The Intelligent Workplace

Education Series

Remote working the right way: best practices.

Communicating with a remote workforce has its challenges, but what if remote working is here to stay? Have you set your remote workforce up for success?
 
On this episode Ryan Thomas, CEO of Timlin Enterprises, offers advice on how to set up your remote workforce. Ryan has been operating a remote workforce for many years and has also helped many clients to set up their own.
 
In this episode, he shares strategies for working together, when you are apart. How avoiding meetings for meetings’ sake will make you more productive. Why understanding and respecting new work patterns is so important, and how you should prioritise fun for the sake of your mental health.
 
 

Episode Links:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Listen to the episode

Or…

Watch the episode

Chris:

Good morning everybody. We’ll start in about 30 seconds or so, let a few of the latecomers jump into the room. Then we’ll get moving.

Chris:

All right. Good morning and good evening to everybody. We’ve got two different timezones operating here together today. So, we’ll get into it. So, welcome to our webinar. And today we’re going to take a look at the situation that many of us are now finding ourselves in, the remote workforce, having to work from lounge rooms, homes, offices, that sort of thing. For some, it’s been easy, you know? They’ve been doing this prior to the whole COVID-19 pandemic. For others, it’s taken a bit of getting used to, like myself, having to also have children at home as well. You know, there’s new protocols, there’s new technology, there’s new work patterns, people are dealing with isolation.

Chris:

Personally for me, the ability to not be able to talk sport on a Monday morning is absolutely killing me. So anyway, I thought I would invite someone on today who’s been at it for quite a while to see if he could help those of us who’ve only just sort of begun this journey into the remote workforce. So, let’s get into it. So, as usual, you have myself, Chris Lukianenko, the host and creator of The Intelligent Workplace Podcast.

Chris:

And joining me today is Ryan Thomas, the CEO of Timlin Enterprises. So, Ryan has spent over 20 years enabling customers using Microsoft technologies. And as a founder of Timlin, he’s worked with many clients over the years as they embark on their digital transformation journey. So, not only is he a full-time remote worker, you can see him there in his lounge room, he’s helped many other companies adopt the remote working model. So, welcome aboard, Ryan.

Ryan:

Thanks, Chris. Really appreciate you having me.

Chris:

Absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure. So, I say this each week, but hopefully you might have seen this slide before if you’ve been to a previous podcast. This is Live Tiles, we’re a global company specializing in employee collaboration and communications software. And we are all around the globe. And we are all working remotely as we speak. So, the agenda for today. Excuse me. So, as usual, these are conversations. This is not a death by PowerPoint exercise. So, at any time during this session, if you want to ask a question, please do so using the app. And I’ll do my best to pick those out and offer them up to Ryan as we go through.

Chris:

So, as I said, today we’ll be taking a bit of a deep dive into the world of remote working. We’ll throw in some tips, some tricks, some advice, observations, and stories in doing so. So, first up, we’ll talk about what has changed in the world in the last sort of couple of months. And then we’ll explore the idea of collaboration in the new world. We’ll then take a look at how work patterns are changing and how that is a challenge for some. Meetings are next up, and then we’ll take a look at the important task of fun and engagement for workers. And then, lastly we’ll have a quick chat about Microsoft Teams and the role that that is currently playing in this whole new world.

Chris:

So, let’s get into it. So, look, Ryan, it doesn’t take a genius to notice that our way of working has changed. For some, this change hasn’t been great. And for others, they seem to actually be thriving with this. What have you seen with your customers in the market at the moment?

Ryan:

Yeah, Chris. We’re seeing lots of different things. We are heavily sort of focused in the biotech and pharmaceutical space just by default. So, that tends to be where we see a lot of the patterns sort of emerging. We have obviously different customers in different areas too. But we saw the initial mad scramble, right? Everybody’s got to get home. Some people were more prepared for it than others. And so, we do a lot of teams deployments and things like that, governance. So, you kind of know which people are going to be a little bit better than others, based on their sort of ongoing activity already. And you know, we’ve also been trying to help some new people or people we didn’t know that are … They struggle, right? They don’t know how to use the tools. They were really accustomed to working in the office.

