S5 E32 | Recruiting Community: Line Morkbak and Remote Collaboration

Line Morkbak, CXR Lecturer, global speaker, and industry expert, shares her tips and insights on remote working and collaboration with host, Chris Hoyt.

S5 E32 | Recruiting Community: Line Morkbak and Remote Collaboration

Line Morkbak, CXR Lecturer, global speaker, and industry expert, shares her tips and insights on remote working and collaboration with host, Chris Hoyt.

Chris Hoyt, CXR
So Line, did you say that you’ve been on you just got back from a vacation?

Line Morkbak 0:04
Just got back from vacation I’m European and I was back visiting family in Denmark where I’m from and then we went to Italy for two weeks so I cannot complain

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:15
I don’t really go we’re in Italy did you get to go

Line Morkbak 0:18
We ended was in Rome we have some friends who have a small village a small town small his parents house in a small town called Frausto outside of Rome and then we went through Tuscany and hit the hit the coast as well and took the train back to Rome. So yes, we we did it

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:35
Oh man that’s it’s on my list. I have never been well I was when I was baby was a little bit of baby. Of course, I remember nothing. But it’s been

Line Morkbak 0:44
Yeah. Yeah, we had a really good family trip. Like years ago with my with my family and my husband and I have two kids. And during the pandemic it was one of them came up again and again it’s like oh, what was one of the best trips we had and and so it’s like we need and that was that trip to Italy so I was like, oh, we need to do that again. Kind of the combo a big city renting a little Fiat Pando going around the countryside but also being on the trains a European trains are just great. Right and, and, you know, we’ve teen so it’s just fun to fun to travel with them in that way.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:17
Yeah, I can’t wait with it with travel coming back. You know, it’s opening back up and I mean, we just did a month remote, but coming it’s not the same as like a vacation vacation and we’ve been just trying to figure out where will we go in Europe keeps coming up because we just we just miss it so much.

Line Morkbak 1:30
I know. I know. Yeah. Well, I always miss it because it’s my it’s my home continent. But yes, it was lovely to be back.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:40
Nice. Well, welcome back. You’re ready to get started?

Line Morkbak 1:43
Yes, I am.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:43
All right, here we go.

Announcer 1:46
Welcome to the CXR channel. Our premier podcasts for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. Listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:16
Okay, welcome to today’s edition of CXR recruiting community podcasts. Now weekly. This is where we come together with recruiting industry leaders, practitioners, analysts, personalities and friends just to kind of talk about what’s going on what’s top of mind for them. And just to catch up live now. If you haven’t already, please be sure to hit subscribe. And like on our podcast show, wherever you may be watching or listening. We broadcast on all of the major platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and probably a few that you’ve never heard of. But we’re also streaming on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And of course, our website at CXR.works/podcast. Now, those likes and subscribes are what drive the creation of more of these episodes are member leaders and your comments on those channels, helped to determine what the topics are and who we invite as a guest, which is why I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest. And while it is her first time on our community podcast, it is not her first time in front of our members. Line Morkbak is an expert in remote collaboration and productivity. She has contributed to countless sessions and even CEO a net dollars book global perspectives. And she is the founder and Managing Director of Global LEAP consulting, and one of our most recent lecture series presenters, you can find more about that on CXR.works/lecture, by the way, but Line, I want to go ahead and welcome you to the show. It’s really great to see you again.

Line Morkbak 3:38
Thank you. And thanks for inviting me in. I think it came up after the lecture conversation back in I think back in May or something. And I was happy that you guys reached out. So thanks for inviting me.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:50
Oh, it was immediate. I mean, it was the response we got from our members because the topic was remote 3.0. Right. There’s this work piece that we’re all sort of struggling with. And it was immediate, because we were like more, we need some more, more information. So it’s just fantastically Line, before we really jump in, why don’t you kind of give everyone a little bit of sort of I like to call an escalator pitch of who you are and what you do and why people should. People should be paying attention to you.

