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Issue #[[item.issue__number]] published [[timeFormat(item.date)]]

158 items in REMOTE WORKING

The daily stand up has become a common ritual for many of us now working in distributed teams. Designed to connect team mates, unblock problems and increase velocity, they can also become deeply problematic and damaging for employee morale. Super interesting thread from engineers who talk about how they do (or don’t) do stand ups.
Issue #265 published 7 Nov 2021
One of the best visualisations on the remote work as it illustrates the differential across different industries. IT/Software services lead the way, whilst some industries (i.e. Retail) simply can’t. Read this alongside material on labour reallocation and we can get some sort of sense as to which industries will continue to be candidate short.
Issue #263 published 24 Oct 2021
Wonderfully written pre-mortem on what can go wrong with our great experiment in hybrid working. Make a note of every point because they are the speed bumps we’re going to hit down the road.
Issue #262 published 17 Oct 2021
Another outstanding report, this time from Slack, which surveyed execs and employees to assess their relative sentiment on workplace flexibility. No surprises in the results, so this document might prove a useful artefact to circulate internally or to invoke in conservations you may need to have. Download the pdf here
Issue #262 published 17 Oct 2021
Superb essay on the need to reframe the conversation on office vs remote, which starts by challenging the basis of the argument for remote (how do we measure ‘productivity’ anyway?) before moving onto a reconsideration of how to measure knowledge work. Must read
Issue #261 published 10 Oct 2021
Simple question which turned in a viral thread as contributors answered with their ‘remote team traditions’. Some are bad, some are good - take some time to browse through, there will be something here that you will be able to use.
Issue #261 published 10 Oct 2021
Short survey report from the WEF on employee attitudes towards remote working. There’s a few interesting charts in this, particularly the country comparison of what employees want vs what employees expect to happen.
Issue #260 published 3 Oct 2021
Online gaming was the pre-covid example of where real connections, relationships and community could be built entirely remotely. It should come to nobody’s surprise that we will be turning its mechanics and experience design the more we shift to remote. Great example here from Shopify.
Issue #260 published 3 Oct 2021
This is an interesting post. You may not agree with every answer OP gives here but we have to agree the answers are full and considered. 12 questions asked about ‘how to do hybrid’ - Remote Working Revolution author Tsedal Neeley responds.
Issue #260 published 3 Oct 2021
Impactful thread on how one CEO implemented rituals to help connect distributed team members. I found myself agreeing to every one, but especially 1, 6 & 8. It’s for remote working but…I suspect some of these culture building techniques would for any arrangement.
Issue #259 published 26 Sep 2021
So fresh from the awesome Day 2 of RecFest, I’ve been told my talk on Bad Ideas from Day 1 of RecFest is now live on Youtube. I haven’t watched it yet but if the thumbnail preview is anything to go by, it’s got to be pretty good!
Issue #258 published 19 Sep 2021
Not to be outdone, brainfooder Adriaan Kolff has also publishes his company’s MatchHR Employee Handbook, this time on coda. MatchHR are a fully distributed recruitment agency, who have transitioned from being an on premise business - an interesting journey a lot of us might be taking, so check out their learnings here
Issue #258 published 19 Sep 2021
Remote's Public Handbook
REMOTE WORKING
Remote - perhaps the most perfectly positioned HR company for the post pandemic world - has published their internal handbook - culture, hiring, communication, code of conduct, business ops - it’s all there, for public view. Valuable for three reasons - 1) insight on how remote first organisations operate, 2) direct inspiration on a number of relevant areas and 3) great EB for candidates.
Issue #258 published 19 Sep 2021
those who are eager to return are likely to find themselves disappointed when the things they miss most – quick chats with colleagues, big brainstorming sessions, team solidarity and socialising – are still not happening.
It’s basically a bad idea to use nostalgia as a basis for policy. Excellent piece by the BBC, who’s ‘Worklife’ series is consistently good. Have a read
Issue #258 published 19 Sep 2021
“Nothing changed except the computer I use and the sites I access,” says Nobles, who tried moving his desk to a new spot in the room when he joined Microsoft, “just to make the experience feel a little different"
One of the unanticipated challenges of hiring in hybrid, is how to make the new hire feel that there’s a change. High touch with the line manager is the critical factor. Excellent post from Microsoft (whose internal research on hybrid is also available here)
Issue #257 published 12 Sep 2021
Fun skit on how zoom habits might accidentally migrate to in-person meetings. Comedy of course but perhaps something to think about as I suspect we are going to take some time to phase shift between the two modes. H/T to brainfooder Colin Donnery for the share
Issue #256 published 5 Sep 2021
Superbly produced podcast on the future of remote vs office. The two co-hosts have superb rapport. Have a listen here. H/T to brainfooder Bas van de Haterd, who is fast becoming the singular source for cool podcast recommendations.
Issue #256 published 5 Sep 2021
When you sign a contract of employment you gain the security of being paid by one employer, in exchange for your freedom of being potentially paid by anyone else. Perhaps the resistance against remote working is ultimately a recognition that workers will be able to more easily circumvent this bad idea. Some have always done this - now there is a platform to help others to it too.
Issue #254 published 22 Aug 2021
Curiously under appreciated blog post, which manages to take a much discussed argument and give it a few new wrinkles, specifically that we have ingrained WFH / WFA whether we like it or not. Persuasive commentary on where we are at.
