Navigating a workforce beyond borders

Magdelena Sadowska seamlessly maintained her full-time job while she travelled across Normandy

Navigating a workforce beyond borders

Since COVID-19 proved that working outside the traditional office is not only possible but also productive, Kiwi HR teams have been inundated with requests from employees seeking flexible work-from-home arrangements.

However, what if an employee had no intention of setting foot in the office at all? What if their idea of “the office” was an old-school VW T3 van parked in a completely different country?

That was precisely the case for Magdelena Sadowska, community manager at PhotoAiD who’s just embarked on a journey through Normandy, France while seamlessly maintaining her full-time job.

Natalia Brzezińska, Outreach Manager at PhotoAiD, told HRD: “It was a smooth and non-challenging process. Through open dialogue, clear expectations, and the right tools, we’ve managed to overcome challenges, and ensure a productive and fulfilling experience for Magdalena.”

Tools and technologies play a pivotal role in the success of any organisation’s remote workforce. PhotoAid utilises video conferencing platforms, quick message communication software, project management tools, and performance-tracking software to manage their remote workers effectively.

However, the key to success Brzezińska says was having a well-thought-out approach that emphasised communication, collaboration, and a strong sense of belonging within the company culture.

Ensuring effective communication and collaboration

“Maintaining effective communication and collaboration with Magdalena was of utmost importance,” said Brzezińska.

The company utilises a combination of communication tools such as video conferencing and instant messaging, focusing on regular team meetings and encouraging open dialogue and responsiveness among their remote workers.

“These platforms allow us to have both scheduled and impromptu discussions, ensuring that Magdalena always feels connected and informed about ongoing projects,” said Brzezińska.

Maintaining a sense of belonging

Preserving the company’s culture and ensuring remote workers feel a sense of belonging can be challenging but Brzezińska says it comes down to communication.

“To foster a sense of belonging and company culture, we create non-business meetings once a month, have special slack channels for employee hobbies and we created a company newsletter,” said Brzezińska.

The newsletter shares regular updates about company achievements and milestones, and any information that employees may need. “This really helps everyone stay connected with the team, and understand the organisations goals,” said Brzezińska.

Challenging situation and resolution

Sadowska said one of the things she found challenging was working across different time zones. There had been miscommunication and delays to a complex project she was working on.

To address the challenge, Brzezińska turned to technology and lines of communication once again.

“I initiated a series of focused, cross functional meetings where each team could share their progress and challenges, and I established a shared project-management file that outlined tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities, and that ultimately led to successful project completion,” said Brzezińska.

Assessing performance and productivity

Aside from weekly one-on-ones becoming video meetings Brzezińska said assessing Magdelena’s performance and productivity was a process unchanged from when she was working normally. “We kept the same strategy, and it worked well.”

The company used the usual mix of one-on-ones, key performance indicators tailored to Magdelena’s position, and qualitative feedback from team members Magdalena collaborates with.

“This comprehensive approach gives us a holistic view of her contributions and helps us provide timely feedback and recognition.”

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