Politics in Freelance Teams

Politics in Freelance Teams

 

One of the most despised thing in a co-located office is the politics which doesn’t seem to cease. People turn to remote work for various reasons, one of them being fewer politics and more focus on the work, but does this really hold true? Is freelance team completely free of politics and bias as compared to the in-house team? freelancers are humans, after all, they are driven by their own passion, goal, ego and more of a mix of all the negatives and positives.

In this whole charade of politics, what the employees don’t understand is that they are disrupting the amazing culture which has been inculcated over the years through tremendous hard work and fun activities. Such a blow to the company culture not only affects the management but also affects the profitability of the company. Now we usually think that politics only happen when the employees are co-located, being physically distant might be the trick to avoid it, but let’s see how remote teams feed the fire that can give rise to this devastating phenomenon.

 

1. Cross-Cultural Differences:

 

When I was interviewing CXOs and developers for our #MakeRemoteWork survey report, I met a developer in the US. She had tremendous experience of working remotely and had been through this roller coaster before.

 

Cultural-Differences

 

She told me that one of the reasons why it happens is that a team has members from different culture and background, so people sharing similar values get along really well, while those who don’t, feel a bit ostracized. There is still a bias towards, race, religion, country and what not.

These are the things that can break an extremely strong team, what employees need to realize is that they are here to work in synergy and harmony not to judge a person on personal traits and discriminate.

 

2. Less socialization:

 

Slack is the virtual office for all the remote workers. You see less of their faces and more of their text messages. Remote workers are generally so involved in their work that they barely talk about their personal lives on the communication channels and talk more about work.

Less-socialization

 

In this process, nobody gets to know what the person on the other side is like. We tend to form a perception about that person based on his work and not for the person he is. This is usually one of the reasons that remote employees feel less engaged in activities other than work, which leads to a difference of opinion between the team. So what’s really important here is COMMUNICATION. On a positive note, remote team members are not great on an emotional level compared to their in-house counterparts, so their efforts to influence internal politics are pretty low.

 

3. Ego Clashes:

 

Shoutouts and all are cool, but it sucks when a kissass employee gets it over a kickass employee.

 

Ego-Clashes

 

It’s true that rewarding an employee boosts the morale of not just employee but sets a standard for other employees as well, but when you’re working with a remote team, you should take into consideration the entire team and not just a single member. In the end, everybody is codependent and desires to be appreciated equally. A team is like a Bad Boys movie, we ride together, we die together, bad boys for life


Now that we know what gives rise to politics in freelance teams let’s go through some tips to diffuse these politics.

 

1. Company culture:

 

It’s the responsibility of the management to enlighten their employees about the culture that has been established in the company.

 

 

Company-Culture

 

You shouldn’t let employees learn more about the company through water cooler talks and gossips, this won’t do anyone any good, it will only lead to further misunderstanding of how the company works. So it’s the management or the leader’s responsibility to show his employees the ropes.

 

2. Communication:

 

Organizations who embrace freelancers have advanced technology to make communication easier and seamless within the team,

 

 

Communication

 

it’s imperative for the team members to use these communication tools, not just for work, but to stay in constant touch and build a better team as well as company culture.

 

3. Focus on work:

 

It’s no surprise that we are at an organization to work in unison to achieve personal as well as the organization’s goal, so, one of the best things one can do to stay away from all this politics is to focus on the task at hand.

 

Focus on work

 

At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel satisfied and appreciated for the work they have done, and it will only happen when the focus is less on politics and more the work.

 

4. Build Trust:

Trust is one of the most important factors behind every team and organization’s success.

Build-Trust

 

The organization should plan certain team building exercises which would revolve around making long term or short term strategies and also creating a stronger bond during the entire process. This is a win-win situation for the team as well as the organization.

 

Conclusion

 

Politics within a freelance team is quite different than the one you’ll encounter in the office, there’s no backstabbing or the usual office drama, although certain cases persist like taking credit for somebody else’s work. It eventually comes down to how well a manager can encourage healthy communication between his team and how well a team can harbor a feeling of trust and respect. 