Ryan:

But you know, it’s been … It’s an adjustment, right? And what I like about it is that the adjustment was something I was kind of hoping was going to happen. I certainly wasn’t hoping this was the way it would happen. But I believe really strongly in these tools. And so, I guess I’ll take that as a positive out of this, which is that some people really got thrown into the water and had to learn how to swim. And the good news is, most people are figuring it out. And so, I think it’s been a pleasant sort of surprise in a lot of ways.

Chris:

I’m reading a lot of things at the moment around potentially we need to get used to this long term. So, do you see this being the longterm model for the working world?

Ryan:

I think this is the new normal for a while. And I think that some semblance of this will hang on, no matter what. And I think for a bunch of different reasons. And I think obviously for health reasons, people … You know, until we sort of feel really, really comfortable, there’ll be some type of separation that people will need to maintain. But I also think that regardless of that, I think people will come out of this that may have been skeptics and will realize, “Okay, there’s a lot of good that comes from this.” And we as a company kind of already had done this. So, if we had everybody in our office, we wouldn’t have enough space for everybody because we have about half of our people-

Chris:

[Crosstalk 00:05:41]-

Ryan:

Right, always working from home anyway. And so, I always looked at it like, well maybe we’re just a little ahead of the curve. But if you think about it, you could save office space. Those office buildings could have more tenants, right? So, they could decrease their risk. There’s a whole bunch of good reasons for working from home on top of all the stuff we’re going to get into today, right? The benefits. But I think it’s here to stay.

Chris:

Yeah, it’s actually interesting, yesterday I think it was, the Australian Government came out and has sort of started to put together a little bit of a roadmap for businesses getting back to work. And one of the things that they’ve been talking about is the fact that hot desks will not be allowed anymore because of the fact that you’ve got people coming and going from the same desk sharing germs and all that sort of thing. So, maybe if we’re talking about this as being part of the future, it’s going to have to be part of the future because we can’t all fit 100 people into what is a 50 desk place, sort of thing. So, yeah, really interesting stuff.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Chris:

You know, some people are a little bit down on all this. But what are some of the benefits that you’ve seen in your experience as a remote workforce?

Ryan:

You know what? I got to take some real positives out of this one. So, even though we were almost a remote company anyway, this has really been like a bonding moment for us. And I know we’re going to talk about some of the things today about the specifics. But I’m super inspired by my team. At first, I was really nervous. It’s my company. I’ve built it over 10 years. And you know, I feel awful for these people that they had restaurants and they built their business and then it just evaporated overnight. I mean, awful, I feel awful.

Ryan:

So, you know, of course I’m worried about my own people, not about their livelihood because we sort of hung in there. But more about their mental state and how are they doing? And it’s like unbelievable. So, we really enacted some measures to up our game to keep people connected. And we’ll talk about those. But it was really … it was actually a wonderful thing. We are much closer a team now than we were before because we’re sort of concentrating on the personal aspects of things instead of just work. And so, now that you deliberately pay attention to that, and shame on me, I probably should have been doing that the whole time. But whatever it takes, right?

Ryan:

And so, we’re sort of building trust, right? And I kind of took a couple of notes. The flexibility that we are encouraging people to take advantage of because sometimes people work at 8:00 at night, right? At 6:30 PM my time. It’s early your time. We’re working right now, right? But I went and took a few hours off today to do something. And I don’t get all freaked out when I see people with a yellow status in teams, you know what I mean? Like, they got things to do. I trust them to get their job done. People are less distracted.

Ryan:

So, I’m finding that our projects with our customers tend to be going better because they’re less kind of that office getting caught up in other things. And so, they’re more sort of dialed in, no pun intended, to kind of what we’re doing. And the frequency of the kind of communications in chats and stuff has been going up, which is really good. And obviously more time with your family is good, you know? And I’ll put the and bad, and bad joke in there too. But you know, 90% good and 10% driving you crazy with your kids at home and all that. But overall, it’s a really good thing.

