Are you ready to go remote?

How changing how you work is *the* discussion to have right now

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Are you ready for the remote revolution? Enforced working from home is about to be upon many of us and who knows what will happens next.

What do we need to know about remote working?

(1) Beware: trying to earn attention/respect from our bosses when working remotely actually makes us *more* burnout

(2) To make remote working a success agree what blocks of time everyone in your team is going to be engaged in rapid email/chat/Slack - and what times are dedicated to deeper work. Why? Well remote teams seem to work better when they are ‘bursty’ (going from periods of solo working to bursts of engaged discussion with fast response times). This approach seems to emulate the best aspects of the office.

“we find that bursts of rapid communication, followed by longer periods of silence, are telltale signs of successful teams”

(3) Lot of firms have wound back remote working in the past (IBM, Yahoo) - so be willing to discuss what is and what isn’t working in your team

(4) Set personal boundaries for your remote working (the linked article suggests you have a specific place you work, keep your hygiene up, remember to go outside, have times when you aren’t working). Most critically: ‘check in with people even if you don't have a work-related reason to’. The absence of these check-ins is the surest way to eliminate workplace trust (it’s what I call Sync in my book).

(5) Maybe what you’re missing is a more Hollywood lighting experience for your video calls?

Harder, better, faster, *shorter*

It’s interesting that 2020’s big themes about the future of work were about to be consumed with discussions of 4 day weeks and shorter hours - and there’s a new pair of podcasts today on these new trends of working differently - but now as the world is consumed with the fallout of coronavirus a lot of the oxygen is going towards remote working discussions. Is working shorter or at home the route to more sustainable working?

I was really struck on my visit to the US two weeks ago that the discussion about the future of work over there is resolutely just about working remotely. Someone said to me ‘we Americans love working, we don’t want to work fewer hours’. I don’t believe that but I do understand how that can feel like something we end up saying. Today’s two podcasts talk about working shorter from two different angles. The first episode is a discussion with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (former guest on the show about his book, Rest).

The critical questions for me were practical ones. I put most of the detail in this episode’s PDF - if you want to debate moving to a shorter working week, let this printout be your guide.

There are two podcasts because the second one is a case study of Andrew Barnes' company who switched to 4 days as a route to productivity growth. What are the questions you need to ask? What answers do you need back? What is research saying on working in this different way. Find all of this data to help inform your decisions here. Listen now.


More: How walking meetings could change the way you work.


On last week’s newsletter I included the Herminia Ibarra article 'Take a Wrecking Ball to your Iconic Practices’, here’s a similar argument for doing the same. A researcher looked at the same idea from a different perspective. He calculated that one big bosses’ meeting created 300,000 hours of work across an organisation. Using evidence of workplace nonsense to bring about change is what it’s all about.


Listen to both this week’s podcasts here:

[episode 1] 4 day week

[episode 2] how to make 4 days work