Issue #250 published 25 Jul 2021
Some questionable data (digital nomad visa for Australia - say what?) and incoherent categorisation (public safety + human rights surely are separate, even antagonistic categories yet considered to be one and the same here) on this index of remote working locations, but I include here as I think it is a good example of the sort of presentation and interface we need when creating tables of any kind - rankable, sortable, easy to use. Just needed better data science at the top of the funnel. H/T to brainfooder Jo McCatty for the share in the fb group
Issue #250 published 25 Jul 2021
Snapshot from jobs paying over $100,000 from Ladders. In line with the idea that remote working is ideally suited to experienced workers; also notable that the second most highest paying cities are also those which contain the work that most ‘remote-able’. Wish Ladders would publish the data rather than just the results, but this short post is still worth a read
Issue #249 published 18 Jul 2021
Remote working is for experienced employees, and the early entrant talent know it. Only 19% of college students prefer remote only work environment. We are getting close to the moment where we have to choose what kind of employers we want to be.
Issue #249 published 18 Jul 2021
70% of all offices pre pandemic were open plan and they stress us out. File this one under: another reason why the employees are not going to return to the office….
Issue #248 published 11 Jul 2021
The underestimated challenges of remote working collected together in this excellent essay from brainfooder Dorothy Dalton. There is pressure particularly on management - whose purpose and value - might be fundamentally challenged by distributed way of working. Must read
Issue #248 published 11 Jul 2021
Another useful resource to review as we slowly transition from lockdown to a kind of return to office in some degree. The entire almanac contains resources which are going to be useful to us here - check out People Ops segment - so check this out. H/T to brainfooder Todd Raphael for the share
Issue #248 published 11 Jul 2021
Decent effort at the landscape map of tech tools optimised for remote work; useful not only for the potential discovery of new tooling (each has a cameo review) but also in the categorisation, which can help us visualise the stack as we’re building it.
Issue #248 published 11 Jul 2021
The Hybrid Hype Cycle
REMOTE WORKING
Will your business survive the inevitable trough of disillusionment? Excellent short thread of where we are with hybrid work, what the predictable challenges are going to be, and some speculation as to what outcomes will endure.
Issue #247 published 4 Jul 2021
The coming trauma of hybrid is at root a tension between two fundamentally opposed ways of organising work - centralised vs decentralised, or more aggressively, headed vs acephalous. Long list of companies who are doing it the acephalous way, complete with their handbooks of how they do it. Must read
H/T to brainfooder Aaron Lintz for the share in the fb group
Issue #247 published 4 Jul 2021
Excellent report on the ‘war for talent 2.0’ - the global competition for job relocation in the era of the ‘anywhere jobs’. Digestible 47 pager, particularly relevant to the UK given the high percentage of jobs which could be done from anywhere.
Issue #246 published 27 Jun 2021
The unfolding complexity of hiring a world of remote - a new state law in Colorado requires businesses to disclose the expected salary or pay range for remote positions - and so companies are discouraging applicants from that state. Don’t hate the player, hate the game….
H/T to brainfooder Bas van de Haterd for the share
Issue #246 published 27 Jun 2021
‘Full time employment’ is an agreement you sign so that your employer can monopolise your time. You are not just working for your employer, but you are actively prevented from working for any other employer. That remote working erodes management surveillance on whether you are breaking this agreement is a primary motivation for the call to ‘return to the office’……
Overly cynical take? Perhaps. Have a read
Issue #246 published 27 Jun 2021
As we inevitably start the slow migration back to some form of office location, the time to review how we use that space is now. Great case study here from Reward Gateway, who studied the activities which actually go on in employees work and remodelled their workspace to suit those activities. Digestible post, and great framework included.
Issue #245 published 20 Jun 2021
Andreessen Horowitz getting into the media business with the launch of Future. Early evidence suggests quality of the original content is high. Good example is this post, outlining the evolution of remote working, and projecting its complicated ‘multi-player’ future.
Issue #245 published 20 Jun 2021
Perhaps the biggest upside for a shift to remote working is access to the global talent pool. But the promise doesn’t come without operational challenges, as this outstanding post outlines. Must read for anyone charging ahead recruiting ‘remote anywhere’
Issue #245 published 20 Jun 2021
Destinations here are ranked by growth rates of check-ins made to places by tens of thousands of Nomad List members using live data analyzing 132,360 trips to 10,171 destinations….
…in case you were thinking about it. And I know you have been thinking about it.
Issue #244 published 13 Jun 2021
Brainfooder Neil Morrison is an infrequent yet superb commentator on the world of work. Here he is coming out in typically robust style on the politics and privilege of WFH, in short its evangelism by an elite with the option to choose. Great reading.
Issue #244 published 13 Jun 2021
Amazing long read on how to apply the anthropological lens to the challenges of the new workplace. Some brilliant ideas emerge from the case studies pulled out by the author, especially the idea of ‘humming’ for dispute resolution. It’s going to need 10 minutes of your time, but trust me, you need to read this. HN thread here as ever, has great supplementary commentary.
Issue #244 published 13 Jun 2021
We are beginning to understand that there is a spectrum of options that exist between the binary opposites of ‘fully distributed’ vs ‘fully centralised’. This post provides some clean lines between these hybrid options, extremely useful as we begin the transition to the next stage of the pandemic response.
Issue #244 published 13 Jun 2021
The Hybrid Work Paradox
REMOTE WORKING
Anyone else get the sense that MSFT are perfectly positioned to be the big winners of the shift to hybrid? They have the communication tech (Teams), employee experience platform (Viva), social network (LinkedIn), enduring dominance of the enterprise (Office) and crucially - the size/scale/distribution to experiment with almost every use case. Important post from CEO Satya Nadella on the future of work for Microsoft - and as they build the tools to help make this a reality for themselves, expect them to productise and roll them out to us.
PS: this guide on hybrid work for leaders is also useful.
