Welcome to Remote Justice

Inspiring work on behalf of social justice takes place all over the world. But if one is getting paid to do social justice work, the default setting for this inspiring work is an office.

Remote Justice is the brainchild of Provide and originated as an internal resource that we created to share the lessons we’ve learned from one another and from others working remotely for social justice. We realized that these resources could be helpful to others and decided to make what we’ve learned available through this blog, so that the information was available not only to us, but also to friends, colleagues, and anyone else who is interested.

On this page, you can find resources, articles, and books about remote work, with an eye towards supporting the worker, the manager, and the organization. Have a resource to add? Want to ask a question? Be in touch.

Read more about why we care about remote work here.

Debunking Myths About Remote Work

Debunking Myths About Remote Work

There are a lot of myths about remote work, so you can imagine how happy we were to see some of them being debunked on the Huffington Post last month! From applications to promotions, this article tackles five of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to this type of work.

Our favorite is Myth #5: Remote work is bleak and lonely.

I’m not saying that nobody in the world has ever felt lonely while working remotely.

Sure, when you don’t go into an office every day, you miss out on a lot of spontaneous interaction. Here’s the thing, though: Many companies use instant chat communication tools, so even though you won’t see your coworkers in person, you can still ping them anytime with questions.

And if you ever want to get out of the house (for the sake of your sanity), you can work at a nearby cafe or check out a coworking space. Some companies even offer stipends to employees who prefer to work at coworking spaces.

At Provide, we are in constant communication with one another through technological tools such as Skype for Business and Yammer. There are lots of ways to keep communication and responsiveness throughout the team, and we are grateful to be able to utilize them!

To read the rest of the myths debunked by the Huffington Post, click here!

Leading the Way in Remote Work

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When companies and organizations shift towards an incorporation of remote work, it is oftentimes up to workplace leaders to take the first steps. Thankfully, Forbes has released a four-point guide for these leaders as they guide their workplace transition.

We especially like #3: Make Video Your Friend! Here at Provide, we have a weekly staff check-in via video to give our whole team a chance to pop on screen and update everyone on what they’ve been up to. We also utilize lots of video calls into smaller team and one-on-one meetings! Thankfully, Forbes agrees:

Video is the next best thing to being there. People want to see your facial expressions and hear your voice.

Make conference calls video teleconferences. This includes an added bonus: When people are on video, they can’t multitask as easily as they can during a teleconference. So they will be more focused, and your meeting will be more successful.

Turn regular updates into video updates. One powerful way to remain visible to your team is to record brief video updates on a regular schedule. You need not book yourself into a video studio. Producing a one- to three-minute video update each week and sending it to your team will keep them apprised of what’s going on and help them feel more connected to you.

 To see all of Forbes’ tips and tricks for leaders in a remote workplace, click here!

How do you hire remote workers?

How to Hire Remote Workers

We’ve talked a lot on Remote Justice about how to be a productive remote worker and managing productive remote workers– but how do you actually find and hire remote workers? Thankfully the Society for Human Resource Management has you covered! Their article “How to Hire Remote Workers– And Keep Them Productive and Happy” gives you the low-down on this process.

We especially appreciate the feature on unique challenges organizations can face while hiring remote workers– how do you handle a potential technological learning curve? How can you assess a job candidate without actually meeting them in person? We love this great trait that Kaplan Test Prep looks for in their remote workers:

The one trait Kaplan does especially look for in its remote workers? A willingness to ask for both feedback and help when it is needed. “Someone can’t walk by and see that you’re struggling with something” when working from home, Kent said. For this reason, the company seeks employees who willingly “raise their hand and say, ‘I don’t know how to teach this,’ or ‘I’m struggling with this student.’”

Once you figure out your organization’s hiring norms for remote workers, the article gives some good tips on how to keep them productive! Read the Society for Human Resource Management’s full article here.

Making the Transition to Remote Work

TRANSITIONING TO

We launched this blog about two years ago (how time flies!) and have had incredible readers who both work in remote organizations or are looking to make the transition. We’ve talked a lot about topics that specifically pertain to the former, but today we’ll be addressing those who are looking to make a shift in their workplace to include remote work.

Forbes recently released an impressive article detailing four ways companies can start to include remote workers in their staff.  We really like how they frame work– both remote and in the workplace– as not a one-size-fits-all kind of territory. Different workers need different things to be successful, and that is absolutely okay! They recommend providing the option of remote work for employees.

All of their tips are great, but we especially love #4: Don’t Discriminate:

When you offer flexible work options within the organization, ensure that all individuals have access to those choices: whether your people are parents with families; young millennials, men or women. For example, if parents are afforded a couple of “work from home” days to be near their kids, make sure the work from home options is made available to factions of the organization who don’t have kids or are single. Avoid preferencing one lifestyle choice over another, or your people will begin to view the offering as favoritism.

To read all of Forbes’ great tips, click here. Let us know in the comments below if you’re planning on integrating a remote work culture into your company or organization!

Keeping Remote Work Human

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In Fast Company‘s recent article, entitled “6 Ways to Make Virtual Work More Human,” Lou Solomon gives remote organizations and managers tips on how to keep remote workers feeling connected to the work while working at home. This is something that we at Provide strive to achieve and are consistently working at– keeping our staff connected despite geographic location.

All of the tips in the article are wonderful, from being intentional with communication and creating teams that establish trust within one another. One of our personal favorites is #3: “Build Genuine, Personal Connections.” This is a key method to keeping the work human, and can be established in many different ways. For example, hopping on Skype with a coworker to chat about a project rather than emailing back and forth about it puts a face to the work and allows more genuine conversation than could be established over text.

