Originally published June 2019. Just as relevant in July 2021.
As of June 2019, Remote work is on the rise and expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Yet, some companies are changing course by banning and limiting remote opportunities, finding comfort in supposedly having more controlled work environments in brick-and-mortar offices.
An article published by SHRM (“Why Are Companies Ending Remote Work?”) discusses the reasoning behind the shift of large corporations such as IBM, ATT and Yahoo to recall remote employees. Specifically, the author identifies the following concerns with remote work:
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 20 seconds
Hybrid work is in demand. A recent study by Slack found that 72% of surveyed employees want a combination of office and remote, with only 12% wanting to return to the office full time.
But what is the optimal arrangement? Is hybrid a better alternative to fully co-located work? Is a fully distributed team better than hybrid?
Your answer depends heavily on your individual experience. Company culture, location, individual choices, and personal circumstances naturally influence work environment preferences . The structure you were familiar with prior to the pandemic influenced the quality of your remote work experience, which in turn influences your working model preferences moving forward.
Evaluating the effectiveness of remote work based on experience during COVID-19—at an individual or company level—is inappropriate because:
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds
This time last year we were focused on supporting businesses who were building sustainable remote teams as part of their growth and people strategies. Then March 2020 happened, and everyone was suddenly thrust into remote. It wasn’t planned, and it certainly wasn’t strategic. Like everyone else, our business needed to adapt.
It was important for us to remain true to the core of our mission—to positively impact sustainable remote work opportunities—but we had to do this in a situation that was in its essence unsustainable. We jumped into action, leveraging our years of experience, to help. We also recognized early that this sudden shift would significantly alter remote work adoption, and impact how businesses perceive remote work for the future.
Here’s what happened in 2020:
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is a common sentiment that “everyone” is working from home. However, research shows that accessibility to remote work varies by race. While there is tremendous opportunity for remote work to create opportunity, remote does not automatically equal diverse nor equitable nor inclusive. We’ve yet to see comprehensive data on the true diversity of remote professionals; however, anecdotally within the US, the remote community agrees that reality does not yet reach the potential. For remote work to be truly accessible to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), we have more work to do.
At Workplaceless, we have been having the conversations internally and with our community to understand what role each of us can play to both break down barriers for and elevate the voices of BIPOC professionals in remote work. We embarked on discussions in late 2019 with regards to diversity,...
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Remote work has been around for years. However, what separates the remote winners from the remote quitters isn’t just a matter of tools. It’s recognizing the difference between a co-located and a remote mindset. The philosophies underlying successful remote work are fundamentally different from those of a traditional office workspace. We refer to this remote mindset as a “Placeless Mindset.”
A Placeless Mindset is not just a process of getting tasks done but rather an integrated way of thinking, living, and, yes, working. It’s a philosophy and an attitude that can be summarized as:
A Placeless Mindset is a keen understanding that our lives, and therefore our work, are not rooted in a singular place, but rather require flexibility in location and communication in order to balance multiple goals and priorities.
Adopting a Placeless Mindset helps...
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Companies across the world are currently faced with questions about how to reconfigure the way to work going forward after the suddenly shifting to remote work in response to COVID-19. Each week a fresh slate of executives are announcing adjusted remote work policies. For example, Chief Operating Officer, Sabine Keller-Busse, of UBS Group AG recently announced that as many as a third of its employees could work remotely on a permanent basis. In numerous sectors, including insurance, banking, media, and tech, the trend toward adopting hybrid-remote work models is spiking and becoming a defining feature of the future of work.
Often these announcements include detailed plans for what reopening co-located offices might look like, but what does that look like for employees who remain virtual? We fail to see the same level of care put into outlining a plan for the sustainability and productivity of remote workers. We created...
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 38 seconds
A new decade inspires all sorts of predictions about the soft skills and hard skills needed for the future of work. At Workplaceless, we've identified the skills that are needed to thrive in remote work environments, because being able to work, collaborate, and lead remotely is crucial to developing a career that can adapt to an increasingly distributed work environment.
No matter what skills you are looking to develop, in order to gain them, you need to start with the most important skill of all: the ability to learn autonomously and placelessly.
At no time has this skill been more critical than in our current economic reality, when all that’s certain is that it’s impossible to accurately predict how or to what extent changes like widespread adoption of workplace automation will affect our work and daily lives. This...
Why we’re talking about this
Emergency Remote Overview
Resource: Emergency Remote Checklist
Resource: Unexpected Remote Work Course & Remote Workday Module
Sustainable Remote Roadmap
Resource: Company Remote Effectiveness Assessment
Still Have Questions?
Frankly, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is not a reason we want to be talking about remote work. We've hesitated entering into the now trending conversation, as it's a serious issue that is affecting lives and livelihoods across the globe. However, as we see companies turning to remote work as a potential solution to help the stem the spread of the infectious disease, we have additional concerns:
We believe in the power and potential of remote work, and we’ve been working to define for you how we make remote work work for the long-term. Let’s break down our mission.
The demand of remote work refers to the number of workers seeking remote or flexible job opportunities. People are seeking remote work for a wide variety of professional and personal reasons.
Entrepreneurs, working parents, freelancers, travelers, digital nomads, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, students, military spouses, retirees, and anyone who wants better work-life balance might be able to find work where they couldn’t before.
However, when we take a look at remote-first companies, such as Doist, we see that the number of job applications far outpaces the number of roles available at 1,000+ to 1 ratio. The likelihood of getting hired...
By seeking remote hires, companies open themselves up to a global talent pool of endless possibilities when it comes to driving diversity initiatives. However, companies leveraging this strategy need to proceed with caution if they’re hiring remotely as a quick-fix or cure-all for diversity challenges. In fact, during our November Networkplaceless virtual networking event, the overarching theme was:
Remote does not automatically equal diverse, nor equitable, nor inclusive.
It’s important to note that any discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is informed by context, culture, and the experiences of teams and individuals. As our Networkplacless community exemplified, remote teams and remote workers experience unique yet overlapping concerns when in comes to DE&I. As the participants shared their own backgrounds and insights with the group, several common challenges were identified: