5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 5 — “the chance for a better you”

5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 5 — “the chance for a better you

Congratulations! If you made it up to here, then you are at the end of my blog series focused on the lessons, which I’ve learned during managing a scale-up remotely during the COVID pandemic. In previous parts, I focused on the WHY for managing a company remotely, in the second part — on the catalyst effect of remote work. In the next part, I’ve shared my view on the importance of a process and in the previous part I’ve focused on the impact on team spirit and social relations within the company.

This time, I would like to focus on the last and very personal lesson learned, which is, that remote work offers you 3 chances for your personal improvement:

a chance for (re)evaluation of your values

You know it. When you love your job, sometimes it’s hard to slow down, or even stop. Passion is the strongest boss of all times, which drives you all the time to reach the unreachable. The passion and emotions which you get when being in personal contact with your team are incomparable to the emotions you experience when working remotely. And this is good and bad. Good, because you let other emotions get into your life as the “work-related” ones.

A linden tree, a typical symbol of the “kopanice” region in Slovakia

Working from home helped me personally to understand, that there is something else happening then a great company. I do not consider myself being a bad husband or a father, but truth is, that during the most intense growth phase of ableneo I was 150% committed to this challenge and not focusing enough on the most important elements of my life.

Waking up each morning with your kids, seeing them do all the fun stuff can sometimes be very exhausting, but is also very eye-opening because these moments will not last forever. And I’ve realized, that I do not want to miss them.

a chance for a better time management

I find time-management one of the most important, but sometimes also the hardest-to-learn skills you can gain during your professional experience. The capability to gain these skills is also very dependent on your working environment and external factors, which strongly influence your possibilities to manage time. Remote work provides actually a great playground to manage your time better because you are not influenced and distracted by the constant timebox-breakers coming to you each moment.

You know maybe the MyAnalytics feature of the Microsoft 365 suite. It’s a very handy feature, which helps you to track your working efficiency and in a very easy way present you with your working habits.

Looking back to March, just before the first wave of the pandemic hit, I was spending 72% on average in meetings, discussions, or workshops and having only 28% of my time to focus. You can make a picture yourself, how efficient this was.

Comparison of MyAnalytics report for March 2020 and October 2020

What I’ve realized during the pandemic is, that is much easier to become a master of your time. Not because I am a CEO, but somehow it was much easier for me to make these decisions when not distracted by the “office-rush”. I have booked time-slots during the week, where I just do not want to have any meetings and my teammates got used to it after some time.

Maybe it’s nothing new for you, but for me, it was actually a very important step towards focusing on what is important for me as a CEO.

a chance for more engaging meetings

Sheep can make your meetings better :)

Okay, jokes aside. Imagine your typical corporate meeting. 10+ people in the room, the luckiest one is standing in front of you, trying to explain slides, which are either hard readable or do not make sense. The rest of the room is sleeping and you are already thinking about what will you do after work.

We all know this…

Remote meetings can be boring as well, especially if the lucky one learns to have the same boring presentation using videoconference.

Try to imagine a different scenario. Imagine, when everybody works from their homes and start each meeting with some pictures, or video from their home, showing something interesting and engaging. It can be a sneak-peek into the kitchen and secret recipe, or just a quick look at your kids playing at home.

A small detail, that actually makes the difference and helps people to gain attention. It’s very refreshing to show a real-time video of sheep having lunch while having an interview with a candidate, or having a project kick-off with a US customer.

It may sound funny, it may sound unprofessional. But it works, and I have never seen so many smiling faces during meetings as when I was having this “engaging-part”.

A selfie with Bart, Meggie, and Lisa during a candidate interview

The world is serious enough, therefore we should always be able to have fun and smile. Each day, all the time. That’s what makes life good.

So that’s a wrap! At this stage, I want to thank you for reading all 5 parts of my journey to become a remote CEO and I hope you guys enjoyed it with me. The journey has only started…

5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 5 — “the chance for a better you” was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.