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How to Manage a Remote Team as a Digital Nomad with Sara Magnabosco

Sara Magnabosco is the head of operations at Hacker Paradise and an advocate for remote work. She joined Hacker Paradise after spending four years in Belgium running Beta Cowork, one of the most active coworking spaces in Europe. With a sociology background, she loves being surrounded by people and help them create and connect meaningful relationships.

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Sara Magnabosco

Luis Magalhaes:

Welcome ladies and gentleman to another episode of the DistantJob Podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your host Luis Magalhaes. With me today is Sara Magnabosco. Sara is the head of operations at Hacker Paradise and an advocate for remote work. After interviewing Sara, I hope you will know all you need about how to become digital nomads. Sara, please tell me a bit more about yourself and about what brings you here to the show and your relationship to remote work.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Sure. Thank you, Luis, for having me here talking about my favorite topic. As you say, I’m Sara. I’m from Italy as you might guess from my accent. Actually, I haven’t lived in Italy for the past seven and a half year maybe. I was an expat in Belgium first, and then for the past three years I’ve been traveling the world whole working and cultivating the Hacker Paradise community. My path to remote working is actually a bit weird because when I started, I didn’t even know basically what remote work was, and I applied for a job with Hacker Paradise as a trip facilitator. Basically, I was creating the community, a community of remote workers while traveling with them.

Sara Magnabosco:

Part of my job was definitely remote because our team is distributed, but then I was also location-dependent on where the group was and where I was going with Hacker Paradise. My approach to remote work started with a hybrid of in-office job, but my office was changing every month or every two months and a part of remote work with the coordination with the rest of the team. Then, it was in 2020, beginning of 2020 I stepped into managing the operations, and that is a fully remote role. I stayed always cultivating the Hacker Paradise community. I’m now fully remote.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. There are a lot of points that I want to get there, but first, you have a past working with coworking, managing coworking spaces. Again, the nature of that is probably very challenging. Now, in some countries it’s not even allowed of course because of the COVID situation, but I want to touch upon a couple of things that you mentioned. First, you mentioned hybrid. Hybrid is usually in my estimate and in the estimate of many past guests, the hardest remote setting because you need to have a very good balance. Essentially, the people that are working collocated need to work almost as if they were remotely. Do you have any stories for me about that time period, and specifically what did you learn from that that helps inform your decisions now that you are managing operations fully remotely?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. For sure. Honestly, the main lesson I had to learn pretty quickly with these hybrid setup of my work was setting boundaries. That was because basically, the first months I felt like I was just constantly working all the time. I never knew when my work was done because especially it’s really tricky with time zones. I was running a trip imagine in Latin America, and my colleagues were running a trip in Bali or somewhere else in Asia. You had all the day-to-day of the trip that involved of course meeting with the participants, dealing with housing issues, planning events. We organized workshops and all sorts of activities for our members. There are things that are happening in your real life in person, and then at the same time you have all the team meetings that maybe happen at night or very early in the morning. It was really overwhelming, and the first step was really to learn how to set boundaries, how to switch off those notifications and feel fine and feeling good about setting those boundaries.

Sara Magnabosco:

It didn’t happen right away, to be honest. It took me a few months, but that’s also something now that I train new facilitators. It’s something I really put a lot of effort into explaining them that it’s fine. They need to set boundaries and that it’s fine to answer later. We use Slack throughout the company, and we have our policies that messages, we can take up to 24 hours to answer unless it’s very urgent, but otherwise normal internal day-to-day messages we can take up to 24 hours to answer.

Luis Magalhaes:

How does someone know that the message is urgent and really –

Sara Magnabosco:

If it’s urgent, we would WhatsApp.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay.

Sara Magnabosco:

Honestly, it rarely happens. There is nothing that cannot wait the day after.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

I tend to agree with that. Of course, it’s different for a marketing team. For example, I run a marketing team that that’s usually the case. There’s nothing that cannot wait 24 hours. It’s very rare that you need to do damage control. Sometimes, it happens. Sometime an automatic update on WordPress will break your lead generating forms and you shouldn’t be one day without getting leads.

