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: Jennifer Maffei
Company: Maffei Recruiting & Consulting, LLC.
Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maffei-rc/
Jennifer Maffei’s favorite quote: “ Either you run the day, or the day runs you – Jim Rohn”
Join us as we explore the experiences and wisdom of Jennifer Maffei, Founder and President of Maffei Recruiting & Consulting, LLC. With a rich background in executive support, business ownership, coaching, and consulting, Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Having worked with SaaS and technology startups in a remote capacity, she understands the nuances of remote work and shares valuable best practices for managing remote teams.
Jennifer emphasizes the importance of hiring individuals with an ownership mentality who are self-motivated and able to manage themselves effectively in a remote setting. She advocates for over-communication, leveraging tools like Slack and video calls to ensure clarity and progress. To combat isolation, she suggests working out of shared workspaces occasionally for networking and inspiration.
Maintaining work-life balance in a remote work environment can be challenging, but Jennifer offers practical tips. She advises scheduling breaks, using calendar blocks for focused work, and setting boundaries by taking breaks during former commuting times. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of utilizing time off and disconnecting from work completely to recharge.
Discover the valuable insights and strategies that Jennifer Maffei shares to help remote teams thrive, foster connections, and achieve work-life balance in this ever-evolving work landscape.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Jennifer Maffei : Jennifer started her career over 2 decades ago in Vancouver Canada and moved up the Executive Assistant ladder at various international companies. She then transitioned to becoming a Business Owner (building and selling custom luxury homes).
In 2004, she had the opportunity to immigrate to the United States where she continued to grow her Executive support career. She worked in C-suite Executive Operations at various Fortune companies and then started her own coaching and consulting company.
Over the last 5 years, Jennifer has also worked in and with SaaS and Technology startups to build out their Executive Support Teams and build their foundational processes for growth and scale all in a remote capacity.
Jennifer has now launched Maffei Recruiting and Consulting, LLC. A firm solely dedicated to everything Executive Support. From placement to coaching and training to org design and hiring consultancy.
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?
Jennifer Maffei : One best practice is to ensure that the employees that will be working remotely are actually well-suited to manage themselves. One of the most important things to look for in hiring people for a remote role is those with an ownership mentality. The employees that struggle the most are those that need to be managed vs independently motivated individuals. When working remotely, those who need to be managed feel lost and without direction.
The second best practice is to over-communicate. This is the key to business success, especially in a remote setting. Over-communicate when you’re working with your team on a project. If you’re getting stalled out over email, do a Slack call or do a quick video (5-10 min) to clarify. Slack is one of the best tools I have found both during and post-pandemic for remote teams to collaborate.
The third is to maintain good connections with your team members and to find inspiration outside the same four walls every day. To assist in those times when you feel isolated, try to work out of a shared workspace a couple of times a month. That allows for networking opportunities and a change of space that can give you a jolt of inspiration.
With your colleagues, a lot of teams get together quarterly or monthly in person. For those that do not or cannot, monthly “virtual happy hours” or other online events can be a great option. I’ve seen teams do an Iron Chef challenge, bourbon tasting, etc. all online.
In one-to-one meetings, a lot of mine are done when my team members and I both need to get our exercise in. We will have our connection when we’re on the Peloton, walking, etc. For connection and balance, this is a great option! Even if you’re in person, I recommend walking meetings. You can really connect and get clarity when you get some fresh air.
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?
Jennifer Maffei : Maintaining work/life balance when remote is challenging. It’s very easy to stay plugged in when your work is only ten feet from you as opposed to a drive or subway ride away. I recommend that team members schedule their time to allow for breaks. Using your calendar to block out work/focus time is key. Treat that time like any other meeting and don’t book over those blocks.
Another tip for taking some breaks for yourself and ensuring that you don’t just keep plowing through is to use the time you used to allot for commuting and do a hard stop. Ie: I used to commute in the San Francisco Bay Area and that was a minimum of 90 min each way. When I started working remotely, I would take that former commuting time at 6 pm to turn off, eat dinner, take a walk, put the kids to bed, etc. If you still need to finish up some extra work and choose to sign in later to set yourself up for the next day, you have already done the things in your personal life that matter.
Most importantly, utilize your time off, and don’t take your laptop with you! I have advised those taking over a week off to actually take the work apps off their phone so they can truly recharge.
Leaders Perception Magazine would like to thank Jennifer Maffei and Maffei Recruiting & Consulting, LLC. for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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