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Nov 16, 2022
5 mins read
Future of Work
As a fully remote work team at Flexspace, we practice what we like to call the “all-hands workweek.” It’s a week where the full team gets together to collaborate, work in small in-person teams, and have fun together. Earlier this year, we hosted an all-hands workweek for our teams in Southeast Asia and San Francisco. It’s not necessarily a retreat or offsite, but rather a time for our remote work team to be together and reconnect as we work to move the company forward.
While we fully support remote work and remote companies, we also acknowledge the importance of in-person time. That connection sends a pulse of energy, information, motivation, and collaboration throughout our teams. We’ve found that this fuels them until it’s time for the next get-together. It’s a lot like a heartbeat, which, when healthy, is what enables our bodies to thrive.
For remote work teams and hybrid work teams, thinking about in-person opportunities as your company’s heartbeat can put the remote vs. in-office work decisions into perspective. This can not only help make decisions about your team’s in-person connection needs but also get your team thinking about collaboration in the same way.
The Electrocardiogram (ECG) is the heartbeat visualization most of us are familiar with. At its core, the heartbeat starts with a flat line, followed by a spike, and then another relatively flat line before the pattern repeats. To be clear, there is certainly a lot more to an ECG than what I’m going to discuss here (I’m not a doctor, after all). But this spike is the main part of the “beat” which is ultimately bringing new blood and oxygen to the entire body while returning blood to the lungs to be re-oxygenated.
For remote work companies, our in-person connections are that spike. It’s a time when we connect about strategic initiatives, dismantle roadblocks, brainstorm, work synchronously, and strengthen cultural ties. We are spreading “oxygen” throughout our team and revitalizing other areas that need it.
And the same way one heartbeat sustains the body until the next one, a productive in-person opportunity can fuel a team until another is needed. It’s a cycle that, when healthy, keeps information flowing, motivation high, and connections strong during periods of remote work in between “heartbeats.”
If we take this analogy a step further, we can start to see more parallels that can help us think strategically about in-person time and how it impacts our employees and our company. Heartbeats change constantly and they vary between people. It all comes down to each of our needs at any given moment.
If we’re running, our heart receives signals that the body needs more oxygen faster and speeds up. When we sleep or are relaxed, it slows down. Similarly, when our companies are gearing up for a big launch we may require more in-person time. When things are quiet, we may require fewer in-person meetings. Sort of like faster and slower heartbeats.
Different people have different needs too. That one friend of yours that regularly runs marathons? Their heart operates at a much different rate than yours. The same goes for different people or teams within a company. While a creative marketing team may need to connect often for brainstorms or planning, an engineering team may require less in-person time as they focus on individual coding that’s best-executed solo.
We’re all navigating new and changing work environments that require new ways of thinking. For me, having a purpose and reason behind flexible work decisions is key to ensuring my team is on board so that my business can thrive. Thinking about the cadence and importance of in-person connection as a healthy heartbeat is a way to visualize and assess your team’s needs and to get everyone thinking about their own in-person needs in the same way.