Show cover of 21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading and managing remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations. Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.


WLP312 What's Going On: Remote Work - Promoting Inclusivity or Inequality?
In this episode, Maya and Pilar take a step back to look at the possible effects (both positive and negative) of widespread adoption of remote work. For the links and a full summary, check out:  
57:46 09/29/2022
WLP311 Psychological Safety in Asynchronous Communication
A different kind of episode for today, and we would love your feedback. What does psychological safety look in a team that has embraced asynchronous communication? Pilar and Simon Wilson share a work in progress module of the course they working on. We’d love to hear from you what you think, through our page Your Opinion . For the full show notes, head over to  
25:17 09/22/2022
WLP310 Adopting New Collaboration Habits through Asana
In this episode we go into the detail of how to best use a collaboration tool like Asana - even though we concentrate on this particular tool, much of what we talk about is applicable to many other platforms that allow us to visualise our workflow. To connect with Bastien, you can find him on LinkedIn, and you can check out his website: For the full show notes, check out  
48:14 09/08/2022
WLP309 What’s Going On: The Increasing Costs of WFH, Hybrid First Aid, Co-Working Stipends, Protests against Digital Nomads
In this episode, Maya and Pilar discuss recent figures about the adoption of remote work, the increasing costs of working from home as energy prices rise, first aid in a hybrid workplace, what co-working stipends say about a company and recent protests against digital nomads. For the show notes, visit
56:05 08/25/2022
WLP308 The Challenges of Building Digital Communities in Organisations
In today’s episode, Pilar talks to Rachel Happe, who is a consultant helping leaders in organisations to boost engagement. They talk about the mindset leadership needs to build digital communities in the workplace, and all the things that get in the way.  For the full show notes, check out If you want to continue exploring this topic, check out Rachel’s blog post Building a Hybrid Workplace: How Communities Transform Work.  You can connect with Rachel on Twitter @rhappe, or if you prefer a work-related series of tweets follow the Engaged Orgs account: @engagedorgs You can also connect with Rachel Happe on LinkedIn.
53:47 08/11/2022
WLP307 The Role of Values and Async Communication in a Remote Organisation
In today’s episode, Pilar talks to Niklas Dorn, co-founder and CEO of Filestage about how they recruit in the company, the role of values in the day-day and what async communication looks like in the company. For more detailed show notes, visit 
51:38 07/21/2022
WLP306 Developing a Team Habit of Sitting Less
Today’s guest Stefan Zavalin goes into detail about how he works with teams in organisations to sit less. There is plenty here for you to incorporate into your team. Plus, the conversation is also relevant to those involved in introducing change. You can find out more about Stefan go to and check out his book “Sit Less: Evolve Your Work and Life Without Compromising Your Health”. For the full show notes, visit
49:12 07/14/2022
WLP305 What’s Going On: The 4-Day Week, Good Audio and Introvert Stereotypes
In this episode, Maya and Pilar discuss the the recent developments around the 4-day week experiments in the UK and Spain, they reflect on whether audio quality might give rise to a new kind of unconscious bias and they have a go at introvert/extrovert stereotypes. Plus, bits and pieces around collaboration tech and news from our network. The approach to the 4-Day Week has many parallels with remote work. Organisations need to have the appropriate culture, and it will look differently in different companies. A chip shop featured in The Guardian’s article Thousands of UK workers begin world’s biggest trial of four-day week is a prime example of this, where they’ve implemented a whole new set of shifts, to make sure that customers still get the same level of service. 18.05 MINS Pilar, who pays unusual attention to audio, has noticed that her first impressions of people online, specially those featured in events, is affected by the quality of their audio. If remote workers want to show up as their best in meetings and presentations, it’s worth organisations, or individuals, investing in external microphones. (We recommend a YETI microphone.) 29:40 MINS There are still many misconceptions of what introverts are, thinking that they are always shy. There are some introverts who are shy, but there are also shy extroverts. It’s all about how energy is managed, and what energises us. A short and fun one to end with: are we in danger of “slack-splaining”? We discuss this article which talks about how so many people are overthinking their written messages (on Slack, etc) and the stress it’s causing. Full show notes here 
58:31 06/27/2022
WLP304 Transitioning to a Hybrid Workplace
David Stoddard is COO and Partner at Barnett Waddingham, a leading independent UK professional services consultancy at the forefront of risk, pensions, investment and insurance, with almost 1,500 employees in 9 offices.  (By the way, Pilar was very impressed by their website, have a look.) David is the Chief Operating Officer, one of 100 partners, and he leads the non-client facing areas of the business, including the transformation across the business - Work Smart. The company has 9 offices across the UK. Pre-pandemic, the office was at the centre of the work and the hub of connection.David and his team surveyed the employees through a regular pulse check throughout the pandemic, as they were concerned that people felt disconnected and were going through difficult times. They surveyed how people were feeling, what was working well, what wasn’t working well, etc.Some of the things they found when they surveyed their people confirmed their expectations, like people seeing a benefit of working together, and the benefit of having more time to work in a focused way, and the work life balance that the pandemic had provided. It was also very clear that everyone’s experience was personal, and had different views on what the best ways of working were. The team also found a few surprises amongst the survey replies, like the fact that some people had adopted pets during the pandemic and so were concerned about having to leave them in order to go to the office.The organisation is now adopting the Work Smart framework, but with the knowledge that each part of the business is very different, eg some dispersed team which are client-facing, some teams where individuals benefit from focus solo time etc. Clients shared much of the feedback with what they’d had from their colleagues. Clients also find the benefit of getting together in person, for example every three months, or at the beginning of the relationship. However, when there is already trust within a relationship, this is not as important, and meetings can take place online. In fact, throughout this process, they have been able to share some of their learnings with their clients, as they were also adapting to different ways of working. 18.50mins The intention of the Work Smart framework is to create a framework that’s best for clients, colleagues and culture. Underpinning it is the belief that some activities at Barnett Waddingham are done best face to face, for example being immersed in a call when you have just joined the company. Apprentices and graduates can learn by osmosis by being in the same physical space.  At the same time there are some activities which are best done in quiet spaces, and for some people that will be the home - but some people will prefer to do these activities in the office. Being conscious of what you’re doing and why during these experiments is important. Asking people to come back to the office needs to be more deliberate and the benefits of people being physically together need to be made explicit. The “contract” with work has changed from the default being to go into the office, to consciously choosing to do so, or request so. Leaders in the organisation also need to change how they work, as working with an office-based team is different to learning a hybrid team. 29.15mins There is a risk of “cultural drift” happening over time, if you don’t deliberately work to sustain the culture of the organisation. People tend to be members of different teams, so there is the question of where do you form the greatest sense of connection or belonging? Probably with your immediate team, but then how do you connect to the broader culture? Social events are one example of bringing people together from different parts of the organisation. There will be a period of adjustment as people discover what it’s like to be in the office now, as opposed to in the past.  Meanwhile, David and his colleagues are still testing new ways of working, refining the technology, adapting their facilities and training their people. David believes hybrid is here to stay, and you can resist it, or embrace it. If you embrace it and get it right, you can create a sustainable and competitive advantage. 
36:10 06/23/2022
WLP303 Succesful Hybrid Leadership
Roberta Sawatsky is a “research storyteller”.   As well as running her own consultancy, SAM is Remote, she is a business professor at Okanagan School of Business, Canada with a focus on HR and management. She blogs at Probe and Ponder… learning from life and travels.  Below are some brief show notes. For a longer summary, check out: Roberta’s research is around remote work/hybrid work/work from anywhere. “You have to be willing to take the responsibility, if you’re asking for the flexibility.”    Roberta has had an interest in and has been involved in leadership her whole adult life, leading teams, or in a volunteer capacity. Whenever people are in a position of leadership or something less formal, leading by relationship, they have a responsibility to take it seriously, as they are influencing people.    Roberta’s recent research started in 2019, looking at the core competencies of remote workers.  She then decided to build on that research, but focus on leaders, so she extended her study leave.  “Never underestimate the impact of culture shock.” Check out Roberta’s post.  16.00 MINS The research into leading hybrid teams Proximity equity:  the unconscious treatment to give preferential treatment to those in our vicinity.  Hybrid:  Some people are colocated in the same physical space, or in the same town but not working in the office, while there are other members of the team working in other parts of the world.   Robert Greenleaf’s concept of servant leadership encourages questions like “Do those served grow as persons?” “Do they become healthier when being served”?  26.30 MINS In the end, the philosophy behind what we do is important. What is a leader’s philosophy of leadership becomes important because of their impact over others’ lives, so Roberta started to ask questions around that. She mentions the book “Humankind by Rutger Bregman”. “Autonomy in the workplace is not about passively letting employees be independent, it’s also not about working in isolation or doing work without guidance, boundaries, supervision or collaboration. What it is, is about allowing people to work the way that is most conducive to their own best performance.”  42.24 MINS After covering the actions that leaders can take to nurture their teams and team members, Roberta turns to the leadership competencies.  Someone leading a team can grow these competencies and be aware of what they are already good at.  Link to Competencies for Successful Hybrid Leadership by Roberta Sawatzky  Roberta hopes that this research will reach leaders and will be incorporating this into her classes in September, as well as her consultancy and coaching work.   Connect with Roberta on LinkedIn and check out her research and company, Sam is Remote.  