Most Effective way to write Meeting Minutes

Most Effective way to write Meeting Minutes

The answer to this question is, in general, a resounding no. This is a problem. The solution? Sending the Minutes of the meeting after the meeting concludes. Noting down the minutes is a good practice regardless, and this task should be assigned to one team member in the meeting. Nowadays, some AI based meeting assistants are also available in the market, however, in the end, human intervention is still needed.

Minutes of meeting

Noting down minutes is a tedious task as many individuals consider it as the waste of time as no one goes through it; however, if the minutes are concise and short other individuals may spare the time to go through the minutes.

If a new individual is asked to prepare the minutes of the meeting, the very first question that comes in mind is which points to add, or how to prepare the minutes. Here we will clear a few important things up

Important things to consider while writing your minutes of the meeting —

  • Company/Institute Name: Mention the name of the company or institute Involved in the meeting.
  • Date and Time: Mention the date and time of the meeting along with the timezone.
  • List of attendees: Mention the name and designation of all the attendees of the meeting.
  • Agenda: Mention the agenda of the meeting.
  • Discussion: Note the key points discussed during the meeting.
  • Notes: Take note of the key information conveyed during the meeting by the attendees.
  • Action Items: The key action points discussed and finalized in the meeting can be written in this section.
  • Next Meeting: Mention the date and time of next meeting along with the timezone.

The above are key points that should be included while preparing the minutes of the meeting.

Here is an example of a great set of meeting minutes —

Template for minutes of meeting

How To Make Your Organization Remote Friendly?

How To Make Your Organization Remote Friendly?

Make Your Organisations Remote Friendly

Fierce competition, hiring suitable candidates, and acquiring loyal customers are some of the biggest problems faced by startups.

Our experience shows that the best solutions to address these are simple: amazing employees.

Employees are the biggest assets of an organization. Read that again – it’s the most important and time-tested truth that there is in business. Superstar employees are the ultimate weapon against the competition, the cornerstone of amazing customer service, and makes your organization resilient to any other problem which may arise.

But it’s not so simple. It’s hard to find great talent. So what do you do when your superstar is nowhere to be found? You can start by broadening your search. Try thinking globally.

Thanks to the internet, it has become tremendously easy to get a hold of a person who is living thousands of miles away. Every startup wants fast growth, and for that, they need great talent. Many times, it doesn’t matter if that talent is local or in a completely different timezone.

But, there’s another catch Are you able to retain your remote workers? In other words, Are you providing an environment where your remote team can be productive, where they can grow?

Checking in on your in-house team and taking care of the issues they are facing is easy. But remote workers are physically distant from you, and you can’t see what they are doing and what problems they are facing. It certainly isn’t viable to call them every hour to check in on your remote team. This leads to isolation and reduced social interaction, which may lead to stress and anxiety.

Related: “How to stay mentally healthy while working remotely?”

It’s indispensable to develop a plan to include your remote team in your in-house family, getting them acquainted with your company culture, and making them feel comfortable.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can make your organization remote friendly.

1. Communication:

Communication is the most important factor in making your organization remote friendly. You have a distributed team, so water cooler talk isn’t an option anymore, and swinging by your coworkers’ desk is impossible. So, it’s time to rely heavily on instant messengers and video calls.

In one of a webinar5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Remote Staff”, Krish Chopra, Co-Founder of NPHub said –

“You have water cooler talks or coffee where you hang out with your coworkers every day, you need to schedule that time for your remote teams as well.”

Create channels where your team can communicate, and not just about work. Constant communication is a good way of getting the in-house team and your remote team to interact and know each other well, and also to get work done.

Remember, there is no such thing as over-communicating when you have a distributed team.

2. Trust:

If you want your company to grow with your distributed team, you need to foster a culture of trust. The employer isn’t aware of the whereabouts of his remote team and the work routine they have, but that should not be a reason for him to be doubtful about their work arrangement. Employers should trust their remote teams, and that’s how they can set a great example of trust in the organization as a whole.

Mention to your team that mistakes are alright, supposing they talk about those mistakes, learn from each other, and bond together.