Line Morkbak 4:20
Okay, well, my name is Line Morkbak. And you can see by my name that even though I’m joining from the West Coast of the US, I’m not American. I do live in the US with my family. But I’m originally from Denmark. I’m Danish, lived in Europe for a lot of my career. But I run my own business, which is called Global LEAP, consulting, where I’m supporting international teams collaborate together, and that collaboration very very often happens in a remote space. I’ve been doing remote work for 15-16 years. So a long time before there was any COVID words and bugs in the world. And I’ve been helping people to connect, build their team, build that rapport with each other and, and feel that you have get a sense of team even if you’re not get a chance to be in the same office every day.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:16
Well, you know, it’s funny you mention that later, because one of the things I wanted to ask you, you’ve obviously been doing this type of work, right, this collaboration and workspace thought leadership for quite some time long before the pandemic ever rolled around. Right? Before would you say before there were these bugs floating around? So in the last two years, is there anything that has really stood out to you? Because you’ve been doing it long before that this emergence, this crazy phenomena of hybrid work and remote work? Is there anything that really stands out to you that you’ve sort of watched happen in the last couple of years?

Line Morkbak 5:51
Oh, yes, yes. I think two things, two things really stand out. First of all, people’s curiosity and appetite. Many of us who’ve done this for a long time have been for years and years saying, Okay, you can do this, okay, you can, you don’t have to send people across the world on on crazy travel budget all the time, we could do an off site where we come together, hybrid, or we come together, remote, and I’ll happy to design it for you and, and create that space. And of course, I did a lot of that. But it was a it was a high, it was a hard to sell. And it was hard to convince people. And of course, what happened with the pandemic was people, they had to listen, they had to do it. And a lot of them experienced himself, which was great to see. Because, yes, I got pulled in as an expert for a lot of things. But a lot of this doesn’t always meet the experts, a lot of it is also like mess around with sell yourself, try and find out, what is your style to have a conversation? Are you already facilitating meetings, facilitated, facilitating workshops? How do you do that? And how do you then want to do that online. So that would say, that was one thing that really has been wonderful to see that people’s curiosity and appetite has been, have been enlivened, and kind of kick started. So it’s great to see, okay, we’re not having conversations on like, How do I turn on Zoom, but really like, oh, I also share my music, what kind of whiteboard is your favorite, you know, what’s these other tools we can use? So that’s one thing that I would say, another thing is something that those of us who’ve done this work for a long time also know is that we really have to be very careful when we work online, and remote to manage our own time. Because we can get really ended up overworking ourselves getting burned out because we can always be on Oh, it’s okay, I can have my nice showed up here. And I can be in my PJs. And yes, I can jump in that meeting, even though it’s 11pm. Maybe you shouldn’t be jumping on that meeting at 11pm. Maybe you should ask a colleague to get some of the main notes from that. And know that your colleague is there representing your team, and you don’t need to be there. So part or another thing that I’ve seen is people wanting to do it all be like, oh, like why we can do all this, look how product product productive we can be. But we are going to burn out if you continue to do that people have done this for a long, long time knows that. So it’s also really looking at our work patterns have some good rituals in terms of how do we when do we step into work? When do we step away? When do we get our exercise? How do we create ways to still have a commute in our life or some reflection times downtime? Get those shower ideas like create that patterns? Because just because we can doesn’t mean we should be online all the time with our colleagues.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:40
It’s Line it’s interesting, you say that. So I have been remote for maybe a decade now, almost fully remote in the last six years fully remote. And this, this migration was not a challenge for me. Or for people like me who’ve been doing that we figured out our work boundaries, right? I’m not gonna say balance. I don’t I don’t think there’s work life balance. I think there’s work life boundaries. And so I think we figured those out, we figured out that in order to be productive, we still have to brush our teeth and brush our hair, even though we’re not going to look at anybody, right? We knew those things. But it occurred to me a few months ago that a lot of people are still struggling after two years of working this way. And I’m wondering if it is more a reflection of their leadership and the support given to them to work that way or, I don’t know if, I’d be interested to know if you see it a little bit differently. But like, you know, if I just plop you down and say you can work remote, you’re fine. But if my leaders aren’t behind that, or don’t know how to do it either. Am I Suffering?

