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Effective feedback in a remote team with Teresa Gandy

Teresa Gandy is the owner of Clarity CX, helping business and training providers to add extra client value by managing feedback, assessments, and reports.

Her prior working experience in corporate-land HR and her knowledge with customer feedback ensures collecting clear, quick, and actionable feedback from customers and employees.

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Louis:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of the distant job podcast, the podcast that’s all about building and leading remote teams. Awesome remote teams. I am your host Louis. As usual I have a guest with me. Today’s guest is Teresa Gandy. Hello.

Teresa:

Hi.

Louis:

Teresa is the owner of Clarity CX in helping businesses and training providers get clear, quick and actionable feedback from clients and employees. Her career paths took her from the NHS to Vodafone to eventually launching her current own business in 2017. Focusing on the skills that she own while in the corporate world. So Teresa, welcome to the podcast again, thank you so much for being here.

Teresa:

Thank you. Yeah, I’m excited this should be good.

Louis:

It’s actually really nice to have on someone who’s been in the corporate world and also in remote settings because that’s a contrast that I don’t usually get that and in fact, I don’t usually get the employee’s point of view in this podcast, so that will be a nice change of pace. I guess the theme of this interview is going to be getting feedback because I see you build a whole career around that, right?

Teresa:

It’s become an unexpected niche. Yeah.

Louis:

I guess we’ll start right there. I’m sure that you’ve noticed that working remotely it’s harder. Maybe even harder is not the right word, but you definitely need to find different ways of giving and receiving feedback, right? So what do you say between the times where you’ve been in a remote setting and then in office setting, what do you think are the key differences?

Teresa:

A lot of the clients that I work with they outsource the feedback to me for one of two reasons. And one is they just don’t have the time. They know they should be doing this. They know they’ve got all this great content of marketing data available to them, but they just don’t have the time. So that’s one side of it. The other side of it that people often come to me is especially in the training style environment or smaller businesses with customers they’re too close. Actually their relationship is too close, that you don’t get honesty. And what they really need in feedback is honesty otherwise it’s not really worth much. So they come to me as an independent third party basically that says, look, “I’ve got somebody else managing this for me.” And so because it is truly anonymous, that’s where they see the benefits from it.

Teresa:

For me. And I say I never meet the people who are giving feedback. And actually some of my clients I’ve never met other than the through zoom call or a video call, we’ve never actually met in person. And yet it’s one of these things that says that little bit of distance enables them to get the honesty that they need from clients without putting anybody in a slightly awkward compromising position, especially in things like training environments where they stood in a room. And more often than not I think we’ve all been on a training course where we hand out a bit of paper at the end of the day. And it’s like, “Awkward, like trying disguise the handwriting, I’m going to try and slip this form in amongst four others because I feel like I’m being watched and it’s a bit awkward.” You know get rid of all of that side of things as well.

Teresa:

The last thing you want people to be walking away thinking from the day it’s oh god that was a bit awkward trying to get out the room. It is offering that anonymity element to it that people, the confidence to say things that not necessarily bad or horrible things, but just things they wouldn’t quite say to your face. But importantly they would say to other people and that’s what you really need to know is what they say to other people. And I become that other person sort of collecting that for them and obviously I’m taking all the other bits and pieces turning into usable data.

Louis:

Yeah you’re the messenger so people are less liable to shoot you, I guess.

Teresa:

Exactly, yeah, they can’t. They don’t know where I am.

Louis:

Exactly. Because I actually, usually I make it a point when I’m managing people in my teams to actually get feedback about my management style and obviously this is an uphill balance, especially when people are new, right? If I’m getting it myself again, without the messenger, I really need to desensitize them to repetition, which means that when I’m having the first conversation with the new employee and I am asking about want them to give feedback on my management, I’m not going to get anything useful. In fact, they will look like really uncomfortable while I keep pushing them on it, but eventually I found out that if I do this enough times, after a couple of months, they will start opening up. They will figure out, even if it’s just cheer irritation of “This guy won’t stop asking me this question. I’m really going to let them know now.” Eventually it’s a blunt or force method than yours.

Teresa:

It is. And I think a lot of it is just about recognizing people’s personal styles and personal preferences. And some people will be really upfront and honest. As Brits we’re typically quite reserved, although that doesn’t apply to everybody, but typically hold things back. I learned from the same, I worked with a lot of outsourced HR providers and I manage their employee feedback, training skills assessments, whatever it might be. That just gives that little bit of distance that helps get those honest factors out there. And it’s not somebody they’ve got to face in the room.