Issue #243 published 6 Jun 2021
Hybrid work gets a resounding endorsement from Josh Bersin, who, as ever, brings plenty of firepower to his argument with this 10 point argument extolling the virtues despite growing pains. Even if you disagree with his optimism (for the record, I do), you’re going to find value in understanding each of these points. Must read folks
Issue #242 published 30 May 2021
Do Recruitment Agencies particularly need an office? Interesting observations by brainfooder Ross Clennett on the role an office plays in culture formation, information transfer and - morale. No one loves the commute, but what else do we lose if we lose the office? Have a read here
Issue #242 published 30 May 2021
Interesting perspective from which to view the remote working angle - what happens when we start commuting less? Implications for the commute, office and night economy, as well for national ‘levelling up’ plans. Tension between employer and employee are clear though - what is optimal for one, is suboptimal for the other. Brainfood Live on in this later this month - register here.
H/T to brainfooder Bas van de Haterd for the share
Issue #241 published 23 May 2021
Millennials born between 1980–85 know how to work across generational divides
Are you a ‘geriatric millennial’? New term for us which will inevitably become denigrated as another example of generational stereotyping, but before we get to that point, it might be useful to sit on the idea for a bit; perhaps there is something uniquely useful with being a ‘digital immigrant’ - a person with knowledge of work pre and post internet, pre and post office. What do you think - is this you? It’s kind of me. Have a read
Issue #241 published 23 May 2021
War for Talent 2.0 folks - is the competition for skilled labour fought regions rather than companies. Tourist hotspots or rural idylls are currently leading the way on this. Watch out for legislative countermeasures - this war will also be fought with tax law. PS: Barbados or Western Cape are my favourite spots so far - what are yours?
Issue #240 published 16 May 2021
Is there a tension between the needs of the business vs needs of the individual workers? Marx might say ‘do you even have to ask??’ This story - where CEO Cathy Merrill publicly shared thoughts on the potential limitations to career progression of staff who remained remote - triggered a strike by staff outraged at the implication. Staff twitter campaign here, Glenn Gutmacher on how to get past the the paywall here, and follow the Brainfood Live channel here - because we’re going to talk about this, from the POV of the CEO’s…..
Issue #240 published 16 May 2021
Bottom line up front: Productivity down by 20%, mainly due to increased requirements for co-ordination. We probably need to significantly redesign work to fully exploit the advantages of location agnosticism. Accessible summary here, full report downloadable here. H/T to brainfooder Colin Donnery for the share in the fb group
Issue #240 published 16 May 2021
Keeping teams aligned, deciding what to do with the office, figuring out what software to use — the hybrid workplace will come with hurdles.
Collected from interviews with European startups founders, this short post outlines some of the challenges we are going to face. As I’ve said before, hybrid is clearly a bad idea but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it 🤣
Issue #239 published 9 May 2021
Remote Work Report 2021
REMOTE WORKING
2020 might have been the ‘year of Gitlab’ as everyone rushed to learn how to do remote on the fly, so it pays to pay attention when they roll out nuanced report like this on remote work. Particularly interesting: disparity between employee reports on remote work vs remote workers perception of employer support of such work. This is a report that is not afraid to draw conclusions - have a read
Issue #239 published 9 May 2021
Packed full of interesting ideas on how to plan the ‘return to the office’ or at least, return to some form of predictable rhythm of work. Rightly critical of the rose tinted narrative of the office being a place of amazing creativity, but not dismissive of the value of having an office. Excellent easy reading, with plenty of deep dives linked throughout.
Issue #238 published 2 May 2021
How To Do Hybrid Right
REMOTE WORKING
Deep analysis, great case studies and one outstanding framework of analysis on what jobs require what circumstance to be optimally effective. If you read one thing on brainfood this week, read this.
Issue #238 published 2 May 2021
Osmotic communication, true to its name, suggests that humans can passively absorb info as they do tasks, just like plants absorb water through soil.
Probably the best workplace blog going right now. Dropbox have wonderfully positioned themselves as a thought leader in the new way of working. Must read
Issue #236 published 18 Apr 2021
Put this one down as reason No1 why ‘hybrid’ is a bad idea. I’m giving it 6-12 months before litigations start driving organisations to bite the bullet and choose full remote or full on premise. We’ve known for a long time - intuitively and via research - that proximity with the boss is the most important single factor to career progression.
Issue #235 published 11 Apr 2021
This newsletter - like the vast majority of content and discourse about our industry - is heavily centred in the Anglo-sphere. This collection of cameo portraits of 9 workers from under represented parts of the world is a fascinating window into the lives of others, who share with us the challenge of working from home during pandemic. It’s a great read
Issue #234 published 4 Apr 2021
Superb report from Totaljobs, & BCG, surveying changing attitudes of 208,807 workers from 190 countries. Particularly interesting findings: countries with poor pandemic response directly correlates with greater appetite for remote working. Accessible and fascinating - read it here. H/T to brainfooder Glenn Southam for the share
Issue #234 published 4 Apr 2021
Recent poll I ran on LinkedIn had over 1000 response, with some version of Hybrid coming out on top as 75% likelihood to happen in their business. And yet the new default is going to come with significant cultural overhead, which are only beginning to catch a glimpse of. As ever, we can learn from those who have already tried it - great post here by brainfooders Archie Hollingsworth and Louise Ware on their journey in experimenting with different modes of work
Issue #234 published 4 Apr 2021
Superb interactive website from Microsoft, showing the insights derived from their 2021 Work Trends internal survey. Particularly impressive is the recognition of both the inevitability of hybrid work and the inherent challenges to cultural cohesion that will come with it. Lots of work for us in TA / HR here. The full report is downloadable here, but I recommend you also dive right in and have a play on the website - this is reporting as it should be done
Issue #233 published 28 Mar 2021
Amazing essay which manages to weave together ideas like introverted cultures, makers vs managers schedules and the value of ‘human micro-exchanges’. At root is the idea that the argument for full return to office (see Goldman Sachs post), full remote or any number of hybrid variants in between, split along lines of neurodiversity. Fascinating speculation folks - have a read here
Issue #232 published 21 Mar 2021
Automattic - the software company behind Wordpress - has been a remote first / remote only business from inception. This account from the candidate perspective of the hiring process is the insider view of how to do remote first hiring. Few things to note: pre-assessment candidate access to company chat channels, where prospective hires can interact with existing employees. H/T brainfooder Simon McSorley for the share in the fb group
Issue #231 published 15 Mar 2021
Back To The Office
REMOTE WORKING
The data for Elad Gil’s claim is somewhat Trumpian (‘people tell me….’) but no reason to doubt the guy is super connected at least in SV tech, and others have claimed the same; that remote utopianism has given way somewhat to back-to-office romanticism. The possible models outlined toward the second half of this post make it really worthwhile - especially the nuance of options 2A and 2B. H/T to brainfooder Pedro Oliveira for the share in the fb group.
