An Alternative View to Corporate Ultimatums - Human Experience

I’ve been running a fully virtual business well before COVID, and I LOVE it!

I love that I can access and leverage a vast talent pool from all over the world. As I write this, we have team members in Auckland, Sydney, Cebu, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, and more than 5,000 mystery shoppers across Australia and New Zealand.

I love that we have developed clear systems that enable us all to work from our homes with clarity and accountability. We are in a constant state of continuous improvement, and every year that goes by, we only get faster, stronger, better.

I love that all our team members work hard but also “play” hard. “Play” means something different to all of us; for Krystal, it’s her rooftop Zumba class; for James, it’s a surf with friends; for Amber, it’s a long weekend with her beautiful little family; and for Irene, it’s getting out to the ocean for free diving! Yes, sometimes we all need to work hard, dig deep, and do a bit extra to deliver to our clients, but that’s the exception, not the rule – a sustainable balance of work and play is crucial to me for all of my team.

For me, the only downside of a fully virtual workplace is the lack of in-person connection. I know all too well that in-person contact is vital for building trust in ways that you can’t achieve through screens alone.

That’s why this week, @Amber Kingsley and I flew to Cebu in the Philippines to finally meet our team in person – with no other intention than to connect and hang out together while we worked.

Last week was the first time we met these remarkable humans face-to-face!

We shared meals, worked side by side (it was month-end, so it was a very busy time for us), travelled around Cebu together, and by popular request, all had massages at Healing Soo Spa. I learned so much about my team members as individuals – their families, their lives, their city, their region, and their country. I just couldn’t stop asking questions! Our team shared openly with Amber and did an excellent job of proudly hosting us in their beautiful city of Cebu.

It’s hard to quantify the ROI of this week with our team in Cebu, but conservatively, I believe it’s at least ten-fold.

Amber and I are brainstorming how we can arrange to connect with our team members face-to-face regularly. We’re not 100% sure how yet (being a self-funded, organically growing business means we always need to be budget-conscious), but we’re determined to find a way.

So, while some corporates are setting ultimatums about days spent in the office, I’ll continue to embrace and cherish my global virtual team. We will find ways to connect in person regularly, ensuring our already fantastic team culture continues to flourish.

Business has changed. Building culture, connection, and performance requires effort and deliberate thought. I know that not every company can go 100% virtual like Human Experience, but I do believe leaders must evolve and seek ways to meet the workforce where it stands, whenever possible.

Nic McClanachan, November 2023

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Human Experience acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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