Sara Magnabosco:

Definitely.

Luis Magalhaes:

Obviously, emergencies happen, but by and large I completely agree. Then, there are other things. For example, customer support. It’s a bad look for the company if customer support 24 hour the turnaround time.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Totally.

Luis Magalhaes:

It definitely depends on the team. I totally appreciate it. It can be challenging. For example, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this situation, but you’re being a direct report to a couple of people meaning you’re having a couple of bosses, and then being in completely different time zones. That is psychologically challenging even if the people involved are understanding.

Sara Magnabosco:

Totally. It happened to me just yesterday. I started my day at 8:30 AM with a one-on-one with our CEO, and I ended my call at 10:00 PM with a team meeting in Thailand.

Luis Magalhaes:

Wow.

Sara Magnabosco:

Then, I made sure that during the day I was taking a couple of hours off to go to the beach for a run and a walk.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. It’s important to care about that personal space.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Totally.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. How do you deal with that? How do you feel you deal with … We talked about work-life balance, but sometimes people in positions like yours end up doing work-life fusion where it’s distributed along the day. How do you deal with that? How do you feel about that? How have you learned to deal with that?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. As you said, it was a learning process for sure because at the beginning I felt like I need to answer right away to everything. I was always on, and then I realized how I was not even enjoying really the place where I was with people I was sharing the experience with because for my job, I was moving every month, every two months to a new destination, and of course it was super exciting and weekends were super exciting, but then sometimes some week days I was just ending my day at the coworking and I was like, “What did I even do today? What was special about my day? What was I doing?”

Sara Magnabosco:

In the end, what I realized is setting expectations with team members and also with the members of the community traveling. With us, that was very important and difficult to do because of course when you are a trip facilitator you are the point of contact for everyone on trip, so you cannot predict when the AC is going to break and this kind of issues, but then you are in charge of answering, of fixing. That of course we knew that could have happened anytime. Then, it’s also true that emergencies are pretty rare. And then, especially with the team members honestly just posing notification. What we do as team members, we have weekly standups, so every Monday everyone post in this Slack channel what we are going to work on, what we want to achieve during the week, and in that message we also put our work hours.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

We know when our team members are going to work. Now, the team is pretty small because of COVID. It’s really six of us, and we know more or less where we are so we pay attention if we need a reply … For example, if I need a reply right away because I need to move forward with some tasks during this day, I’m going to message right away when I wake up my boss in Bali so I know that maybe I can get him before he goes to bed. I say with my colleagues in Europe I wouldn’t wait until 3:00 PM my time to ask them something, so it’s very important for us the team members that we share our working hours with the team, and then of course we are flexible for meetings.

Sara Magnabosco:

To give you an example, right now we cannot really have all hands with everyone on because of how we … We have one person in California and in Mexico, we have two people in Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and then we have one person in Bali and one person in Thailand. It’s basically impossible to get everyone on, so we alternate and then we make sure we take extensive notes and we share and I update my team member by phone the day after – . I’m always on all of them. I make sure that at least two people are always on both time zones. It’s definitely about setting expectations towards your team members and clients.

Luis Magalhaes:

There’s something very interesting there that I actually have never heard about, but I like. You set your working hours on a daily basis, right? That’s-

Sara Magnabosco:

It’s weekly. We do it weekly. We do it on Monday, but then we would update the same channel. We would update it if today I have to go to the doctor or something is happening, I would just post there, “Hey, guys. Today I’m starting working later and I’m going to be on until 8:00 PM. You can ping me at this time.” I’m not going to check my phone for the first couple of hours of the day.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

We are really, really transparent with our working hours and when we are available or not. Also, not only sometimes we really just want to switch off notification to have some focus work. I would just share, “Guys, for the next two hours I’m going to be working offline. I’m going to come back to you later.”