Issue #230 published 7 Mar 2021
Final of the 3 posts on remote working this week - the response of cities, regions and countries to the remote working revolution. War for Talent 2.0 is here folks - this time fought along entirely different dimensions. Regions with a history of tourism already have the inside track. H/T brainfooders Jennifer van Riet and Bas van de Haterd for the share
Issue #229 published 28 Feb 2021
As I was saying….how to pay - and how to tax - is the coming crisis on the remote first future. Pressure to maintain or increase tax revenue is going to be one of the main factors in the ‘back to the office’ movement. Also related. H/T to brainfooder Romuald Restout for the share in fb group.
Issue #229 published 28 Feb 2021
This week I want to look at some evidence that one of the most important functions of cities is to introduce us to new people. I’ll go on to argue being close seems to be very important for initiating and consolidating new relationships, but that once they’re formed it’s no longer so important that you stay physically close - at least from the perspective of facilitating innovation.
We are learning more about the nature of remote work. This outstanding post outlines the difference when working remotely with people you have previously met in-person, vs those where the Zoom call was the first contact. Relevant, especially for early entry talent, new team formation and likely a whole host of other anthropological angles we’ve yet to uncover. H/T brainfooder Bas van de Haterd for the share in the fb group
Issue #229 published 28 Feb 2021
Remote, on-premise or hybrid? The story follows design consultancy R/GA as they progress through the options, wrestling with competing demands of convenience, collaboration and culture. Hybrid is the path most of us will follow, but will it be ultimately revealed as the cowards choice? It’s another must read folks. H/T brainfooder Jacob Sten Madsen for the share in the fb group
Issue #227 published 14 Feb 2021
Hiring at GitLab
REMOTE WORKING
I stated in my review of remote, that Gitlab was crossover star of the 2020, blazing the way forward with its open source, remote only culture. Gitlab resources on remote working became the go-to for the rest of us, who suddenly had to transition to the new way of working. They continue to lead here by publishing their internal handbook that the current recruiting team at Gitlab uses to hire. Obviously must read folks. H/T to brainfooder Tris Revill for the share
Issue #227 published 14 Feb 2021
I’m beginning to believe multiplayer gaming might be the future of corporate culture in a remote first world. AR / VR is still too clunky, and not always on, and flat screen video interaction is not immersive enough to support the making of strong social bonds. Might start a brainfood Twitch channel - anyone in?
Issue #226 published 7 Feb 2021
Fascinating report from Kim-Mai Cutler on the incremental yet accelerating dispersal of tech startups, as companies move from Silicon Valley or - in many cases - never start there. With Rents collapsing in ‘superstar’ cities worldwide, in a stunning reversal of urban agglomeration which many thought was inevitable only 12 months ago. H/T Brainfooder Martyn Redstone on the share in the fb group
Issue #225 published 31 Jan 2021
Interesting report from Harvard Business School and NBER, which analysed the impact of informal ‘across the desk’ knowledge sharing and how it impacted sales performance. Perhaps the best argument for a return to office is the findings - it’s the un-trackable, unscheduled, randomised flow of information which can give individual performers the edge. Have a read
Issue #223 published 17 Jan 2021
Josh Bersin is always worth a read, even in snap shot posts like this. Quick takeaways: remote is better for college educated, older workers, who are more likely to have the work type and the material means to make remote work work. Interesting challenges ahead, for companies, for society. Have a read here
Issue #223 published 17 Jan 2021
Amongst the hundreds of remote work articles posted in brainfood this year, you might be surprised that I picked this one as my favourite for the year. The early pessimism in tone was prescient, and I suspect that the OP’s conjecture on the nature of full time work might be equally so. Some of the best stuff on remote work came from remote workers working this way pre-Covid - might be an idea to pay attention to what they have already learned.
Issue #220 published 27 Dec 2020
I’ve referenced this piece of research a number of talks I’ve been given recently so I thought I’d best share it with the community here in case you’re not already familiar with it. Some useful bits, including the occupational classification table.