Don’t be afraid of giving leadership opportunities to remote workers just because they aren’t in front of you all the time.

3. Train your team:

It’s critical to give your remote team the appropriate training needed to perform their duties. Your in-house team always has the advantage of watching you work and pick up on some tips and tricks. This won’t be the case with your remote team. You will need to think about how to give your remote employees an environment where they can thrive, constantly improve, enjoy their work, and be more productive.

4. Team retreats are also for remote teams:

Team retreats are probably the thing employees look forward to. Who would want to miss an opportunity to go out with the team, have fun, and especially meet your remote teams?

Organizations should organize a team retreat once in a while; this gives a chance for the in-house team to meet face to face with the remote team.

Meeting in a new environment, away from work, getting to know each other over a couple of drinks and games, can make your remote team feel like they are an essential part of the family.

5. Buddy system:

The buddy system can work wonders in increasing interaction between your local and remote teams. Pairing members from your in-house team with members from your remote teams is an excellent way of training your remote team, getting things done, and making your team feel comfortable around each other.

Conclusion:

It’s high time for organizations to start planning how work will look like with a remote team. With the millennial workforce on the rise, the 9 to 5 schedule isn’t what it used to be, employees they like to do things on their own terms, on their own time. Making everybody feel like an integral part of your organization should be one of the top priorities. Millennials come with different perceptions towards the world and have a different skill set; it’s up to you how to utilize those skills in the best interest of the employees and the company.

These tips will get you started in making your organization remote friendly, but you may need to think on different, innovative methods to make sure that an entire team is a single unit firing at peak efficiency.

Out of 19,000 US Cities, Which US Cities Were Chosen For Remote work Survey

Out of 19,000 US Cities, Which US Cities Were Chosen For Remote work Survey

out of 19000 us cities which us cities were chosen for remote work survey

When we decided to take a road trip to interview people for the #MakeRemoteWork survey the first question was where to go?

To choose what cities to cover, we started with a simple exercise.

We picked up all the silicon centers from a map like the one below and sent over a trench of 20 emails in each city mentioned

cities map

Since there was no way to find which city will have more people willing to participate in the survey, we thought to do experimental emails to get some stats.

Here is the copy of the email we sent out

email copy

And here is the order of responses received

Cities Visited Open Rates Positive Negative
Montreal 25% 4 1
Atlanta 30% 6 3
Charleston 35% 7 2
Raleigh- Durham 25% 3 1
Winston-Salem 15% 3 0
Charlotte 40% 8 1
San Antonio 15% 2 1
Austin 15% 2 1
Dallas 22% 9 1
Cities Visited Open Rates Positive Negative
New York 25% 2 3
Baltimore 25% 2 3
DC- Arlington/ Alexandria 30% 3 3
Denver/ Boulder/ Colorado Spring 25% 1 3

As you could see Charleston and Charlotte were some of the clear winners followed with Atlanta and Dallas. In fact, surprisingly New York and SF do not really score that high – The reason I could think of was that they get too many emails which create a lot of noise for the founders.

Anyways we had our list ready with the 10 cities that provided us a better response rate. Apart from the stats we checked out event dates in each shortlisted city and also tried to map a direction for the journey.

The journey had to be in one direction

North to south or south to north/ east to west or west to east

Another filter was using my startupgrind directors network.  SG has a chapter in most US cities and I reached out to the chapter directors for the inside scoops of each city.

10 cities meant around 50 days on the road at a stretch but then cuteness stuck 🙂

Well, I have a 2 and a half-year-old so leaving her for more than a month was not possible…

So we decided to do the road trip in 2 phases

The first in May covering- NYC (Well can’t ignore the Big Apple and we found Techday happening as well), Baltimore, DC, Denver and the second stage covering Montreal (where we attended the startup fest ), Atlanta, North and South Charlotte and Texas.

In the last 3 months, I got to interview 250+ CXOs for the #makeremotework survey

How all of it was possible is accounted here

#Makeremotework survey today is the most comprehensive report available on remote work, coming out directly with inputs from the decision makers. For access to the report, Go Here