Louis:

That little bit off distance is good in many contexts. Right?

Teresa:

Yeah.

Louis:

It actually helps. So let’s say that some people, especially in work, they have a very, demanding is not the right word. They have a very authoritative presence. And that tends to intimidate other people into sharing those ideas. And that’s for sure that can happen in a video call. Especially when people have the habit of talking over others or … These are points where characteristics are good up to a point, right? Some good characteristics, you can elevate them to a point where they actually start working in your career. I really like the example of the person that works hard to their life to be hard. They develop a style where they just adopt an imposing physiology and they speak loud. And that is actually beneficial because it helps them lead. Their strength, they can push so much on their strength that it actually starts to becoming a weakness because it will make people who have valuable contributions to make you feel like they can’t or they shouldn’t.

Louis:

And so again, there’s a pivot point where the strength becomes a weakness, but I think that this is minimized in remote because there’s that distance, wouldn’t you say?

Teresa:

Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. It is that sort of that confidence element as well, that comes through there. And I agree. I mean, I think I used to in my corporate days initially I worked with his team totally around me and latterly I worked globally. So most of the people we spoke with were all on a video call in various different countries around the world. But we worked together as a very close team over a number of years. But it felt much more even actually, it felt much more equal, everybody or more of a level footing.

Louis:

So tell me about that transition and how did it feel initially and why did you think that it felt so much more even than when you were working in a co-located setting?

Teresa:

Yeah, I’m not sure I’ve really go a say thought that in detail actually, but it’s-

Louis:

That’s why we are here.

Teresa:

Indeed. I was leading the initiative, but I wasn’t the most senior person in grade scale on the call and that sort of thing. So I mean, I think that evens out some elements as well. But I think as well, when we are organizing remote activity actually is a lot of organization that’s there that turns around and says, “This is why we’re here. This is why these people are here and this is everybody’s individual roles. And that’s why you’re invited.” I think there’s a tendency when you’re all in the same room to go and say, “Oh, can you just come along to this meeting?” Those roles don’t have quite so much clarity whereas the remotes, the organization in the setup of it creates the clarity of why you’re there, what we’re there to achieve and what we’re doing because we’re scheduled in this time slot, we’re going to lose this conference line at 11 o’clock, so we’re going to get onto it and we’re going to do this, that, and the other.

Teresa:

And it became much more focused and I say much more even because that identity of role was actually clearer. And we weren’t walking out of the room and then going into a different scenario where suddenly one of those people was then the manager or something else. It was very much role-based for that particular call and conversation as opposed to status and job role based, if that makes sense.

Louis:

Oh yeah, absolutely. And let’s talk a bit about status and about presence because I think this is actually something that we’ve gone back and forth in distant job because we are a small company and as the people at the front of the company, myself as director of marketing and my friend the VP of operation and the president of the company, we’ve really developed the culture where we want to be on power. We want to have the roles on every part of the company. And this led us to try to attend to every team meeting possible. So even though I’m on the marketing, I try to attend the recruitment teams and the VP of operations did attend try to attend the marketing teams. And the reason we did this is because we actually wanted to know how everyone was doing and what everyone was up to, we wanted to be helpful as much as possible to everyone working.

Louis:

But at some point in time I started getting feedback from a couple of people that they kind of felt a bit intimidated when all the bosses were around for a team meeting. And so I’ve tried to scale back a bit on that, but on the other hand, I also feel that know I’m a bit more disconnected from other areas of the team and I feel bad about it of the company because, and I feel bad about it because I do like … Again, it’s a medium company and I do like being up to speed on everything that’s happening. So what are your thoughts on this? How much of a disrupting presence are bosses in a team meeting, and how can they minimize their impact?

Teresa:

So I think it needs be very clear why they’re there and that everybody knows why they’re there and what their reason for being there is. And I think where it can become disruptive is if somebody’s sort of … The positioning has been actually I’m just dialing in to listen to see what’s going on is a bit disruptive because I think you have that feeling of being watched and that sort of scenario. But if your turn around saying, actually this person’s dialing in because we think this might cross over into this area, or they might have something to contribute in this type of, whatever the discussion might be, I think that then helps level things out that people understand why that person’s there.

