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    Thanks for the intro Hrishikesh! Years ago I started developing very practical tools for productivity like to-do lists and time tracking apps, but since then I've discovered that even greater benefits can be achieved by learning mindful focus and the value of balance in the different aspects of life. These skills are even more important when working remotely because you have more freedom and responsibility.

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      Super interesting space Sam - how have the past months been? I would expect that you would have experienced a spike in users ๐Ÿ˜€. Has it been so?

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        Thanks Karthik. Yes, definitely, as I'm sure has happened with online tools across the board ๐Ÿ˜…

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          Amazing ๐Ÿ‘!

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      Thanks Karthik for the sum up!ย 

      Regarding the camera on, I still have mixed feelings about imposing it in team meetings and would love to have your views on it.

      The camera on for every meeting was also our policy at first. But then, when we got aware of the zoom fatigue, we realized that most of us were not even looking at the screen when speaking or listening, and we were mostly focusing on the spoken words through the audio. As we do a lot of screen sharing, we didn't even pay attention when someone's camera was on or not.

      Then to free some bandwidth, especially with screensharing on, we started turning cameras off, and having one's camera on was not a priority anymore.ย 

      The question is: how do you make sure that people are engaged in the meeting and not zoning out and doing something else?ย 

      And to me, the answer is the same as face-to-face meetings: making sure that the conversations are relevant for every attendee.

      It seems plain and stupid, but it's still a harsh thing to do rigorously.

      One rule that has worked for us is to limit discussions on specific topics to 7 min. A specific topic is one that doesn't involve everyone in the room. If the discussion goes over 7 min, we just set immediately a one-on-one or a small group meeting, where there will be fewer chances of zoning out.

      And if the topic involves more than 3 people, then we transform it into an all-hands workshop, where everyone will be tasked to actively do something.ย 

      In the article, I refer mainly to larger workshops or the ones with participants that you don't know such as clients.ย 

      ย 

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        Regarding the camera on, I still have mixed feelings about imposing it in team meetings and would love to have your views on it.

        Great point Sophia and I think there is quite some merit in your suggestion.

        For us, we largely have one standup each morning for about 30 mins and that's the only time people get to see each other. I believe that being able to see one another while talking helps a lot even if virtually. I wouldn't like people to slowly start thinking that they are having conversations with faceless humans

        Also, to a lesser extent, since our standup is at the beginning of the day, people make an effort to be mentally ready as it is more discernable visually than on audio.

        Of course, we are still not an async team yet, so standups are probably a feature that async teams won't have.

        Overall, personally, I just feel odd (and have heard from my colleagues too) if I am talking on Zoom to a person and can't see them. Maybe, it is just our team ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        One rule that has worked for us is to limit discussions on specific topics to 7 min. A specific topic is one that doesn't involve everyone in the room. If the discussion goes over 7 min, we just set immediately a one-on-one or a small group meeting, where there will be fewer chances of zoning out.

        I love this. I don't think we are doing a good job at this - definitely, going to call this out from Monday! Thank you ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

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          Thanks, Karthik!

          Totally get your point about faceless humans. Maybe we should reconsider this in our team as well.

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            ๐Ÿ™

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        Great write-up Shahul - love it.

        I think @justin-465 will have a ton of views on all of this ๐Ÿ˜†

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          Hi Maths,

          I have been asking myself this question more often nowadays. With our company going fully-remote earlier this year and also increasing in size, my role has changed a bit and new things are taking more time.

          So, originally, I was much more of an individual contributor and I judged my productivity based on being able to complete the tasks I planned for the day in due time.

          Now, with more people relying on me, Slack communication, occasional calls and unblocking people stuck in a few places is sort of disrupting my personal plans. This makes me question whether I have become less productive. But it has surely made me recognise the need to more structured with my day and to place some guidelines on when communication, etc. can be expected from me.

          Do you have some suggestions?

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            Really onboard with point 2. Ever since we went remote the amount I have been typing has increased exponentially. And it does get quite tough to explain context certain times.ย 

            Ashley has made some really strong points.

            "Fixing schedule, response time & communicating them upfront." - this has been the most important one for me.

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              Thanks, Mayank. But I can't understand the entire argument here, because I think you have made claims here but not backed it up with data or logic. I am sure you have them, so would you mind editing the post and adding some more context around what you are hinting at?

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                  Sure. But I would suggest a better way to get people in this community to engage with your post would be to share the content of discussion here itself.

                  My experience has been that people will be quite reluctant to go to an external website without their interest being piqued in the first place.

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                    Thank you, next time I will share the whole article

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                It's an interesting theory and it'll be even more interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years. Given the unique circumstances 2020 has created, I sense, at least in the venture space (VCs, startups) that there's been an exuberance that there wasn't a sharp decline as pessimistically forecasted by many and so people have really embraced the remote situation, probably because a lot of the tech has been helping us decentralize in any case. And so in this space, I'd say my one tip is to really lean into this aspect - use the online and remote tools out there to make virtual sales as seamless as possible for your prospective users because I think it helps give them confidence in your abilities to deliver.

                As a side observation, however, I've read that consumer spending is apparently overall down this year despite the significant improvements in e-commerce and home delivery channels. Obvious is economic situations (ex. loss of income), but I've also seen people anecdotally talking about how not being able to see products physically and to deal with other people in person has impacted their willingness to buy things. Curious to see if that will carry into the B2B space as well.

                Apologies if this seems like a bit of rambling, tried to think and answer while on a break ๐Ÿ˜…

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                  Not at all, makes a lot of sense.

                  but I've also seen people anecdotally talking about how not being able to see products physically and to deal with other people in person has impacted their willingness to buy things.

