Starter Kit to Rewire Your Remote Team


Welcome to your starter kit 🚀

PART ONE Read through an outline of common dynamics that undermine good remote work culture. Reflect on what your team’s challenges might be.
PART TWO Engage your team in a session to better understand what’s working — and what isn’t — in their remote work. Identify priorities for making changes.

Who Wrote This

This was put together by Alix Dunn and the crew at the Remote Culture Club. We work with teams and leaders to build stronger remote practices so you can get more done, with less friction, and more connection. We have a combined decades of experience leading and working in remote teams, and love working with teams that want to build a remote culture that, well, works!

Want to talk about our programs of support?


5 Destructive Dynamics & What To Do About Them


1️⃣ The availability trap.

Scenario You are collaborating across two teams in an ongoing project. You are curious about what happens next, or are looking for clarification about something. Your first port of call is to ask a question directly to one of your colleagues over chat or email. For work to move forward, people have to be ‘around’.

➡️ This is the availability trap.

When peers hit a block or need to find information, they reach out to another colleague. This used to be the normal way to do things. In fact, asking for information is where a lot of conversation happens, and sometimes people confuse it with collaboration. In a remote team, this pattern is a killer. It means that people in a lot of different times zones, with different responsibilities have to be available to make work for someone else possible. The problem with that? It means people are incentivised to be ‘always on’ as the green dot, and we start to confuse availability with impact. This isn’t helped by the old school approach of presenteeism where managers measure the quality of an employee based on the time they are ‘in the office’.

✅ What to do about the availability trap.

Try a thought experiment. What would my team need if we weren’t able to have a meeting for 2 weeks? Don’t freak out! But really let yourself explore that question. This is the start to understanding how to build a team that is more and more capable of working asynchronously.

2️⃣ The keyhole effect.

Scenario: You don’t invite someone on another team to join a meeting. At that meeting, you and your colleagues make a decision. You then share that decision with the person who wasn’t invited. They are upset about the decision and want to discuss it. What do you do? You choose to to "hop on the phone" with that person, so now your day has one more call and you have one less break.

➡️ This is the keyhole effect.

We peek into keyholes so we can see what’s happening in meetings because that’s how we’re used to knowing what’s going on. We only get limited information because we weren’t there, and then we get stressed out, left out, and feeling side-lined. We’re much more likely to disagree with what comes out of a conversation we weren’t able to participate in and so it’s harder to make decisions, and create an environment of inclusion unless meetings are packed with too many people, or we have ‘check-ins’ with everyone that could possibly be implicated in a choice.

✅ What to do about the keyhole effect

Review your calendar. Is anyone going to be peering through the keyhole worried they don’t know what’s going on? If so, how can you communicate more effectively about what happened during and after?

3️⃣ The mega telephone.

Scenario: You are on an email thread with 3 colleagues. Over the course of the next 2-3 days, 3 more colleagues are added to the thread so they can ‘chime in’ or ‘be read in’. By the end of the week, the email thread is nearly impossible to parse for people that have been in it since the beginning.And for those that aren’t on the thread? They’re left out entirely.

➡️ This is the mega telephone dynamic.

When you are a team that uses the MegaTelephone, you regularly use 1:1 modes of communication (like email or chat) to have group conversations. This creates a casual environment for communication that makes it hard to tell what’s important. It also makes conversation, decision-making, and longer-term alignment really challenging. You’re always digging for information, reading between the lines of a conversation, and re-confirming what came out of a conversation in chat, or email, or small meetings.

✅ What to do about the mega telephone.

When you convene in-person conversations when there are more than 5 people, how do you structure these events and document them? Now return to the last group discussion you trapped in a 1:1 platform like email. What would you need to do to create the space for quality conversation, engagement and decision-making?

4️⃣ The spew.

Scenario: Your team likes to take notes in meetings. They like to write down their thoughts. They like to share things that might be of interest for colleagues. They like to weigh in with thoughts and ideas. They like to make documents to articulate their ideas, strategies, and processes. One problem: the sheer volume of information! In teams suffering from the spew, creating information is easier than consuming it. And it takes a toll. People get behind on email, and even if they aren’t stuck in the availability trap, they get bombarded with 7 links to documents. Things are ‘captured’ but what should be accessible documentation turns into a rabbit hole of complexity. This leads to miscommunication, a false sense of security for managers (it’s in a document somewhere!), and exhaustion.

➡️ This is the spew.

Your first instinct might be to make a document of documents, or a list of lists, or a process of processes. But sadly, this 'solution' just makes it worse. You need to reset the relationship between documentation and communication. Documentation is meant to share actionable information for people that had no hand in creating it.

✅ What to do about the spew.

Look at the last piece of documentation you read. What would have made it easier to take action based on the information? Now look at the last documentation you made. What could you have done differently to help others process that information?

5️⃣ Syncopation.

Scenario: You finish a big project that you have been spearheading. It’s Friday morning for you, and your first work day after getting it done. You feel deep relief and satisfaction that it’s done. You’re really proud, and can’t wait to show it off. Then you realise that most of your team is in a kick off meeting for a new project today, and because you’re on the road, most of your work day doesn’t overlap. You end the week feeling alone, looking forward to the weekend, and by the time Monday rolls around, you’re feeling a little confused about whether it’s even worth bringing up.

➡️ This is the syncopation.

It is really common for teams that work across time zones. If we don’t do anything about our team rhythms they become individualised, and then everything feels off. In music, syncopation is when beats happen in between where we expect them. It is really off-putting and creates a powerful effect. My favorite example is the Thom Yorke song Videotape. It might not be your style of music, but universally we feel that it’s off even if we can’t pinpoint why or how.

✅ What to do about syncopation.

First, map the rhythms you feel personally in your work (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly). And then do the same thing for your team or organization. Do that for your organisation or team. Are they aligned? If not, what moments might you put in place at what cadence to start building that rhythm?


Step-by-step session

The dynamics hopefully help you start to identify things that aren’t working. A lot of these are pretty deeply embedded in organisations, so it will take time to make changes that last. And you can’t do it alone.


Why run it

With an hour of time, you can get a quick sense of what people on your team think and feel about your remote culture. Your team will crack open a challenging for important conversation, and you’ll have ideas for what you might want to spend time changing over the coming months.

How to run it

  1. Copy this worksheet
  2. Assign a facilitator
  3. Schedule an hour with your team and communicate the objective
  4. Host the session
  5. Identify low-hanging fruit and longer term priorities
Have questions or want to know how to run this async?

Drop us a line at

We’d love to help.

Session Objectives

Through going through this workshop, your team will:

  1. Better understand the way individuals on the team experience your remote culture
  2. Discuss the size and shape of the challenge
  3. Lay the groundwork for making changes

Time Required

60 Minutes


Facilitator: assign someone to frame the conversation and hold space for the discussion

Session structure

Session & Segue
Duration (min)
Get everyone familiar with the aims of the conversation to manage expectations
Tee up the session. We’re going to work through steps together to better understand what’s working and what isn’t in our teamwork. We’ll explore the 3Cs: coordination, connection, and collaboration. These categories can frame the conversation about what is working and what is not. 
Map individual perspectives on where you are doing a good job and where people are struggling
Next, we’ll dig into each of the 3Cs for our team to identify:   - Where are we CRUSHING IT in terms of remote culture?  - What feels UGH in our remote culture?  Share a link to the worksheet that you copied [find the link above under ‘How to run it’]. Give participants 10 minutes to free write bullets in the first exercise table. (You can also run this as a post-it exercise) Ask team members to start in the  “CRUSHING IT” column and then move onto things that are “UGH.” Once everyone’s ideas are up, ask people to scan the document and see if they notice patterns or themes.
Reflect on patterns
Start a reflection conversation about what they are seeing: What are they seeing repeated? What’s surprising?
Imagine what it would look like if it were working well
It’s time for FUTURE PERFECT!  What would the future perfect state of our remote culture look and feel like? Move to the second table in the exercise document. Instruct participants to write as many bullet points as they can in the time allotted, using the following prompts: I want to feel ____ I want it to be easy to ____ We can _______
Reflect on patterns
Start a reflection conversation about what they are seeing in the FUTURE PERFECT table. What are they seeing repeated? What’s surprising?
Wrap up to build momentum to develop experiments
Wrap up with a discussion of where you are now and a discussion of how you’ll continue this work moving forward. If the mood feels good, try a concluding go round asking what they want to see come next.  [After the session: with a smaller group or those mandated with working on remote culture and work, run through step three of the Remote Culture Team Session worksheet, linked above.]