Luis Magalhaes:

That’s very important.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. I know it’s easier with small teams like mine, but it’s definitely something that improve everyone’s work.

Luis Magalhaes:

For sure. Yeah. I actually encourage everyone in my team to have those focus hours by default, meaning look, I expect you to … I don’t particularly track the time you work. Obviously, I expect you to work a normal work day, but I don’t need you to spend the whole work day on Slack. I want you by default to take every day focus hours do your actual work.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Block the calendar is what I do. I just block my calendar. It’s very, very important.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. That makes absolute sense. I want to go back to your experience with coworking because you spend plenty of time working in coworking spaces.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. That was the beginning of my career, a moment of serendipity. I ended up running a coworking space for three years. I also organized coworking, European Coworking Conference.

Luis Magalhaes:

Wow.

Sara Magnabosco:

I was very involved in the coworking scene in Belgium and in Europe in general.

Luis Magalhaes:

Let’s engage in a bit of futurology. I don’t expect you to be right. Please, don’t make investment decisions based on this conversation – . We are not responsible for the future, but I’m really interested. I’ve been wanting to talk for the past few months with someone that has experience in coworking, and I think you are the right person because you manage the conference and all. You organize the conference and all. What is the future of coworking in the short to medium term? Right now, most European countries forbid people from getting together. Obviously, there’s nothing going on in terms of coworking now, but what do you think will be the future six months from now? How do you think that coworking will evolve now that the gig is up? Everyone knows that we don’t need offices.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

We’re doing fine without offices. Thank you.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. I’m sure right now is definitely the hardest moment that coworking has had to live. I’m not sure honestly how much will change in the next six months, but I can see in the next couple of years coworking really becoming very, very important places of everyone daily life just because as you said, we cannot meet, we cannot gather right now. Everyone is suffering from loneliness and isolation, and the moment we’re going to be able to gather again, most likely we are not going to go back to the office, but we are still creating that piece of social life. We need human interactions, and so that’s why I think many companies and many employees just decided to sign up for coworking spaces because to overcome all the loneliness and isolation we have to live in this past year or two years.

Sara Magnabosco:

Honestly, for what I’m seeing now, it’s difficult of employers to don’t see their employees in the office, but now they have proof that everything can still work. What I love, when I was running the coworking space, I love having employees of companies as members and then the employer was actually seeing the benefit of it because by hanging out with people who don’t work for your company or have different roles, there is so much contamination of ideas and inspiration that then ends up in having your employees more productive and more creative. Really, synergies are different.

Sara Magnabosco:

At the same time, you can also have that kind of peer support that you were missing from the office. It happens. I see it especially with web developers or more techies where sometimes there is a bug that you cannot fix and you just need to balance the problem to someone else, and then someone else can just help you. These kinds of interaction happen all the time in a very well curated coworking space. Not in coworking spaces where it’s just a desk and wifi. That doesn’t happen there because there is a lot of curation behind a very good coworking space. This kind of interaction are essential and necessary.

Luis Magalhaes:

You know the joke about … It’s not a joke. It’s an actual thing. You know the programmer duck?

Sara Magnabosco:

The programmer duck?

Luis Magalhaes:

Yes. Do you know this?

Sara Magnabosco:

No.

Luis Magalhaes:

It’s the rubber duck. It’s a rubber duck that a programmer or a developer places in their desk, and when they’re trying to debug, they explain the code to the duck. Just explaining the code to the duck helps them come up with the solution. Imagine how better it would be if the duck was an actual person.