Line Morkbak 9:40
Yes. I think every time good leadership good leadership is when they those people also role modeling and being very explicit about hey, I found out what works for me is to have a structure and not just fall into PJ I’m still at college. I’ll just crunch this out when I need to. That kind of thing. Yes, there’s a freedom in it. It’s kind of like a novelty for a moment. But we’re adults. And we also need to have a life outside of our work. And we also want to show up great refreshed and eager to do the work when we are showing up and doing great collaboration with our colleagues. And so I think modeling and being very explicit, have conversations and even like inspirational conversation pulling people in to share some of that, but also giving some guidelines around Oh, what are within some very rarely Can you do it like company wide, but you can do it within within department, you can do it within teams having good conversations around, what are roughly roughly our times when we can get hold of each other, and what channels are okay to get hold on each other on each other through right, like, and having those kinds of collaboration agreements and those conversations upfront. So that we are getting that we’re making it very clear that people should create those boundaries, but though they’re themselves going to know, Oh, I’d love to work early, because then I’ll take a morning run at 10. After, you know, after I’m done. So it’s not like I want you to tell I can’t work at six because I it’s great for me to work at six and then you know so. So it’s it’s it, that’s what this new way of working has really opened up for is how do we get all that flexibility in there and also make sure that we we guide people to create boundaries, that their that their workplace is a healthy container that they that they can that they can design themselves?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:34
Are you seeing in my news feed, what I’m seeing lately is an awful lot of, and I don’t have a kind of word for it, but a lot of fear mongering headlines that are telling millennials and the following generations that they just better not get used to work in in their pajama pants, right? And then they’re telling them that that flexibility is on its way out. Those days are done. Do you? Are you seeing the same thing? Is that a customer feed for me? Are you seeing new snippets coming?

Line Morkbak 12:09
I do think there is an older generation that wants that to be the truth. And who’s also saying yes, we’re not a college. So it has to be serious. And therefore we can’t necessarily just get it how we want and train for an Ironman is the weights at the same time as having a career job, you know, those kinds of things, right. And, and I think there’s a certain mindset where it becomes either or so now you have to get back. And this is what work looks like. And I think that as we’re now phasing out or off the pandemic, if we I mean, we don’t know, things are changing, right? Like and we’re getting, we’re definitely getting used to that there’s a certain way that we did that. We can expect how we are working, and more and more hybrid is popping up. And the hybrid becomes that conversation of like, and different organizations do different things, right? Like I just worked with a with a big company out of Sweden, where where they’re like, well, as an organization, we’re deciding you can’t do 100% remote, but you can you have to have some sort of person in the office. But within your team, you’re designing what that office presence is because we’re going to do hybrid, and maybe that your team is like once a month, or maybe it’s three times a week, you have that conversation and figure out what works in your team. And then you settle at that for a period of time. And then it comes back up for renegotiation. And you figure that out, right. So that’s the beauty of hybrid. And that’s what I see more and more becomes this. Actually the what would you call it like the the compromise between the people saying we have to go back? And that is how we do serious work and the people’s like, well, I just want to be remote forever and ever. Is the hybrid right? And finding out well, what are the what are the ways it’s beneficial for us to do in person and lift and focus on when are those Oh, that’s our annual, all hands on deck for the organization. We want that to be in person, great. We want our monthly strategy conversation that should be in person. But there’s other things we can do remote or as a team, we might say, Oh, we definitely want Monday morning to be in person because there’s something that happens in terms of how we plan plan the week. So that’s how we do it. Right. So it’s those conversations I think so important and not the fear mongering.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:40
Because I think what I what I think I hear you saying is it’s not those organizations who are saying, You got to be here three days a week you pick the days, that’s just not enough in that that’s checking a box that’s making sure that the real estate we paid for gets utilized. That’s just you know that that’s not being mindful of why they need to come into the office or necessarily coordinating to make most of the office time because I gotta tell you, we know some folks who were forced to go back into the office, and they’re back in the office doing zoom calls. And it’s making them a little crazy that their employers are checking card swipes, and they’re making sure people are coming in the doors, but they’re saying, Look, I’m, I’m sitting in, I’m sitting in a cubicle all day long on a video call, I could have done this at home, I didn’t even need to put pants on.

