I was very excited last week when this short video from 37 Signals showed up in my inbox promoting their new book REMOTE – Office Not Required. Take a few minutes and watch it as they talk about all the things I’ve long championed as the advantages of embracing and working in The Anywhere Office® – especially with regards to lifestyle compatibility and productivity.
If you’ve read the articles I post on this blog it should come as no surprise to you that I loved the NY Times Bestseller REWORK written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 Signals (the company that created the popular online collaboration and project management software Basecamp). In REWORK they challenge the usual thoughts and paradigm about work, meetings and what you need to run a successful company. It really changes the way you think about running a business in today’s world of work.
Well it looks like Jason and David have done it again this week with the release of their new book called REMOTE – Office Not Required. This book speaks more directly to the concept of The Anywhere Office® that we discuss and celebrate here on this blog. This short blurb about their book says it all:
As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. REMOTE, the new book by 37signals, shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from any desk, in any space, in any place, anytime, anywhere.
You may have heard in the news this past week about Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer and her no work-at-home policy. She helped usher Yahoo back into the stone age when they made it clear that any Yahoo employee that currently works from home has until June to report to an office to work or look for work elsewhere.
According to an internal memo Yahoo believes:
“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
While I agree it’s helpful to work side-by-side with coworkers, this decision reaks of the knee-jerk, backward, “can’t do” thinking I see so many companies suffer from. They’re struggling with virtual teamwork and remote collaboration so they think they should just scrap the whole thing.
As a consultant helping companies make the shift to The Anywhere Office®, I can tell you first hand that virtual teams can be MORE effective and productive than co-located teams when instituted properly, and that “speed and quality” can be unsurpassed. But it doesn’t happen by accident; it requires a strategy and training.
When I consult with companies I walk them through a process to take a step back and define team and communication guideline. We also take a look at what kind of tools they have in place already, to determine if they are the right tools, and if they are being thoughtfully applied. Even these simple exercises have helped teams transform into lean, mean collaborating machines.
The punchline of the Yahoo situation is that Ms. Mayer talks about wanting the company to be the “best place to work,” but in the same breathe she announces they are taking away the ability to have a flexible work agreement. Workplace flexibility is highly valued by today’s smart young professionals; closing the door on it at Yahoo will ensure the best and brightest will look for work elsewhere. And don’t even get me started on the litany of other benefits virtual work provides: increased productivity, cost savings, environmental benefits, disaster preparedness….
I should be thanking Yahoo’s new CEO
In an interesting article I read in Fast Company they explained why Marissa Mayer and Yahoo actually did us a big favor:
“Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders and organizations follow the same path even though employees value the ability to work remotely, and there’s a solid argument that telework actually benefits the business.The difference is that those leaders don’t have a high profile and aren’t under the same public scrutiny as Mayer; therefore, their decisions go unnoticed and unchallenged. Rather than singling out and criticizing Mayer, we should thank her for raising the veil. Yahoo’s decision gives us the opportunity to expose and challenge the misguided, faulty reasoning many leaders follow when they decide to revoke their support for flexible work.”
That’s a very valid point and I’m delighted that the decision has generated so much discussion about telework, remote collaboration, and virtual leadership. The thing that really strikes me is Mayer’s claim they need to have everyone in the same physical location to communicate and collaborate effectively – this coming from a technology leader that produces a number of tools (such as mail, calendar,Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Groups, etc.) that are designed to help people work together regardless of time or distance! Read more
Interesting infographic depicting the evolution of workshifting and remote work.
It’s common practice that most of us spend some time each day working with remote team members and colleagues, but it’s a reality that is very different to 10-15 years ago. The idea for the infographic was to try to show the movement over the past decade from remote work being a rare event to its current status as a common event. It proved more difficult to find numbers that worked together in a coherent way, but I think that the infographic tells the story it needs to tell.
For more about this graphic and these statistics visit Plantronics Blogcentral | The Smarter Office.
Food for thought from the folks at Citrix. I still can not understand why so many employers choose to continue to swim against this stream….
Today marks the beginning of the second annual Telework Week hosted by Telework Exchange. The goal is to encourage people and organizations to pledge to telework during this week in order to get a first hand account of just how flexible, simple, and economical it can be to work in this mode. Already, more than 64,000 pledges have signed up for Telework Week, collectively saving more than $4.7 million in commuting costs in just one week.
I thought this event was a great opportunity to look back on my own year and review what we have accomplished to champion telework here in The Anywhere Office. Early in the year we published a free white paper called, WORK UNCHAINED: Workshifting and the Competitive Edge of The Anywhere Office®‘- this 16 page special report details:
- Why workshifting provides a critical competitive edge
- Common mistakes to avoid when enabling a mobile workforce
- Best practices for evaluating your organization before implementing a workshifting strategy
- How to assess information, communication and collaboration needs
- Key tools to consider when implementing a workshifting program
Then I was fortunate to be included on a panel of experts along with Jeff Zbar and Rachel Hastings to produce a teleseminar entitled, Telecommuting in the 21st Century: How to Implement or Improve Virtual Teams and Flexible Work in Your Organization which I turned into a free 13 part audio series. These 13 sessions comprise over an hour of informative content and will provide you with all the information you need to help you evaluate if telecommuting is a good fit for your business and how to get started or improve your virtual team work.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly for me, I redeveloped my virtual team leadership webinar – The Art of Virtual Leadership. It now contains new and updated material and for the first time it’s available on-demand on any device that has Internet access. This 3-hour concise go-at-your-own pace course is packed with easy-to-understand overviews, key takeaways, action plans, checklists, tips, audio interviews, best practices, steps to take, proven strategies and more.
So, I’m proud of what we’ve created and contributed this year – and I hope you all can find some useful guidance and advice in this information. In order to celebrate Telework Week 2012 in the hopes that more organazations and individuals will realize the tremendous benefits of telecommuting, workshifting, and virtual teamwork, I am going to give away 2 FREE enrollments to The Art of Virtual Leadership webinar (registration is currently $157).
In order to enter the contest and be eligible to win your free enrollment you must do the following 2 steps:
- Follow me on Twitter – @philmontero (I share information on telework, virtual teams, mobile technology, and tips on how to work in The Anywhere Office so I promise it’ll be worth it!)
- Send out the following Tweet (you can copy and paste it into twitter or use the tweet button below):
RT @philmontero: It’s #telework week – visit The Anywhere Office for free resources – win a $157 webinar. http://bit.ly/twk2012 #tlwk2012
To make it even easier simply click this tweet button Tweet
and you will be taken to your twitter page with the text already in place so you can just click SEND.
I am also offering a 20% discount to anyone who enrolls for The Art of Virtual Leadership during Telework Week 2012 (let’s say through Sunday March 11th). Use coupon code telework2012 in the shopping cart while registering for the webinar to receive an additional 20% off of the already discounted $197 registration fee.
Have a great Telework Week, let’s shoot for a telework MONTH next year…
Founder of TheAnywhereOffice.com
Links to Resources Mentioned Above:
Work Unchained Report: http://youcanworkfromanywhere.com/workunchained-specialreport.htm
Telecommuting in the 21st Century Audio: http://www.theanywhereoffice.com/telecommuting-in-the-21st-century
Art of Virtual Leadership Webinar: http://www.youcanworkfromanywhere.com/avl/