Sara Magnabosco:

Totally. Yeah. Again, coworking spaces really break the isolation and the loneliness. I’m sure they’re going to be big, and they are much cheaper for employers and renting big offices. Everyone realized they are not really necessary. Of course, there are some companies who are going to go back to the office and it’s necessary for them to do it. Some companies never left the office, but now so many people realized how it’s easy to just work from home. I think the next step is going to be of course work from anywhere. As soon as travel is going to be allowed again, the next shift is going to be work from anywhere, and even there coworking spaces play a very, very important role because if I decide, “I’m going to go to Thailand for a month, I’m just going to book a place and I’m going to just live and work by the beach.”

Sara Magnabosco:

And then, I get there and I’m just going to be there alone. What I would do, I would definitely go to a coworking space right away because it’s where I’m going to meet people, and especially I’m going to meet the kind of people who are also there to work, and I know they’re going to get work done, and then of course have fun in the weekend. It’s very different when you travel alone, when you are a remote worker, you don’t want to go to hostels. You go to a hostel, it’s very easy to meet people, but these are the kind of people who are there on vacation. Where do you find other people that like you are working and traveling? Coworking spaces right away, and of course communities like Hacker Paradise. We always partner up with coworking spaces. It’s really a very important piece of our product.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

It’s where you meet the locals, but also other travelers like you. Coworking spaces really attract all the good things that you need when you .

Luis Magalhaes:

I think that a lot of people aren’t … My fear is that a lot of people getting now in the coworking space and they don’t do it proper justice, and a lot of people have had the experience. For example, before COVID hit I tried a couple of times a coworking space in Lisbon, and it was absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was in a really nice, really chill bar, good food was available, the rooms were beautiful, et cetera, but it was far too noisy and the internet quality didn’t suck but it was … I’m having this conversation with you, you’re in a nice suite, fishing village in Mexico, and I’m amazed at number one, how noiseless the environment you manage to be is, and number two just at the quality we’re having a video conversation and just at the quality of it all, it’s really great. I am sad to say that a lot of the coworking spaces that I visited don’t give me this experience.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

They give me a noisy, unoptimal internet experience. They might still be great for writing or developing, but for actual communication which is so important to remote work, I think that a lot of people aren’t doing it right. What do you think people thinking about building the coworking spaces of the future absolutely need to get right?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Well, internet must be the best in town. That’s one of the reasons why we always partner up with coworking spaces when we travel with Hacker Paradise because we need to have the best wifi available in town. Otherwise, with not solid wifi, no one is going to get their work done.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

You need to get your work done, for sure. Honestly, in terms of infrastructure and concrete things that you need, to me it’s also important good chairs. You don’t want to work from maybe design but very uncomfortable chair and a good desk. Important would be meeting rooms and phone booths because everyone now spends so much time on meetings, and having a quiet space where to take phone calls is very important. It did happen to me to find very noisy coworking spaces, and on top of that people taking calls from their rooms, and it was very … I couldn’t focus at all. What I used to do in my coworking space is that we had three different rooms, and the third one was the quiet one. There are no phone calls allowed, not anything, and those were a little bit more noisy, but at least people can pick.

Sara Magnabosco:

I think it’s very important for people who think of opening a coworking space to think of a different environment you want to create in your space so then you can give people the choice and they know what to expect. We can switch around. Every day is different. But then, the most important piece after this is really the community. Things don’t happen just because people are sharing the same desk. There is a lot of facilitation behind that, and that to me at least the way I was doing it, I was really spending a lot of time with my members. That was really just part of my job. Of course, I was taking coffee breaks. I don’t drink coffee. I would drink a lot of tea and just talk with your people, talk with your members, understand why they’re there, what they are looking for.

Sara Magnabosco:

The coworking space operator is really the core not because it’s the person who needs to do everything or fix everything, but it’s because that’s the person who basically knows all the member, and it’s the person that can connect members. Honestly, it’s one of the things that gives me the most satisfaction even now with the Hacker Paradise community, putting people together, people who otherwise would not cross paths but by crossing paths they can get cool new things done or help each other out.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

That’s a very important thing to do, having your members feeling welcome and really just understand why they are signing up for your coworking space whether they want to get out of it and then make sure that these things happen. Also very important is to empower your members to do so. Of course, you know everyone and you are the main connector, but also your members can do exactly the same thing and keep connecting people. That’s really the most powerful … That’s the added value. That’s why people want to join a coworking space because as you said, I’m in a small café in a fisherman village in Mexico and I have good wifi and I have a desk, but I’m also here alone. Definitely cultivating the community is mandatory if you want to have a success, if you want your members to stay.

