Successful Management of Remote Teams: Managing a team is hard; managing a remote team is even harder. Managers and executives must re-think the way they manage and come up with new strategies to successfully manage remote employees.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Taylor Goucher.

As Director of Client Services at Connext Global Solutions, Taylor Goucher uses the leadership, operations management, project management, consulting, and data analysis skills gained while serving in the U.S. Army. He is responsible for leading Connext’s business development and sales efforts while assisting with different account management tasks. Founded in 2014, Connext enables the growth of mid-sized companies through remote staffing and technology solutions.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

Absolutely! There have been two major life experiences that have shaped who I am today. First, graduating from both the United States Military Academy at West Point and US Army Ranger school. Second, the birth of my daughter. The first set of experiences was crucible events that forged who I am as a leader of character and as a determined, disciplined, and strong-willed individual. The birth of my daughter created a sense of compassion, caring, and empathy for families that I had not previously appreciated. The combination of these two major life events has shaped me into the leader I am today.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

Even ten to fifteen years from now, I think the workforce will still offer a hybrid model. Companies of all sizes will have employees around the world supporting their operations from delivery centers, offices, or at home. What will be different, however, is the level of tasks performed by humans. Automation and technology will remove the need for humans to perform low-level, repetitive tasks.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Adopt a mindset toward digital transformation and globalization. Companies that start thinking about automation, technology, and a global workforce now will ultimately become more productive and resilient in the long run.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

I tend to believe that employers will always think that an in-office employee is a more productive employee. This is where another mindset shift needs to occur. Going forward, employers need to offer employees a working environment of their choosing and have processes in place for each environment to successfully measure performance, provide coaching, and build culture.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

I think ‘Working from Home’ has turned into, and will continue to be, ‘Working from Anywhere’. Not only are employees transitioning workforces to permanent work from home roles, but they are also hiring remotely for permanent work from home positions. This is greatly expanding access to talent, which is needed in today’s labor market.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

I’ve already talked about an increase in the number of knowledge workers, which I think is great. However, this brings with it the potential to widen the gap between the lower and middle class even further. I’m not sure how, as a society, we can address this. But I do know that it’s coming, and we need to find a way to address it. I think the rise in minimum wage across the United States is a start, but it shouldn’t stop there as we see increases in both adaption of technology and the need for knowledge workers.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

I am optimistic that humans will begin performing higher level, more technical, knowledge work tasks. Automation and technology will make these level tasks a pressing need. These roles will likely be higher paid and in high demand. Thus, increasing the level of work and pay for humans all over the world.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

The major innovation here is shifting how we think about work. Employees should know it’s okay to take a midday walk or shut down their computers early. We need to coach and train employees on mental health and well-being, just as we do with their day-to-day tasks. It needs to be part of every company’s operating cadence.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Executives need to realize that the companies that win the battle for talent acquisition and retention will ultimately be more resilient and productive in the long run. That significant investment, from a time and money perspective, needs to be dedicated to improving their ability to attract and retain talent. We have always focused on the customer or the client, but now cultures need to be equally as employee-centric as they are customer and client-centric.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence: robotic process automation and artificial intelligence are going to shape the way work has been done. Simple, repetitive tasks that were previously completed by humans will now be done by machines.
  2. Remote Work Mindset Shift: the pandemic has forced executives to re-think how and where work is done. Remote work is normal now. If you’re in Seattle, does it matter if your employee is at home in Seattle, Los Angeles, or Manila? Not Necessarily.
  3. Access to the Global Talent Pool: Every company in the world now has access to employees throughout the globe. The global workforce has been serving large US-based companies for years and can now bring that expertise to companies of any size.
  4. Building a Winning Culture, Remotely: Culture building doesn’t stop with remote teams. It should be an even bigger commitment. We try and do monthly team-building activities, weekly syncs, and fun virtual events to help people stay engaged with the company and feel a strong cultural connection.
  5. Successful Management of Remote Teams: Managing a team is hard; managing a remote team is even harder. Managers and executives must re-think the way they manage and come up with new strategies to successfully manage remote employees.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

‘Every battle is won before it is fought’ — Sun Tzu

When I was younger, I was much more results-driven than process-driven. Now I realize that results will come as long you have a well-thought-out and executed process. The wins we get in business and in life are not a result of a single thing. Instead, they are a result of planning, process, and everything else we have done leading up to that moment.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports, and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

Andy Raskin. He has mastered strategic messaging and has turned it into an art form. Company messaging goes far beyond what you are telling customers, it also needs to resonate with your employees. Andy, through his thought leadership, has helped us build and develop our strategic narrative.

best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Folks can connect with me on LinkedIn. They can also send me a message directly at [email protected].

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.