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Ali Greene, Co-founder & Co-author of Remote Works

With every new accomplished peeps feature, we dive into a new layer of remote work best practices. In our conversation with Ali Greene, co-founder and co-author of Remote Works, we unwrapped the best practices and habits she follows that allow her to successfully flow through each and every day. One of those keys, is letting her energy guide her.

Although to some, many of Ali's habits around remote best practices may seem counterproductive, they are far from, and in fact, they're likely some of the best habits you can adopt if you are looking to improve as a remote leader. With that said, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for the next; however, tuning inwards, connecting with ourselves energetically and understanding our energetic ebbs and flows will provide you with some of the most profound information you'll ever have access to.

Without further ado, let's dive in and hear from Ali.

Explain a little about your role and what a 'typical' workday looks like for you.

I am the co-founder and co-author of Remote Works, we are a two-women team focused on the heartbeat of any organization: the manager. We are working on an upcoming book, and offer workshops and learning programs to help managers and their teams make remote work for them.

Since we have a few projects in the pipeline no two workdays are the same. We have found there are natural sprints where we focus on content creation, writing, editing and brainstorming on the book. This is usually interrupted with ties back to real-world scenarios, whether it be interviewing remote managers on best practices, leading a workshop, or developing community.

Despite the constant changing wardrobe of “hats” I wear in this role -- certain workday staples hold true. These are habits that I built early on in my remote work career as the Director of People Operations at DuckDuckGo and found even in the most demanding of work situations they helped me set myself up for a successful workday. These staples are: I never set an alarm (unless there is a day-trip, or sunrise to see) and let my body wake up naturally, following my energy level as a sign of what to accomplish for the day. I usually plan a workout for the late morning and have calls in the later afternoon to best suit all the time-zones I work with.

Describe the layout and feel of your personal workspace.

I do not have a personal workspace. As a Digital Nomad my workspace is always evolving to the location I am in.

This summer I am co-hosting a family, co-working retreat in a castle in Normandy, France so my workspace varies from the shared co-working space, located in the old stables of the chateau, to the living room table for a more relaxed vibe with some tea, and sometimes in my bedroom overlooking the castle grounds.

When I am in Spain, where I spend the majority of the year, I usually work from local cafes as a way to gain creativity and support the local community I am part of. Plus, I found, views of the sea can be very inspiring when writing a book or preparing a presentation on remote work.

Would you describe your work style as being orderly or more chaotic?

I describe my work-style as energy driven. I usually have a single, top-priority each week and work backwards from there allowing myself to be more flexible and not feel pressured to produce something daily. In my workstyle, I follow the following mantras:

  • I work when I have the energy to. Remembering not all time is created equal so if I don’t have to, don’t force it (well most of the time).
  • I set and manage clear expectations and stay true to boundaries.
  • I schedule “me” time first. What will I do that will add to my energy bank for the day / week?
  • I choose to work from places that integrate into my personal life (i.e. cafes, out in my community).
  • I create clear project kick-offs, and asynchronously weekly updates to build momentum in the work.
  • I am allowed to be selective in the meetings I take - relationship building and brainstorming have the top priority when it comes to my synchronous time.
  • I will remember, Saying No to others is saying Yes to myself .

What's one habit or ritual you need to start and finish your day?

Since I approach my work in chunks, it is important for me to have rituals to close out each project. Having these mini-rituals help limit distractions when working from home. My favorite ritual is “one spot, one goal” hack where I choose one location per task, and when it is done I move to another spot for the next goal.

How does your team use asynchronous communication to stay in the loop while working remotely?

We rely on asynchronous communication for the core functionality of our work, organized in the following ways:

  1. Weekly goal-setting and check-in’s on our top-priorities, what we need help with, and an overview of what we hope to complete during the week.
  2. A running, asynchronous “To-Do” list for a more detailed look at all the tasks outlined for us to complete together or individually.
  3. Using asynchronous communication for content creation, building off each other’s work, leaving comments, and offering feedback to each other so we can always keep the work flowing rather than waiting for meetings to move forward.

If you could be doing anything else than what you're doing, what would it be?

Running a membership only dinner party and crafts company. Helping people lean into their hobbies and coming together for fun and play. I think people can get caught up in focusing on work, or success and I want to help people realize there is more to life than that. Step one is educating people on remote work best practices with Remote Works, and maybe this will be Step 2 🙂