In this second Episode of the Working Remote Podcast Glenn Sanford talks about some of the ways to work with a real concern for those looking to work remote: Social Isolation. In growing eXp Realty as a fully remote organization Glenn talks about how to create a real place for team members to work to feel included and to be meaningful contributors to the enterprise's success.
Glenn Sanford: 0:00
Hi, this is Glenn Sanford and this is the second episode for the Working Remote podcast. In this one I'm gonna talk a little bit about social isolation and how to actually work to solve that. It's one of the probably bigger topics that you are going to need to solve early in your journey of going remote. And I'm gonna talk about a number of aspects of that. Keep in mind that this podcast is actually being sponsored by VirBELA.com, VIRBELA dot com. And it's actually the same platform that runs our organization eXp Realty. We actually invested in the VirBELA platform in 2018 and actually brought them under the eXp umbrella. So it's a really great platform, something that I would encourage you to check out. The Open Campus platform is actually free to use. If you're getting value from this podcast, download the software. Come on in and track me down. Say Hi. Let me know what you think of the podcast and how you're enjoying your journey into working remote. So with that, let's go to the podcast. Hi, Glenn Sanford here and today I want to talk about solving the social isolation dilemma for remote work. And, one of the big challenges that you're gonna have as a leader if you're going to lead an organization down the path of becoming a remote organization, is how do you actually solve social isolation? And for a lot of people, it may not be a big challenge. But for a significant portion of the workforce, social isolation is gonna be one of the reasons why they're not big fans of remote work. They want to be around people, and we've been able to solve a lot of lot of that inside of eXp in VirBELA and I want to talk a little bit about some of the some of the aspects of working remote. First of all, if you are not familiar with Metcalfe's law, it's worth checking out. Metcalfe's law says that the power of a network is the square of its nodes, and why that's important is that if you're working remote and you're effectively working by yourself, the value of your network is only one. And so your network is pretty small. If you're on the edges, and you're basically just working through the various projects that you're being given your ability to instill change in the organization is pretty minimal, and that's one of the things that we try to solve fairly early in. Actually, the whole concept of what we were doing back in 2009 was to solve the challenge of people being orphans in their own organizations. And when I say orphans, whether it be somebody who's a independent contractor, we employ real estate professionals that were used to going to an office or the staff members that ultimately support them, we want to make sure that they actually felt connected to the organization. And so that's really the first thing that I think that you need to solve in an organization when you're going go fully remote and even if you're not gonna go fully remote, you have to be really aware that those who are connecting to the organization indirectly through remote channels are maybe not going feel as connected as the rest of your team. So I like the idea of going fully remote, and the reason why fully remote makes more sense from my perspective, is that leaders are eating effectively the same dog food as all of the staff, and I don't mean that in a negative sense, because once you actually start to embrace it, you actually find out that there's a lot of power in running a fully remote organization. So let's just touch bases on a few of the items that I think are really important. First of all, regular check ins with your team is critically important. If you're not regularly checking in with your team, then your team's going to feel left out and isolated. So building some sort of regular check in cadence with your team members is really, really important. So when I'm highly involved in organization. Right now, I am as well with the Chief Strategy Officer for VirBELA. So I do regular every morning check ins with the team. Now we actually meet in our cloud campus, and I highly recommend a sense of place and the VirBELA platform, in my opinion, just knocks out of the park of creating a sense of place. But the idea is to have a regular check in. So every morning about 7 30 in the morning, not about at 7 30 in the morning I get together with a large portion of the organization, especially on the sales and marketing side, and we meet to talk about who are the various folks that were talking to? How are we helping him through the process? How are we helping them sort of understand the value, the platform? And then what are we doing just to make sure that we're providing the best service possible. So we meet every morning, 7 30 in the morning, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday as a regular check in. We do it for about 30 minutes, and then we break. However, in our case, when we break, a lot of people actually stay in the in the room. We have a board room where we're doing those stand-ups, and then other people will break and do other meetings. I also have a stand up at 8 a.m. with another group of folks who will literally walked down the hall, go into another office, and then we'll talk about supporting some of our other folks, an organization which we refer to as our affiliates. So we do these meetings and then throughout the day I'll drop in and talk to the folks that are doing concierge work. I'll talk to the folks that are actually doing the follow up work for initial touches. Initial phone calls of touch base with the sales team. Will do a couple times we'll check in with the entire organization on Mondays and Thursdays, and so we're regularly checking in with everyone in some sort of meaningful way, and you need a place to be with your team. Now, you may be able to do it effectively through some channels, like Slack or through Workplace by Facebook or Microsoft Teams. So those are important as well but a place that you can actually truly be connected with some somebody or people throughout the day again solves this challenge of social isolation. So in our case, we basically play with the idea that if you're at work, then you're actually logged in as an avatar in the virtual campus in your office. Or even better yet, along with somebody else that you're actually doing that particular work with. There's a lot of data around the idea of all good work takes place in teams of two or more. And so, if you can sort of put a group together, a pod of folks together where they're together all day long in a connected way then they can all keep themselves more engaged and and actually feeling socially connected to the rest of the team. And so that's one of the key things to try to figure out. How do you create social connection. Now the other pieces, if you got a socially connected team, you can actually provide that team more meaningful work. They can actually work together as a team to solve real world challenges for the organization. And so it might be putting in new systems might be working on providing better customer engagement and customer support. It could be any number of different things, but all good work takes place in teams, and so you'll hear me talk about also in various podcasts as well about a number of agile practices. We talked a little bit about the the daily check in, but the other ones that are really important as well, and I'll be honest. I'm not really good at these, but I do practice them as best I can is the planning the work for the week at the beginning of the week, getting the commitments. Mondays is for a commitments. And then Fridays is really to check in and see How did you do on all those things that you did? And, of course, you're working as teams. The ability to celebrate those winds together in a way to sort of book end the week can help as well. So just a few things to think about as you're building your teams. Think about solving the challenges of social isolation. I think it will really help. I think it's one of those things that once you get it down, you're gonna have a high performance organization without having to actually have the physical bricks and mortar to go along with that. So a fairly short podcast hope this is helpful and talk to you soon. Thanks! Thanks again for listening to this episode of Working Remote. Check out again that subscribe button and subscribe to the podcast f you haven't already. Also be sure to check out the VirBELA platform. I think it could be an answer for many of you trying to create a sense of place for your organization, so that's VirBELA.com. And we have a free, Open Campus and some team suites and some other cool things for your organization should you choose to go that direction. But again, thanks for being part of this podcast and talk to you soon.