Luis Magalhaes:

Interesting can you give me a few examples of that? I feel it could feel awkward if it’s not done expertly. At the end of the day, you are entering a coworking space, there’s a bunch of strangers there. You know they’re all there for work, but there might be a wide variety of people from a wide variety of background doing a wide variety of work. How do you facilitate that feeling of community?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yes. I can give you an example of what I was doing first thing every day when I was walking into the space. It was something that really when my boss asked me to do that I was like, “Oh, my God. I’m never going to do it.” And then, it was my favorite routine. I was going into every room and said hi and kissing because kissing was allowed. Kissing every member, and I would ask them, “How is your day? How are you doing?” That way, I knew everyone’s name. It was a community of –

Luis Magalhaes:

I thought that kissing was kind of taboo in Belgium

Sara Magnabosco:

Or hug. I prefer hugs. It was a pretty international –

Luis Magalhaes:

If it was in Portugal or Italy, I would totally understand, but Belgium, really?

Sara Magnabosco:

It was happening in Belgium. I swear. And then, I would suggest some people, “Who wants to grab a tea?” Some people started working early in the morning, so they were done at tea break, and then I would share lunch every day with the members. And then, very important, when we were offering free trials day of course, and that was of course a tour of the space, and then I was making sure that the person who was there for the trial was leaving the space and this person should have –  I would always have lunch with newbies. And then of course, on top of this, it was more a personal relationship with the members, I would plan a lot of events. We had the rodeo, and it was happening every two weeks that we were meeting at the cafeteria.

Sara Magnabosco:

We were standing in a circle. We didn’t want people to sit down because we wanted to be quick. We are very aware that people are there to get work done and not just to socialize, and we were going on a round asking people, “What do you need help with?” Everyone was just sharing exactly what they needed help for. They had 30 seconds to say it, and then people were just connecting each other. People would know other people, and that was very, very powerful. Then, we were organizing a couple of workshops, skill shares per week, because again coworking space members have so many different backgrounds and skills, and there is a lot to learn from each other. We were having Monday … No. It was Friday lunches, and someone was cooking for the rest. Honestly, we had lunches with 30, 40 people. In the end, we had teams of cooks.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice.

Sara Magnabosco:

Every other Thursday, we were out for drinks. Of course, not everyone was coming, but it was really also try to get into life out of the office. In Belgium, all the good beers and bars, it was easy to get people to hang out. It’s a lot of interaction. Everything else needs to advance smoothly. The space needs to be cleaned and organized. People should not even notice. Everything should run smoothly, and on top of that you had all the community value. All these things that I just mentioned to you, we do them also on trip with Hacker Paradise. I took a lot of my experience cultivating the community in a coworking space into cultivating a global nomad community.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice. I’m thinking that I can only imagine that after almost two years of house arrest, this will eventually make a huge comeback. I’m really a 99.9% introvert. I could deal with two more years inside my house just ordering sushi and playing PlayStation, but I see that, I feel that most people are craving human personal connection.

Sara Magnabosco:

For sure.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. Go.

Sara Magnabosco:

Sorry. Go ahead.

Luis Magalhaes:

No. I just think that the need for the things that you describe will explode as soon as we’re allowed to leave our houses.

Sara Magnabosco:

Totally. I totally agree. Also, you mentioned introverts. Fun fact, I would say honestly for sure half and half of the members of … Coworking spaces, also the Hacker Paradise community, we have so many introverts which is surprising because coworking spaces and travel groups are so social, but actually introverts take even more advantage out of it because of how the community is built in and facilitated. I would never force anyone to join any event if they don’t want to. Of course, nothing is mandatory, so there is that safety and everyone knows, “Tonight, I just want to stay in. I’m just going to stay in,” but then the rest of interaction is so facilitated that it makes it easier also for introvert or shy people to get integrated faster. It’s what many people told me like, “The amount of people I got the chance to interact with and actually get closer with was so accelerated compared if I was traveling or just working from home.”

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve traveled, and I was let’s say in Paris, but what I was doing was just alternating between the hotel and the café. And then, I went to some museums and some places, but I wasn’t really … It was a workation kind of situation.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

It’s nicer if you get to interact with people in those places, even if you’re an introvert. Even if you’re an introvert, that doesn’t mean that … If you’re traveling, you don’t want to be cooked up inside your hotel room working. That’s not how it works. You’re traveling. You want to have a more gregarious experience even if as an introvert it’s a bit more tiring than for other people. Tell me a bit about how you’ve been doing this year now as head of operations. You already told me about the morning standup. What is your usual approach to managing the team apart from that? How do you handle communication, assignments, KPIs, check-ins, et cetera?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. 2020 of course was a very weird year because instead of hiring and building a bigger team, we had to reduce the team. Honestly, 2020 was all about keeping the motivation of the people who stayed to work for the company. For us, we are a very small company and we basically became all friends. It’s part of our culture to be very open and share not only work stuff, but also our life things. I mentioned the daily standups where we would share what we want to achieve during the week, but we also give a life update. That’s as equally important as the work updates for us. We want to know about the weekend and we want to share with the team. That helps us – don’t interrupt every day and we don’t meet. There are team members I’ve never met, to get to know them better. That also helps building the trust that I think is the most important piece of remote working and collaborations.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

Then, we do to always facilitate culture and get to know each other, I guess it’s pretty common now among remote companies, but we use Donut.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I love Donut.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. That’s very, very important.

Luis Magalhaes:

Probably one of the most used Slack apps now, right?

Sara Magnabosco:

Right? Yeah. We’ve always done it. We also actually use it on trip with participants.

Luis Magalhaes:

Interesting.

Sara Magnabosco:

We pair everyone because we have a lot of group events, but we also want to simulate one-on-one interactions so we have Donut on trip and we have Donut also in our community Slack which is this Slack with over 900 people who joined Hacker Paradise in the past, and every couple of weeks we are paired with someone else that maybe we’ve never met.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice.

Sara Magnabosco:

That’s also very interesting. It’s really integrating pieces of private life into the team because we want to know what are people up to. Again, we are a small company now. We used to be bigger before COVID also very important. And then, for work stuff deadline, I never really impose deadline. Somehow, we have a very good sense of where we are going and when things need to be done so deadlines are shared. We discussed them together, and we know where we are moving forward to. I basically never impose a deadline. I suggest like, “How much time do you think this is going to get?” If the answer I get I think is reasonable, we just agree on that. I really prefer team members to set their own deadlines because it’s more … I know that then it’s going to be done.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. You mentioned something very interesting that there is definitely a feeling. There’s a shared feeling among the people working of when work needs to be done, of what’s the good time, what’s the proper time, what’s the beneficial time to have this. How do you cultivate that? How do you make sure that people have that sense, that intuition even if you want to call it? Because it seems to me that it’s probably tightly related to the culture, and I am certain that that does not happen by default.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Honestly, I’m still trying to … So far, it’s worked so well, and I’m still trying], but I think it’s a lot by giving the example of sharing … Te way I think of projects and new things is I would share my thinking process, and I think that inspires, set people on the same page. It is very important to understand how people think, how your employees, your team members think because we know there are different ways of getting work done.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Sara Magnabosco:

I think by sharing the practice of how we do it, then it’s very helpful to be all aligned and making sure that we know where to go and what we want to achieve and setting the deadlines and everything.