Teresa:

They’re there for a reason to contribute rather than just to listen. Now it might be that actually all you do is listen and you didn’t have the contribution, but it sets that tone at the beginning and I think that’s the really important thing remotely, is to set the tone about who’s there, why they’re there and what they’re doing and really have that clarity for everybody. I want to say, if people suddenly sort of start turning up and as you say, people thinking, “Why are all the bosses here? What’s going on?” And people start to panic going, what’s happening? But just sort of saying, actually this is why they’re here. They’re going to join us once a quarter for X, Y, and Z. And this is why and this is your opportunity to be able to discuss this with them as well. It makes much more sense and sort of levels out that sort of confusion.

Louis:

Yeah. Some point it was just really a matter of interest, right? I mean, we’ve experiment with the model of very strict meetings with only the people that are absolutely necessary need to come. And we’ve also experienced with the model of the completely transparent meetings where the meeting is open, there’s an agenda, the necessary people know who they are, but then it’s open to anyone else who can join just so they can … So let’s say the people in recruitment can see how the people in marketing work, right? And get a better picture of how the whole company is working. But yeah, the people who have the most interest on how everything is going, the healthy thing is that it’s actually the people in front of the company, right? If you really care about your company as a leader, obviously you’ll say, “Oh, there’s an open meeting here. I wonder what these guys are up to. Let me check out.”

Teresa:

Yeah. And I think, let’s say positioning is an open eating makes it complete sense, but it’s also that this isn’t, one thing forever. It’s something that constantly changes depending on what’s going on in the company and you’re trying to say, well actually at the moment it’s going to be really useful for this to happen, but then it might not be in six months, but then in another six months after that, it might be useful again. The adaptability and that constant change and just sort of being on top of that. But it’s always the why everything’s always about the why.

Louis:

So let’s talk a bit about your corporate experience. Again you started working in an office and then you transitioned to remote, right?

Teresa:

Yeah.

Louis:

What was the origin of this transition? Was this company policy? Was this something that the team started suggesting? What catalyzed that change and I guess what were the tensions? Where were the tensions and how were they solved?

Teresa:

So you won’t be expecting this answer. It was a big flood.

Louis:

Okay. So while I was working for the Vodafone UK team, when the whole headquarters was flooded in a big storm, basically-

Teresa:

About six buildings, the ground floors were uninhabitable for a period of three or four months. Now this was 2007 I think. In fact if YouTube it, you’ll see videos of it. It’s quite frightening. But what that forced the company to do was suddenly have huge amounts of the workforce. Whoever could work from home because they didn’t have the desk space for people to come in because they were rebuilding and drawing out the ground floor. And there was a real shift in culture change then because actually what people realize is after the three or four months, huge amounts of the workforce are working from home, but it hasn’t actually impacted our projects, our outputs or our delivery.

Teresa:

And so there was a real sort of noticeable shift that went, “Well actually I’ve been working at home pretty much full time for the last three, four months out of lack of choice.” But after that it started becoming, people saying “Well actually I will work from home some days a week and I’ll be in the office some days a week.” And that sort of became a bigger, bigger cultural change that happened. Now obviously as well Vodafone was a fairly young workforce, huge amounts of people 25 to 45 age bracket, which is of course family years when people have got young children. So the flexibility then of being able to drop children at school, work from home rather than having to get to the office and the rise that you see in that sort of the work life balance being able to do those things as well, it became an increasing requirement and the increasing need to retain talent by offering that flexibility, technology enables that to be very easy to do now in an ever increasing, making it easier and easier to work totally remotely.

Teresa:

So that was kind of the real catalyst for it. For me then I moved into the global operation, which Vodafone had 21, 22 countries globally. I was working with the HR teams across four, five, six different countries. It didn’t make sense to get people together so it did just home totally remote. And again for me I had young children, so it gave me that flexibility. And actually I just found I was so much more productive because I wasn’t traveling into work. You have busy days, you have quieter days that’s the way life goes. But actually sometimes I would feel like I was wasting time being in the office where I could be doing something else. Whereas equally I would get to work quicker working from home I would get more done and it was so much more productive than more would more would happen as well.

Teresa:

So it was really about the outputs and meeting employee’s needs and wants and ultimately retaining the talent in the organization through offering that flexibility. And I guess I was absolutely in that box of wanting that at that time which is sort of why I stayed there for so many years because it did just give that complete flexibility.

Louis:

So you’re saying that for corporate to actually adopt a remote work policies, you need something like divine intervention? 

