The Remote Roundup September 17, 2021

The Remote Roundup September 17, 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 September. 

Top Article: "Bosses turn to ‘tattleware’ to keep tabs on employees working from home" by Sandy Milne of the Guardian

remote surveillance software


Source: The guardian.com

A drop of sweat falls down on David's keyboard as he struggles to get through the last minute of his shift.

He wants to look down and wipe the keys but he can't.

The digital surveillance software on David's computer takes a live photo of him every 90 seconds and might catch him with his head down.

The platform called Sneek could then beam the offending image to a digital conference room where his whole team can see.

He powers through the last thirty seconds with his fingers slipping across the enter key and tells everyone he is signing off for the day.

He pauses, waiting for a response, praying his boss doesn't click on his profile in the conference room for an instant video call.

Hoping that nobody sent the photo of him falling asleep at his desk after lunch to the Sneek Slack channel.


This was actually the experience of a recent college graduate at an undisclosed company that went remote during the pandemic.

His company bought a Sneek subscription and three weeks later, David left his job.

"Tattleware" or "Bossware" are an extreme on a spectrum of time tracking software.

That doesn't change the fact that the entire industry has seen a huge boom since March 2020, as employers scrambled to create remote policies from scratch.

The question here though is to what degree can employers monitor their employees?

For operations that require handling highly-sensitive information, monitoring employee screens is a requirement to stay in business.

There are obvious benefits to having the ability to take control over an employee's laptop for IT issues or track employees hours for certain projects.

The point is that it is a transparent process.

Not using software for running keyword searches through emails or tracking text messages behind employee backs. So far, there have been numerous reports of abuse.

In a remote work world, absent of personal interactions, trust is a hot commodity.

Companies risk further alienating their employees by creating stressful and disingenuous environments.

Eventually, they will go somewhere else In a talent scarce market.

The ability to work remotely was never meant to replicate the nauseating feeling of having your boss come up behind you and watch what is on your screen.

Remote work is about flexibility, not being tied down to one location.

Output not activity.

Although we are sure there is a Black-Mirror type future where Amazon monitors the amount of keyboard strokes of their customer service workers.

Oh wait...they are already considering it.

Top Blog Articles

4. The NextMapping Future of Work Blog teaches techniques to ease anxiety in a hybrid workplace.

anxiety for hybrid workers

Source: Nextmapping.com

As many companies are starting to call their workers back into the office some workers are experiencing anxiety. 

They have grown accustomed to remote work and worry about all the negative aspects of the office that they now have to go back to. It might be micro-aggressions against minorities or having to perform in front of their managers in stressful situations.

Top it all off with various vaccine mandates and it is no wonder some people are hesitant to give up the freedom they gained while working from home. 

As an employer that is implementing a hybrid setup it is your responsibility to have a transparent back to the office plan to ease any anxiety and forcing your employees to consider working somewhere else.

This article also recommends building compassion with your workforce to understand their reservations better and how to address them.

3. Irene Chan of The Complish Blog details how to run a remote product kickoff meeting

remote product kickoff meeting

 Source: Complish.app

According to a study by the Harvard Business School out of the 30,00 new consumer products that launched each year, 95% of them fail. 

Most failures have to do with poor development, execution, and launch. In a remote setting, these moments are even harder to plan for but it doesn't mean it is impossible. Plenty of remote companies have developed and launched incredible products like Gitlab or Mural, all while not even working in the same time zone.

Use this guide to provide structure for your next remote product kickoff meeting and continue creating products that will change the world. 

2. Tony Jamous CEO of Oyster shares how they are building the best distributed team in the world.

Tony Jamous

Source: Oysterhrcom

In this in-depth look at the history of oyster and the early struggles of their CEO as a Lebanese immigrant, you can find the inner workings of a cutting-edge distributed company in the digital age. 

He argues that a distributed model can reduce global inequity by giving economic opportunity based on skill not just geography.

He then goes over the pillars that built Oyster's model that include communication, culture, and relationships. Processes are important to as they rely heavily on documentation, a Kanban board, OKRs and regular meetings to keep everything running.

Interestingly enough he reveals the companies goals to make the world more distributed through their platform and making the global hiring process more human-centric.

If you want some quick tips for building a distributed company than look no further than this article! 

1. Rand Fishkin of the Sparktoro Blog covers the difference between hustle culture and chill work

hustle culture

Source: Sparktoro.com

We have all been there. A last night after working for 12 hours, barely keeping your eyes open as you try to get that last thing on your to-do list done. 

Before, these types of actions were lauded at startups as the keys to success or sweat equity as some would call it. As more people discover the benefits of working from home, there has been a shift in calling out this type of behavior for what it is: Toxic. 

Rand goes over the three big lies of this mind set where long hours and relentless challenges are the only paths to a successful company. The idea that by working smarter, not harder isn't as effective. Finally covering the last lie that financial success is the only kind of success. 

Rand is luck enough to come to this realization now and defines chill work as recognizing that both too much work and too much free time are linked to unhappiness. It is a healthy medium in a chaotic and stressful world of startups. 

Check out the short essay and revaluate your own work habits. 


Top Remote Podcast: Eimear Marrinan, The Director of Culture at Hubspot, explains their new values on the Remote-First Podcast. 

director of culture

The Remote First Podcast gets a closer look at how Hubspot is building their new remote culture.

They interview the Director of Culture, Eimear Marrinan, about the company's recently implemented flexible work model.

Employees can literally choose where to do their best work. If they want to come to office, no problem. If they want to stay home all-year-round, do it. Want a mix of both? Go for it.

Eimear explains how this working arrangement was created and the thinking behind it. 

Find out how to design your own flexible working policy in 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 September's fourth edition of the Remote Roundup!


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Mark Gregory

September 17