Without the conventional trappings of what work is (an office, a commute, etc.), remote teams are questioning and reimagining the future of work.

Here's how the best remote teams get stuff done.

15 Beautiful Tools For Managing Time Zone Differences

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If you work on a remote team, there’s a good chance you’ve struggled with managing time zones.

With coworkers spread all over the world, it can be hard to keep track of what time it is where your colleagues are. Even if you’re not working remote, it’s easier than ever to end up doing business with someone in a different time zone.

As our world becomes more connected, our differences in time zones become even more important to manage and understand. Here at iDoneThis, we’re a small team and lucky enough to have all our U.S.-based workers in Eastern Standard Time. But our European colleagues are six hours ahead of us. It’s why asynchronous communication is so important. Because their work day is finishing up just as ours is getting started. That means there’s a short window of time for us to talk synchronously if we need to. And sometimes, you need to talk in person.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite tools for managing time zone differences.

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The 10 Things You Learn After One Month Of Remote Work

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At iDoneThis, we’ve got our team spread all across the world. Germany, Italy, New York, Wisconsin. The company has been remote from Day 1 and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Working from a home office or coworking space gives us the freedom to work how we want and — for the most part — when we want.

As of writing this, I’ve had four weeks on the remote team. Here are 10 things I’ve learned in the first month.

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9 Tips for Landing a Remote Job

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This article on landing a remote job is a guest post from Tim Metz. Tim is the co-founder of Saent, a hardware and software device that blocks digital distractions and helps you be more productive. Saent is crowdfunding its initial production run on Indiegogo now. Before Saent, Tim worked in mobile gaming and electronic music, amongst other things. Tim lives and works from Beijing (China) and starts each day writing, usually about productivity on the Saent blog. You can follow him on Twitter & LinkedIn

 

When I lost my job at a mobile gaming company in August of last year, I soul-searched hard to figure out what I really wanted to do. I realized my ideal position would involve my passion and knowledge of productivity. I set my sights on landing a job Evernote, which is one of the few companies truly trying to build a great brand and community around productivity. To my amazement, they also had a vacancy at that time that I thought would perfectly suit me: Marketing Producer. I sent off a cover letter and CV.

And that was it. I never heard back from them.

Tim Metz

Tim Metz

At first I was puzzled, and a bit crushed. Then I started reviewing myself more critically. I’d done a lot of things wrong: I didn’t really highlight my passion for productivity, I didn’t talk about what I could do for Evernote, and I didn’t even showcase my relevant productivity experience. In retrospect, everything sounded a bit generic.

Fast forward 12 months and I’ve launched my own company to manufacture a productivity device and hired a globally distributed team operating under Teal organizational principles. Most recently, I’ve been going through the over 400 applications we received for our remote librarian position, and unfortunately, many applicants made a lot of the same mistakes I did. Though the Evernote job wasn’t a remote role, many of the concept translate — and at times are amplified by the nature of remote work.

So, based on my own failed attempt to land a job at Evernote and the experience hiring a remote team at Saent, here are nine tips about how to apply for a remote job.

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The Comprehensive Guide to Remote Working

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Remote working can be amazing. Freedom, flexibility, travel, family. It can be an excellent way to live and work.

But it doesn’t come easy. You have to work for it.

That’s why we teamed up with Sqwiggle to create this free eBook on remote working.

Because we love remote working — at iDoneThis, we’ve been remote from day one. We know it’s not easy.

Most of us were not taught how to work remotely, we learned by doing. There were no classes in college teaching us how to work from home, or from a cafe in Berlin. Our parents, naturally, assumed we’d work in cubicles just like them.

There’s a lot to learn. So we created this comprehensive guide.

Build the work life of your dreams and download your free guide now.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll be learning:

  • How to stay high energy all day long.
  • How working alone can make you more social.
  • How to build the perfect home office.
Fill out my online form.

