As the leader of what I am now calling a blended team, I am painfully aware of the inequity between the experiences of my in-person team and my virtual subcontractors.
Jessica, my assistant, has constant access to me. Our standing work stations face each other. Sharon, who manages our finances, is my running partner, and we’ve recently resumed weekday runs.
Now that we have several team members working in the house, we have breaks for coffee sometimes and have initiated a salad bar lunch; everyone brings items and we build salads and eat together. There’s a rumor that Fridays include a happy hour, but so far, those rumors seem to be barely substantiated.
Even the local team members who don’t work here daily have the opportunity, at least, to stop by in person for meetings. Though I know this is a very nontraditional working environment, with several people here each day, and multiple offices in my home, it feels a lot more like “going to work” than it did when I worked solo.
So, sometimes I feel guilty about the lack of face-time with our distributed work force. To fix that, I’m planning a summer tour. I’m traveling with my daughters to Florida to visit my parents. Normally, I would fly. This time, I’m going to drive instead, for a chance to connect with both team members and clients.
My first stop is Beckley, West Virginia, where I’ll have the chance to spend time with Max — we’ve never met! — and Megan, who started and grew our digital publicity service. I can’t wait to meet their kids and explore Athena Farm & Vineyard; they’re generously donating a place for us to gather.
The second stop will be Asheville, North Carolina, where several North Carolina and Tennessee subcontractors will meet. We’re looking for sponsors for a meeting location or hotel night, and will gladly tweet, Instagram, and socially share your venue. We could potentially have 6 subcontractors meeting and we hope to welcome the amazing Bill Treasurer, a long-term client, to our meet-up.
Our stop in Atlanta, GA is sponsored by Chip Bell, who is providing hotel reward points for two hotel nights. I’m hoping to meet up with a few clients (we have more than a half dozen in Atlanta) and to fit in some fun times with my girls, including a trip to the corporate headquarters of Chick-Fil-A for a personal tour.
When I get to Florida, I am anticipating a meeting with our lead web developer, John Marcello, who is in Florida working this month from his home in Colombia, and with Paula Kiger, who manages leadchangegroup.com. Gainesville, Florida seems to be the meeting point of choice.
It’s the crazy Weaving Influence summer tour: 4 cities, 9 subcontractors, several clients, and four kids. I want to tell the story of the tour because it embodies the changing world of work.
People work in different places, in various ways, with flexible schedules, to create opportunities for great work/life fit. I can run my company, give my girls a glimpse into my work life, and nurture relationships with the great people who help me do great work in the world.
I can be a mom and a CEO because of the changes to how people work. I can create opportunities for others to do work they love in ways that fit their lives. I can bring people together, have fun, enjoy my team, enjoy my family.
We’re still looking for sponsors for our tour, so if you have any points you’d like toward our hotel or car rental, or if you’re a venue, hotel, or car company and would like to donate food, space, a car, or a hotel night, contact me today! We’ll tweet, blog, and share socially about the way you are contributing to our company’s growth and success.
Looking forward to it! #TeamWIFlorida (well, #TeamWIFloridaColombia but you know what I mean!).
I look forward to seeing you again, Paula!