My youngest daughter works for a tech start-up based in San Francisco. Only thing is, she’s never been to San Francisco. She lives in Spokane Washington and arrived home for Christmas this year to spend a full three weeks hanging out with her parents. Oh, and she’s busy working for that San Francisco start-up right now in the other room.
That’s the new world of work we live in and I for one think it’s an amazing time.
My dad still gives me a puzzling look when I quip that my office is anywhere I can get an Internet connection, but the reality is major, major businesses are being build on the backs of a remote workforce.
Fried and his business partner David Heinemeier Hansson have built a wildly successful company with offices in Chicago, but workers strewn about several continents. According to Fried work doesn’t happen at work in the traditional office setting and far too often organizations constrained by geographical hiring must compromise on the talent they can attract.
It’s pretty funny to see people who trek to coffee shops and libraries to get “real” work done because the interruption of meetings and availability in the office make it impossible to actually think about a project of any scope.
Of course, remote work requires a shift in culture, a new set of tools and more than anything, sharp focus.
You’ve got to work harder at staying connected with remote workers. You’ve got to work harder at reinforcing the culture of remote work and remote productivity. Fried talks about developing the ability to pick up when something isn’t quite right with a staff member from the tone of email.
Buffer, a social media start-up with a number of remote workers, posted this great advice on tools for remote work. Zapier, an API integration provider, also with a mostly remote workforce, chronicled their best practices for managing remote teams here.
The office of today just might not be an office at all. I for one would be fine with that little cabin in the Colorado foothills!