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Is work a place? Distributed teams & the future of work.


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Creating a company and culture without an office. Distributed leadership, teams and the future of work.

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Is work a place? Distributed teams & the future of work.

  1. 1. IS WORK A PLACE? @quiip @alisonmichalk Creating a company & culture without an office. Distributed leadership, teams & the future of work.
  2. 2. About Quiip • Founded in 2010 by Alison Michalk • Specialising in online community and social media management. • Team of 22 + partners (HR, Finance, PR, Legal) • Distributed “micro global” organisation, no central HQ. • Operate 24/7 (social media, analytics, monitoring, engagement) • Based in Australia; Australian staff have work from Iceland, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Canada, UK, America. • I met one our employees (of 5 years) for the first time last year! • Our clients — SEEK,, CBUS, Origin Energy, BIG W, MYOB, AMP, BWS,, SANE, NSW & Vic Health, State & Federal Government and more. @quiip | @alisonmichalk
  3. 3. Start Up Progressive Organisation @quiip | @alisonmichalk Who can benefit from this talk? Traditional
  4. 4. • There is more to remote work than ‘working from home’. • Running a distributed company was intuitive & intentional • Don’t confuse autonomy with “alone”. • Many of the issues re: remote work are related to the central office attitude, not the remote workers. @quiip | @alisonmichalk “Remote” vs Distributed
  5. 5. @quiip | @alisonmichalk Myth-Busting Remote Work
  6. 6. Reduces stress Increases Productivity Happier Healthier Employees More time for life & family Reduces Absenteeism Attract & Retain @quiip | @alisonmichalk Show me the… benefits! Work smarter = High Performing Teams No commute “The future of great workplaces lies in helping employees fuse their personal and professional lives in ways that position them to deliver their best work.”
  7. 7. Bums in seats! • Sitting in front of a computer no longer predictive of quality work. • Big discrepancy between the science of what works and what we do in workplaces. • Modern workplaces are based on principles of scientific management made popular in the early 1900s in factories. • We live in a complex environment where knowledge is the product. • 9-5 is not effective, efficient or conducive to quality work. • Removing the “40-hour scaffold” is revealing and brings real contributors to the fore. • Focus on OUTCOMES not HOURS. • Have a jog, take a nap, pack the dishwasher. Access Restorative Spaces and Minimise Cognitive Reverberations. Where do you do your best work? @quiip | @alisonmichalk
  8. 8. Managing “radical flexibility” - 
 critical management skill • The term flexibility is mis-used. Not to be confused with standard employee rights. • Managing distributed teams is a CRITICAL MANAGEMENT SKILL. • Requires a focus on performance and collaboration. • Requires new systems & processes. • Requires different structures, let’s look at ours. @quiip | @alisonmichalk
  9. 9. @quiip | @alisonmichalk Structures • Not a hierarchy or flat, but networked structure. • Very agile. Form teams around projects. • No one works full-time. • No one has set hours in their contracts (exception being our shift work). “Encouraging employees to build a schedule for meeting goals instead of requiring that they sit by a computer to meet a predefined schedule sends a powerful message of trust and sets the stage for sustained performance.” - Ron Friedman, Best Place to Work.
  10. 10. @quiip | @alisonmichalk Culture • Don’t confuse perks with culture • Culture is formed either intentionally or through neglect • Culture is about how you work, how you interact, your expectations and what you reward (and punish) • Increasingly we’re Working Out Loud (WOL) which is about making work observable and narrating your work. • Culture of trust is key to distributed teams
  11. 11. @quiip | @alisonmichalk Tools & Asynchronous Workplaces
  12. 12. @quiip | @alisonmichalk “When we provide them (employees) with the flexibility to succeed in both their personal and professional lives, we achieve more than an extraordinary workplace. We create an organisation that performs at its very best.” - Ron Friedman
  13. 13. @quiip @joolliee Thank you from Quiip. Partnering with Australia’s leading brands for online community success @quiip | @alisonmichalk Some days you’ll find me working here!