The Remote Roundup November 19, 2021

The Remote Roundup November 19, 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, subscribe to our newsletter: The Remote Times. 

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


Top Article: The Worst of Both Worlds: Zooming From the Office by Emma Goldberg of The New York Times

hybrid work

Source: nytimes.com 

The beauty of the internet is that it never forgets.

We could point to the multiple times where we and our expert remote guests warned this year that hybrid work wasn't the future.

It was merely a pit spot as companies figured out if they would be remote-first or office-centric.

But that hasn't stopped it from being the de-facto working arrangement in recent months.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics now reports in the U.S that only 11 percent of employed people worked remotely at some point during the month of October.

In Manhattan, New York, 8 percent of employees at 188 of the major employers were back in the office full-time, 54 percent were fully remote, and 38 percent were hybrid.

While sounding simple in practice, having people choose their working from home days or mandating 2 days in the office requires so much more intention and coordination than if you are working remotely at a distributed company.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times several remote employees complained they were being talked over in meetings and left out of conversations by their in-office colleagues.

A CEO just leased a massive office space, only to see it at a third of its capacity every week.

Finally, there is the issue of discrimination.

Women overwhelming prefer remote work but a study from Qualtrics found that 34 percent of men with children had received promotions while working remotely, compared with just 9 percent of women with children.

The incohesiveness of hybrid work is so bad that even the CEO of GoFundMe said it is what he fears most to implement in the coming months. (He said switching to a distributed model was fundamentally easier.)

Why is something that was supposed to bring the best of both worlds, failing so hard?

Much has to do with unclear policies from the top-down of an organization.

Some companies never created a remote working policy because the expectation was that they would eventually go back to the office.

Then when they finally did come back, they realized they could no longer work the same way they did before.

They had people who wanted to continue working remotely, roles were shuffled and many people left or were let go.

Not to mention having to continuously push back return to office dates because remember, we are still in a global pandemic.

A mandate was never going to work (or more people would leave) and then when they asked employees, hybrid was often the most popular option.

So, they went with that but still no formal policy to guide employees.

No communication guides for how to have hybrid meetings, no updating office technology and a mish-mash of expectations around remote working days.

Hybrid work is totally possible (Although difficult) if it is done with clear guidelines. Literally, companies should have a charter posted in the office and in their database that explains the rules and expectations for the future.

It should be designed through employee participation and address any concerns such as vaccinations and masks.

If you are going to go hybrid, do it well.

If not, then just go remote-first. Many people have tried both and know which is so much easier.


Top Blog Articles:

4. Lorea Lastiri of the Friday blog explains their perception of what the modern digital workplace looks like, its uses, advantages and workflows.

digital workplace

Source: Friday.app

A digital workplace is a buzzword that is hard to define. If you aren't careful with what you include, you end up explaining the metaverse. At Friday, they define it  as a digital ecosystem involving business processes, IT infrastructure, digital tools, and personnel.

Through this ecosystem, knowledge is shared and teams collaborate with one another. 

A Digital workplace is basically the average tech stack for any modern company. It includes secure workplace communication tools like zoom, collaborative project management software like trello, cloud data storage like AWS, productivity tools like Friday and secure internal communication and collaboration channels like Slack.

Friday explains how by utilizing a digital workspace with asynchronous-first working methods and flexible hours you are able to maximize its benefits. They go on to explain how Friday works to connect this different aspects of the digital workplace and have them in one dashboard for each employee. 

3. The Andy Stofferis Blog discusses the ultimate passport for digital nomads: a country on the internet.

Digital nomad

A country on the internet is a country without any physical borders. It exists everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Geography still defines our opportunities to this day, where you were born influences everything. This is still one of the things limiting digital nomads from truly embracing a traveling lifestyle.

By being part of a virtual country that had agreements with other nation states, digital nomads could move freely without any physical traveling restrictions. A country on the internet would also have wide-reaching impacts by creating an alternative to the current world order.

One where people don't have to worry about corruption, alienated people feel a sense of belonging and innovation is encouraged.

2. The Workplaceless blog covers the 8 practices digital leaders must build now, to succeed in the future.

practices digital leaders must build now

 The two things holding many leaders back right now is their misalignment on goals and priorities and resisting changing their own working behaviors. 

They need to articulate clearly the remote work vision to their company and also forget about past methods of working.

To help them overcome these challenges, Workplaceless recommends that leaders work on their resilience, communication, and inclusion skills. By addressing these three areas. they will learn how to create a clear plan for the future while ignoring the impulse to try and return to 2019.

The practices they need to start after working on those skills is first learning how to run effective meetings. Whether they are in person, remote, or hybrid. Next, they need to know how to manage the performance of their employees remotely. This means focusing on outcomes not presence.

Other key practices are boundary setting, giving employees more autonomy, decentralizing autonomy, and fostering remote creativity. 

1. The Remote Tools blog interviews two international marketing experts from Wuhan who share their rollercoaster remote work experience.

remote workers in china

Source: Content.remote.tools

In an interesting look at remote work around the world, Remote Tools interviews Lola Yang and Channing Zhang, two members of the international marketing department of GeeTest, a bot management and CAPTCHA service vendor based in Wuhan, China.

Both Lola and Channing worked remotely in the epicenter of the global pandemic. 

Surprisingly, it wasn't as intense as many people would think. The office closed, and they quarantined for months. But their company was unaffected because all their information and processes were already in the cloud. 

GeeTest sent their workers hardware if they needed and as the average age of the employees was 27, they all adapted to remote work rather quickly.

The company is living through their values "innovate and embrace change," and are continuing to work and hire remotely to this day. 

Best Podcast: The CEO of Basecamp and the creator of the Ruby on Rails framework discuss how to make the most out of the time in your day on the Rework Podcast

rework podcast

Source: rework.fm

No time is no excuse.

That is what Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp and David Heinemeier Hansson, Ruby on Rails, say when people complain there aren't enough hours in the day.

They discuss on the Rework Podcast how we often make excuses for ourselves for not pursuing our passions while at the same time having the power to change it.

You may have more free time than you know, you just have to set up boundaries for your own habits.

They go on to discuss how millennials became the burnout generation, Gary Vaynerchuk and Stripe.

Check out this week's featured podcast!


Like what you read?

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And make sure to check out our other blog posts where we give key remote work tips every week! 

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

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Mark Gregory

November 19