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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

This is a comment that I have heard a lot since the forced remote work experience. Which of course is completely understandable. To stay connected as a distributed team happens by DESIGN, it has to be baked into how the team works and of course the tools they use to do so. Most businesses that have been forced into this situation have not had the time to DESIGN a digital workplace that can make their teams feel truly connected despite any distance.

If you are going to do this for awhile, as I have said before, you need to hit the pause button and get all the pieces in place before doing anything else. Not doing so is going to mean feeling disconnected, loss of productivity and huge amounts of frustration.

Fortunately we have examples of companies who have been doing all this really well for years — case in point Automattic. 1,000+ employees, no central office, spread out over 70+ countries.

This is how they stay connected.