Chris:

Yeah, absolutely. I must admit, I’ve been talking to a lot of parents who are doing this home schooling thing right now. And there’s been a lot of Googling trying to find out grade six maths equations and things like that because you just forget all that sort of stuff. So, it’s good to have them around. But it’s bad when you’re being asked these questions and you can’t remember your grade six mathematics stuff.

Ryan:

I’m one of those guys, so I get it.

Chris:

Let’s talk about working together when you’re apart. So, look, I work as part of a small team. And while three of my team mates are actually from my local office, we haven’t ever actually worked together as a team in the office because they’ve only just joined the team recently. And the other members of my team are in different cities. So, coming together as a team for us and finding a way to collaborate has actually been really, really challenging as a brand new team. But once we clicked, it’s been so rewarding. We catch up every single day. And it’s like we’re in the same room. It’s just been fantastic. So, I was sort of wondering for you, the remote working and that collaboration element, how do you achieve that with Timlin?

Ryan:

Yeah, so like I said, this has been our MO for a while. So, we kind of had this all dialed in already. We schedule our video meetings and we kind of really ask people to make sure all the remote people have a camera. And we ask, obviously if they’re comfortable, which we got everybody comfortable, sort of showing their face. It’s really important to me to see someone’s face, see that human being reaction, right? So, we kind of make sure that’s a requirement. We don’t just keep it work related. You know, like I mentioned before, as we’ve started to add a personal element to it, it’s really making working together better.

Ryan:

And we’re doing things like, we buy lunch on Fridays for the team. And we send them like a $15 PayPal to each person. And they go get takeout. And I looked at it like, it makes them feel good. It makes them feel good, I’m helping some local businesses where they happen to be, which that makes me feel good. And we usually fly people in a couple times a year, our whole team, and we do fun stuff. And I’m not able to do that now. So, I’m trying to find other ways to kind of make up for it. And I also really recommend things like lunch and learns. And we’ll probably talk about it a little bit more later. But things you do on Friday, we’ll grab a member of the team and we’ll have them give a presentation casually, right? So, we have lunch and everybody dials in and they start talking about maybe a topic that’s important to the company or organization. So, I look at it like, hey, I get to do some cross-pollination, buy people lunch and sort of build more teamwork.

Chris:

So, it’s not something you can just click your fingers though and just all of a sudden, we work remotely and we collaborate remotely and it’s all great, is it? You really need to plan for this, even though we’ve been throw into it.

Ryan:

Yep, so it takes time. And I would say … As I say with digital transformation in general, it’s a process, not a project. So, you’re not just going to be able to set a bunch of structures up, check the boxes, and go, “All right, we’re good.” It takes a commitment. And it also takes a commitment to collecting kind of feedback, both listening carefully and asking for feedback, so that you know how to improve what you’re doing. And pay attention to people. Like, a couple of times I’ll talk to somebody and they just don’t sound quite right. And I’ll follow up with them and say, “Hey, look, how are you doing?” You know what I mean? And frankly, just asking them means the world to them, right? Like, you’re just caring about people. So, you got to sort of dig in. And it’s not just a finger clicking exercise. You just got to keep going.

Chris:

Yeah. But do you feel that we can be just as effective collaborating remotely as we might be in the room, in the office?

Ryan:

Yes. Yes. I do.

Chris:

You don’t sound convincing.

Ryan:

No, well because I’m a social guy. And so-

Chris:

Same, yeah.

Ryan:

It’s cool doing this, but it’s not the same. There are certain things, like the drive by, right? The cube drive by, where you swing by and I’m like, “Hey, Chris, what’s happening?” You know what I mean? Or, “What are you up to?” And we shoot the breeze for a couple minutes about something. Or at the office, I’d go at least once a day and I’d go grab somebody and I’d be like, “Let’s go grab a coffee.” And I would just go and I’d take orders for everybody in the office and just go down to Dunkin Donuts and get everybody coffees. And not being able to do that is hard. But I’ve been trying to replace that with alternatives that may not be quite as good, but I still think they help, right?