Luis Magalhaes:

Sounds awesome. Okay. Let’s move on to a couple of rapid fire questions. The questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t need to be. Please, feel free to expand as much as you’d like. Let’s say that you have $100 or euros. Who cares.

Sara Magnabosco:

Better euros. They’re worth more.

Luis Magalhaes:

€100 to spend with each person on your team. You say you’re 30 something. €100 multiplied by 30 something. The only rule is that you can’t give them the money or a gift card, and you need to buy the same thing for everyone.

Sara Magnabosco:

The same thing for everyone. Oh, my God.

Luis Magalhaes:

It doesn’t need to be items. It could be bits of bites of even an experience.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. I was thinking right away of an experience because that’s what I value the most. Honestly, 100 I think I would like the team members to have a shared experience even if they don’t do it together. It would be maybe everyone needs to go paragliding.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice. Wow. Okay. That’s definitely an experience.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

All right. What about yourself? What purchase have you made in the past year or six months that has made your work life easier or more productive?

Sara Magnabosco:

Interesting. It would be easier to answer my private life. Now, I need to think about my work life. Honestly, I just bought yesterday a new online course. I think we never stopped learning, especially now with remote work being so more mainstream, I’m always curious to know how other people work remotely because there is always something to learn from each other, so I just bought an online course on how to manage a remote team. Maybe I’m not going to learn anything new because now I’ve been doing it for a while, but I’m always sure that I’m going to learn something, even if it’s just a tiny bit on the last lesson, it’s always very interesting.

Luis Magalhaes:

This is the 130th episode. I’m recording and I still learn something new with each

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Definitely, you can always learn something new. That’s actually pretty good. I hope it goes well for you. If you enjoy it, let me know because I might just get it for myself. It’s always nice. I actually love courses. I’m a bit addicted to books and courses to be honest.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Even if I don’t learn anything from them, I just enjoy doing them.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Okay. I know I’m going to learn something new.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Exactly. Let’s talk a bit about books. Do you enjoy books? Do you enjoy gifting books specifically? Are you a…?

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Actually, the specific about management or just books?

Luis Magalhaes:

Just in general. Just tell me what are the books you gift the most. I suppose that if you gift them the most is because you think they will mean something to the people that you’re giving.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. It’s actually a book, but it’s only in Italian. It’s written by a nomad and it basically just tells his life for how he was a very normal Italian guy who was just not seeing himself with the normal path of go to university, get a job, buy a house, get married and then retire and then maybe enjoy the world. This guy just tells his story of how we started to live abroad, and then eventually ended up becoming a nomad, and he became a writer. I read this book actually after a couple of years that it was published because I thought, “Okay. I’m already a nomad. I know these things. I don’t need to read someone to tell me how to do it.” And then, I actually read it and I was so blown away by how many thoughts we shared. He had the ability to put into words many things that were in my mind and I was not able to explain to my family or to my friends.

Sara Magnabosco:

What I did is that I have the paper book, and I actually took notes and highlight parts, and then I gave it to my mom. She can understand now better why and how I live this lifestyle, and now the same book is actually going around my friends. All my Italian friends are sedentary. They have regular jobs and they are very successful at that, and I’m always the weird one. Really, that book was so helpful for all of them to understand me better. That’s definitely something I-

Luis Magalhaes:

For the Italian-speaking listeners that I know there are at the very least two, because they send me messages and I know that they read and speak Italian, what is the title of the book?

Sara Magnabosco:

It’s which is like the happiness coordinate. That’s also one of the reasons why I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t like the title. I said, “I don’t know. I’m happy. I’m a nomad. I don’t need to read this.” I’m so happy I read it. Now, I’m reading a classic that many people told me to read a while ago and I never done, which is Daring Greatly.

Luis Magalhaes:

Daring Greatly.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. From Brené Brown. I just told my mom to buy the Italian version. She’s also reading it. That’s definitely not the kind of book she used to read, but it’s a book all about vulnerability and these things. I alternate for normal books and more learning books.

Luis Magalhaes:

Awesome.

Sara Magnabosco:

That’s definitely a good one. Another one that I think I would recommend to managers of teams is Creativity Inc, the one written by the co-founder of Pixar. That was also something I read a few months ago now.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice.

Sara Magnabosco:

That I really, really, really enjoyed. Of course, it talks a lot about the office dynamics, but again, we can always learn something and adapt it to our situation.

Luis Magalhaes:

Of course. Those are some good suggestions. Thank you for sharing. This should be easy for you, the last question, because you are usually … You know how to plan events. Let’s say that you’re hosting a dinner and in attendance are going to be the decision makers of some of the biggest tech companies in the world. The dinner is going to have a team, the team of remote work and the future of work, that’s what’s going to be discussed. It’s happening in a Chinese restaurant. You as the host get to write a message that goes inside the fortune cookie. What will these people read once they open their fortune cookie.

Sara Magnabosco:

Wow. That’s amazing. I actually want to do this now in the next event –

Luis Magalhaes:

Feel free to do it. I’d love to have the real-life case study.

Sara Magnabosco:

I’d say embrace the unknown. I think that with COVID, no one knew what was going to happen and we all had to get the most out of it. We all embrace the unknown.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice. Embracing the unknown. That’s a good place where we can end. That was great, Sara. It was an absolute pleasure having you. Please, tell our listeners a little bit about Hacker Paradise and about where can they reach out to you to continue the conversation and learn a bit more about what you do and what Hacker Paradise offers.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah. Sure. Hacker Paradise is a community of remote workers. It’s all about people who can work from anywhere and decide to do it while traveling around the world. As Hacker Paradise, we facilitate the logistics. We find housing, coworking space, all those things that take a lot of time for you to plan on your own. Most importantly, we provide the community. You are going to spend a month, two or three in Mexico or in Thailand or in Bali or even in Africa or in Europe, and you are not going to do it alone. You’ll just do it with an amazing community of remote workers. We are all very dedicated to work.

Sara Magnabosco:

Work is very important to us, and then of course we have fun. Just don’t imagine a bunch of people on a spring break because that’s definitely not the vibe we cultivate. It’s really inspiring. We come from a little bit all over the world, different backgrounds, so it’s really the best way to work from anywhere. Website, hackerparadise.org. There is an application process that usually ends up with a chat with me. We can definitely chat more about Hacker Paradise. That’s it.

Luis Magalhaes:

Cool. Where can people find you?

Sara Magnabosco:

Me? I’d say on Instagram.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay.

Sara Magnabosco:

@lasaz11, or on LinkedIn, Sara Magnabosco.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. We’ll have the links.

Sara Magnabosco:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Thank you so much, Sara. This was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for being part of the show. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the DistantJob Podcast, a podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. See you next week.

Luis Magalhaes:

And so, we close another episode of the DistantJob Podcast. 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’re 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.

Luis Magalhaes:

Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcasts, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form, 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. To help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. With that, [inaudible 00:45:22]. See you next week on the next episode of DistantJob Podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

As remote work makes its way through the corporate world, people are looking for ways to improve their quality of life. For many, this means becoming digital nomads.

During this podcast episode, Sara Magnabosco reveals how to manage a remote team being a digital nomad and, more importantly, how to create a sense of community among team members that live in different parts of the world.

''It’s very important to understand how people think, how your employees, your team members think because we know there are different ways of getting work done.'' Click To Tweet

Highlights:

  • Setting boundaries while working remotely
  • How to prioritize work-life balance
  • Managing time-zones while being a digital nomad
  • Setting expectations with your team members
  • Insights on the future of coworking
  • How to cultivate a sense of community

Book Recommendation:

 

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