Teresa:

Hopefully not. It’s much more prevalent now with some people working remotely. But yeah, I wouldn’t recommend the flood route. I’m not sure to come to that. But it was-

Louis:

Perhaps the locust then.

Teresa:

Exactly. But in sort of 2007 homeworking wasn’t that common but actually it probably fast tracked the company probably four or five years into that remote working model which I was just part of, part of that wave no pun intended.

Louis:

Certainly. I mean, giving obviously the workers their due because they obviously liked that new situation and they were motivated to work to keep them. But I’m surprised by the fact that the data point that there was no loss in productivity because working remotely is hard. Not everyone is suited for it. Not all systems are working for it. So it’s actually to the company’s credit that their system managed to survive that stress test. So what do you think that made the systems in place, the feedback loops, the systems, the principles around the way work was conducted and be able to survive that transition without any loss of productivity?

Teresa:

So I think there obviously were some unexpected struggles that people got by and actually a lot of it was just down to the sheer resourcefulness I think of employees that in that situation people turn around and say, “Okay, we actually need to meet together. We need to do this. This is actually, we need to do face to face.” They’re saying, “But actually you live in London and I live in Redding, so let’s just meet somewhere near our houses and do this.” They didn’t need to be coming into an office to be able to do whatever they were doing.

Teresa:

There were some teams that needed to be on site, so people had the specialist telephony services then sort of help desk services and things like that. And they went on site, but then the people who didn’t need to be vacated so that they could, and it is that flexibility on behalf of the employee and the employer that makes it work. And sometimes it’s just resourcefulness. But I also think as well that a lot of the productivity and I spoke to so many people who just said, I just get so much more done when I’m working from home because I haven’t got all the distractions. And that was what a lot of it was they’re trying to say “I’m just much more productive because I come down and get my head down and get on with it and I’m done. And I’m not being distracted by other people who are just asking for this or just asking for that. I can schedule and manage my diary much better.”

Teresa:

So for me I experienced that too. I found myself much more productive. Even when I was working sort of some days in the office and some days at home, if I had to get stuff done, I would work from home so I could get stuff done because I wasn’t getting distracted by just people walking around the office. Open plan offices that are killer for distractions. Lovely for company, but a killer for distractions. And so as far as productivity goes that remote working-

Louis:

It turns it you into a goldfish. People are just passing by and you’re like, ooh.

Teresa:

Yeah, very distracted. You invariably just see people then coming in with headphones. So they try not to get distracted. So head down, don’t get distracted with the headphones and things like that. So people start going to measures of, don’t interrupt me. Where are they actually when you’re working remotely unless the postman happens to knock on the door. That’s about it.

Louis:

Yeah. You get your headphones, you get your sunglasses and then you can sleep at work. All right. So when you started working remotely, what do you wish your bosses or managers had done differently? What do you wish they has known before?

Teresa:

I have to say I had a fantastic manager when I was working remotely and I do remember her saying one quote to me that sometimes that she said, “I don’t always know where you are and I don’t particularly know what you’re doing. But I always know whenever I need you, you’re doing it.” And so it’s that trust that’s so important. And it’s getting out of that mindset sometimes of the nine to five the eight thirty to five whatever the office hours where it’s getting away from that mindset and focusing on the outputs. And saying, I mean, I know some people who were phoning their teams at five past nine just to say something, but just to check that they were up and working. And that just destroys the trust.

Teresa:

They weren’t phoning them at seven o’clock at night when they were just doing a bit of work. It’s that trust and that’s what comes with the flexibility that says, “[Joe 00:24:08] I’m going to take an hour out to go and do X, Y, and Z but I will do that hour later and you will still get that work and it will still be there.” And sort of having that trust element in place. So I think that’s the key thing for any managers with remote teams is trusting the capabilities.

Louis:

It’s a two way road though because it’s incumbent on the employee to kind to showcase their work to get their boss to a point where, “Hey boss, I got this right. You know, you can relax because you will know that I am doing what you need to be done. Right?” And I think that a lot of that comes, well again, two way road. It comes from a boss being able to outline the game plan and setting expectations and deadlines to the employee either being able to meet them or to communicate why they think they need to be changed, right?

Teresa:

Yeah.

Louis:

So it’s a two way street.

Teresa:

Definitely.

