The last weeks have brought a deluge of articles on working from home. But many of these tips are targeted to new remote teams.
In contrast, Denter Everett Harper runs Truss as an entirely virtual company since its founding in 2012. Everett’s been deep in the trenches of remote work and has invaluable lessons to share.
He joined us on Friday for our second Dent @ Home session—wherein he walked us through a “master class” on remote work. We’ve curated his wisdom into a series of articles forthcoming in the next few weeks. (And don’t miss Everett’s excellent“Distributed Playbook” linked at the bottom.)
Managing Company Culture in a Time of Change and Crisis
For most of us, the shutdown has forced us to respond by working remotely immediately—rather than taking the time to intentionally set up systems.
“If there are cultural practices that are broken, you’ll find out in a virtual environment.”—CEO Everett Harper
“If there are cultural practices that are broken, Everett says, “You’ll find out in a virtual environment.” However, this can also be an enormous opportunity to fix those broken systems.
It’s important to note though, that our relationship to remote work also depends on how much institutional power we have: Who makes policy? Who influences policy? Who is subject to policy?
Be Realistic and Empathetic about the Effects of COVID-19
Everett says they’ve been offering this key message to their employees: “You’re going to lose productivity; it’s gonna be okay.” He stresses that during this period, priorities have to shift to caring for ourselves and our communities.
However, Everett has learned that many find it challenging to set boundaries even when they are told to do so—especially as daily routines are shifting (i.e. less commuting, more helping kids E-learn). This messaging has to be repeated consistently and be backed up with infrastructure.
Create Space for Creative Discussions around COVID-19
After creating a COVID-19 Slack channel, the Truss team quickly discovered that since some areas had more access to resources (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc) than others, a few employees started offering to send things to each other.
In response, Truss made it an official program: “Trussels helping Trussels.” Coordinated through a Slack channel, it became a Craigslist-like exchange of everything from gifts to basic necessities. And Truss covers the (negligible) cost of shipping.
This program connects employees, meets an already expressed need, and creates immense trust and empathy—all without requiring too much from any one person.
Everett has been kind enough to share Truss’ Distributed Playbook, where the Truss team goes into the nitty-gritty of their policies, while also discussing “how to build systems, an infrastructure, and a mindset to support your employees, culture, and customers for the long haul.”
Check it out and put it to work at your organization.
Virtual sessions like these are part of how we’re supporting this amazing community of scientists, entrepreneurs, technologists, artists, astronauts, and misfits. If you’re interested in viewing the recording of the full session, the Dent community might be a fit for you. You can apply for the Dent Passport here.
Dent’s virtual sessions and events help our community break through the sense of isolation that tends to haunt people who do remarkable things. In addition to virtual sessions like these, Dent Passport members receive:
- Free Access to a Stable of Business and Leadership Coaches
- Quarterly Dent Passport Book Club Subscription
- Weekly Dent @ Home sessions
- Community “Morning Routines” and “Fika Breaks” to connect with others.
- Passport Community Directory and Facilitated Introductions