The hours and days bleed together. Leaders struggle to build trust through the screen. Company culture feels on pause, or lost (if it even was there in the first place). Emails and IMs have… increased.
This won’t be going away any time soon.
It’s part online course, part community, part social support group. Once you’re in, you have access for at least a year. During that year, we’ll be adding new material based on your input and discussions.
Take control of their time and focus while working remote
Create space to reflect on remote work challenges
Apply dozens of productivity, empathy & culture enhancing tools
Navigate the maze of today’s digital communication options
Become a better leader—regardless of your title
Focused topics. Leadership, culture, and communication skills for for remote workers
Snackable lessons. We aim for max quality in 5 mins or less
Dynamic. Ongoing & meaningful updates and revisions
Asynchronous. Learn at your own pace. Binge all the lessons, or do a few a week
Social support. Access to peers who have the same problems
Familiar. Feels like a social media site… minus the clutter
Private. No ads or no sales sharks
Professional online courses can cost thousands of dollars. You watch a presentation for a few hours or attend some webinars, then it’s done.
For $349.99 USD you get a full year of access to all of CCA’s programs, including Flourishing While Working Remote. You’ll be supported throughout your subscription as life and work inevitably change.
As a former international teacher and principal, Julia is passionate about creating equitable, accessible and impactful learning opportunities. She is a certified leadership coach with over 15 years experience in education and training.
Jordy's fascinated by the intersection of technology, biology and society, as well as the power of storytelling to shape culture and its leaders. He's a former agency strategist, a novelist and lifelong content creator.
The following samples represent 5 of about 80 short, actionable lessons. They are drawn from each of the core Program areas: Leadership, Culture, and Communication.
If you’re new to this place, or to this program, there is one important thing to remember above all else.
Things will change, and this is on purpose.
Learning is a dynamic experience, as is teaching. We refuse to believe that our instructors know everything, so program material will change over time. We will do little things, like fix typos. We will do medium sized things, like update examples. Or we might overhaul, add, or remove entire sections.
You, the learner, are the main driver of these changes.
As a part of CCA, you have many tools to help shape and impact the way you learn here. We’ll go over these tools in the introductory lessons in this guide.
You may use these tools as much or as little as you like, provided that no rules are broken by doing so (our rules are pretty chill, don’t worry).
If you’re a veteran of CCA, feel free to skip the lessons in this guide.
But if you’re new or need a refresher, let’s get started!
Trust is the invisible glue that is necessary for teams and organizations to function with efficiency.
There are many ways to explore and define trust. For the virtual workplace we’ll simplify it down to this idea: trust means that you believe that someone (or something) will behave in a reliable, predictable, and cooperative manner.
Trust is built on observation and interaction. Most of us will enter a new situation willing to trust, but it does not take much to weaken that position. And without ample human interaction, hard earned trust within an organization can waste away.
The key to maintaining trust in a virtual environment is to use new technology to reinforce tried and tested concepts.
There must be a foundation in place for individuals and teams to succeed, and since we can’t be face to face as much as we are used to, this foundation must use tech to keep it in place.
Important parts of this foundation include:
Clear expectations: ensure that tasks, ownership, goals etc. are clearly defined and documented
Communication protocols: a process for how things get done, get shared, get escalated
Shared vision: providing people with a picture of ‘what done looks like’
Think about one person you’d trust with your life, and someone who you do not trust at all. Try to distance yourself from any emotion surrounding these people, and think about what interactions with them led to your current opinion. How many of these actions depended on in-person interaction?
Program community activity: Tell us one thing that someone can do to immediately make you lose trust in them.
Culture is a thing that happens between groups.
When we’re forced to work remote, the usual dynamics of a group change dramatically.
Looking through the lens of our culture terms, here’s what gets altered.
Are you sick of the term “new normal” yet?
It sticks around for a reason. A big part of being a social creature is in navigating what is and what isn’t normal. We do this largely in part by observing others or gathering feedback from others when we do things. Most of us are familiar with the despair of being humiliated because we’ve done something socially unacceptable, along with the elation for being cheered on and accepted by our peers for doing the opposite.
In a world gone digital, isolated from many forms of immediate social feedback, it can be harder to establish or interpret ‘digital’ or ‘remote’ norms.
It is unlikely that the culture climate at home is identical to the one at work.
But when you work from home most of the time, the two will form a new kind of culture, unless you take draconian steps to separate the two. This is impossible for most of us.
Each one of your remote colleagues will also bring a blend of their home culture to work, which will inevitably impact the greater whole of your work experience.
On that same note, individually we’ve all weathered the impacts of the pandemic in different ways. Some flourish, some struggle, and some are in between. Your mental and physical health play an important role in how you shape your organization’s culture.
The more colleagues you have, the more of a mixed bag of personal impacts they will bring into the new digital work culture.
There is no good substitute for an in person meeting, chat, or party. Digital tools have all sorts of solutions, but the fact remains that humans are specially wired to respond to other humans—in the flesh.
Any kind of cultural weather event, be it a ritual or a one off thing, may carry less weight in defining a culture if it is done remotely. You do not always have everyone’s full attention, presence, or that magical vibe that comes with being there in person.
This all seems pretty bleak so far.
But anyone who’s been part of a strong online community can attest that culture persists digitally—even without video conferencing! (Many online communities grew and flourished well before technology made video conferencing cheap and high quality).
In the next lesson, we’ll address some of the surprising advantages of a digitally enabled culture.
Of the described changes, which best describes how work has changed for you? Or, if you’re a veteran of remote work already or do not feel heavily impacted, which do you believe your colleagues might struggle with the most, and how might you help them overcome it?
Program community activity: If your workplace has struggled with or successfully overcome one of these impacts, please share your experience. Or, if there’s an impact we’ve missed or should consider, let us know!
My ability to have a thought in my head and get a version of that into yours is how the human race came to create societies, share resources, discover our world, and eventually rise to dominate life on Earth.
So it’s no small wonder that being a good communicator is associated with success in the modern world.
For this particular program, we’re focused on how remote work has impacted business communication. A big part of the teaching and discussion is on how translate or evolve things that work well in-person to things that work well digitally.
A note about the role of storytelling: a core CCA focus is storytelling so before we begin, I want to explain how it is related to this Program
How the virtual world impacts communication: specifics on what has changed
Key skills for communication in a virtual environment: where we recommend you focus, and what our detailed sections will tackle
Choosing your weapon: Email vs call vs text vs video: thoughts on what media to use, and when
Writing skills: writing is one of the most accessible forms of communication. It is the default for when people cannot connect via voice or video. For some industries or jobs, it may be the only option.
Video presence: Video is a deep, complex and technical topic. Thankfully, today’s technology makes using video relatively accessible. To be an effective communicator in this fast-rising standard, priority should be on how you present on video, both live and recorded.
Platform awareness: Having a sense of how and when to switch your style depending on the crowd, platform or format can take you a long way. An email to a colleague differs from a group chat instant message, for example.
We will explore all three of these skills in the lessons ahead. There will be a heavier focus on writing and writing techniques.
Of the three skills listed, think about which you are the most confident in, and which you might need some work. Under each skill, list out two or three things you think you’re strong in, and two or three things you’re weak in. Pay attention to which lists are easier to write!
Program community activity: Let us know your top concerns in the comments (along with skills you don’t see listed here). We will use this feedback to continue to expand this Program.
We’ve made several of our lessons available for preview.
You can also see the titles of all our lessons in this program.
Click the button below, and scroll down until you see the full list of lessons.
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