Want to learn more of Fast Company‘s tips on keeping your remote work culture human? Check it out here.

Working From Home Raises Productivity

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In an article from the January/February 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review, Nicholas Bloom discusses working with Ctrip, a Chinese travel website, to test out telecommuting for the staff. The results blew everyone away– not only were employees happier and less likely to quit, but they were actually more productive when working from home!

Bloom states:

The results we saw at Ctrip blew me away. Ctrip was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did—meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.

Want to learn more about the Ctrip case study? Check out the article here.

Maximizing Productivity by Organizing Your Workweek

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Guess what? You can maximize productivity simply by re-organizing your workweek.

Jeremiah Dillon, the head of product marketing at Google, released an email on Fast Company in December that he sent to his staff on productivity.

He stresses that energy levels follow a pattern each week and breaks down how you can plan your week accordingly to maximize all you get done during the week:

Monday: Energy ramps out of the weekend — schedule low-demand tasks like setting goals, organizing, and planning.

Tuesday, Wednesday: Peak of energy — tackle the most difficult problems, write, brainstorm, schedule your Make Time.

Thursday: Energy begins to ebb — schedule meetings, especially when consensus is needed.

Friday: Lowest energy level — do open-ended work, long-term planning, and relationship building.

We don’t know about you, but we’re heading off to re-arrange our schedules!

nat clean your desk day

Happy National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

nat clean your desk day

Happy National Clean Off Your Desk Day, Remote Justice readers! Yes, you read that right. Apparently there is an entire day in January dedicated to clearing up your workspace to make room for a productive new year.

Keeping a dedicated space for your work is imperative for productivity– and so is keeping that space clean! So, in spirit of this holiday, we’re rounding up a few of our favorite tips to help you get organized!

  1. Use a three-tray system for organizing your papers— Important, To File, and To Read. This minimizes the space that your papers take up on your desk but also leave them accessible to you throughout your work day.
  2. Make your own desk tray to organize your supplies! You can purchase these from office supply stores, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money and want to add a personalized touch to your space, check out this great list of different DIY trays!
  3. Hide the cords cluttering up your space. Your line of vision will be clearer and will help you get into more of a work headspace. Click here to find out how one woman tamed her office cords.
  4. Lacking space but need storage? Check out this ingenious way to create floating bookshelves that will fit in narrow spaces!

Do you have any other tips on how to keep a clean remote work space? Let us know in the comments!

Making Remote Work: Best Practices from 18F

Making Remote Work: Best Practices from 18F

One of the best ways to learn about fostering a positive remote work environment is by learning from other teams and organizations to see what works for them. While every remote staff is different, utilizing tips and tricks from others is a great way to find out what works for you. 

Last month, 18F, a civic tech consultancy, released a blog post about how they make remote work successful for their employees living across the country. They take a unique spin on the term, renaming “remote” work as “distributed” work.

18F’s tips range from communication to navigating work hours– all of which are incredibly useful and important for workers, managers, and organizations. While each of their strategies resonates with us, one of our favorites is: “We make our work transparent to one another.”

18F states:

We’re committed to making all our work, discussions, and decisions available to everyone in the organization at all times. We do this by having:

  • Real-time chat (aka, virtual water cooler). 18F uses Slack to “hang out” virtually. This area is open all day for people to drop in and out as their schedule allows. The important thing is that everyone is invested in using it consistently, something that managers and team leads may need to continually reinforce. Everyone uses chat, even people in the office.
  • The Hub. This is where announcements, weekly team reports, and meeting summaries go so that everyone knows a little about what’s happening in the entire organization. Updates here are brief; as soon as it turns into something that the team doesn’t have time to read, it’s failed.
  • Cloud storage. 18F keeps shared documents in a shared space, all the time. We use GitHub and Google Apps for Government. Adding documents to folders that are pre-shared allows permissions to be set easily and quickly.
  • Documentation in GitHub and Slack. “We do a lot of chatting in Slack during the course of the day, but we also set aside a regular standup time where everybody summarizes what they did yesterday, today and what is blocking them,” says Jacob. “Currently, we do this by commenting on an image posted to the Slack channel so that all comments for that meeting are easier to find later, which sounds hackish, but it works better than trying another tool.

Interested in reading more about 18F and their distributed work tips? Click here!

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How do you keep your work transparent while working remotely?
Let us know down below in the comments!

How to Keep a Remote Staff Running Smoothly

How to Keep a Remote Staff Running Smoothly

We spend a lot of time here at Remote Justice covering how to be a productive remote worker– but today we’re going to shift our lens over to the managerial side of things. How can you keep a team running smoothly if there is no one physical place in which you and your employees all work together? This is one of the biggest concerns for many remote managers, but thankfully Entrepreneur.com released a list of “4 Ways to Keep the Team Working Together Without an Office.”

With lots of tips and tricks on creating a cohesive work environment (albeit not a physical environment) for your workers, this article shows that strategy can bind a team together just as much as a physical office space.

One of our favorite tips from the piece is #4: “Set overlapping hours.” In most remote work settings, workers have the freedom to choose their own hours. Are you a night owl? Sleep in and schedule time to finish that report in the evening. Do you get your best work done in the morning? Wake up at 4 AM and get started an hour later! While choosing working hours is a major plus side to remote work, it’s also important to schedule at least a few hours in which the staff are all remotely working. That way, you can tackle projects in real time and include everyone on conference calls and Skype meetings!

Interested in reading the full article? Check it out here!