Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Building Compassionate and High-Performing Remote Teams: Insights from Jay Barrett, Founder & Principal of Culture Canopy

Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Building a Successful Remote Work Culture: Discussing strategies and best practices for fostering a productive and engaged remote workforce, addressing topics like communication, collaboration tools, work-life balance, and employee well-being

Interviewee Name: Jay Barrett

Company: Culture Canopy

Position: Founder & Principal

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jayba/

Jay Barrett’s favorite quote: “ “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience” Paulo Coelho

We had the pleasure of speaking with Jay Barrett, the Founder & Principal of Culture Canopy, a global people & culture consultancy specializing in working with mission-led organizations in the sustainability, social justice, animal rights, and vegan space. With an impressive background in the luxury fashion industry and a passion for creating compassionate and inclusive workplaces, Jay has valuable insights to share on effective remote collaboration. In this interview, Jay discusses the importance of purposeful remote teamwork, strategies for engaging and inclusive communication, and the role of leadership in maintaining work-life balance. Join us as we dive into Jay’s experiences and learn how to cultivate high-performing remote teams while prioritizing employee well-being.

The Interview

Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?

Jay Barrett : After spending over 12 years working in the luxury fashion industry where I worked with brands including Stella McCartney, Gucci & Alexander McQueen, I decided to start my own people & culture consultancy working with mission led organizations who are striving to create a better future.

Specifically, we work with organizations in the sustainability, social justice, animal rights & vegan space to enable them to be as efficient & effective as they can be, and so they can maximize their impact in the world. The work I do with my clients is centered around creating workplaces which are compassionate and inclusive, while also being high performing and able to successfully deliver on strategic goals and organizational missions. Many of the organizations we work with are remote first and have employees based across the globe.

Culture Canopy is a global people & culture consultancy which is certified as both Vegan Founded and as an LGBTBE (LGBT Business Enterprise) under the NGLCC’s diverse supplier program.

How do you ensure effective communication and collaboration among remote team members? Can you share any specific tools or practices that have been particularly effective for your organization?

Jay Barrett : Being purposeful around how the team works together and taking the time to understand what works best across the team is key to ensuring the team are successful in a remote environment. I guide my clients to think about what the most critical topics are, which the team need to come together to do, or to be informed about – and then to think about how to make those moments engaging, inclusive & memorable.

In a remote environment it can become very easy for communication flows to happen on a constant basis and through multiple channels, and this can become overwhelming. Making sure that time is specifically carved out to focus on being strategic, modeling collaboration and ensuring everyone is sufficiently informed is key. But it is also important to include the team in this discussion and for them to be invited to be part of the decisions – as it is much easier and effective to have the team working in the most productive way when they are part of determining the changes.

Maintaining work-life balance can be challenging in a remote work environment. What strategies do you recommend for remote employees to create boundaries between work and personal life? How can organizations support their employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance?

Jay Barrett : Leadership in any organization must model and practice what they try to instill across their organization in order to create true balance between personal and professional life for their teams. Bringing the team together to agree some principles whereby they can all have a common understanding and alignment on how they ensure a sufficient balance across the team.

Some principles could be agreeing that if I contact you outside of work hours, I do not expect an immediate response. Other principles could be agreeing the channels for different types of communication – so there is a clear split between what is critical or time sensitive and where I must react, and what is not. This could also be the team agreeing the times and places they focus on certain work, so each employee has more control over their time and deliverables outside of those agreed timeframes.

Another consideration is to carve out key points in the year where the organization can close or ‘shut down’, allowing the entire team to take a break at the same time without fear of missing out or having their down time disrupted by urgent business needs. Such actions, in organizations where it is possible to do so, also sends a strong message to clients, suppliers and partners that your organization takes their employees wellbeing seriously – and that in turn can bring positive recognition and reputation, building your credibility as an employer of choice.

Leaders Perception Magazine would like to thank Jay Barrett and Culture Canopy for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

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