The Periodic Table of Remote Working

Like many companies nowadays the Vestd team is fully remote, though we didn’t start out that way. Over the last couple of years we have put a lot of effort into figuring out how to optimise the way we work.

In practice that means refining our processes and choosing the right kind of tools to help us get things done.

It also means being aware of the benefits and challenges of remote working, for my teammates and the business at large. I’m in no doubt that the pros vastly outweigh the cons.

Anyhow, I thought I’d try to visualise why and how we work remotely, using the tried and trusted format of a periodic table.

So without further ado, here it is (click on the image for a bigger version).

Notes

This is a largely subjective view on remote working. It isn’t comprehensive but covers off the things that I think matter most.

  • Vision has its very own category as it is arguably the most important thing in business. It’s why your company exists. It’s what anchors everyone on the team. It’s what you are aiming for in the medium to long term. It is fundamental to your operations, your processes and your brand.
     
  • Team alignment covers the key success factors of a remote setup. Most of these apply to non-remote companies too, but they are more important for physically distributed teams. Keeping everyone focused is crucial. Help people to do meaningful work with clear processes, training and documentation. And if you want to really bring everyone together then share some ownership with your team, as equity aligns interests like nothing else.
     
  • I will have almost certainly omitted some of your favourite tools, and there may be some in here that you don’t care for. I’ve used most of these tools, though not necessarily at the same time. For example, I currently live in Trello (rather than Asana or Basecamp, which are also excellent). What matters more than the tools you adopt is how you use them.
     
  • The key benefits cover things from the perspective of both employees and employers. There are plenty of other reasons to work remotely, and of course in recent times many companies have been forced down this path. Embrace the benefits!
     
  • I’ve also included some top level tips. Again, this is from my personal experience and reflects the way Vestd operates, our processes and company culture. For example, it is totally cool for me to turn off Slack, such as when I need focus on deep work, but I know people who are mandated to keep the key comms tools open during working hours. Madness, if you ask me, but each to their own.
     
  • I guess meeting types is pretty much self explanatory. You may know a few of them by different names (e.g. ‘All Hands’ is synonymous with ‘Town Hall’).
     
  • Culture hacks covers off the things you can do to help remote teams forge bonds and feel good about working for your company. There’s no doubt that remote-based companies have to work harder in this area
     
  • And finally there are the challenges, and these are not to be overlooked. You can be interrupted in an office too, but it doesn’t usually involve a tetchy four year old loudly announcing something ridiculously inappropriate during a client meeting.
     
  • Here is a hi-res 2x version, should you want to print it.

I will deep dive into each category in a series of separate blog posts.

If you spot any typos or duplicates please wave a flag (email chris@, or message @lakey on Twitter).