Ryan:

So, the virtual coffee, right? So, instead, I’ll schedule a call with somebody. And yeah, it’s scheduled, which kind of stinks, but it is what it is. And I’ll say, “Hey, I’m going to grab a cup of coffee, just want to catch up.” You know? Catch up for five or 10 minutes. And you don’t talk necessarily about work. But more like, “Hey, how’s it going?” No specific agenda. And I think some of the things that are difficult … I mean, I think we can certainly be just as effective. It’s just, if we’re having the same conversation three years from now, I just … I’m trying to think ahead, right? What do we do to manage to make sure it stays effective? And certain things are difficult. Like, hiring employees and letting employees go during this kind of stuff, that’s … Thankfully, we haven’t had to lay anybody off or let anybody go. But I just can’t imagine that. That’s got to be an awful thing to have to do that over a video chat. So, there’s some things that I guess aren’t quite as effective, if you know what I mean.

Chris:

Yeah, I’m with you. I really miss those casual interactions where you just sort of bump into someone in the kitchen or whatever and just a conversation out of nowhere could happy. And you might find something else out about that person or about a project that you’re working on together. That’s the stuff that you can’t really do via the video. But you know, we’ve just got to get used to it, I suppose, for now. Yeah, absolutely.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

It sort of all comes down to work patterns. And work patterns are different now. The days of having a regular nine to five, I think they’re kind of behind us. And with remote working, as you mentioned before, work hours can be anything that you want. And for some people, this is a really difficult concept to grasp. And I sort of was wondering, do you feel like there’s still a lot of people that don’t really believe in the whole work from home concept?

Ryan:

Yes. I don’t run into as many of them simply because of the business I’m in personally because what we do, we’re a remote company helping people work remotely and using these tools. So, I don’t find as many of them. But I’ve definitely run across a few and heard some stories about …

Chris:

I think we might have lost Ryan there for a second. He might have-

Ryan:

Sorry, mate can we go-

Chris:

There we go, he’s back.

Ryan:

Sorry, my Bluetooth headphones are on and my phone rang and it actually cuts me off. So, I’m going to turn off my phone, not just mute my phone. I apologize.

Chris:

Technology.

Ryan:

I don’t usually do this. All right, but no, this is-

Chris:

But see, that’s why I’m sitting here with my wired headphones, you know? No Bluetooth interruptions.

Ryan:

No, smart. Well, I didn’t realize my phone was going to override my Bluetooth headset over here. I apologize.

Chris:

Keep going, mate.

Ryan:

Yeah, so there are some people that sort of believe in the whole, if you’re at your desk that you’re working. And the badge of honor, working from home … Sorry, working late at night, last guy out, that kind of thing. And there are some people that still believe in that. And I try to very gently, and I’m not judging anybody. So, any of you out there, I’m not judging you. But I’m saying this, if you are nervous about your people working from home because you can’t see them, you probably either have a problem yourself or with your employee, right? Because I look at it like this, I don’t micromanage people, never want to. I don’t want to micromanage people. If I have to micromanage somebody, it means I’m doing something wrong or they are, right? Same kind of concept.

Ryan:

So, I believe in setting expectations, making it very clear what’s expected of people and when it’s supposed to be delivered. The whole, trust but verify model. And then, you’re checking in with them, you’re taking the road blocks away. You’re asking them how they’re doing. But you don’t worry about it, you know? I actually encourage people to go walk the dog, take a break if you don’t have anything you’ve got to do right now. And people appreciate that. And that means that at 8:00 at night when something’s going haywire, they’ll be there to help me.

Ryan:

So, I think people are going to have to get over it and figure out a way to solve the problem. No, I mean, and I don’t think installing the spyware stuff on people’s computers is the answer either. I know I’ve heard some of those stories. And people just aren’t going to want to deal with that, you know? Not true professionals anyway.

