Blog: Remote Work + Parenting
2016 is here! As we begin a New Year, there's a tendency to reflect on old- and new- resolutions for both the personal and work fronts. Last year, I became a proud father to Nina. Naturally, like any other parent, one of my intentional focuses is on continuously becoming the best parent I can be to my kiddo and I'll be writing about parenthood here-and-there. Today, I want to briefly touch on the nature of remote work and how it's evolved for us at Tesla; further, how remote work, has the potential to support a better quality of life for employees by shifting the workplace culture toward a desirable family-work balance.
Trust your teammates. Focus on their output, not how much time they're "online" or "on the clock", and be there for one another.
Async tools & connectivity
Another great thing that remote work offers our team, is that it fosters a culture of diversity.
With the advent reliable of asyncronization-communication tools, like Slack and Google Hangouts, and higher-speed Internet connectivity being more widely available—though not equally available across the globe for all communities just yet—there is little reason why remote work should not be considered an option amongst teams so long as each teammate has access to reliable Internet connectivity.
Working globally, cultivating diversity
At Tesla, we've been building out our team over the last few years, and though we're based out of North America, we now have teammates located in various countries and continents. The asyncronization communication part of remote work is something we experience everyday and are consciously refining the dynamics and processes of as growth and needs dictate. For instance, depending on who's working on what and where coworkers happen to geographically be on any given day, we have to take into account time zone differences in order to do timely work check-ins and project handoffs. This is particularly the case for working with our teammates in Europe, China or Mexico.
Create and nurture an adaptive, inclusive culture.
Another great thing that remote work offers our team, is that it fosters a culture of diversity. For example, remote work brings about different, innovative ideas and prospectives on how to solve problems by more easily allowing individuals of different backgrounds and walks of life to contribute than would otherwise be feasible due to onsite, geographical constraints. The benefits of remote work overshadow the initial challenges of introducing remote work, and the benefits often bring added value not only to our team, but also on a personal level.
Remote work brings about different, innovative ideas and prospectives on how to solve problems by more easily allowing individuals of different backgrounds and walks of life to contribute than would otherwise be feasible due to onsite, geographical constraints.
Let's wrangle code & go to the docs
Where remote work has really been helpful for me lately, on a personal level, affording me the opportunity to be able to spend quality time with my daughter during the daytime and care for her—I can hold her, change her diapers, take her to a doctor's appointment, read to her, take her for a walk, bathe her, rock her to sleep, and simply just be with her. When she's napping or simply hanging out, I'm able to be online with my teammates to continue with our work. The benefits of remote work, whether part-time or full-time, are endless.
An intentional remote work policy and set of processes can help individuals stay connected with loved ones domestically and abroad. Remote work also helps cut down on the daily commute: who wants to drive on the
880everyday if you don't have to be?!
Remote work has also allowed me to be supportive of my teammates when they have needed to travel to be with their own family. Whether a teammate had to travel across the globe to be with family living abroad, or renew a visa, for example, an intentional remote work policy and set of processes can help individuals stay connected with loved ones domestically and abroad, not to mention, it helps cut down on the daily commute: who wants to drive on the
880 everyday if you don't have to be?!
Do you have remote work as an option?
So, as we move forward into 2016, ask yourself: do I have a remote work option where I work? If yes, what are you doing to refine your remote work policy to meet the various, evolving needs of the team and the company, including your own? If you don't have a remote work option or policy, why not? Pose the question of remote work to your teammates, or your direct supervisor, to get a feel if it's something your team not only wants but could benefit from having.
Because it's worth repeating: Trust your teammates. Focus on their output, not how much time they're "online" or "on the clock", and be there for one another.
Exploring remote work
If you're exploring remote work for the first time, somethings you want to consider as a part of what you propose to your teammates and leadership are:
- Tools. What tools are available to use to stay in touch with remote staff? E.g. Slack, Google Docs, etc.
- Processes. What process(es) need to be in-place to support an inclusive and clear line-of-communication remote work environment?
- Expectations. What is expected of each person working remotely?
If you're curious what has worked for me and my teammates so far in the area of remote work, feel free to reach out and I'd be happy to share or even write a follow-up post on these details. In advance though:
- Trust your teammates. Focus on their output, not how much time they're "online" or "on the clock", and be there for one another
- Communicate with one another regularly even if it's in short bursts as a team to keep critical information flowing and removing the occassional obstacles that arise, and
- Create and nurture an adaptive, inclusive culture. Go into remote work that is viewe and experienced as a safe and welcome environment for everyone. For instance, your coworkers should not only feel physically safe, but also feel mentally or psychologically safe in participating with the team and company's efforts.
In the meantime, here's to a great New Year to everyone ✨
I am a problem solver: a tech and people leader with a passion and proven track-record in building and leading empathetic, productive teams—remote and on-site—within a continuous learning culture, while championing usable, inclusive digital products and online experiences. I am also a father, advisor, life-long learner, advocate, community builder, and speaker—I am Human. Learn more