The intimacy of remote working

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A couple of weeks ago I got up early to meet with an Australian client over Zoom; I live in South Africa. I have met with this client a number of times, and we have a great working relationship. As our meeting started, his son ran into the room to show him something. I was then included in this family interaction. 

“I have to show you what my son made,” he said. He then held up a drawing of two bananas with angry eyes, with the title: “When Bananas Attack.”

Laughing, I asked: “Does your son dislike bananas?” 

“No, it’s the opposite, actually he loves them,” he explained. 

We then chatted about his son’s love for bananas, and I gained a little more insight into his family life.
A week prior to this I was on a meeting with a US-based client. The dog I was looking after got startled and ran outside barking, the client’s dog heard the barking and started barking back. We all laughed.  

This got me thinking. If I had met with either of these clients face-to-face in an office environment, I would never have experienced these unique and special moments.  It may have come up in conversation that the person had kids or pets but it is unlikely I would have had any interaction with them.  

I think a common argument in the remote vs office-based debate, is that employees can feel isolated. I tend to disagree. In many of my business meetings clients are inviting me into their homes, I have more meaningful conversations than I ever would have had if I had been meeting them in their offices. I have chatted with clients about everything from hair dryers to fashion and even paintings on the walls of their homes. I have daily meetings with my team, where we discuss and delegate work but we also keep time for a quick social catch-up.  We sometimes include team-building activities over Zoom, which strengthens our bond.  

At Growmotely one of our values is transparency and we have open meetings, anyone can join, team members don’t feel isolated and everyone has a voice and is invited to participate. Sure, we don’t have the 5-minute chats at the water cooler, but our meetings are so much more valuable and we have formed stronger bonds because of the way we operate our business. 

I often have meetings with a blanket wrapped around my knees, while dressed in comfy yoga leggings. I seldom set an alarm in the morning, and I’m never late for work. The flexibility of remote work gives me the freedom to structure my day the way I want to and get better results.  I’m not sitting in the morning traffic, getting to an office feeling stressed and then taking the next 30 minutes to get set up, grab coffee, have idle chatter with my co-workers. I start my day in a better head-space. I know there is a reluctance in some companies to trust their employees to go remote, but if you can’t trust your team do you really have the right people working in your business?  

I’d love to chat more with you about the advantages of remote work and building remote teams, why not grab a coffee with me over Zoom?  Meet me here.

Written by: Lee Van Staden (Growmotely’s Head of Account Management)

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