Line Morkbak 15:27
Exactly, exactly. So I think that’s where we’re, that’s where I think there was a lot of organization like, oh, when we can get back, let’s get back x amount of days of the week, right? Yes, the real estate we have. And also because they also there was a portion of colleagues who really did not do very well online, and they needed to come back, right. And then there’s, and then there was also some sort of equality of like, there’s people who have to be here because of productions, or retopo, keeping the lights on and it also fear that because they had to be here during the pandemic. Now, we’re also back, you know, so I think right now we’re in this period where we’re trying to figure out well, what makes sense going forward? Because well, I can see here, I’m based in Portland, Oregon, what I can see with several organizations, he has like, oh, they have like three floors in an office building. Well, now they have one floor, and then they’re starting to use different ways of coming together. And there’s a there’s an really cool new startup here, which is, which is kinda like, like Airbnb, but for office spaces. Okay, it was like, Oh, well, if you don’t only have so many, now, there’s this amount of cubicles and these amount of office spaces. But now there’s a budget for you to then hire, like book, meeting rooms, or houses in Portland, for you to do those in person, things that you want to do with your team. It doesn’t have to be in the office, but you get back into, you know, hang out together. So there is. So I think that’s some of the new things that’s happening is like, Oh, the company can say great, and we don’t have to pay for all the square footage, we’ll quit. We’ll pay for a third of it. And then we’ll spend, we’ll we’ll spend that we’ll use that momentum to start refining what is my what is that people need. And if they were trying to design our workspace as a coffee shop, well, they could just hang out in the coffee shop, if that’s what they want. And then we don’t have to have a coffee shop, right like, or, you know what I mean? Like, I think those changes are some of the things we’re going to see,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:26
it’s a, it’s a tough pill to swallow, I’ll use the Bay Area, because I lived out there for a number of years, it’s a tough pill to swallow for organizations who have five, five buildings, right or 20 buildings on this campus that they have built. So I can, I can absolutely hear the argument of all creativity goes, our culture gets damaged. But I’m, I’m, I’m sort of walking down a path of you know, the only way that happens is if you don’t get innovative, if you don’t get smart about how you change it. It’s not about coming in three days a week, it’s about what you’re going to do and be really, really mindful of what that in office time should look like.

Line Morkbak 18:06
Yes, and I think that’s a really important thing to, to kind of get at the heart of because most organizations have unless they were startups that were that grew out of being remote to begin with. But most other organizations have a culture that was built around an in person presence, and an in person office. So some organizations feel a little desperate or lost, like what happens with our culture, if that’s not who we are. And it’s a great opportunity to to go then go see, well. Let’s then look at what are some core values is really central to us? What are some ways in terms of our product in terms of in terms of the things that we want to change in the world, how we want to come together? What kind of colleagues do we want to pull in that we want to work together with? That’s our culture. And that is now going to get build on an attitude, that culture that you had, but now it might be some sort of hybrid? And then take that I will encourage you to take that convert, take that, grab that kind of invitation to see what does that then look like, as we’re shaping a culture that’s not necessarily just defined around the physical building that we’re in.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:15
Yeah it seems to me there might be an opportunity for a product. I’m sure somebody’s already doing this. But that is more than just a scheduling platform, but something internally that helps with a more meaningful schedule. You know, I don’t know, I don’t I don’t know what it looks like. But I feel like if you know what I mean, like, is

Line Morkbak 19:33
One thing you’re hitting out here, which is one thing that’s very challenging about hybrid is like, Okay, well, I want to be in on those two days. My other colleagues want to be on this Thursdays and I’m like, Great, now I’m here and no one’s here because they were here yesterday, and they’re not here today. So a big piece of hybrid is to be very adult and mature around the collaboration or the organ like coordinating of when are we deciding that we’re going to show up together and yes, we want flexibility. Guess what, it’s not a one person gets Like, we have to be like, Oh, that works for my colleagues. And I’m going to come in on that day because that’s what we decide works for us.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:06
Or visability into when my colleagues have already said there’ll be no.