P.S. If you liked this article, you should subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll email you a daily blog post with actionable and unconventional advice on how to work better.

How to Transition to Working From Home

 

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You’re more likely than your parents to work from home one day.

Or from a Starbucks, a shared working space, you get the idea. In fact, 4.2 million American workers joined the remote working movement from 1997-2012, according to the Census Bureau.

What this means is that many of us who started careers in a cubicle and necktie are switching over to the pajamas and home office.

It’s a big change. And it’s not easy.

Thankfully, the trail has been sufficiently blazed by workers who have been remote working for years, some for decades. Many of those brave pioneers have documented their experiences. So let’s explore some of the best advice from remote workers who have learned what works, and what to avoid.

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3 Radical Habits of Highly Successful Remote Teams

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Working remotely requires a totally different approach from how we’ve come to define our workday. We’re so used to the commutes, having to deal with our cubicle neighbor, the water cooler chats, and shuffling in and out of meetings. That’s the way we know how to get stuff done. Removed from shared physical spaces, remote teams have none of that.

The physical workspace — from layout to furniture configurations to break-room — create a certain working environment that affects how you communicate and collaborate. Without those traditional areas in play, remote teams face a tougher challenge of figuring out how to work together, simply because there’s no conventional wisdom to lean on, no way to bump into someone on your way to the bathroom, no coffee break to take together.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s why the most successful remote teams are reinventing how to work together with methods you might consider extreme or crazy.

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7 Essential Online Business Tools that Power You Forward

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As a distributed team, we find online business tools indispensable because we rely on them so heavily to collaborate and create our collective office space in the cloud. We know the beating heart of running a successful business is successful communication internally as a team and externally with our customers — and without helpful tools, we can’t connect.

We’ve rounded up our seven favorite business tools that keep us moving forward. What these seven business tools have in common is that they’re easy to use and responsive to our needs. And when business tools can evolve as we evolve while retaining their simplicity and effectiveness, they have great staying power.

Here’s the quick list:

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3 Hidden Keys to Successful Communication as a Remote Team

This story is inspired by this week’s Startup Edition question:
How do you effectively work with remote teams?

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The biggest challenge of working in remote teams isn’t dealing with the physical distribution of your teammates but reducing the psychological distance between everyone. Bridging that distance is probably a test for all types of teams but requires more work as a remote team.

“One thing that excites me about building a company is the human experience of making something out of nothing together,” our co-founder and CEO Walter recently wrote in a company email. As a distributed company, we have to sweat to achieve that communal sense of creation, but in doing so, we’ve had to consider and resolve aspects of our work culture with deliberation.

Culture takes shape from a sense of coherence, built through shared experiences, expectations, and values — and one key to cohering is learning how to communicate effectively with each other. I wanted to dig deeper into what we’ve learned about remote team communication that deals with building those shared relationships, expectations, and values and that help shape the cultural foundation of how we get stuff done.

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5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Company Retreat

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If you’ve ever had to suffer through trust fall exercises or offsites that try to make over ugly corporate morale in one go, you probably dismiss company retreats as a waste of time and money.

Yet the company retreat remains one concrete strategy that startups employ to fuel their success. When you work for a startup, where every day is basically a trust fall, a company retreat is not just a superficial motivational exercise in decreeing “let’s do better” but an opportunity to take a step back and realign, rethink, and break down how to do better.

In July, iDoneThis went on a week-long team trip to downtown Las Vegas to do just that. While we’d visited before to connect with Zappos and the Downtown Project, this year things are a bit different:  our CEO Walter lives in Vegas and we’re proud to be in the Vegas Tech Fund portfolio alongside exciting companies like Zirtual, LaunchBit, and Skillshare.

We had a fantastic time connecting with the Vegas startup and Downtown Project community, working out some of our own company kinks, and of course, having fun. We thought we’d share some tips on what made our all-hands trip effective to consider for your own company retreats, offsites, or meetups!

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