56:03 06/16/2022
WLP302 What's Going On: Asynchronous Book Clubs, the Metaverse and Work, and the New Hybrid Complexity
Thanks to everyone who commented on our 300th episode! You can now find all the interviews over at the new podcast Work Life Changes and Remote Work in Organisations. We kick off looking at “what might be going on”. Maya has written “Virtual e-residency, a future in the metaverse?”, a piece looking at the potential of emerging technologies, and how we might make use of them as part of work in the future. Will “hybrid” mean we use both the metaverse and the office? Will there be a place online where all Estonian e-residents and businesses can meet? And how will taxation work? 12.45 mins We bring in the voices of two of our guests from episode 300, for this section on asynchronous communication. (We like to practice what we preach!) Mark Kilby tells us about a new experiment he’s set up using asynchronous video. He’s using the app Volley to bring people together who are reading his book and have questions and comments. It was not feasible to set up online meetings to bring everyone together, as readers are spread all over the world. Following episode 294, where we covered a couple of articles on emojis, Ross Winter, our own “podcast polisher” has some further questions on the use of emojis: Why do we only have a handful of emojis? Should we ditch them? Are they harming the quality of our communication? What about predictive replies? Or is it just a matter of sending a quick reply vs no reply at all? 31.16 mins John Hopkins, has recently completed some research on hybrid work in Australia. It outlines the three main hybrid work structures, and how happy workers are with them. Pretty happy by the way. Back in the UK, two government politicians are determined to get everyone back in the office. One of our listeners asked for commentary on the news that an unnamed politician (we don’t want to give him the space here in our blog, but we name him in the episode) has been leaving notes on civil servants’ desks telling them they are much missed at the office. He wants everyone back and one of the reasons is that the tax payer is paying for the buildings. (Yes, you read right.) One of our listeners sent us coverage of this story, with his own thoughts about how the different departments in the civil service are still recovering from the pandemic backlog, are at different points in their “digitalisation” and how some jobs can be done remotely while others can’t. 46.08 mins Finally, if you are looking for an activity for your team, check out these online puzzles from Google Arts and Culture. And let us know if you try them yourself! (Pilar heard about this in the After Hours podcast.) 47.30mins We have some things to report from our network, but before that, Maya is hosting a new podcast: The Future is Freelance ! Thanks to everyone who commented on the 300th episode! And remember we now have a new show: Work Life Changes and Remote Work in Organisations. Many thanks to Hans Gaertner for sharing episode 298 with Laurel Farrer, all about biases in the hybrid workplace, and to Zahra for letting us know that our work resonates at her end too. Nancy Settle-Murphy recommends to remove backgrounds from profile photos and make quick edits, and there is still time to get a 10% discount on Penny Pullan’s book Virtual Leadership, Practical Strategies for Success with Remote or Hybrid Work and Teams when you get it directly from the publisher’s site. (But you need to listen to the episode!) Let us know what you think over at 
56:39 06/02/2022
WLP301 Enrich Your Communication through Asynchronous Video
Pilar talks to Brian Casel about asynchronous communication and how he uses his product, Zip Message in the day to day running of his business. Links: You can communicate asynchronously with Brian through his Zip Message page: And you can find him on Twitter too For more show notes, check out 
42:26 05/19/2022
WLP300 Part 3 The Evolution and Future of the 21st Century Work Life podcast
In this episode, we focus on the 21st Century Work Life podcast: how it’s evolved and what it could cover in the future. And our guests have come wise words for you, our listeners. 00.00 mins Pilar shares how the show has evolved over the last 100 episodes. Some of the episodes she mentions are: episode 209 The Journey of the Remote Leader, episode 263 “Remote” is not the Only Challenge, episode 282 Asynchronous Facilitation and Online Collaboration, episode 286 The Challenges of Adopting Asynchronous Communication. 09.05 mins Bree and Pilar talk about the Connection and Disconnection in Remote Teams series and how the conversations around remote work in general changed during the pandemic. 15.39 mins We hear some general suggestions from guests about what they’d like a podcast like ours to cover in the future. Tim Burgess is first, he’s been leading a distributed company for a few years - he would like to hear more “secrets” from people who are in the remote space. Then we hear from Theresa Sigillito Hollema, who as a guest has talked about leading global teams, her speciality. She’s interested in the psychology of working away from each other. Theresa refers to My Pocket Psych, so its from its host, Dr. Richard MacKinnon, who we hear from next. He’s also appeared on this show as guest, and as part of the Connection and Disconnection series. He would like the show to cover the “how to” for those new to the space (especially if it’s evidence-based). He’s followed by Mark Kilby, who’s also been on this show a lot, (and who Pilar got to meet in person, in London!) and would like a mix of the “how” and the “why”. Then we hear from Pinar Akkaya, it’s the first time she’s guested on this show. She’s looking for inspiration and “what if” scenarios. 