Louis:

When talking about these things and if you don’t have the option of getting a messenger because sometimes you need to give micro feedback and you can’t go through a whole process involving a third party, what are some good tools and tactics that you can use for let’s say a new employee communicating important things to their managers such as, I don’t really think that this is an achievable goal. I think we need to restructure the way this process works for me to do a good job. These are difficult conversations. This is a difficult feedback to give. What would your advice be?

Teresa:

It is just those open lines of communication and it’s little and often. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of doing things like an annual review or a quarterly review or something along those lines. Whereas my approach has always been very much about a quarterly or a six monthly or an annual review type activity is a tick box exercise because there’s absolutely nothing new in there that you haven’t already discussed all the time as you’ve gone along. So having things like the physical tools such as instant messages and video chats and email or whatever else it might be to turn around and say, this is how we constantly keep in touch and this is how we’re constantly updated means that you can pick up these things and I say those lines of communication are so important and having that regularly in place.

Teresa:

So you build those relationships and let’s say problems normally come from where there isn’t a relationship or there’s a problem in the relationship, but good communication can negate that completely. So it’s that constant, constant door opening as we say the physical image of my doors always open, but actually remotely that needs to be the case as well. But when I contact you, I can contact my manager pretty much at any time within reason. But I can contact that person and I can chat with them. I know where they are. They know where you know where I am or they know I’ll be back to you at two and I will be back to you at two and then we can discuss this and then we can go through that and it doesn’t turn into a once a fortnight or once a month Mammoth discussion. It’s constant regular small discussion that happens.

Louis:

I also really liked the practice of just setting some office hours. Right? So saying that, “You know what, from this time to this time. My calendar is free for you to poke me. So at any time just schedule a conversation during this time to this time you won’t be disrupting my focus. I will be expecting calls. So let’s have a conversation there.” And this is actually valuable on both ends, right?

Teresa:

Yeah.

Louis:

It’s really helpful because you can’t really as a manager to have an open door policy when you’re working from home. If you have an open door pol when you are working from home that’s a recipe for not getting anything done or for people’s feeling that the open door is actually closed because they never wanted to distract you. So it’s actually really nice to keep office hours as a remote manager, as well as remote employee. So I want to talk a bit about your business and you are starting your business, it’s like two years ago, right?

Teresa:

Yeah. Well three next month actually. Yes. And any three now.

Louis:

All right, so three years is a lot. So how has remote work made your business possible or help make it better? I assume that you mostly work remotely, right?

Teresa:

I do, yeah for actually pretty much everybody now. And actually when I started out I guess I wasn’t thinking that way. I was thinking about local businesses, supporting local businesses. But actually as the sort of niching came out and I said, I work with predominantly training providers or HR companies and the world of social media, opens you up globally really to anybody. So what I very much culturally did was devise a model whereby we know it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, we can still provide the same service. And I sort of directed the company not when I started, but as I realized, as I learn, everybody goes on a very sharp learning curve when you start up on your own.

Teresa:

As I learned and understood what people’s needs were and where there was a need for my services, I said, “Well, actually, it is totally remote. It doesn’t need to be anywhere. Which suits me. It means that I can do better work because I’m not being pulled from pillar to post or having to drive all over the place to different clients or different things like that. I get more done, I’m more productive. They get better results. It costs them less because I’m not having to travel.” So all that sort of thing worked out. It works for me personally and it works for them as well because they’re kind of saying I don’t need somebody all the time. I need them every now and then and we have that in there. So, I guess I sort of started manipulating and doing more of my company where I wanted it to go to be completely remote. Because that’s what suited me really but it also meant I could deliver to people anywhere in the world. I’ve been to Europe, I haven’t branched out of Europe yet, but my clients are mostly UK, but some in Europe as well.

Louis:

There’s a whole continent of possibility then.

Teresa:

Indeed.

Louis:

There’s a lot to do. Nice working remotely. How do you keep yourself, I guess productive is the wrong word, but how do you-

Teresa:

Going.

Louis:

 Take me through your typical day or your typical week.

Teresa:

My day, so I am very structured. I still have, my youngest son is still in primary school, so I’m on the school run first thing in the morning, so I’m up and out on a school run first thing in the morning. When I come back from the school run, it’s typically nine o’clock and that’s my sit down, switch everything on get going time. And I will then work through predominately then until early afternoon, I tend to that, that’s when I kind of have a late lunch break if you like, which is my sit down and pause before I then go on the school run again and college starts at home again. So I do work very much around the kids’ schedules. My husband travels internationally an awful a lot, so I mostly here on my own with them most of the weeks.

