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The Remote Show

Author: Matthew Hollingsworth, Tyler Sellhorn

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The Remote Show is an interview style podcast devoted to all things remote work, entrepreneurship, business and much more. We dive into our guest's personal journey, discuss tips, tools, management concepts and much more in order to help today's remote worker be more productive and fulfilled in work and in life.
82 Episodes
Valentina's Links:LinkTreeSubstackLinkedInWebsite Transcript:Valentina Thörner - Empress of Remote at Klaus[00:00:00]Tyler Sellhorn: Hello everyone. My name is Tyler Sellhorn, and welcome to another episode of The Remote Show where we discuss everything to do with remote work with the people who know it best. Thanks so much for listening. The Remote Show is brought to you by WeWork, remotely the largest community of remote workers in the world.With over 220,000 unique users per month, WeWork remotely is the most effective way to hire. Today we are blessed to be learning out loud with Valentina Turner. Valentina is the empress of remote at Klaus as a consultant for remote leader. Supporting companies that want to support their middle managers to be the best leaders they can be.Valentina assists companies with their remote policy so that their policies actually reflect reality. Tell us, Valentina, what problems are you trying to solve as the empress of remote?Valentina Thörner: Well, thanks for having me. So the biggest problem that I see is the inco in incoherence between what companies say that is remote and what they actually live as their remote reality. Anyone who's searching for [00:01:00] a job nowadays and filters for remote, you get a lot of results. Everybody's saying they're doing remote and they're about as specific about this.When the restaurant tells you we offer food, I mean, I would hope that you offer food as a restaurant, but I would also like to know whether you are more into Asian food or Mexican food, or vegetarian or et cetera. And with remote, it's the same. There are so many nuances to it, and nobody talks about what they offer in terms of.Tyler Sellhorn: Okay. You're really, I I love the forcefulness with which you're drawing out that dichotomy. This is a very, very like the, the incoherence the spread between what we say and what we do. Right? This is about trust building, right? Is to say, like, when you say remote, what is it that you mean?So tell, tell us when, when you say remote Valentina, what do.Valentina Thörner: That's the thing. I don't think there is one definition for remote because it can, the only definition [00:02:00] for remote that really like that applies to everybody is you are not working from the office with everybody else that's remote. That may mean that you're working from home. It may mean that you are working from a co-working or from the local library, or from the cafe or from somewhere that is not the office.And the thing is not every company can allow or wants to allow all of these options for. All of their roles. So for example, if you are, the security officer or something, you may not be allowed to work from a public cafe because you might have too much access to sensitive information. In that case, it actually makes sense to include that into the policy that you have specific rules for specific people.Some people really want you, like some companies want to have you in a room where you can close the door because they work with, I don't know, health data or something, and they're really like unsure how they can safeguard their own customers data. The thing is, that is a valid reason. , but you need to [00:03:00] communicate that reason because otherwise it just looks like you are closing people into their living rooms, which is like not, probably not what you're trying to do.So this whole, we have reasons for what we do, or we think we have reasons for what we do. But we don't really know how to talk about it, and actually no one is responsible for it. So we don't really know who's going to make those decisions. And actually those are a lot of decisions to make. So we'll just table it for next week and tell HR to put remote into the job offer, and then we'll figure it out and it never gets figured out.Tyler Sellhorn: Okay. This is one that I'm gonna take away with me. Valentina. We're going to make rules for roles. Right? And, and obviously like you're encouraging us to be specific, you're encouraging us to get some specificity to what we mean when we say remote. And it, and you're just, like you said, there's isn't just one version, there's not one definition.And in fact, there's not even one definition for, for every role at a particular company. [00:04:00] It'sValentina Thörner: you kind of, you need to balance. You need to balance your employee's needs and wants. Who may want to have flexibility to travel or to work anywhere or to get inspiration from whether they are with your customer's needs. Whose data is needs to be secure and who that, that they need to be able to trust you.That not anyone who walks by a Starbucks can just glance on a monitor and see their entire health history. Like this is a thing.Tyler Sellhorn: Yes, yes. I mean, it's not