Remote managers say collaborating and building trust are two of the most difficult challenges they face in our new work reality.
But collaboration and trust aren’t a thing of the past. We just have to practice new methods and make good use of the digital tools available to us in a remote work environment.
As an all-in remote first company, we work to address the challenges that come with remote work. When done right, we unlock the amazing potential of our team across 29 states and 9 countries.
The cornerstone of our thriving remote work culture is our Slack workspace.
There are 4 channels in particular that could fly under the radar but are essential to a thriving remote culture . You can easily implement these channels in your workspace today …
Our #out-of-office channel is practical and a place where our employees can find common ground.
Its main purpose is to let people know — your team members and the entire company — when you’ll be away from work and why.
Our People Ops (POps) team loves it because it’s the one place where they can see who’s taking time off and who’s in office. At Allocations, it’s more like “afk” or “not afk”.
Our employees love it, too! It’s a quick way to check in with members from another team, especially if you’re working on a project together.
This scenario plays out on a weekly basis:
“Wait, where’s Kathy?”
“Hmmm … I’m not sure.”
“Let’s check the #ooo channel real quick.”
“Ah, yep! Looks like she’s in Aspen, skiing with some college friends!”
Our #out-of-office channel isn’t just a running list of who’s gone and why — it’s also a place to find common ground. This lines up directly with two of our values at Allocations:
There’s some irony to it: the channel where people say they’ll be gone is one of the cornerstone channels that keep our employees around. Because when you know why someone is not working, you find out what’s important to them. You find valuable pieces of personal information that makes them whole. In other words, their reasons for not working is exactly what makes them human.
Some actual out-of-office reasons from Allocations #out-of-office channel:
- “I’m going to lunch with my daughter at school”
- “I’m taking an exam for my certification”
- “I’m going to Colorado to ski for a week”
- “I’m looking for an apartment today”
- “I’m closing on a new house today”
- “I’m getting a haircut”
And here’s another cool thing about this channel …
Oftentimes, you’ll see an employee post their vacation plans. Then, their manager will put in the comments:
“Have a blast! You deserve it!”
It’s a small message that takes a few seconds for the manager. But for the employee, this public praise and permission to go on vacation means the world.
And that sort of praise and permission is the foundation of a strong remote company.
The Allocations #watercooler channel is like a social feed for the company.
- Animal pics
- Family outings
- Jaw-dropping sunsets
- Fresh snowfall on their houses
- Pictures of tropical landscapes
- Groups of people in the company out to dinner together
- Threads (and pics!) from their international travel trips
- Exciting weekend adventures and hobbies
- Lego sets built from scratch
- Roller coaster snapshots
If the #out-of-office channel gives a glimpse into our fellow employee’s lives, then #watercooler paints a beautiful picture in full color and detail.
The best part? No small talk. Every post is meaningful, personal, and in good spirits.
This is what the watercooler was always meant to be!
There are few things more human than shopping for groceries. In a typical work environment, it’s a bit weird to talk about groceries.
But in our all-in remote first culture, we LOVE sharing pictures of grocery hauls. You might even see some comments like these:
“Have you tried the fresh raviolis?”
“I always keep their frozen naan bread stocked up.”
“You’ve tried the bagel sesame seasoning blend, right?!”
“I’ve never been to Trader Joe’s. What do I get when I go there?”
Bringing this level of joy, curiosity, and humanity to a professional setting allows people to connect on more topics than just the weather, sports, or politics.
It’s channels like these, that are centered around things that matter to us, that build strong connections.
Yes, it’s just a chat channel about groceries. But it’s human!
On an active day, it feels like the comments section that you can’t turn away from.
On a slow day, it’s a feed of generous suggestions on what to get next time you go. Or a stream of “finds” that you’ll need a map for the next time you go— but don’t worry, the prize is always worth it.
4. Employee-manager DMs
When done right, a remote work environment can foster strong professional relationships.
We don’t use email much at Allocations. We tend to keep all of our conversations in Slack or on Zoom calls.
So when we need to get a hold of our manager, we just send them a private DM.
And unlike an in-person work environment, a private DM channel is more than a place to say “here’s what I did, what do you think?”
It’s a place to give personal updates, share frustrations, and receive praise or feedback.
It’s a channel to plan, strategize, drop random one-off ideas.
It’s a place to build rapport.
And sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sad is what building meaningful relationships is all about.
At Allocations, the private DM channel with your manager is a safe place to be yourself. It’s a channel where you can be open and vulnerable.
When done right, the private employee-manager channel can be a place to “rumble”, as Brené Brown calls it.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this document does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax, investment, or accounting advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational or educational purposes only and it represents the personal view of the author. Please consult with your own legal, accounting or tax professionals.