Episode 177.5 – Green Apple Slice


5 Tips for Keeping Your Remote Workers Engaged and Productive



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Culture iQ article, “5 Tips for Keeping Your Remote Workers Engaged and Productive” by Kim Wolf.

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    It’s Monday morning, back with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’m super excited about this article because it’s talking about remote workers and keeping them engaged and productive. That being said, remotely calling in is the — not the, my apologies — is Accountants and Alliances for Sage Canada, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hello. I see how you kind of loop that in there. Good job.

    John: See, and I tipped my hand a little bit as to what we’re going to be talking about. So now people are like, “Oh, I can’t wait.” But, yeah, all the way from Canada. Since I’m in the US, Canada is just one big thing. So there’s no variety to it. It’s just Canada, as if Canada is just like Rhode Island or something, plus or minus a couple miles. This article on CultureIQ I thought was really great: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Remote Workers Engaged and Productive. I knew that you would enjoy it because it had a number of tips, and they were bolded in a list.

    Rachel: Right. So that checks on my boxes. Plus, I’m a remote worker.

    John: That’s very true, with Sage. Absolutely.

    Rachel: With Sage, yes. So I totally get what they’re doing here. In fact, if you look at, I guess, there’s been multiple shifts, joint work spaces and being remote workers and stuff like that. Of course, what are a couple of great remote accounting firms? One is Xen Accounting with Ryan Lazanis out of Montreal. The other one is LiveCA, of course, Chad Davis and Josh Zweig which is also Canadian based. They’ve kind of like aced the remote working accounting firms. I’m kind of proud they’re Canadian too, so that’s awesome.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. It certainly ups the ante on needing to think things through and be a lot more intentional with things to create an engagement.

    Rachel: For sure. Something like that doesn’t happen by accident. We talked about being really intentional with that, but here there’s five great tips, although they aren’t numbered, but they’re big and bold but that’s fine.

    John: There’s only five so you can remember. When you get to three, you’re like, okay, four and then the last one.

    Rachel: But here are definitely some good tips because again, if culture doesn’t happen by accident, it needs to be intentional whether you mean to or not. So what I mean by that is, if you do not intentionally set a culture, it will kind of set itself and what it sets for itself might not be what you ever would have intended. So to have a really positive work culture is challenging enough, but then to take into consideration remote employees which seems like, well, how is how is that going to happen? How is a foosball table in the cafeteria going to help remote employees? Not at all. Any of these stick with you, John?

    John: I thought the last one, just nothing beats face to face. Obviously, they are remote employees, but if you can bring people together once or twice a year so then they can meet in person I think is huge. Another one that that could happen that way is just using technology to do the face to face. So more of the Zoom calls or the Skype calls or things where you’re able to talk to people and you can see them face to face as opposed to just a phone call where the other person is a make-believe, whatever you can imagine type of a thing. I think that that’s really big. Maybe it’s an ogre on the other line. Who knows?

    Rachel: I do use a lot of Zoom and a lot of Skype, and it does make me have to do my hair in the morning. I have something presentable at least from the waist up. I could be in yoga pants underneath, but trying to look a little more —

    John: Right, right.

    Rachel: All my colleagues that are hearing this are going, “Wait a minute, no, she never has her hair done.” But there is a way to connect through technology in remote environments, and that’s absolutely awesome. I totally agree with your face to face. As I said just a few weeks ago, we had an offsite somewhere. So actually, everybody was traveling for that. It wasn’t just me coming into the office, although in some cases, there are kind of required times or meetings or things going on that I need to be present for. Of course, it’s up to me to make sure that I’m including myself in those, but it’s really great that that invitation goes out to make sure that you’re required basically, that there’s something going on that needs your presence.

    John: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. Because it’s easy — out of sight, out of mind — to forget about people and then they feel that way. One little miss and then a second miss and then people start to feel that and then they become less engaged, they become less productive. They feel less cared about as people type of a thing.

    One thing that I think is really cool, there’s a firm, HBK, they’re in Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Jim Fahey thought of a great thing to connect a lot of the offices is doing a lunchtime once a month, Toastmasters sort of a thing, where people get up in their topic for three to five minutes is their passions or interest are outside of work. And then you’re able to connect everybody through teleconferencing and what have you. He said it’s created some really cool connections.

    So I think that taking those face-to-face Zooms and Skypes, it doesn’t all have to be work conversations all the time. Sometimes it could be taking a little bit of time to get to know people’s passions and interests and what their lives are like outside of what they’re doing for the firm or for the organization.

    Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. Here at Sage, each office has its own site leader. So what they’ve done is they’ve actually assigned a site leader for the remote employees who’s also a remote employee.

    John: Oh, nice.

    Rachel: So their job is to kind of rally the troops who all work in a very similar way.

    John: Yeah, yeah. And because they’re one of them, it doesn’t feel disjointed or not genuine which is great. I mean, really great examples here. So if you want to read the full article and all five tips, you can go to greenapplepodcast.com. Don’t forget to hit Subscribe here on the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. Follow us on twitter. Rachel is @FischBooks and I’m @RecoveringCPA. The show itself is @GreenApplePod. So check it out and we’ll see you next Monday. Have a good one, Rachel.

    Rachel: Sounds good. You too, John. Talk to you later.

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