The making of The Rise of Remote Work

Takeaways & event re-cap from “The rise of remote work” speaker series & networking event, co-hosted by Remoter & Make The Leap Digital in Rotterdam.

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The rise of remote work

When Remoter/Torre contacted Make the Leap Digital, we had only planned for Mandy Fransz to participate in the Remoter Project, not work with us as well as co-host an entire speaker series and networking event during our time in Rotterdam. 

Thankfully, with Mandy’s support, we were able to increase awareness and speak with more people on the rise of remote work. We believe it’s no longer a trend; it’s a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility that today’s workforce practically demands. That’s exactly what we discussed and celebrated on February 28th at Rotterdam’s 42workspace


Making the leap

Mandy Fransz, remote work advocate and LinkedIn strategist of Make the Leap Digital, shared her story about how she got into remote work. Actually, on the day of this event, she celebrated her second transitioned-to-remote anniversary! 


3 takeaways from her journey:

  1. Remote work means “you have the freedom + flexibility to work from a place where you feel most happy & productive.” Whether that’s a cafe or a home office - the decision should be yours to make.
  2. Numbers don’t lie: in Buffer & Zapier’s latest Remote Work published findings, “74% would be willing to quit their jobs to work remotely” and “98% want to work remotely for the rest of their careers.”
  3. A universal challenge in working remotely lies in feelings of isolation and loneliness. For Mandy, the Remote Workers on LI group is a way to combat that. They’ve grown from 2,000 to over 30,000 members in just the last year.

If you want to read more about Mandy’s journey, you can check out her first blog post here

Building and scaling remote teams 

By the time this event happened, Remoter Ambassador Josephine Tse had completed over 10 productions with different remote companies, advocates, organizations, consultants, etc. 

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Here are 3 lessons learned so far about building & scaling remote teams: 

  1. Trust that your message will be heard. Be patient. Prioritize asynchronous communications and get used to writing things down rather than conveying your ideas orally.  
  2. Lead by example - decision-makers must take the first step. If not, implementing remote as part of a company’s DNA, especially if the company is in the process of transitioning to remote, would be a lot tougher. 
  3. Being remote-ready - are you/your team members equipped with all the knowledge to go remote? Is everyone educated regarding the pitfalls that might arise for those who’re just starting to work remotely?

Building connections & trust: storytelling within virtual meetings

Our special guest Spencer Waldron, director of Global Marketing at Prezi, ended the speeches with an engaging talk about the importance of storytelling as the basis of creating connections and trust within virtual meetings in remote teams. As the director of Global Marketing at Prezi (which, for those of you who don’t know, is a presentation platform), he’s used to feeling the pressure. He knows that standards are high for him. But he said that even he had to start somewhere, and he did that by throwing himself in the deep-end and speaking at a large marketing conference, with hundreds of attendees - all eyes on him! 


He had 6 secrets about remote communications to share, but these 3 stood out:

  1. People only retain 10% of what they hear. So influence what that percentile is. 
  2. Change the format often. He brought up a really good point; people’s attention spans are not what they used to be. To work with your audience, make sure you have a  dynamic presentation, showcasing different mediums (images, videos, graphs, etc.) to keep them engaged. 
  3. Improve your meetings. Spencer’s main takeaway is that he believes status updates can be done via video, asynchronously, and topics that warranted further discussions and ultimately decision-making would be most useful in a meeting format. _DSC2209

As the keynote speeches drove the event forward, it eventually led to the Q&A and networking session that blended in with 42workspace’s weekly Friday happy hour. 

To all the freelancers, remote employees, digital nomads, and remote-friendly businesses who came out and supported the event, we thank you very much and hope that the remote work community in Rotterdam continues to grow. Thank you Make the Leap Digital and Prezi for speaking and helping make this event a reality - and thank you 42workspaces for sponsoring the location for this event!