Teresa:

It is for me having that chunk of time, if there’s something that comes in that’s very urgent, well I’ll finish it off in the evening or do something, later in the day when I can. But I tend to have, between three and eight o’clock in the afternoon is my no work time that’s my doing the life admin, family time type activity. And I found initially I was just dropping because the office is at home. It’s quite difficult sometimes if it’s a sort of a quiet weekend, you think, “I’ll just come in and I’ll just do that or I’ll just do this or just do the other.” And actually I found I was getting more disorganized by doing that because I wasn’t doing it properly. You’re dipping in and out. And I felt like I was always working, but I wasn’t feeling like I was achieving more.

Teresa:

So I did get really strict with myself sort of said “No, nine o’clock till half to three-ish. Those are what I’ll work and then if I haven’t finished what I needed to do, then I will do a couple of hours in the evening.” But I don’t do the weekends and I don’t do during those times because it enables me to focus my brain into the tasks I’m doing at those times.

Louis:

Yeah, absolutely.

Teresa:

And actually, the biggest kind of lesson you learned I think is initially you try to be responsive to everybody. All the time I’m always there but actually it is just that setting expectations with clients that says, “I can get this done for you by three.” They’re like, “No, its fine. Do it tomorrow.” I’m like, “Okay, great. I’ll do it tomorrow then” Having those, assessing those expectations with clients there’s very little that is a must absolutely have this in the next hour. Very little happens like that. So having the confidence to say I can’t do this today makes the world’s difference and it helps keep you sane and it gives you focus time of work and focus downtime, which I think is so important.

Louis:

And it teaches your clients or managers, this is also applying to managers. I mean actually better planning because look, when someone asks you something for tomorrow that’s usually because they don’t know what to plan. Right. That’s usually bad planning on their part. When someone asks you for something tomorrow, there’s very little that actually needs to be done tomorrow unless the person requesting is not organized. Right?

Teresa:

Yes. Yeah. Exactly. It’s very, very rarely that it’s something totally out of the blue. Somewhere somebody is an organized.

Louis:

This is actually a case the feedback that you need to give your management is like, “You keep asking me for stuff for tomorrow. I can do it, but it would just be a much better quality. But the work would just be much very quality if you let me know like three days in advance or two days in advance or something like that. I usually try to tell my … I can’t always do this, but I usually try to never ask anything for my team that’s due this week. Right. Sometimes I need something 48 with the 48 hour notice, but that’s as far as I will go to meet the sweet spot is really, “You know what, I need this by next week.”

Teresa:

Yeah, I agree. Yeah. And I think that pushback I think is something I learnt when I reduced to part time hours a while when I was in corporate. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And turning around on a Thursday and saying, “I’ll have this for you Tuesday.” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s fine.” Now if I would have been working full time I would have been like, “No, I’ll get that for Friday.” They wouldn’t have needed it by then. But just having that conversation and actually turning around and saying, I can’t, but I will get it for you then, it’s like 99 times out of a hundred it’s absolutely fine and you’ve saved yourself an awful lot of stress, hassle and panic of trying to do something other than unrealistic timeframe by just having that conversation and setting that upfront.

Teresa:

But as you say, it comes with being organized. I’m respecting that two ways as well that says, I can’t expect somebody to drop something for me immediately. If I’m always expecting them to drop something for me for the next day, well inevitably I’m going to be disappointed and they’re not going to be happy.

Louis:

This is something that people should be aware of especially in remote work because you’re not seeing people busy. It’s really easy to assume that they’re just-

Teresa:

Waiting for you to call. Yeah.

Louis:

Exactly. It’s a bit that freelance mentality where you think, okay, I have this freelancer, I have this freelancer on call. I need something. I booked the freelancer, the freelancer starts working. But when you actually have a company with employees that are full time employees and they’re working for you every day, they are very unlikely to be idling around just waiting for the next request. They are probably doing stuff requested by other people or stuff that you are working on projects that you gave them that don’t just get finished in a day or two. So that’s definitely something to take into account.

Teresa:

Definitely.

Louis:

Let’s finish off with a couple of rapid fire questions. You don’t need to answer them rapidly. They’re just quick questions on my end. What purchase has made your work life easier or more productive in the past year?

