider some amount of the video calls to be, quote unquote face-to-face you know, we don’t want things to be completely removed into just documents, so we have ah, move a few different layers so that every day at nine thirty pacific, regardless of where you are in the world, if you are working that day, you are expected to be on aa meeting, where every single staff person is able to check in and say, hey, tony, i’ve been waiting on this thing from you so that i can follow-up or this is my big priority today, so if you see me in my head bowed there on, don’t bother me. I got a big deadline, you know, whatever, it might be this on your list, but away for every single staff person to be visible to everybody else, whether they’re in the office. Or not. And then every monday, we have a full staff meeting. That’s actually programmatic. So you know whether it’s a proposal first from somebody or a certain team wants to give an update whatever that might be, you know, formal agenda every monday, but twice a year, all staff come to portland for a full week of planning meetings and happy hours and lots of eating. And and then outside of those two meetings, you know, we have our conference. We have our own events that also bring all the staff together. Okay, off course. The portland food scene is it was worth gathering around exactly so cool sametz priority than planning meeting second. Yeah, we have the trucks, the trucks, air. The trucks are key. You can have. Yeah, there are only two blocks from the office now, but that would mean a lot of trucks, but i’m being a new yorker. I’m calling them trucks. They’re called cart their carts, right? Not trucks? Yes, their carts. Right. And what you call a collection of carts? What is that called? A cart pod. A court pod, right? Right. Just like whales. Write a card pot. But, you know, you call it a pod? Or would you say i’m going to the cart pod? Or you just say, i’m going to the pod, you say i’m going to the cart, the cart’s? Oh, you don’t say pot. Ah, ok, ok. Yeah, it’s. Very important. But anyway, so you do this twice a year, twice a year. All in ten step. Okay, very good to know. Alright. So that’s different than the heather and karen managed things, but cool. Okay. Okay. And then, of course, yeah. You’re conferences drop the whole staff together. Two leading change on tc, right? Yeah. Okay, exactly. And i think, you know, as much as there were all there to run the conference. We’re also there a couple days early. Everybody gets to catch up and see each other in person. But i also think there’s a lot to be said for doing something together, you know, by the end of the week, even though we didn’t spend the weekend casual planning meetings and eating food from the food cards, you know, we get to the end of the week and feel like everybody has certainly bonded has certainly had all kinds of conversations because we just we just ran the whole conference together, right? It really creates an opportunity for there to be a lot of connections. What else came out of that conversation that you want to talk about? We still have a couple minutes left. Yeah, well, i thought one thing that we could chat about were some justice, you know, kind of kind of boring things around policies think at inten we’ve found to be really important so something that organizations may not think about, but karen alluded to this at the very end when talking about, you know, staff person, that leaving the organization and they have all this equipment, the organization really should be providing that equipment, just like you would to someone that’s in the office. So even though you’ve been hired as a remote employee, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a laptop in a second monitor and a phone and all of those pieces. So thinking about policies that treat a remote staff person just like you would a staff person, as in the office, and i think that also goes further to say in the office, right? And ten pays for all of all of the office for the electricity and the internet and everything else. So, do you have policies that they for staff who were working from from their home as they’re expected space, that you will reimburse them for some of their internet or some of their phone cost? Etcetera? Okay, very, uh, very thoughtful policies you have. Okay, do what i think something else that karen heather brought up was, you know, remote staff feeling like, oh, today i’m going to go work from a coffee shop or today, you know, i just need to get out of my house has been sitting in my living room for four days straight, right? I think it also goes a really long way to make sure that feeling of freedom is shared between folks in the office and folks who are remote so that you don’t create this feeling that, like remote staff have it better or folks in the office have it better, everyone should feel like, hey, i really need to write this article and i want to focus. I’m going to go to a coffee shop and sit by myself for two hours. It doesn’t matter if you work from home or you work from the office. If you’ve created that culture, everyone should get to be a part of that. No. Okay. Egalitarian. Right. Okay. Yes. Um what else? What else came out of that that you want to talk about? Well, one thing that i thought was interesting that was brought up right at the end that end ten has a different version of is that idea of ah, kind of virtual happy hour. And i think part of it for us, the reason why it isn’t necessarily happy hours because again time zones, you don’t want to tell somebody that is three hours ahead. Hey, you should wait until eight. Get back on your computer, have a glass of wine. Would you like to be part of the team right now? That doesn’t feel very fair. So instead, what we have is a weekly lunch. So in the office here we turn on a google hangout and, you know, open up the line, essentially and that any of the remote folks can also call in if they’re free. It’s not required it’s. Not like people in the office have to stop right at noon and start eating. Lunch on video. You know it’s just anybody that wants to have lunch together and chat the line is open, you can hang out and you know, it’s gonna happen every single thursday. So if this thursday you can’t do it, no big deal. But next thursday, you can call in on dh. It just creates that kind of open conversation space where you can chat about sometimes work sometimes good ideas for work, but also just random things. What are you doing for the weekend, etcetera? Excellent. Excellent. Thank you. Alright, we have to leave it there. Any sample ward? Our social media contributor. Ceo of antenna and ten dot or ge she’s at amy rs ward. Amy, thanks so much for sharing. Intends remote, you know, management stories. Thank you. Yeah, it was a pleasure. Thank you. Next week, gene takagi are legal contributor returns with election year advocacy. What’s allowed. And what gets you in trouble? Plus, we have another excellent interview from ntcdinosaur. If you missed any part of today’s show, i beseech you, i implore you, find it on tony martignetti dot com. Where in the world i’m very uncertain the way forward with this. I need to know the path i have to find the path ahead. We’re sponsored by pursuant online tools for small and midsize non-profits data driven and technology enabled pursuant dot com, and by crowdster online and mobile fund-raising software for non-profits now, with apple pay for mobile donations. Crowdster dot com. Our creative producer is claire meyerhoff. Sam liebowitz is the line producer. Gavin dollars are am and fm outreach director shows. Social media is by susan chavez, and this great music is by scott stein. Be with me next week for non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Go out and be great. 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