Issue #218 published 13 Dec 2020
"Working" Remotely 2020
REMOTE WORKING
What if remote working secures productivity gains only for those who were previously on-premise? Intriguing research on this recent paper from Harvard University which suggests that there may be a novelty factor involved in the positive assessment of remote work. A bit technical so the abstract is here, full report here
Issue #215 published 23 Nov 2020
Wonderful post on the ‘smile curve’ and the inevitable commoditisation and offshoring of knowledge work, accelerated by the radical shift to remote. A challenging future ahead - on the one hand, long overdue economic rebalancing on a global level; on the other, will the WEIRD populations tolerate the relative drop in standards of living? Today’s politics gives us some indication as to what that answer might be. A must read folks
Issue #215 published 23 Nov 2020
Interesting research from Dropbox, whose content team are regularly finding ways to dive a little deeper than most on the implications of the shift to remote. This study on focus presents more questions than answers, but maybe the right questions are most important right now. Have a read (and see if you can make it through without being distracted)
Issue #214 published 16 Nov 2020
Check out LinkedIn’s own virtualised onboarding programme. Can’t disagree with any of their moves here - they all make perfect sense - and serve as a sense check for all of us if we’re missing any here. Accessible, practical, high value reading. PS might be useful if more of us published these types of ‘how we do it’ type material
Issue #214 published 16 Nov 2020
The story of the week is this proposal from Deutsche Bank to tax the WFH 5% of salary in order to support those who cannot do WFH. The reaction has been, fair to say, fairly emphatic, but I suspect this will be the first in a recurring wave of legislative attempts by governments i to reverse the shift to remote working. Meanwhile, governments in other regions, actively compete to do the opposite. ‘The war for talent’ is being reborn with an entirely new meaning along an entirely different axis. H/T to brainfooders Glenn Southam and Pedro Oliveira for the share in the fb group
Issue #214 published 16 Nov 2020
Tons of good stuff here, include ‘desire paths’, instituting digital commutes and - most importantly - inviting fewer people to your zoom meetings. Smart, useful, well referenced. H/T to brainfooder Joanne Lockwood for the share in the fb group (and get well soon Jo!)
Issue #213 published 9 Nov 2020
Long but excellent overview of the pro’s and con’s of remote working - in particular for those companies who have gone to WFA (work from anywhere). Cons include compensation, career progression, as well as brainstorming, enculturation and personal development….we into the skepticism phase of remote working yet? Have a read though, and make up your own mind - this one is one to keep
Issue #212 published 2 Nov 2020
Chris Herd is becoming something of a master of the twitter thread on remote work. Obviously he has an agenda but his musings are worthy, especially on the pressure to ‘out-remote’ your competitors. Read in combo with the McKinsey report above
Issue #209 published 11 Oct 2020
Please don’t hate on the boss (pictured) who probably just did the interview because of the software supplier quoted ‘BBC’ and cited him as a satisfied customer. Real talk: how do we achieve accountability with newly remote hired staff? Lot of people are doing this with bossware, so this guy is not in any way an outlier. Have a read
Issue #208 published 4 Oct 2020
Not only a fantastic interactive reading experience, but a really careful and effective case study on a company which may become the canonical example of radical remote. Must read. H/T brainfooder Denys Dinkevych for the share
Issue #208 published 4 Oct 2020
This is a brilliant post on three different levels 1) practical, with some do-it-today tips on how to improve your hiring process, 2) visual, in explaining through pictures and 3) conceptual, with the introduction of a truth about recruiting we don’t hear often enough - it’s really all about trust relationships. Must read folks
Issue #207 published 27 Sep 2020
More problems with remote working: young people are going to be missing a ton of information on how to get better at their work. How do we deal with this? Early career opportunities must be on-premise? A Brainfood Live topic if ever there was one.
Issue #205 published 13 Sep 2020
It should come as no surprise that the folks best suited for remote working are those who have been pushing for it even before Covid-19. Superbly accessible report from OfferZen on not only how developers feel about working from home, but why. Have a read here. H/T to brainfooder Anthea Hartzenberg for the share
Issue #205 published 13 Sep 2020
Love this ultimate guide to remote working from brainfooder Jose Kadlec; comprehensive and accessible deep dive into the immediate considerations of remote working - that is, what kit, set up, apps and tech do I need to ace the game whilst working from home? Its a must read
Issue #204 published 6 Sep 2020
Persuasive analysis from Gitlab’s Head of Remote: you actually need a person full time managing your business’s transition to remote work, because ‘it’s not a binary switch’. The organisational characterisations in the second half of this post are somewhat harsh but ….I suspect quite fair. Time to stop making it up as we go folks. H/T brainfooder Iwo Szapar for the share.
Issue #204 published 6 Sep 2020
Managing remote employees is very different from managing team members in an office. Here are 11 tips to help you in better at doing it. Outstanding resource folks. H/T Adriaan Kolff for the share in the fb group
Issue #203 published 30 Aug 2020
Beyond Remote
REMOTE WORKING
Outstanding essay on the nature of distributed work, providing necessary nuance in a debate which has morphed into binary opposites of ‘remote only’ vs 'back-to-office’. Hard to argue with the OP’s analysis that our future, will be ’heterogeneously implemented’….
Issue #202 published 23 Aug 2020
Outstanding screed against remote work, listing the various reasons why it’s overrated, including its incompatibility with large companies, the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ phenomena, the unavoidable rupturing of company culture and in the end, the obvious threat of offshoring the work. Read, alongside Li Jin’s post earlier in this newsletter and together a picture of the decline of the company as our primary method of organising labour begins to emerge…
Issue #201 published 16 Aug 2020
The New World of Work
REMOTE WORKING
The remote world of work is here to stay, and there’s a clear willingness to adapt to that new world – at least in the adoption of new technology. But in order to really succeed in this new model of work, we need to loosen up on the traditional operational practices, and start thinking about different solutions and practices so we continue to set ourselves for success. In short: the new world of work requires a new way of thinking.
Must read report on the attitude of HR to remote work. Key insight? The appetite for change is there, something we’d usually have to make the case for.
Issue #200 published 9 Aug 2020
Do you pay ‘market rate’ regardless of the location of the employee? Do you compensate for WFH set up? Do you reduce pay based on reduced commute costs? Plenty of brainfood here in this essential post every manager needs to read. H/T to brainfooder Viktoriya Vasileva for the share
Issue #199 published 2 Aug 2020
Microsoft - by mandating every employee to use the same Teams platform - might be uniquely positioned to commentate on the true implications of the global shift to remote work; some key findings in this summary post: meetings have increased in frequency, but reduced in duration (hurray!); also, change happens fast when it comes from the employees up vs managers down. Some must read corporate anthropology.