Teresa:

Well purchase? I’m looking around my desk thinking. My headset that I’m wearing now has made life a lot easier. Most of the things that make my life more productive or easier are software. There’s so many tools out there people to use. And actually I would say it’s my CRM software because that’s where I basically manage my to do list.

Louis:

What CRM is it if you don’t mind?

Teresa:

I use Insightly. I don’t use its full potential at all. I know I don’t. But it’s the reminder functionality on it and being able to store all my contacts and have all my reminders and everything in one place has just freed my brain. And so I think that’s … That wasn’t even a purchase. I still have it on the free version.

Louis:

The best things in life are free, right?

Teresa:

Well indeed. I would have to say that was the bit that when I fully uploaded that with everything out of my notebook and everything else, I just felt the weight lift off my shoulders and my brain just lightened because it was just suddenly, I just have to log into that each morning and I don’t have to remember things. And actually when I’ve been working with others, they sort of been added onto it and we’ve just put tasks in together. I would say we all can see who’s doing what tasks and when. I would say although not strictly a purchase, it’s definitely the thing that’s made me more productive and taking the lot of the stress away.

Louis:

Okay. That’s a good answer. So what book or books have you gifted the most?

Teresa:

I haven’t, I am not a reader. I am somebody who I read pages and it just doesn’t stick in my head. I just never been my style of retaining information. So I tend to learn things through various videos, groups, various podcasts. But I would have to say there’s not one thing I follow in particular. It tends to be-

Louis:

Is there any you’ll recommend consistently to clients or colleagues?

Teresa:

I don’t because I think I feel very strongly actually we all are very, very different and it is finding that thing that resonates with you. So I’m always quite cautious actually on recommending something because I think no matter what you read, very, very rarely do you agree 100% with it. But there just there elements that you take out that you find really useful. And I think different people find different elements from different places. And so I tend to search for what works for me. And what works for me is not the printed word I’ve learned over the years. It just doesn’t stay in my brain for some reason. My only recommendation to people is to understand your best learning method. Because if it’s like me and actually you’re reading a book just doesn’t sink in, then stop forcing yourself to do it. Go and find other channels. There are so many other channels now, whether it be something on a YouTube, something in a social media group or something on a course you can follow, find that and then it’ll open up loads new information to you.

Louis:

Got it. Okay, that’s fair enough. So a final question. You are hosting a dinner in a Chinese restaurant where the top CEO, CDLs hiring managers, decision makers from many tech companies are attending and the team around the dinner is a remote work slash future of work round table because it’s a Chinese restaurant. You as the host get to pick the message inside the Chinese fortune cookie. So what is the fortune that these people are going to read at the end of the night?

Teresa:

Wow. The fortunate at the end of the night is something on the lines of changes is inevitable. Embracing different ways of thinking.

Louis:

Okay, sounds good. Sounds fortunish, Right? Well ladies and gentlemen, this was a Teresa Gandy. Teresa, it was a pleasure having you here.

Teresa:

Thank you.

Louis:

Lovely conversation. Thank you so much. Please tell people where can they go to continue the conversation with you and where can they go to know more about Clarity CX.

Teresa:

So website is normally the first stop. www.claritycx.co.uk or by all means get in touch. I’m Teresa, T-E-R-E-S-A @claritycx.co.uk. I also spend a lot of my days on LinkedIn, so feel free to reach out there as well.

Louis:

Nice place to hang out, right?

Teresa:

Yeah, it’s where I find a lot of people in the same boat.

Louis:

Okay. So again, thank you so much for the conversation. It was lovely see you around.

Teresa:

Thank you.

Louis:

And so we close another episode of the Distant Job podcast and if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me. And I hope they are a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication. Service of choice reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast click on your favorite episodes or any episodes really, and subscribe by subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episodes up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

Louis:

And of course if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country, look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent and to help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who we need and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that a bid you adios, see you next week on the next episode of Distant Job podcast.

More ways to listen:

Giving and receiving feedback is essential in any setting, but it is even more crucial in a remote organization.

After working more than a decade in an office setting, Teresa explains how transitioning to remote work, positively impacted her personal and professional life.

Based on her remote working experience, Teresa Gandy is sharing her knowledge on collecting remote feedback effectively. She believes it is essential to have honesty in your feedback; otherwise, it is useless. 

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This interview is part of the DistantJob podcast. To hear more from leaders and successful entrepreneurs on how to build and lead winning teams, check us out on Anchor.fm and on our website.

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