24.49 mins Other guests have more specific suggestions. Simon Wilson kicks this bit off. He’d like to hear more - and be involved in conversations - about what asynchronous communication looks like in those teams embracing it, plus deep conversations about organisational culture. We then hear from Ross Winter, our podcast polisher, who would like to hear answers to questions like, Why are we spending so much time looking for connection online? Eva Rimbau Gilabert suggest we cover the transition to hybrid (of which there are many versions), especially when we can back it up with academic research, while Bree encourages us to continue with the diversity of perspectives and deepening the conversation about the future of work. 31.32 mins Finally, the guests have some final words for listeners of the show, and Pilar. We hear from Maya, Simon, Eva, Pinar, Richard, Tim, Ross (and cat!), Bree, Mark, and Theresa, who leaves us with an inspiring aspiration. And thanks to Anish Hindocha, for contributing to the two other parts of this episode! (By the way, Pilar has “podcastinitis” and hosts many shows!) And we have some outtakes from 40.03mins for your amusement after our MANY THANKS to all of you!
41:38 05/11/2022
WLP300 Part 2 How Have Individuals Changed the Ways in which They Work and View the Work
In this episode, our guests talk about how their approach to their work and their work has changed, as well as how the view of work in relation to the rest of our lives has changed. 03.45 After an introduction to the episode, we hear from Theresa about how the delivery of her training and consultancy has changed, Pinar tells us about delivering her wine tasting workshops online and Maya reflects on what has changed at her end. 09.30 We hear from Richard about travelling less for work, Bree tells us how she’s changed where she works from and Simon reflects on all the things he’s gained from working more online. How about what’s at the core of our work, ourselves as humans? How has the way in which we look after ourselves changed over the last three years? How about the way in which we connect with others? Mark points out the importance of “energy management”, we’ll hear again from Richard about using technology efficiently,  and Eva tells us how she’s expected at more meetings now than before the pandemic - although they’re also incorporating more async. Tim and Pilar reflect on how the desired levels of interaction change. Bree, who hosted our season on Connection and Disconnection in Remote Teams, shares how working on that season made her more aware of her own needs.  20.52 What about our relationship with technology? Tim talks about how he experiments with different communication media as business leader and Ross tells us how the way in which he works with clients has evolved.  24.34 Pilar suggests that remote work can be a great option when we don’t get on with our colleagues… And that we can control our communications more. Richard reminds us to take a break, Bree has started to experiment with her working patterns  Richard has also developed fluid boundaries between work and non-work time and Pilar has swapped her Saturday for the Friday. Is it allowed, to work on the weekend?30.50 Eva describes how the difference between separators and integrators is now more visible, Pilar suggests the work-life balance conversation is out of date and Simon thinks most knowledge workers can change our relationship with work - and shares why he thinks he’s “got it wrong”.Mark talks about getting value from his work, Tim describes his new view of his role as a business leader, while Ross describes work as a mixture of insight, knowledge and experience.37.45 Eva shares how her own organisation has changed the focus of how they work. Anish would like to know what people are using the time they save in commuting for - building a new business or career, etc? Are we going to see the rise of the portfolio worker? Tim talks about cognitive consistency between who we are and who we see we are at work. Simon points out that the missing conversation at the moment is about how the working lives are going to be different.45.00 We tackle the broader question of what we’re hearing from others. We start with the work from home experience. Mark has been thinking about the craftsmen working a few centuries ago whose workshops were tied to their homes, Richard has noticed how people have discovered the benefits of not going into an office every day, while Pinar suggests we’re looking for more meaning in our work. Tim wonders whether we’re closer to becoming a “self we recognise” at work, and this will lead to a better life experience. Ross wonders whether we’re becoming different personalities when we are online. 50.31 The conversation around purpose at work, why we work, etc will continue. Pinar goes as far to suggest that the meaning of work is being redefined. Finally, Maya suggests that all the words we’re using now to describe the location of our work and other aspects of it will disappear, and we’ll just talk about work. Find us on
55:13 05/06/2022
WLP300 Part 1 What Has Changed and What Will Change in Remote Work?