Issue #199 published 2 Aug 2020
Well written report from HBR on the implications of the phase shift to remote working; especially pertinent? the potential demise of ’weak ties’ which correlate with ‘random’ connections more easily made in person than online.
Issue #198 published 26 Jul 2020
This post is here primarily for this chart - a very decent way of visualising which flavour of remote working you’re going to try. It’s going to be easier to go all in or all out, naturally, but at least with this, you’re going to know what your choices are.
Issue #197 published 19 Jul 2020
Fascinating thought bubble collected from a number of user stories, (including one from brainfooder Adam Posner) which gives us yet another unexpected second or third order impact from Covid-19. The barriers between personal and professional will surely never be the same again. Have a read, here
Issue #196 published 12 Jul 2020
If you’re returning to the office this week you might be able to relate. I’m guessing none of us were as isolated as OP but her extreme experience might prove a useful guide on what to look out for when we return to ‘normal’ (spoiler alert: normal is not going to feel normal)
Issue #195 published 5 Jul 2020
Will Covid-19 lead to the long overdue global redistribution of wealth? According to this writer, it’s already happening, as remote working advocates inadvertently lay the groundwork for the large scale offshoring of all knowledge work. It’s a persuasive argument.
Issue #194 published 28 Jun 2020
Challenging reading for a ‘remote only’ advocate like myself, but this is essential material for all of us who are currently wrestling with configuration of our teams. The three problems? - all management is indirect, you can’t hire junior people and you get way less creativity / unplanned wins. All true, I think. Have a read here. H/T Pedro Oliveira for the share
Issue #193 published 21 Jun 2020
Important report from UpWork’s Chief Economist with a very telling twist - comparing survey results of 1500+ business owners pre Covid (Nov ‘19) vs post Covid (April '20). Accessible 7 pager with a clear message: despite teething issues, Remote Working is working. Download the report here. H/T Pedro Oliveira for the share
Issue #192 published 14 Jun 2020
Stripe’s decision a year ago to experiment with a ‘co-equal’ remote hub has proved prescient, and now puts them far enough ahead of the curve that they can now do a retro, whilst everyone else is still trying to getting a grip. Accessible read, essential for anyone wrestling with the shift to remote working
Issue #191 published 7 Jun 2020
As we begin to emerge from lockdown, big questions are being asked on what the standard operating model of business should be: remote, hybrid or co-located? An interesting angle from this post which argues for the existence of an essential ‘gravity’ to a businesses which is missing when you don’t have a physical HQ. What do we think - do companies have a soul and - if so - must it be at a physical place? Even as a remote only advocate, I’m kind of thinking…..maybe it does. Fascinating conjecture: have a read here
Issue #190 published 31 May 2020
The post about this post was featured in Issue 184, but not a bad thing to review the original, especially as its from Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Automattic, makers of Wordpress and famously a remote only business before it was cool. It’s the 5 Levels of Autonomy folks - where are your business at on this pyramid? H/T to brainfooder Ivan Harrison for the share.
Issue #189 published 24 May 2020
The Office Is Dead
REMOTE WORKING
A study by SquareFoot, which specializes in helping businesses find office space, found that companies in New York City spend an average of $17,020 per employee annually on office space
Coinbase, Shopify, Twitter, Facebook …all going remote first, there is a sense of inexorability about the movement towards permanent remote. This post outlines the business logic (its cheaper!) but there are many pro’s and cons were only just finding out about. Have a read of this post, and join the sometimes heated debate with other brainfooders in the fb group.
Issue #189 published 24 May 2020
‘Boundary violations’, 'energy shots’, 'micro-transitions’ - sometimes we just need the right words to help us understand what we feel. Excellent post from the Beeb which gives us the vocabulary on how to become more effective as a remote worker
Issue #188 published 17 May 2020
It’s become cool to malign McKinsey & Co (remember the ’War for Talent’ folks?), but sometimes they come up with the goods. This is an excellent post combining the theoretical with the pragmatic on what to do to maintain your agile teams MO when we’ve all had to shift to remote. Must read. H/T Adam Gordon for the share in the fb group
Issue #186 published 3 May 2020
Tired of remote work how-to posts? If you read just one more, make it this one. Real experience, real know-how and a real taxonomy of the types of remote working in this outstanding post by Martin Fowler. H/T brainfooder Pedro Oliveira for the share
Issue #186 published 3 May 2020
We need to get better at co-ordinating work without ‘mandated synchronicity’. Outstanding post which provides us with both the language and framework to do this better. H/T John Rose for the share in the fb group
Issue #185 published 26 Apr 2020
One gets the impression from this post that there is much regret as to the phenomena, though an appeal to the return to the phone comes across as a lament for a world now long gone. Video chat fatigue is real but perhaps more to do with how we are using them rather than the medium itself (see post below for perspective on this)
Issue #185 published 26 Apr 2020
Claire Lew is becoming a must follow thought leader on remote work. Another superb post on how to lead during times of Covid-19. Especially good on asking better questions as a manager. Must read folks.
Issue #185 published 26 Apr 2020
The Remote Work Report
REMOTE WORKING
GitLab have become the poster child of distributed only movement. Reports like this continue to embellish the brand - a dissection of the state of distributed work and, importantly, what the key motivators are for both employees and employers in this new normal. H/T Randy Bailey for the share in the fb group
Issue #185 published 26 Apr 2020
The Coronavirus - and China’s unprecedented response to it - might just be the black swan event that accelerates a trend which has so far left the country behind - remote working. Efficiency, productivity, health not to mention security gains to be had from locking down 46 million people are going to be too obvious to ignore for the worlds second biggest economy. Fascinating read from Bloomberg.