Line Morkbak 20:12
There’s a cool app called cafe that actually does that. That gives that it’s kind of like, it’s a way of everyone can say, Oh, well, today, I’m working from remote and I’m going to see clients so used to text my cell phone because or WhatsApp because I’m going to be on the road. Today I am going to be working with this person has a big presentation, send me an email, but I’ll only be checking it periodically. Or today I’m going to be in the office, I hope to see you around lunch in the cafeteria. So there’s a way you can do that. Where can you find me? Even though I am different places because it really is about where can I find you? You might colleage it I need you today? I have a question. I’m sure you can help me. Where are you? Oh, I’ll text you on WhatsApp. And I get you. Right?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:52
Yeah. Can we make the live meetings as easy as we’ve learned to make the virtual meetings?

Line Morkbak 20:58
Exactly, exactly. Yeah.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 21:00
So Line, what? What’s another resource, I mean, you mentioned cafe, but are there any other resources that someone may be struggling to be their most productive self, when working remotely should should sort of check out to help with their productivity.

Line Morkbak 21:14
Um, I and this is one thing that actually came up when we had our lecture, there’s a, I love to use two different apps, that’s helping me with my my own personal productivity, I use what’s called cave day, which is a community that goes in and do these kind of productivity slots together. So you’re just kind of being helped and like turn off all your, all your notifications, we’re going to do Sprint’s together for like, you know, two hours or one hour, depending on what you sign up for. So that’s a tool cave day, I really liked that community and what people do there together, it’s not you’re not presenting anything, or you’re not, but you just kind of you stepping into a space and someone else is holding it for you. And then you just do those kinds of very concentrated, focused work, which is some of the things that a lot of us is missing, because it gets kind of fractured, and we get pulled in many different directions. So so that’s where I get my most most of my work done. And in those kind of, yeah, productivity slots. So that’s one tool that I use quite a bit. And yeah, we were just talking about hybrid. And so this is not so much about well, this is more about productivity as a as a team, with a government client here in the US that I worked with a start work came out to be a, like a, we, we developed a what’s called a hybrid blueprint, like a way that you can use as a team as you’re starting working together hybrid, the conversations, that’s important, too, to kind of have to make sure you have a good platform for that hybrid conversation, that collaboration common some of these kind of negotiable pieces, like what is is this, how we do this, how we do a lot around digital inclusiveness, like how can I make sure that whatever happens, no matter if I’m at home or in the office, everyone in the team has the information so I’m not left out? And because that’s a big part about hybrid. It’s like, oh, is it only the people who are in the office who suddenly gets the great, great juicy projects? Because they were around when the decision was made.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:28
I mean, that’s what everybody was saying. Right? If they see you they’re getting work if they don’t see you, you’re not getting the work you’re not getting the ackolades.

Line Morkbak 23:35
Yeah, so that’s important that we’re aware of that bias around proximity right like oh, he’s right there he must be a great person for that. No, no, no actually use that has had a lot of experience with that. And she’s not in as often as you look works a lot remote. See should be see might be the one who should do this, right, even though I don’t see her every day because she’s normally even in once a month. Right. So, so, so yeah, the the hybrid blueprint that I developed, that’s a great resource as well, if I may, or promote one of my own ones.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 24:03
Absolutely. And it’s it GLeapconsulting.com Right, correct. Yes. Well, and there’s another thing that you’re also working on that seems pretty incredible to me. So before we go, I want to talk a little bit about it. And that’s this this future of work 24 hours prior, can you talk a little bit about we got a fancy throw a little fancy, Oh, yes. ticker on the bottom. But can you can you talk to us about that.

