This Week in Remote Work – March 5th Edition

One thing that’s become clear in the conversation/press coverage about remote work is that the terms “hybrid work” and “hybrid workspace” have reached their tipping point, and are definitely the new shiny object that everyone’s gravitating toward. And for good reason. For months we’ve been discussing how – even through the world’s eyes have been opened to the magic of remote work – the reality is that most people will eventually return to a hybrid work situation. And for many people, that’s great – the best of both worlds. 

Just don’t forget – hybrid workspaces will increase the need for digital workspace tools that ensure your people have a seamless, productive experience no matter where they’re working that day. 

With that in mind, let’s dig into this week’s stories. 

1) The office of the future is about people not places (ZDNet)

This article caught my attention because it went beyond the stats about how many organizations are planning to keep remote and hybrid work after the pandemic, and instead talks about how this will increase the importance of human interaction when we have it. It’s not about wasting people’s time and the company’s money by forcing everyone into an office every day – but it IS about maximizing the time that people DO get to spend together.

“There is something magic about human interaction in the room that, however clever Zoom is, you can’t replicate,” says Coby. “I think we’re going to end up with a situation where people come into work for things that are team-building.”

I also loved this section where they talk about how the pandemic has, in many cases, helped us all become a bit more human and sympathetic with our co-workers:

“Things happen that you’ve just simply got to deal with – and everybody will see that, and is OK with it. And in many ways, it’s made people more human because everybody genuinely wants to help people who’ve got particular pressures on them. I think that’s really important,” he says.

2) Remote work 1 year later: The pandemic sent tech workers home — when and how will they return? (GeekWire)

This article provides a great recap of the remote & hybrid work plans of some of the largest companies in the world, so if you’re looking for the latest and greatest on that front, it’s a good read for that reason alone. But this piece jumped out at me, and I realize I’ve seen this being discussed more and more recently:

Pay cuts and more: The Wall Street Journal took a look at another year ahead of remote work and decisions being weighed in corporate board rooms, such as whether the salaries of employees who have left high-cost cities should be reduced. Tax concerns have come into play for migrating employees at companies such as Facebook and Lyft, and Microsoft previously announced that benefits and pay could be impacted by the company’s compensation scale by location.

Let’s just go on the record now and say that this is an idea that will backfire spectacularly for the companies that implement it. The idea of telling your people that they’re going to get paid less for the same job, for bringing the same value to the company as they did before, just because they’ve chosen to move to a less expensive location – that’s not a winning strategy, to put it politely. There are thousands of companies now willing to hire your best employees and allow them to work remotely, so don’t give your a people reason to go looking. 

There’s a lot more that’s worth reading in this article, and lots of good stats, but the topic of reducing pay for newly-remote workers is a topic I’m going to keep an eye on. 

3) Under pressure, IT workers brace for more complexity (CIO Dive)

There’s no doubt that IT has been under immense pressure for the past year. This article does a great job summarizing the impact that pressure is having on IT. 

  • Eight in 10 technologists say their job became more complex during 2020, a consequence of quick innovation and a sprawling technology stack, according to a report from AppDynamics. The report included interviews with 1,050 global IT professionals.
  • The increase in complexity took a toll on IT pros; 89% of technologists say they feel “immense” pressure at work. Upholding IT through a pandemic, 84% of technologists found difficulty switching off from work.
  • In 2021, after most organizations increased their reliance on digital platforms to operate, three-quarters of technologists say IT became more complex as a result of their response to the pandemic.

We see a lot of this with new prospects we speak with here at Cameyo. IT desperately needs to simplify systems, but they can’t do so at the expense of security, their people’s productivity, or the bottom line. All the more reason to evaluate digital workspace solutions on simplicity, security, experience, and cost-effectiveness. 

BTW – this article is a good reminder to drop your IT people a nice note and show them your appreciation for all they do. 

4) Read urbanism expert Richard Florida’s response on how big cities will thrive during the new era of remote work (BusinessInsider

This one is outside of the usual tech-specific articles we usually include, so I won’t spend a bunch of time on it, but it’s an interesting read. If nothing else, here’s one big bonus of the so-called “exodus” from big cities:

The silver lining for places like New York and San Francisco is that the pandemic is making real estate more affordable to this group of people.

5) The Phases of Remote Adaptation (wrkfrce)

Okay, this one is from Jan. 28th, but I just stumbled across it and it’s absolutely worth the exception. We (like everyone else talking about remote work and hybrid work) quote Darren Murph of GitLab a lot. But there’s a reason for this. I think this article is the most crisp, clear breakdown of the stages every organization can expect to go through when adopting remote and hybrid work:

The amount of disruption is generally tied to two maturity factors: culture and tools.

To better understand this, we’re using this page to detail the phases of remote adaptation.

  • Phase 1: Skeuomorph
  • Phase 2: Functional
  • Phase 3: Asynchronous
  • Phase 4: Intentionality

I also appreciate that Murph is always focused on helping organizations understand that this is a transition – the shift to remote work does not and cannot “happen overnight.” 

It’s important to frame one’s transition to remote in terms of phases, as opposed to an all-or-nothing approach. Breaking adaptation down into smaller chunks creates less overwhelm. The goal for any suddenly remote company should be to graduate from one phase to another in a sustainable and efficient manner, instead of what will otherwise feel like a massive leap from nothing to mastery. This is iteration in practice.

Despite the 4 phases he outlines above, the article is still a fairly quick read. You can treat it as a killer primer/overview, or you can really dig in by working through the many videos, handbooks, and other resources the articles links out to. Trust me – bookmark this one. 

Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you back here next week! As always, if you’re looking for guidance on how to simplify and secure your people’s access to all of their business-critical applications for remote and hybrid work, book a quick demo and we’ll show you how Cameyo’s secure virtual application delivery platform can help in 20 minutes or less.