Written by Kirsten Clacey in collaboration with Anna-Maria Todorova and Ashley Scrace Wendel
You can download the pdf with the full Remote Open Space Guide here.
Distributed working is becoming the norm for many companies today, particularly in the tech field.
While the benefits are numerous (Such as focus, flexibility and efficiency), there are some real challenges. Communication, collaboration and human-connection are consistently reported as being difficult.
So how can remote organisations come together in healthy, organic ways? How can you gather everyone, in one place, to explore topics they care about, without the overhead of travel?
Welcome then to Open Space – a format which is truly inclusive and invites everyone’s participation. And despite what you may think, it’s something that can be held remotely too.
This year, eyeo held its first fully-remote, company-wide Open Space. Juggling time zones from Hawaii to Indonesia and finding remote collaboration tools that could handle an entire company were just a few factors that made the event complex. But fun? Definitely. And we’ll certainly be doing it all again.
As with most complex spaces, one can only plan and control so much, the rest is best understood through experimentation, feedback and iteration. Rather than keep our findings to ourselves, we want to share our learnings.
This guide is intended to help you get started. By the end, you’ll discover:
- How you can bring fresh energy and life to your distributed spaces.
- What is needed to kick-off an Open Space remotely
- What benefits Open Space can bring to you and your team
Questions to get your Open Space started:
Preparation is everything:
- What question will spark passion and fuel discussion for a diverse group, spread across the world?
- How can you identify unnecessary complexity and iterate towards simplicity?
- How can you create energy and excitement for the event?
Navigating remote challenges:
- How can you create an equal opportunity for everyone or contribute?
- What can serve as an anchor for people?
- How can you create an inclusive space for all timezones?
- How can you leverage asynchronous collaboration in your Open Space?
Thinking about tooling:
- What are the simplest tools you can use to achieve your purpose?
- What backup plans can be put in place in case your tools encounter issues?
- What might you be adding in the way of tools that creates more noise than value?
- What instructions do people need in order to know how to navigate the tools?
Honouring the principles of Open Space:
- What are you planning to do that might be something participants could do for themselves?
- Where might chaos be helpful and where might it hurt?
- What virtual coffee cups can you find during the event?
- How can you maintain energy and focus during the event in the simplest way?
- What team is needed to make this event a success?
The work afterwards:
- How can you create space for people to take responsibility?
- What can you do when the event ends to bring the outcomes together?
- How can you learn from the experience?
- What do you need to do to take care of yourself and others after the event?
If you would like to see our artefacts, you can check them out here: