remote team burnout

I’ve been working remotely for over a decade. Originally my premise for making money was not so contrarian. In fact, I happened to stumble across digital marketing in a series of fortunate events and never looked back.

Fast forward more than a decade later, the remote environment is dramatically different yet unconsciously the same. Our technology is faster, yet internet culture still idolizes the “hustle hard” proverbial unicorn who works exponentially faster than the average human being yielding 10X results to boot.

Apart from the ‘growth hack” culture we’ve promulgated, Many remote companies tend to embrace cost optimization vs. work culture. However, contrary to popular belief “Going Remote” is not cheap. While you spend less on brick and mortar buildings remote teams still need an actual operational environment. This requires infrastructure, organization, and processes.

On an AMA chat with Eric Reis, I asked, what his thoughts were about remote teams. Paraphrasing, he shared that most companies weren’t really dedicated to cultivating the type of culture necessary to build these teams successfully.

His words remain unsurprisingly accurate. There is a certain level of dedication required to build a remote team with a strong anti-burnout culture.

At the root, burnout is fired by inappropriate expectations, unskilled hires, an overarching culture of micromanagement, and a lack of internal infrastructure. If your team is suffering from burnout here are a few tips to help you rise above it all in 2020.

  • Schedule meetings with focus. Avoid getting stuck on calls more vs. getting things done.
  • Hire ‘experienced self-starters’. When you hire well the need for constant rework and micromanagement is unnecessary.
  • Set schedules that actually work for your team. Although the remote environment means you can work from anywhere, time is still an asset you must manage and it should be done empathetically.
  • Understand exactly how much time it takes to actually get tasks done. Time estimates should reflect actual performance vs. ideal turn around.
  • Implement methods for process optimization. Don’t just say something should take one hour when it actually takes 3. Instead, identify performance variants and help the team eliminate inefficiencies.

Overall, no one wants a burnout team. It’s eerily demotivating and defeats the purpose of an empowered workforce of the future. Instead, become a master of minding your team’s time, do it empathetically, and focus on achievable milestones as opposed to the 18-hour workday repeated every for 365 days.