Thank you for asking. This is my not my physical baby, but it’s one of my babies. A colleague of my April and I started this project about three years ago. It just came out of a conversation out of a passion of ours. We are both very passionate about what’s called open space like when you come together and create an agenda or a whole conference together over overall theme, but you don’t have keynotes. You don’t have people that’s that any schedule that’s done ahead of time, but the people who show up and is interested, they create the agenda, throw in topics hosts sessions together so it’s very organic so well it’s very self organized and future of work. 24 hours is where we once a year it will happen in May it’s going to happen in may get into 23. We do that online for 500 people from around the globe. So it runs for 24 hours. So it hits everyone’s timezones and it’s all volunteers. This year, we had 60 volunteers who designed and curated and held that space for everybody.

I just think that’s incredible. For those who are listening in are watching the URL, it’s futureofwork24hrs.space, future work 24 hours that space, and is it it’s free,

Line Morkbak 25:40
It’s it’s pay what you can, you can just share our tickets for $20 bucks. But you can also just so it’s not like this is I mean, we’re not earning money on it. It’s a passion project of ours. So it’s a round with where people discussing future work, where they come with their problems, where they come with solutions they’ve had, they maybe have done research within this, they want to hear what other people have done, they want to share their own knowledge. So future work is both around hybrid and remote collaboration. But it’s also around doing very different ways doing self organizing pieces, splintering some of those hierarchies, we typically have at work doing things radically or not so radically, but a little bit different than what we maybe have always done.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 26:23
I love it. I can’t wait to check that out. Thanks Line.

Line Morkbak 26:25
You should.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 26:27
Okay, so last thing, I’ve got to ask you a question. We asked it of all of our guests, Line, around this topic, if you were gonna write a book, and you may I’m shocked, you don’t have a series of these. But if you were gonna write a book on the topic, what what would the title what would the message the title of the book be?

Line Morkbak 26:43
Oh, my God. I did write a book in my previous career. So another on another topic. But something around a synchronous sparks. Oh, yeah, asynchronous spark. So what happens when we don’t have to be synchronous together, it doesn’t have to happen right on top of each other right at the same time, what sparks can happen when we’re actually opening up for that space that I created a video to send to you. You thought about that, then you added something in our online board. Some of our colleagues added something in it. It’s percolating for a week, and then we’re having a meeting synchronous together and all that all those sparks come to bid together to then conversation. So yeah, asynchronous sparks.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:30
Sounds like a productivity firework show.

Line Morkbak 27:33
Oh, yes, that may be.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:37
Alright, so I’m gonna put you on the spot as I love to do who gets the first signed copy?

Line Morkbak 27:43
Oh, my husband.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 27:46
Oh, that’s awesome.

Line Morkbak 27:48
He’s the one who? Yeah, he he’s, yeah. He thinks I’m a rock star. I’m, you know, how can you not love that? He’s my backup. He’s always there. Yes.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 28:01
Alright, Well, then in that case, I’m not going to ask you what you would write. We’ll just we’ll leave that between the two. Line, thank you so much for joining us. We’re really excited that you that you cut time out of your super busy schedule. To join us. We love the lecture series. I just want to remind anybody, if you have, if you are a CXR member, you get full access in the library. It’s you can find the lecture at CXR.works/lecture, if you are and within that lecture, obviously we have the one hour video but we also have a list of resources that Line shared with us. We will add these resources that she’s mentioned to the list. If you are not a CXR member and you want those list of resources, email me. It’s Chris@cxr.works I will get you that full list can’t see the video that’s for the members, but we will give you the full list of all the resources that she shared. And Line, I just want to thank you again. You’re just a rockstar and we’re just so grateful you could take the time out. Thank you so much.

Line Morkbak 28:53
Thanks for inviting me, have a good one.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 28:54
Hang out in the greenroom. We’ll talk in just a second.

Announcer 28:57
Thanks for listening to the CXR channel please subscribe to CXR on your favorite podcast resource and leave us a review while you’re at it. Learn more about CXR at our website CXR.works facebook.com and twitter.com/CareerXroads and on Instagram @careerXroads. We’ll catch you next time.