The Remote Roundup December 3, 2021

The Remote Roundup December 3, 2021

If you have ever been looking for a remote work strategy you may have noticed there exists a huge gap in between great insights and everything else out there.

So, we created The Remote Roundup where we will scour the internet for the best remote work content and give our analysis on one article while ranking the top 4 blogs of the week. Plus a podcast!

For the weekly collection of relevant and high quality remote work news, jobs, podcasts, guides, and expert advice from remote work experts.

Ok, let's get started with the top remote content for the first week of December.

Top Article: "It's Time to Get Rid of the IT Department" by Joe Peppard of the Wall Street journal.

get rid of It departments


IT departments have always had a strictly "back office" function.

A group of technical professionals unseen on an island, but still necessary to maintain business operations.

As Joe Peppard in his article "It's Time to Get Rid of the IT Department" says:

"Just look at any organization’s structure, and you are very likely to see a rectangular box labeled IT, with its own management hierarchy and budget."

The problem is that with the rise of remote work, this type of centralization will actually prevent companies from being more agile.

Technology is already an integral part of every business and having the best is a competitive advantage.

If you corral everyone with technological experience into one department you are slowing down the processes of every other piece of the business.

Think of a chain of islands and only one of them has water. The others can't function without approval of their water orders and then have to wait for it to be sent to them.

When the pandemic hit and IT workers were storing laptops in their living rooms, essentially the same thing happened.

In this new distributed world, the most innovative companies will be the ones that store their information and processes in the cloud and strategically place people to support their network.

The need for on-site servers or datacenters can be strategically placed.

One example is a European mobile-only digital bank from the article that gives their business banking, payments and marketplace departments the resources to embed technology professionals in their teams and purchase the equipment to succeed.

Of course, there are guardrails needed.

Their teams operate within a framework of security standards, programming languages and company ethics.

However, they aren't limited by having one department manage every device in the company when half their workforce is in other states or countries.

The article only focuses on a couple of examples because it still isn't easy to figure out an efficient way to allocate and deploy IT resources.

Different groups’ needs can change from month to month and many people have vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

Think about how hybrid work can affect an IT department. Does the office just become a place to store hardware and IT always works from home?

What organizations need as they expand is to be able to hire individuals with IT experience wherever their operations are and equip their workforce with compliant devices regardless of location.

The issue now is, wh
o can be the most efficient in providing that technology around the world?

Top Blog Posts

4. Henry from the Build Remote blog lists his 8 Heads of Remote to follow for advice.

head of remote office


Before 2020, the Head of Remote role simply didn't exist. Remote work was relatively niche and there wasn't a need for someone to manage all of the digital processes. 

That was for HR and IT.

Flash forward to 2021 and Head of Remote is one of the hottest job titles. The reason it has grown so much in popularity is because companies need someone to coordinate the transition to distributed work.

Someone who acts as the glue to hold all the remote employees together. They help build a remote first culture through activities and intentional communication, they document and audit all the processes, and they are a support tool for any remote workers struggling. 

In his list he includes three remote times guests: Vera Lakmaker, Rhys Black and Chase Warrington.

Some others to follow are Stephanie Lee at, and Angela Mansim at Officeless.

3. The Remote Work Wellbeing Digest gives their best strategies to avoid virtual meeting fatigue.

Zoom fatigue


Even though we are a year and a half into the great remote work experiment people are still experiencing zoom fatigue. Many might think it is a direct result of remote working but it is actually more of a symptom of poor implementation.

Rowena Hennigan is the creator of the Remote Work Wellbeing digest and a remote work expert. In this week's issue she covers the steps to free yourself of the "zoom tomb" and be able to correctly implement asynchronous working methods.

The first is to just straight up say "no" to too many meetings. Block off times in your calendar to place healthy boundaries. You should also create a list of meeting norms and etiquette. Such as no meeting Fridays, to politely notify someone if they are talking for too long, always come with an agenda prepared. 

Finally, some less known tips are not to multi-task during meetings because it actually adds to your exhaustion. The other is if you are going to have a long team meeting, is to include breaks. Like a 5 minute water or bathroom break. 

2. The We Work Remotely blog offers their template and advice to ask time off from work.

why is it important to take time off?


Despite all the content out there about perfecting the work-life balance, even the best remote workers can find themselves on the edge of burnout. The reason is that sometimes people get so involved in their work that they forget to truly disconnect.

They might take a workcation and still be logging in on the beach a couple of hours each day. They might decide to answer an email in bed at 10pm because they feel obligated.

Then many people may feel guilty about asking for time office. In one survey, more than half of American employees (54.2%) admitted to feeling guilty about using their vacation time. So a staggering 70.4% said they check in with work regularly while they’re away. 

The problem is that this is all added fatigue when you should be resting. Using your vacation time to its full potential means less overall stress and better overall health (Especially for your heart)

So how do you ask for it? 
  1. Choose a way and a place to rest that works best for you
  2. Research your company's time off policies
  3. Check shared calendar to avoid any scheduling conflicts and request as far in advance as possible
  4. Develop a plan for how your work will be handled
  5. Truly disconnect, put an away message on your email and turn off notifications

1. Dominic Price of the Atlassian Blog calls attention to new research that shows people value flexibility and belonging more than ever.

knowledge workers want flexible workSource:

A new study from Atlassian found that a shockingly small number of companies offer flexible work options and how many employees want it. 

The study also showed that overall, employees at many companies have lost their sense of belonging and team cohesion over the last year.

Will adding flexible work arrangements to company policy and improving hiring and onboarding processes actually make a difference in this emotional disconnect?

Atlassian seems to think so after 74 percent of the workers who took part in the survey said they want to keep the flexible working arrangements they've had during the pandemic.

The problem is that only 40 percent of those interviewed could actually use flexible perks such as remote work at their current job.

Atlassian suggests that by aligning your hiring searches with people that share your same company values and offering flexible work options will improve your company's culture and attract more talent. A great way to do that is a values assessment in the interview.



The latest episode of the Distributed podcast pairs Dylan, Figma’s CEO and Co-founder, and guest host Connie Yang, Head of Payments Design at Stripe, to go over how Figma was created.

They talk about how his experience represents a larger trend in the world going digital and improving design and coding processes.

They discuss what he’s learned about instilling culture in a rapidly-growing company, and Figma’s playful approach to collaboration.

This recently influenced FigJam, a digital whiteboard that can help fill the need for serendipity for design and engineering teams.

“I think that we’re seeing every part of the economy shape around design,” says Dylan, noting how Figma has even observed collaboration in the product, beyond design, on days when other workplace chat tools were down.

Check out this week's featured podcast!

Like what you read?

See you next Friday for November's last edition of the Remote Roundup!

Grow remote with GroWrk. We provide and manage laptops, devices, other equipment and services to remote teams in over 150 countries.


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Mark Gregory

December 3

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