The Remote Roundup September 10, 2021

The Remote Roundup September 10, 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 second week of September. 


Top Article: "Report describes implications of telework on commercial real estate" William O'Boyle of The Times Leader

unintended consequences of remote work

Disclaimer: The intention of this issue is not to say that remote work is bad.

The world of work is going through changes at an incredibly fast pace and unlike previous generations, we have the ability to track impacts in real-time.

With this power and as the beneficiaries of an increasingly digital world, we should be aware of the benefits of remote work but also its butterfly effects.

So these are just some we have compiled but the topic deserves a deeper dive.

1. Shifts in consumption and the emptying of commercial real estate is hurting the service sector.

How many people at one point had their favorite coffee spot before work? The best tacos to get for lunch or a beer after work.

These 9-5 meccas have not only been hit by COVID restrictions but also by companies delaying their returns to offices.

Street vendors in India near huge company campuses have had to switch to washing cars. Food trucks and cafés have struggled mightily in metropolitan areas of cities like New York.

Essentially, the commuter economy has completely disappeared in some areas where restrictions were the hashest and companies have switched to remote work.

Will it return? In some capacity yes, once COVID cases begin to subside but never to pre-pandemic levels.

What about all those people who lost their businesses or have switched to worse paying jobs?

One idea is to have all those banks who no longer need offices to offer small business loans in up-and-coming residential areas as more remote workers migrate to the suburbs.

2. A widening skills gap

According to a Pluralsight survey of more than 600 technology executives and practitioners, technical skills gaps among employees have grown considerably in the last year and half.

There is a huge demand for cloud specialists and cybersecurity experts but an incredibly small pool of talent to choose from.

As companies continue to expand their remote operations, they are struggling to find the people to support their infrastructure.

Of course, this not only translates to cloud architecture. This is a wider problem across the global economy as automation takes over and processes become virtual.

The faster the tech sector advances, the harder it will be for other workers to break into it. To a certain degree this is already true for the tech industry, but the disparity will only grow if action isn't taken.

Companies can address this issue by developing training and internship positions for key technical roles in their organizations.

For other roles they might want to take a risk on someone with no prior experience but tons of drive.

3. Exploitation of workers in low-income countries

When the pandemic hit, remote working opened up the doors to skilled job opportunities that were previously unavailable in most parts of the world.

Now, most companies are familiar with freelancers from Nigeria, the Philippines and India. In the development space it is not uncommon to see multinational engineering teams.

The problem begins when you begin to compare salaries between Lagos where software developers report earning about $10,000 a year and in Palo Alto where they are close to $200,000.

Now, of course the cost of living is different but not by as much as you think. Especially when you consider that remote workers need a reliable infrastructure to work.

The same goes in the freelance community where companies want to pay $10 for a 1000 word SEO article or pay VAs $3 an hour.

There will always be a supply and demand issues but it is a slippery slope that is the same as outsourcing manufacturing from the U.S to Bangladesh with little to no safety oversight.

At its core, this unintended consequence has to do with the debate of still tying skilled job pay scales to geography.

Why not just talent?

In the end, companies shouldn't be satisfied with the status quo in a new era of digital work. It's our chance to end exploitative paradigms and help others adapt to an increasingly volatile world.

Top Blog Posts

4. Aisha Samake of The Friday Blog goes over the 15 remote work hacks to work from anywhere and maximize your time.

Time management and remote work

Source: Friday.app

If you are working remotely, you shouldn't just limit yourself to your home. It is a privilege that allows you to generate income from any place with a stable internet connection. In this new listicle by Friday, they cover some of the best time management tips so that you can go out in the world, work and live your best life. 

One of our favorite hacks was to learn how to say no. This is something many people who are comfortable taking on a huge amount of task have to learn so they don't spend 12 hours a day behind a computer screen. If you are capacity there is nothing wrong in turning down more assignments. 

Another we enjoyed was eating the biggest frog first. Although we have never heard this saying before, what it means is getting your most important tasks out of the way at the beginning of the day. This helps stave off procrastination and sets a good rhythm so you can enjoy the rest of the day doing what you love. 

3. Ashwin Dua of The Turing Blog covers the four strategies that helped Facebook navigate organizational change post-pandemic.

transition to remote work at facebook

Source: Turing.com

Facebook has had a fairly smooth transition to remote working and now is only requiring their workers to be at the office 50% out of the year. Turing interviewed several members of the Facebook team to find out what helped them navigate the changes to remote-first within the organization.

The first was to embrace empathy and personalized communication. Leaders should be empathetic with their remote workers and understand the situations they are dealing with.

Whether that be having children jumping into video calls or having to call in on the way to the doctor. This creates stronger bonds in a remote team.  The second goes on this topic which is to lead by example and not to hesitate to reach out for help. 

The third was fierce prioritization in the face of uncertainty. This means that don't lose track of the mission at hand. If other tasks keep popping up that aren't relevant, delegate them to someone else or put them on hold until the main project is complete. 

The fourth was to share and utilize productivity insights. We are all in the same boat working remotely and if you have ways to improve your work schedule then you should share it with the rest of the team to improve everyone's productivity.

2. The Workplaceless team lists the 10 practices of productive and inclusive hybrid teams from a range of real-life examples

hybrid work advice

Source: Workplaceless.com

The Workplaceless team has compiled a list of advice from company execs currently experimenting with hybrid work. The spoke with people from Loom, Hubspot, and Airship among others for these golden nuggets of information. 

The first being from Karina Parikh who is Head of Hybrid Experience at Loom. They use their own video recording product to do asynchronous stand-ups in the morning and post the videos in their Slack channel to see what everyone is doing. They even do spoofs of MTV cribs for each of their remote workers to build a remote culture. 

Meaghan Williams, the Remote Work and Inclusion Program Manager at Hubspot says they are very intentional about communication. They will post questions in the Slack channel and also offer up projects. They will not move forward until everyone has answered. 

At Airship, their CEO and Co-founder, Trent Kocurek, added $10 every week to each remote worker's paycheck to compensate them because they couldn't attend the weekly catered lunch at their office. 

1. Sam Milbrath of The Trello Blog teaches how to hold your team accountable without micromanaging.

holding employees accountable

Source: Trello.com

In this highly relevant article, not only for remote work but working in general, they go over what it means to hold teammates accountable without constantly pestering them.

They quote an Officevibe’s Pulse Survey, where 1 in 5 employees don’t think they have enough freedom to decide how they do their work. At the same time a study by Harvard business review found that 46% of 5,400 upper-level managers in the US, Europe, and Asia rated “too little” on “holds people accountable—firm when they don’t deliver.”

So how do you find a good middle ground? It is ensuring that team members acknowledge and take responsibility for their own and shared actions. When team members do this, the role of the manager is more of a support figure than one who reprimands, evaluates and chases employees down. 

To build a workplace culture of accountability they recommend establishing clear commitments, guidelines, and responsibilities. Then you want to learn and grow together from lessons, wins and mistakes. 


Top Remote Podcast: Ryan Chartrand, CEO at X-Team goes on the The Remote Show Podcast.

The remote show

Source: Weworkremotely.com

X-Team provides high-performing on-demand teams of developers to the world's leading brands. They are known for their incredible perks and how they encourage all of their developers to live their best lives.

They regularly post stories about the side projects of their workers like how one has a rock band or how another created an RPG in Slack for everyone to participate.

In this interview they cover what X-Team was like in the early days, only using Skype to communicate and how their community of developers has grown to over 70 countries. 

We also learn Ryan's philosophy on managing distributed teams and how his company is able to attract and retain the best software talent in a cut-throat market.  

Check out this week's featured podcast here.

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 September's third edition of the Remote Roundup!


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Mark Gregory

September 10