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Web Summit 2020 Talk: The Secret Life Of Remote Teams.


Today the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried,  was interviewed by Jessi Hempel, senior editor-at-large of Linkedin. They began by exchanging the common greetings but quickly set in to the topic at hand, that being the recent changes to everyone's daily life, the more prevalent than ever remote working conditions. Jason Fried was adamant on making the distinction, however, between 'remote working' and 'pandemic working,' the difference being the lack of space solely devoted to work at homes that were under-prepared for the change in working conditions. The chaos of having a whole family at home, attempting to get work done while entertaining, or educating bored and unwilling children has lead to the third stage of progression that Jessi Hempel referred to as 'burnout.' This being the exhaustion and discontent with the current conditions that are, to say the least, not ideal for most businesses. 

It's inevitable that, as communication technology progresses, the idea of the conventional working office warps to fit the needs of people. As such, remote working is far more viable and common than it was even a few years ago, however due to the pandemic people are receiving a harsh baptism in remote working and are thrown in at the deep end for the large part. Jason Fried stated that this feeling of burnout comes from attempting to translate common business, or more specifically, office practices in a remote working environment which is not viable. While regular scheduled meetings may work in an office, as hated as they are, with the distractions of a busy household in the background among the plethora of differences to the office a more asynchronous timetable works better. By this, Jason Fried suggests, people are able to work at the right pace, while also allowing for the time required to properly think of ideas before presenting them to the team as a whole. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can attest to finding large online meetings difficult to sort through ideas, let alone to figure out who is proposing what. An asynchronous schedule gives time back to the workforce and overall helps to improve the mood, but to do this Jason Fried stated, "employers would have to scale back their ambitions." Under these conditions, maintaining the mood of the workforce to improve its longevity is as, if not more, important than monitoring productivity. 

Jessi Hempel suggested that the need of a rigorously scheduled life has already bled over into our personal lives, having to schedule in advance to call a friend. By following Mr. Fried's advice we might even see a permanent improvement in mental health, and therefore greatly reduce the effects and risk of eventual workforce burnout. This would help with having trust in the employees, should their ever be a need for this 'pandemic working' style again. As trust is another key factor that determines the possibility of remote work within a company. 

To all the businesses struggling to work remotely, whether due to a burnt out work force or just simply being terrible at using the video chat effectively, I would suggest looking at this talk if you get the chance. Remember to allow your worker's to give their attention rather than scheduling meetings with the whole team, and I'm sure you will see an improvement.

Jack Glidewell - Editor at social songbird

A self taught writer and news enthusiast, with a deep love for new and exciting developments around the globe. Aspiring Novel writer and traditional and pop Japanese culture lover.   

Web Summit 2020 Talk: The Secret Life Of Remote Teams. Reviewed by Jack Glidewell on Friday, December 04, 2020 Rating: 5

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