                  This is really quite interesting and I never thought about it like that. I think to a certain extent B2B is insulated (my opinion) from individual consumer psychology - plans made companies are not as flexible as consumers.

                  But, B2B businesses also cater to B2C businesses, so that might have some effect with a lag? At our startup, we did see a few deals fall through in the immediacy of the pandemic (around March). But COVID seems to be less of a conversation point now with clients.

                  Addressing the topic of the post though, I do think that remote sales will be a big part of the tech world. But traditional industries where trust is the main component of buying & selling is not going to immediately make a move to this.

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                  I think there are some really smart observations in this article:

                  1. Reducing the duration of the workshop by 40-50%. That's a very interesting suggestion and I can totally imagine losing people if we keep it as long as an on-site workshop where people have the ability to disengage and also have informal talk with others next to them.

                  ย 

                  2. Planning in advance for technical issues - No matter how good internet, etc. has gotten, I think it certainly has a way of raining on our parade at the wrong times ๐Ÿ˜…. So totally align with this.

                  ย 

                  3. Camera on is a must. Even in normal meetings at our startup, we have sort of mandated it.

                  ย 

                  4. Speak less and make them collaborate more - A big hi5 to this too โœ‹

                  ย 

                  Thanks for this Sophia!

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                    Congrats and thanks for the inspiration! Keep it rocking ;)

                    And I upvoted on PH too :)

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                      Thanks for the kind words, wishes and the support, Sophia!ย 

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                      That's awesome Hrishikesh. Look forward to sharing the content we are creating around remote work.

                      ย 

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                        Look forward to reading it, Manoj :)

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                        Hey Stella & Ashley, Congratulations!

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                          Thank you for the warm welcome. As mentioned I am Shehan from Creately, a visual collaboration and diagramming software specifically meant for remote work for both individuals and enterprises alike. Our work policy is "remote first" inline with the USP communicated with our product. Since the second wave, we have been 100% remote and collaborating through wide variety of software and apps. I would love to share my experiences (and the company's) with the remote clan on best practices in working remotely. Thanks again for the warm welcome.

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                            Hey Shehan, Looking forward to learning loads of stuff from you :)

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                            Thanks for the warm welcome!

                            Yeah, I'm a work from home staff member for a company that develops LMS' and e-learning content but as mentioned our internal company tool (to assist with work from home challenges) is now being brought to market.

                            I'm looking forward to learning and engaging with you all!

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                              Welcome, Tyrone! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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                              Thanks all! I'm actually focusing on a side project right now, which is why I'm joining this cool community. It's called Slides with Friends and it's an interactive presentation builder. (So think like PPT, but where your audience can answer your questions / interact with your content, by joining in on their phones.)

                              We're launching soon and would love any feedback!

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                                Ahh, lovely! The need of the moment :). Looks quite cool Cecilia!

                                Also just checked your LinkedIn profile and noticed that you are dog-lover - welcome to the club :)

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                                The most amazing thing, in my opinion, is "Remote work = same pay", of course, it's a great declaration.

                                It would be awesome to see their next steps

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                                  Totally, this is really heating up now. I have a feeling this will pressurise some of the other tech companies in this space too.

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                                  Second podcast of yours I've listened to now - great interview and insights, @karthik!

                                  Any previous ones I should check out, in your opinion? ๐Ÿ“ป

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                                    Woahh, great compliment - thanks a lot ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

                                    I really enjoyed the podcast I had with Shane from Scrapinghub. They also have a fully-remote company and have completely bootstrapped their company to about $15-20 million in revenue.ย 

                                    A super pragmatic guy living in the world of tech, yet not conforming to any beliefs blindly - just following whatever is good for his company.

                                    We will be sharing his podcast and the insights from it next week!

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                                    Great interview. Will be checking out Slite!ย 

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                                      Super, thanks Irma :). Indeed, quite a neat product!

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                                      Definitely ๐Ÿ‘

                                      Written communication sometimes is not as effective as verbal communication and emojis definitely is a great help to ease any miscommunication.ย 

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                                        Totally. I never used emojis even in personal communication till our company went remote and I understood how some terse statements can be really misinterpreted.

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                                        this is very valuable - thank you very much for sharing Karthikย ย 

                                        I personally am a big fan of side project in startup marketing - sharing free content with one's audience or clients such as guides and playbooks for example is a very powerful tool and usually creates affinity with the startup. It's a sign of a cusotmer care culture within the startup

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                                          Thanks for the kind words Hana.

                                          Absolutely - side projects can be super useful. There are certain smart ways of doing them too. With there being so many smart tools, it is easy to convert seemingly plain content into an interactable product. So, I think each startup should look inwards and think of some easy wins they can have by using what they already have :)

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                                          For me, when we changed from office to Work from home, I had to define my new routine, I think is really important to have an order to achieve the most on day by day.

                                          Recently I started reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, that book has been so helpful to organize my weekdays and to make new habits (sometimes taking advantage of the freedom that brings a remote work) I recommend you all the book.

                                          For now, my routine wakes me up at 6:15 am (yeah I know, too early for some people), but gives me the opportunity to have a delicious breakfast and study before to start my work journey at 9 am. After work, I use to read at least 1 hour and enjoy a good time with my family.ย  I believe once I get a fully remote work I'll be able to distribute a little better my time and activities.

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                                            It is really amazing to note the amount of effort you have put in to get the most out of a remote work life.

                                            Work from home life has meant a lot of adjustments and recalculations for me too. Trying to get better at it each day. Indeed, clearly defining the day is quite important. I'm trying to be more granular with my workday so that I know where I might be going off course. Hope that starts helping!

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                                              Agreed, I think Atomic Habit would be a great book for anyone looking to maintain a healthy work-life balance and keeping their day organized.

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