Chris:

It’s funny, you get people saying, “Yeah, I want you to work from home,” and blah, blah, blah. But then they still expect you to clock in at 8:30 and clock out at 5:00 and only take your 45 minutes for lunch. I think if you’re going to be all in on this whole work from home experience, you need to, as you mentioned before, understand that there are things that are going to interrupt the day. You might need to go and clear your head and walk the dog or you might have to attend to your son’s maths homework and all that sort of thing.

Chris:

So, you’ve got to commit to the work from home concept, but also, the new world, that that’s a very flexible type of time. And if I’m starting work at 7:00 AM so I can take a two-hour lunch break to sort out the kids, that’s got to be all part of it. And you’ve got to buy into the entire concept.

Ryan:

Yep.

Chris:

Yeah, absolutely. Now, look, that whole thing around building trust, how do you do it? Like, I’m with you. I don’t like this whole spyware sort of concept. I think that’s terrible. And I don’t think the concept of sneaky check-ins just to make sure that you’re there really works. Is it something you’ve just got to take a bit of a leap of faith with?

Ryan:

I mean, some people that’s all they’re going to be able to do, right?

Chris:

Yeah.

Ryan:

No, because they just … I mean, that’s not the way I would do it. I mean, let’s say I didn’t have the system in place and I just would make sure that I walked around and I saw people typing away at their computers and I assumed that meant they were getting work done and everything was fine. And now, all of a sudden, they’re all at home and I can’t go look at them. I guess the first thing that I would do to establish trust is I would start setting … I would check in with them and say, “Okay, what are you working on? Let’s make sure that I understand what the expectations are for the delivery.” And I would probably check in more than I should. And this isn’t me, this is somebody who’s trying to work their way into this carefully or gradually, until I started to feel like, “I don’t need to check in with them because the work is still getting done,” right?

Ryan:

Like, if the work product is still there at the end of the day or the end of the timeframe, what does it matter to you? Why do you feel the need to waste your time, right? That’s how I’d build the trust. But again, that’s … These people have to get over their hangups, right? I mean, it’s a new world.

Chris:

Yeah, I was talking before how we’ve shifted to this new team. New team, new members, you know? You don’t know how these other people work. So, there is this element of building trust. And we’ve decided to sort of start off every day with a work in progress meeting every single morning. And it’s really great. It’s sort of worked in two ways. So, while we’re in that WIP, I take the dog for a walk. It starts at 8:30, I go for a walk at 8:00 AM until 9:00 AM and have that half an hour meeting at 8:30. So, it’s great. I get out and about. We talk about the day ahead. And I think back to my last place to work, and that would have been completely frowned upon. But these days, I think especially with this whole isolation, it’s not only are we making sure that all the tasks are getting done, but it’s all a bit about mental health as well, because that seems to be … I mean, it is a very important topic, especially at this time, isn’t it?

Ryan:

Absolutely, yeah. And you just talked about one of the benefits of what we get is you get flexibility. You get to go-

Chris:

Absolutely.

Ryan:

It’s healthier for you. I mean, I know plenty of people that are going to need treatment at an alcohol treatment facility, join AA after this is done. I mean, you know? Because they’re just so wrapped up at home. But I think the getting exercise, the taking those breaks is … That’s one of those things I think we can look at and go, “You know, something good can come from this.” And more than allow it to happen as an employer or a boss, encourage it, right? Because healthy, happy, safe employees are effective ones, right?

Chris:

Yeah. My two Labradors are going to be really upset if I have to go back to office working because they won’t get their daily one hour walk and swim.

Ryan:

Exactly.

Chris:

All righty, let’s have a bit of a chat about new rules for meetings. So, everybody’s probably already been doing online meetings every single day. We’ve got video and voice calls going on and all that sort of thing. It’s been going on for quite a few years. But not everyone doing it every day all day sort of thing, where there are no real face to faces. And look, I know you have some thoughts on this, so I thought we’d throw up a few of your tips on the screen that you can maybe talk through. So, one of the first important things you’ve mentioned is the importance of team check ins.