Issue #174 published 23 Apr 2020
Fundamental truth in productivity? Adapting tools you’re already using is more efficient than purpose built tools which no one has yet used. Zapier remote hiring, via Trello. Nice to see some human white gloves in the middle of all the automation also. 
Issue #80 published 23 Apr 2020
Outstanding resource put together by brainfooder and HR community leader Anna Ott and her awesome Secret HR Society. Notion might also be the best collaborative tool to maintain this type of crowdsourced documentation
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
Plenty of us need more ideas on what to do with the kids, now we are facing weeks if not months of lockdown with the little cherubs. Green Parent to the rescue with this well linked blog post packed full of ideas on what you can do.
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
Succinct and valuable post on the most important questions to ask when creating and updating your crisis response plan. Can’t argue with any of these - make sure you have missed one and take a look here
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
‘Implementation Intentions’, 'Time blocking’, 'Operational Transparency’…..some new terms for us to learn as we wrestle with productivity challenges of remote working. Excellent post for those who want to get better at it
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
Remote Work Survival Kit
REMOTE WORKING
Massive guide book on how to do all this stuff. Get it downloaded- easy to skim, easy to deep dive. H/T to brainfooderJoanne Lockwood for the share in the fb group
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
Emergency Emails
REMOTE WORKING
Communication, communication, communication - the mantra in times of crisis. Well what do you do if you’re the one tasked with doing the communicating? You check out this awesome resource for handy crisis email templates of course. H/T to Jenny Handy for the share.
Issue #180 published 23 Apr 2020
Buffer are a company who walk the talk when it comes to remote working. Drawing from data from 3500 respondents, this report delivers some interesting insights, particularly the challenge of mixed colocated / remote working environments. The arrows point to an all or nothing future for remote working. H/T to brainfooder Martyn Redstone for the share in the fb group
Issue #175 published 23 Apr 2020
How to hire software engineers? 1. Be a fully remote tech company and 2. Pay base salary as if they were on site in SF.
1200 applicants alone for this job at Basecamp - no shortage of tech talent here. Competitive advantage for hiring for fully remote businesses will force the issue for others. Have a read here. H/T brainfooder Pedro Oliveira for the share
Issue #175 published 23 Apr 2020
Timely and important post from brainfooder Lars Schmidt on what HR leaders should be doing to prep their business for a potential lockdown. Have a read here PS: wonder whether it might be an idea to crowdsource something here - watch this space.
Issue #177 published 23 Apr 2020
Great report from FYI for these reasons: cool presentation, accessible tone, undeniable value, especially the somewhat disorganised yet very good tips section, but mostly for the inclusion of the photo’s of respondents remote working set ups and pet companions. H/T to brainfooder and uber content submitter Denis Dinkevich for the share
Issue #153 published 23 Apr 2020
All teams become distributed teams over time
Never thought of this before, but of course it’s true. Lots of little nuggets of wisdom like this in this accessible post, written by practitioners with relevant experience. Have a read here
Issue #165 published 23 Apr 2020
Useful 8 point guide that provides some practical recommendations on what we can do to protect the health of our people and our businesses. I suspect at least half of these will likely not be rolled back post outbreak, so this phase shift for us in HR. Must read.
Issue #178 published 23 Apr 2020
Brainfood Larder
REMOTE WORKING
It seems a lot of you have had to enforce WFH protocols following the global outbreak of COVID-19; there has been a corresponding surge in requests for information on Remote Working. Brainfood Larder is our best friend here - a searchable archive of every article ever posted in brainfood, including dozens on remote work. Take a look here - and bookmark the page - gets updated every issue.
Issue #178 published 23 Apr 2020
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent nearly 1 year in space, and he has some advice on how to deal with isolation. Pretty sound advice, particularly keeping a hobby (that is not work or entertainment) and doing a journal. Have a read
Issue #181 published 23 Apr 2020
Working from home is a security & privacy nightmare, as this story rather explicitly demonstrates. As ever, efficiency vs privacy is the trade off and you can always bet that a naked man somewhere is going to stage a virtual break in on your digital room.
Issue #181 published 23 Apr 2020
If you are about Zoomed out right now - then believe me - I understand. Step forward hero of the hour, Creative Technologist Matt Reed who created a bot to take his place on unnecessary video calls. Great story, and probably actually useful
Issue #184 published 23 Apr 2020
Bit of an advertorial for the Teams product, this report from Microsoft nevertheless provides some interesting insight on behavioural change triggered by the mass movement to remote working. Easy read, so do it here. H/T Martyn Redstone for the share in the fb group
Issue #184 published 23 Apr 2020
Zoom team-selfies, like the one below, taken by giddy corporate executives who have been long-time remote working laggards, are polluting Twitter and LinkedIn feeds….
….and are a surefire sign you’re a Level 2. Excellent post on our shared reality. H/T John Rose for the share in the fb group
Issue #184 published 23 Apr 2020
This case study series by LinkedIn is rather good - 4 to 5 cameo portraits condensed into a paragraph each - enough to get a takeaway on each one. Some excellent ideas from the likes of HelpScout and Automattic. Essential reading if you have or planning to increase your distributed workforce. Take a look here
Issue #133 published 23 Apr 2020
Accessible explainer post on the two paradigms of scheduling - ‘managers schedule vs makers schedule’. Rings true for anyone who has struggled with deep work in the traditional office environment. This is excellent, so have a read here
Issue #161 published 23 Apr 2020
This fellow Billy Barr has been living alone in a cabin in a Colorado mountain ghost town for the past 50 years. He offers advice on how to find and maintain happiness in isolation. And it is indeed excellent advice
Issue #182 published 23 Apr 2020
You know I’m a fan of big lists. H/T Alexandru Gotoj for making perhaps the biggest one of all - as comprehensive a list for remote working that I’ve seen. Great original share in the fb group (which you are welcome to join btw).