necessarily gonna be a one size fits all for every role. It's not gonna be a one size fits all for, for every company, just to say remote and, and put it on the JD and, and that, that not have any specificity to it so one of the things that you were saying earlier that I think I want to, to pull on a little more is, You said the phrase have to communicate.Right. And when we're saying we have to communicate, what do we mean that we're gonna [00:05:00] have to be? One of the ways that I express the same idea is that no one knows unless you tell them. Uh, give us some more color there please.Valentina Thörner: So, um, location is one thing, and I think it's the most obvious thing because most people will ask in their interview, or like at some point will ask low. Yeah. Like, but where can I work? Like, how, how does this work? Do you pay a steep end for co-working? Or like, how, how will, how is, how does it look in practice?But another thing that also belongs to remote is the whole idea about flexibility. Like, do I have to be at my computer from nine to five? Do I have to be at my computer for meetings from maybe 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM and the rest of the time I can be flexible? Does no one track anything? Like there's, again, there's a whole, there's not just one option and the other option.There's a huge array of options. And as a company, one of those will work for you. And usually what it comes down to is kind of preference of the founder. or the leadership team [00:06:00] and what they detect is needed from the workforce, and you're going to find a balance somewhere. But in order to find that balance, you need to engage with your team and you need to figure out what is that balance that is possible, whether you can get rid of some meetings, whether you want to go a little bit more async or a little bit less async, which time zones you are in.So how much flexibility can you actually offer? And then within this flexibility, how do you make sure that people. Communicate with each other and actually collaborate with each other. Because again, there is like a sliding scale between this company is a team with a lot of belonging where people engage with each other not only on work related project, but who are almost like friends.And on the other extreme, you have kind of a company that. Uh, mostly works with freelancers or contractors, and that is not interested in creating this kind of community around the joint company mission, and neither is better or worse than the other. But as an, as somebody [00:07:00] who wants to work at a company, I want to know, am I coming into a very close-knit community?Or am I coming into something? Here's your task, get it done. Get a get away, which is fine, but depending on what I need as a person, whether I'm extroverted, introverted, whether I seek friendship at work, or I have my very, very close-knit community where I live, this will vary. And it's a shame that you have to apply.Get the job, try it out for six months only to then figure out that this what you signed up for actually does not vibe with your personality, with the way you work or with what you were expecting of your.Tyler Sellhorn: I'm, I'm, I'm returning back to those thoughts where we're saying, what, what are we saying and what are we doing right? What, what, what are we expressing? And then what are we executing? Right? What, how do we make sure that that the things that we've said we are about are actually the things that we're deliveringthat gap between the policy and the reality of what it is to work at a particular place, whether it's remote [00:08:00] or whether it's hybrid or whether it's some part of that spectrum.I think it's really interesting to hear you say that we're gonna be balancing these trade-offs between the preferences of the leaders or what has been expressed by the team. I guess maybe the thing that I'm wondering what are the questions that you ask to draw out of a set of leaders or out of a, a customer or out of a, you know, community of, of employees?Like, how do we find out what it is that everybody actually wants out of their remote policy or out of their remote experience? And then how do we match that up with the way that we're writing job descriptions, and how do we write that up? Like, here's our career page, what's, what's going on?Valentina Thörner: So the, the easiest way, and this is something that everybody here can do with their own company, look at the information that's publicly available about your company and copy paste what it says about the remote policy. Like look at job posts, look at the [00:09:00] about us page, and then go into your leadership team and says, Hey, I've looked at, and actually I do this with all, with all of my clients.Like I go to them and say, Hey, I've looked at your public available information and it looks like you are allowing people to work from anywhere. Because it's not specified anything else, to work in any time zone whatsoever because nothing else is specified either. Um, and you are paying for the equipment and there are no other perks because at least I couldn't find anything other than unlimited P t o.Is this correct? And the answer
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