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Shopify, Salesforce, Basecamp join lineup for NZ remote working conference

 The RemoteTogetherNZ festival is gaining momentum with several organisations and experts added to the line up. 

The Queenstown-based festival, which runs 8 to 13 March, aims to help promote New Zealand Aotearoa as a global leader in remote and flexible work best practices.

Basecamp, Shopify, Salesforce, Pukeko Pictures, Wipster, NZ Trade & Enterprise, Unchatter and a host of other organisations have come together for the festival to present 40+ events.

They aim to arm Kiwis with the skills, tools and frameworks to thrive in the new digital normal by helping them challenge traditional thinking, evaluate their own business strategies and tailor them to maximise the freedom and benefits of flexible working.

Festival organiserTrent Yeo says RemoteTogetherNZ is about "exploring opportunities and solutions towards creating our ideal working future."

"Remote and flexible working isn't new to lots of people, particularly digital nomads who have been part of globally distributed teams for years, but others are now seeing the benefits and looking at transitioning the way they work," he says.

"From an employee point of view, flexibility is becoming expected and essential, and workplaces that offer it are increasingly sought after.

"RemoteTogetherNZ is a great opportunity to tap into the experience of leading remote/flexible best practice experts, overlay our own values, creativity and innovation, and work toward building more agile, resilient and inclusive workplaces with a multitude of drivers such as productivity and lifestyle."

The speaker and facilitation line-up includes:

  • Chicago-based Jason Fried, chief executive of Basecamp, a provider of project management and communication tool for remote #WorkFromAnywhere teams worldwide. In his session, curated by the Edmund Hillary Fellowship with other featured fellows who will share their success stories on founding remote businesses, Fried will demonstrate how organisations don't have to be big to have a big impact. 

"By creating one of the first software-as-a-service web apps, inventing Ruby on Rails, writing influential and New York Times best-selling books and running a remote company 20 years before the rest of the industry, Basecamp is the ultimate leader in this field.  Fried is one of 532 Edmund Hillary Fellows from 58 countries (including NZ) using their unique entrepreneurial experiences, access to resources, and far-reaching global networks to contribute to NZ's economic rebuild phase – most of them remotely."

  • Clive Spink (Pukeko Pictures), Rollo Wenlock (Wipster) and Mayu Suzuki will explore different ways to operationalise virtual workflows, service delivery and collaborative projects with representatives from a range of industries.
  • Salesforce's Paul Chong and Shopify's Rachel Garret join forces to present Mastering Virtual Cultures and Sales Strategies – how to successfully create a company culture when your workforce is virtual and outlining effective sales strategies that can be implemented in your own business.

A number of sessions are dedicated to mental and physical health with psychologists, wellbeing specialists, HR experts, a naturopath, resilience specialist and a neuro-linguistic Programming expert providing advice on nurturing leaders and teams when working remotely. 

They include:

  • A Masterclass by director of people and capability at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Kylie Goodwin and clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal, an expert on psychosocial recovery and disaster communication. Dr Johal has advised the UK and NZ governments and the World Health Organisation on major national and international crises.
  • A workshop by Jen Middleton of The Remote Wellbeing Network and naturopath Tessa Hogan, with tools for individuals, teams and organisations to manage stress, mental wellbeing, remove mindset barriers, and communicate more effectively internally in a remote workplace.

Brain Drain to Brain Gain sessions include a workshop facilitated by business coach Colart Miles, from Collectively, which brings smart minds together to look at the myriad of ways NZ can build economic and community prosperity. Kea NZ will also present survey results from 15,000+ returning Kiwis and host a discussion on the talent opportunity and future development scenarios.

  • Festival co-organiser Trent Yeo will lead a panel discussion about the environmental impact of flexible working, including whether there's a wider business case to make for switching work practices for the climate, how our national policy on zero carbon targets could play a role, and how businesses of any scale can participate and thrive.
  • Founder of Unchatter Natasha Zimmerman will apply her connection practices to organisational settings, working with companies and teams to foster cohesion and build cultures that make employees feel excited about their work.
  • University of Otago human resource management senior lecturer and researcher Dr Paula O'Kane, QLDC economic development manager Peter Harris and Ryan Baker from Timely Appointment Software will host a roundtable on 'The Changing Face of Work'. O'Kane has recently completed 'Remote Working during COVID19' research with the Work Futures Otago team.  

Sessions to help attendees upskill and build an online toolkit include: Social Media for People Who Hate Social Media, SEO for Beginners, and a Remote Workers Online Collaboration Toolkit workshop with tips on programmes like Slack, Asana, Miro/Mural, Google Suite, Zoom etc.

The festival is designed as a workcation with professional development workshops, presentations, panels and fireside chats, networking events, access to pop-up and established co-working spaces, mindfulness, exercise and yoga breaks, and free time to enjoy Queenstown's outdoor lifestyle, scenery and experiences.