Ryan:

Yeah, so when you don’t get to see people or those drive bys I talked about … Or one thing I forgot to mention is the power of overhearing a conversation that someone could provide some value in, right? Like, that’s the kind of stuff that is super valuable that you don’t get when everybody is isolated by themselves. So, you kind of have to put some extra effort into the deliberate sort of work that sort of generates the same results. And so, for us, we specifically have team check-ins. Let’s say they would have been more casual at the office. Now, they’re going to be more specific, right? So, you’re going to add some meetings to the calendar. Sorry, I know nobody likes that.

Ryan:

But if they’re of quality and there’s a personal nature to it and it’s not just a boring kind of work agenda meeting, they have a lot of benefit. So, we’re obviously upping the anti, even though we’re doing that all the time anyway. We’ve sort of ratchet that up for the people that we had in the office that we don’t anymore.

Chris:

Yeah, fair enough. Next up, transparency and authenticity are key.

Ryan:

Yeah, okay. So, you got to be genuine, right?

Chris:

Yeah.

Ryan:

I see fake from a mile away, at least that’s my deal. And I never want to portray that. So, one of the ways that we do that is we sort of talk about something personally with ourselves. Like, I’ll talk about how it’s a struggle to have my 12 and 14 year old at home, and I’m trying to be their teacher now too. You know what I mean? And if they have any issues with learning, it gets a lot harder for us to kind of help them when teachers are really at a loss.

Ryan:

So, when you kind of throw out the like, “Hey, I struggle too and I’m willing to talk about it,” you kind of create that … It peels away that veneer of, “I can’t. It’s the boss,” you know what I mean? Or it’s my boss or the boss, whatever it is. So yeah, you’ve got to be a real human being.

Chris:

Yeah. I agree. I agree. Next one, how long is long enough?

Ryan:

So, we have a really kind of strict rule for anybody that … And I’ll give a shameless plug to somebody that I don’t know, but the book is awesome, is this book called Traction by Gino Wickman. And it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I used it to kind of blueprint the running of the business. And it’s absolutely awesome, at least for someone like me who runs on instinct and guts, you know? Or gut instincts. I needed some sort of more specifics. And one of the things I took from that is a meeting, starting it on time, right? And treat people with respect, their time with respect. And don’t roll in four or five minutes late. Don’t schedule back to backs if you can’t get off the meeting. Respect that people have another meeting to go to. End the meetings on time at the latest, you know what I’m saying? And no lingering, you know what I’m saying?

Chris:

Yeah, no, good, good. All right. The last one, share the non-work moments.

Ryan:

Yeah. So, we have some meetings each week, according to the traction model, which was long before the whole COVID thing, where we start off with what we call the segue. So, one of the segues is, let’s stop talking about work for a second just to kind of loosen the mood a little bit. It’s almost doing one of these little shakeups, sort of get the muscles shaking out. And you get people kind of … It just releases a little bit of the tension. And so, we really work hard in all of our meetings. We have a whole company meeting every week in the morning, Wednesday morning. And I make sure that I hear everybody’s voice. And I ask them what’s going on. But then I always ask them, “Okay, so how are you doing at home?”

Ryan:

Like, if they’re giving me a project update and if they don’t tell me how they’re doing at home, I’ll ask. And I’m getting a lot more really good personal feedback that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. That’s what I meant by sort of things are getting better, our cohesiveness is improving. So, that’s really critical for us.

Chris:

Yep. I’ve just got a quick question here, what is the book name, Tracking, was it called?

Ryan:

Traction. Like your tires need traction.

Chris:

Traction.

Ryan:

Yeah, by Gino Wickman. Yep, it’s a really great book. If anybody’s trying to run a company or run a team or has influence for running other companies, then there’s just so many things you know you’re doing wrong after you read this. But it’s just been great.

Chris:

We might send a link to that book out with the followup email around this too so people can check it out. Great stuff, great stuff. All right.