Issue #182 published 23 Apr 2020
Foiled prototyping. Factory photos stalled by secrecy. Travel bans that slow decisions. The tech industry’s most important hardware maker is still figuring out how to manage a remote workforce as the Covid-19 outbreak disrupts its operations.
Fascinating journalism on how the notoriously secretive company is coping with working from home. Must read
Issue #182 published 23 Apr 2020
Sometimes a massive list is the most useful thing, especially when it is sourced, linked and placed on a single website. Superb resource in case you ever needed to build a business case for the inevitable future that is remote working.
Issue #160 published 23 Apr 2020
The virtualisation of recruiting means first impression are going to change. Instead of business suit, you are going to need a decent HD webcam + good lighting. Big implications for D&I here
Issue #183 published 23 Apr 2020
What do you do when you onboarding has to be remote? Accessible guide, beautifully presented in this interactive website. Not just flash either, there is some solid advice in here too. Have a read
Issue #183 published 23 Apr 2020
This is a much better post than the title suggests - it’s a commendable attempt at mapping the landscape of remote working startups. Some good thinking on the taxonomy, as well a undeniably appealing 2 x 2 matrix. Have a read
Issue #183 published 23 Apr 2020
In these challenging times, it’s worth remembering that some of our businesses are pretty resilient - outlasting emperors, revolutions, foreign invasions, civil wars and yes, epidemics too. We’ll make it through this
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Never to let a catastrophe get in the way of sales outreach eh? This recruiter continues to do his part to fortifying the industry’s reputation as the most awful people on the planet. From the frequently funny-yet-shameful subreddit, Recruitinghell…. have a read ….and don’t do this.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
If you’re a parent, working from home when your default is working in an office might bring another challenge - what to do with the kids. Thankfully, the good people at Princess Awesome have created an open source doc packed full of ideas on what you can do. Check it out here
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Fascinating line of thought from Abe Winter, who points out twin effects of quarantine and near certain recession in many parts of the world. I think…..he might be right.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Embarrassing WFH Moments
REMOTE WORKING
Have you had an embarrassing work from home moment yet? You’re going to - so you might as well share your story and have a smile or two at some of these others here. Btw: there’s a ton of great resources on this network generally
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Excellent company policy template includes guidelines employees should follow to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Use it if you haven’t got one better. Part of this resource hub from Workable - super useful
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Cuppa
REMOTE WORKING
“Social distancing” is already manifesting into new etiquette when it comes to meeting and greeting people. It also brings in the challenge of loneliness which we might all be beginning to feel a little right now. So why don’t you grab a virtual coffee with folks who follow your twitter? It’s Chatroulette, only with people who already like your chat. I’ve signed up
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Excellent post from the CEO of my favourite video conferencing tool, Whereby (better than Zoom I’m telling ya). Particularly relevant for companies suddenly in remote only mode: 1) don’t tolerate ambiguity - it’s a massive productivity killer and 2) create daily rhythm and rituals.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Great to read stories like this from brainfooders who are sharing their experience of shifting to remote only mode. My advice: read widely on posts like this from Anita Lettink
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
@HungLee/Covid19
REMOTE WORKING
Twitter has become a great resource for cross referencing breaking news. I’ve curated a public list of folks epidemiologists, public health professionals & scientific journalists who are sharing reliable information about Covid19. Follow it here
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
This has got to be the toughest year for the events business so this post is for you: Vimeo handy guide on how to plan & deliver a Virtual Event. This is an opportunity folks - someone is going to crack this at some point - we might as well try and do it now.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Now you are a ‘distributed collaborator’, can you be an effective one for you and your colleagues? The UI needs an update but this remains the de facto manual for how you can do so. Must read.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Superb essay by Will Oremus on how this global phase shift from colocated to remote work will reshape society. Amongst the many important insights, this one stuck out for me: only some of us have the type of work which can be done remotely and a remote first future will leave a lot of us behind. Must read
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
The Remote Manifesto
REMOTE WORKING
GitLab have been one of the first ‘remote only’ businesses to not only advocate for remote work but also to share knowledge on how to do it well. Their guide for All-Remote - a position many of us now suddenly find ourselves in - is an essential resource for us to bookmark and read.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
Remote Work Wiki
REMOTE WORKING
Notion have become something of a darling of online colloboration & knowledge sharing in the past two years and it’s pretty easy to see why: the interface is familiar but the functionality is extensible. This wiki on remote work is a particularly good example of how to use it. Also pretty relevant content, given the circumstances
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
If you need to craft a response document to your customers and employees on your Covid-19 policy, this crowdsourced collection is as a good a place as any to start. Also is an expanding document so one to bookmark for long term use. H/T to brainfooder Lars Schmidt for mobilising the community for this effort.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
KnowYourTeam is a cool product and Claire Lew is an even cooler CEO, not least for opening up this guidebook for managers of remote working teams. Tons of actionable tips in this accessible 60 page PDF.
Issue #179 published 23 Apr 2020
What is it like to work as a recruiter for a remote first / remote only company? This is the question that brainfooder Kristiine Kukk asked the good folks at Toggl recently. It’s an excellent, insightful interview.
Issue #154 published 23 Apr 2020
The Remote Work Report
REMOTE WORKING
Is the office is dead? It might be by 2030 according to the respondents of this survey from Zapier. The rise of remote work is inexorable and employers had better learn how to shift to it. BTW more on remote working in the Brainfood Larder
Issue #163 published 23 Apr 2020
Fascinating piece of research from our buddies at ESMI, and brainfooder Matthew Mee, whose annual Talent Attraction Scorecard paints a picture of a movement of talent away from the big cities. Agglomeration effect going in reverse? Remote working and impossible house prices make it that way.
Issue #163 published 23 Apr 2020