Ryan:

Best business book I’ve ever read.

Chris:

Well, there you go. Look at that, look at that.

Ryan:

No, seriously. Yeah.

Chris:

[inaudible 00:25:10] engagement. So look, for me, I’m an extroverted person, you know? And I work in a very fun environment. We’re a little bit of a cliché kind of environment with the table tennis table. I miss the face to face interaction. I miss the table tennis. I miss the computer games. Look, here we go, the after work beers, the jokes in the kitchen, and going out to lunch with colleagues. You pretty much lose most of that with remote working. And I know you and I were talking prior to this about some of the fun ways that you have put into the business to engage and work with your staff. Can you just sort of give us a few tips? Nice visual gag there.

Ryan:

Yeah, so, our team, they’ll play Jack Box. I don’t know if anybody’s heard of that. It’s like an online gaming platform where people can play games. One of our employees, she was so clever, she hung her camera over a Monopoly board and played virtual Monopoly with both her friends outside of work and inside of work. And we share those ideas with each other.

Ryan:

If you’re comfortable, if you’re the boss, if you just happen to be the boss and you’re not necessarily comfortable playing games with your folks, I get it. What you could do instead is find out who won the game, like pop in, find out who won the game and send a gift card to them or something like that. Just as like, “Hey, look, I heard you won the big game of Risk the other night,” or something like that. And give them a $25 gift card or something. There’s just ways that people have a lot of fun with it, they feel appreciated. Like I said, we do the lunch and learns, which is both informative and fun. Those are the best kinds for me because you actually get to learn something. I like to learn things. And you get to buy people lunch.

Ryan:

Some people do the virtual coffee I mentioned. Some people do virtual cocktail hour. Not all appropriate for all types of organizations. But some people will do that, you know? I mean, we’re doing that with our families on Zoom. I hate Zoom, but it is what it is.

Chris:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And really kind of ratchet up the whole like, “Hey, look, this doesn’t have to be a super serious callous thing.” And on the Wednesday call, every day because I was trying to loosen people up a little bit, I take a different funny hat that I find from my kids. Like, Batman hats from when they were five. And even if they don’t fit, I stuff them on my head just to get people to laugh, right? I just want the crew to realize, I’m just a person too. And I have emotions too. And I realize, it’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to have fun. It’s okay to laugh at me, you know what I mean? Like, have fun with it. We only get so many rotations on this thing. Let’s enjoy it.

Chris:

Yeah, I actually really liked your idea of buying people lunch on a Friday where you PayPal them $15 and they go out and buy their takeaway and everybody comes back together for that brown bag type session. I think that’s a really good one. I really like that.

Ryan:

Yep, yep.

Chris:

All right. So, look, obviously a lot of us are working with Microsoft Teams right now. The two of us here, we both work within the Microsoft ecosystem and understand the power of Microsoft Teams and how it’s changed the lives for so many remote workers. I heard a stat yesterday, I think it was 75 million daily users or something like that. It’s just absolutely skyrocketed. But it’s not a magic wand though, is it, really mate? It does a lot, but it doesn’t do everything.

Ryan:

No. No, I mean, I always say to people when we used to do Share Point or Teams sort of governance engagements, I’d say, “Listen, anybody that used a PalmPilot back in the day? Anybody as old as me out there?” I bought one of those things when I was 20 something years old. And I’m like … Because I have a … I’m an ADHD guy. And I didn’t know it growing up, so I always had trouble staying organized. And it was really tough as a student. And somehow, when I became an adult, I guess I just sort of figured out how to manage it.

Ryan:

So, I got this PalmPilot. I thought, “This is going to be like life changing.” And what I realized is that it’s garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t actually put all your calendar stuff in there, your contacts, your phone numbers, it doesn’t do you any good at all. So, it’s not a magic wand. It’s a tool. It’s a platform. It’s a set of capabilities that you have to work at using, you know? Just because I bought my gym membership doesn’t mean that I’m getting into shape, right? Like, I actually have to show up and I have to learn how to use the machines and I have to commit to it. And Teams is just another one of those kind of muscles you’ve got to flex.

Chris:

Yeah, look, what I like about Teams is it’s a great hub for so many things. And here at Live Tiles, we’re looking for ways to augment the team’s experience with our other tech apps that we like. And to really leverage its power, you need to get the foundation right, you need to spend some time planning out your teams and your channels. And you’ve got your user access, you’ve got your governance. And look, just the link you can see there on the screen, it takes you to some of the free tools that we’ve put together here at Live Tiles just to help you with those types of activities if you haven’t embarked on that already, and really allow you to take your team’s experience beyond video calls and file sharing. So, just an offer for some support there if you would like some from us here at Live Tiles.

Chris:

That brings us to the end of our session today, mate. I’ve really enjoyed it. There’s been some really great insights, some great stories, some excellent tips. Hopefully everybody else has enjoyed it. I have flashed up a black screen there for next week’s session. Keep an eye out on the socials for us announcing our next week’s session because we have had a small hiccup with a guest for next week. We organize these sessions pretty much about a week to 10 days in advance so that we’re staying current in this rapidly changing world that we’re currently living in. So, you would know, Ryan, we sort of pulled this together sort of late.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Chris:

But that’s the beauty of it. We can do that with the technology. So yeah, keep an eye out for next week to see what’s happening there. And look, in the meantime, Ryan, thank you very much for joining us here today. It’s been a fantastic chat with you. I hope everybody has enjoyed it. And we’ll send out an email to follow up on this with a couple of links and that that can help everybody out with hopefully implementing some of these ideas that you’ve spoken about here today in their own businesses. So, thank you very much, mate.

Ryan:

You’re welcome. I’m really happy that you had me here. And I know we kind of scratched the surface in about a half an hour. It’s high level stuff. If anybody has any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I could talk about this stuff all day.

Chris:

We’ll share your email address it’s Timlin Enterprises in Massachusets, yeah?

Ryan:

That’s right. My two children’s names put together.

Chris:

Nice. Nice.

Ryan:

Yep.

Chris:

Sounds great, sounds great. All right, well thank you very, very much to everybody for joining us this morning, it’s been great. And we’ll talk to you again soon. So, stay safe out there.

Ryan:

Thank you.

Chris:

Cheers.

 

More Episodes

Reinventing your business in the Post-Covid age.

Aas the business world gets ready to face the reality of a post-COVID world, it’s clear there will be many new challenges to face.

Is reinvention a requirement? What are the key drivers for success in the new world? What are the new opportunities for businesses, and what are the key issues to watch out for?

View Episode

Where to from here? Taking a positive approach to business in the new world.

Getting the chance to interview my CEO, Karl Redenbach, has been something that has been on my wish list for a while. When Karl enters a room, or jumps onto a meeting, all eyes and ears are on
With the world starting to awaken from a Covid-imposed slumber, many businesses are making plans for “business unusual”, as Karl refers to it. Karl discusses some of the major challenges businesses will face post-covid and his excitement for what is to come. Ever the optimist, Karl shares his enthusiasm for the remote working revolution. He believes LiveTiles is well placed to support remote workers now and into the future.

View Episode

Time to check in on your employees well-being.

As a result of Covid-19, companies the world over have adopted remote working models for their employees. Anecdotally, results have been mixed. Some employees love the flexibility, others crave human interaction. Companies are being forced to “let go” some of their controls with he new model. But, some are reporting that employee productivity levels remain high, and in some cases have even increased.

How are your employees faring? When was the last time you checked in on them?

We are hearing rumblings of a wave of mental health issues that may cause greater harm than the pandemic itself, but time will tell. In this episode, mindfulness expert, Nina Purewal and founder of the LiveSmiles movement, Peter Nguyen-Brown join me. We discuss the potential mental health issues that are on the horizon, what we can do to support employees through them, and what part technology has to play in the solution.

View Episode