This is the first part of the celebratory episode 300!  Some of our guests return to the show to share how they see the world of remote work changing, how their own ways of working have changed and what they'd like this podcast to cover over the next 100 episodes (or is it  next 300!). We'll  hear from: Maya Middelmiss Dr Richard MacKinnon Mark Kilby  Tim Burgess Simon Wilson Bree Cagiatti Eva Rimbau-Gilabert Theresa Sigilito Hollema Ross Winter Pinar Akkaya Anish Hindocha and your host, Pilar Orti  00.00 Pilar introduces the 3 parts and introduces the guests. 09.30 The guests start answering the question: What do you think is going to stay the same in remote work most knowledge workers for the next three years and what do you think it’s going to change? Bree predicts lots of changes as people recover from the shock of being forced into working from home, and Simon has seen some organisations rushing back to the office, while some have embraced the possibility of working remotely. Theresa reckons the desire for flexibility at work will continue, while Maya says that this raised self-awareness is here to stay. 13.25 But there’s also a less rosy view of what's going on. Anish gives us the devil advocate’s answer (and what he’s observing in the UK), Maya thinks many people are keen to have more “analog conversations” and some resistance to sustain the change, while Eva is seeing a reluctance in seriously adopting remote work in Spain. Mark has his doubts about whether hybrid is going to survive, while Simon has seen a polarisation in how organisations approach the ability to work in person and online. 19.00 What skills, mindset, behaviours will we need? Richard would like to see more sharing of what’s working and what successful remote work looks like, Tim thinks collaboration, communication and burnout will still be a problem - as they are a fundamental part of work. Pinar reckons we have developed some of these digital skills we’ve been needed for a while, and improved our interpersonal skills. Theresa has seen micromanagers become more facilitative, and Simon reckons that the organisations that survive are those that will adopt asynchronous communication successfully. 28.00 Pilar does her usual rant about the need for understanding asynchronous communication. 30.40 Theresa specialises in global teams and is interested in nurturing cultural awareness and creating inclusion in global teams, and she shares how virtual teams have affected these. 36.45 Pilar reminds us of the “remote work for social change” conversation, which was lost during the pandemic. (But you can catch up with it in episode 212!) 37.00 What will be next on our minds? Maya reckons organisations and teams will consolidate their technology and apps, and look out for stuff like digital identity and blockchain. Meanwhile Ross, with an eye out on the parallels between social media and remote work, predicts a more decentralised way of working in many ways. Pinar reckons there will also be changes in talent acquisition and retention, while Theresa has seen an increase in interest in how to work better with international colleagues. We end the episode with a reminder about “subcultures” in organisations. Tune in for the second part, where our guests reflect on how their own ways of working have changed and how they view the world of work in relation to the rest of their lives - and what they're hearing is going on with others.
46:00 05/05/2022
WLP299 What's Going On: Complex or Simple Collaboration and The Return to the Officespace
In this episode, Maya and Pilar discuss the mental health challenges in returning to the office space, the evolution of communication in the workplace and the reasons why many people do not want to work remotely – in Spain and other places. The set up of a hybrid workplace continues with its challenges. In episode 106 of My Pocket Psych, guest Dr. Hayley Lewis talked about how she was working with a government organisation whose chief exec wanted to reduce the office space in order to cut down on public spending.  However, when she looked into the living conditions of some of the employees, it was clear that asking (or offering) people to work from home would end up with some individuals working in difficult conditions.  While we’re making sure we can have the conversation so that people can work flexibly, there’s also a need to help people speak out when they feel they can’t use their homes for work. In any case, saving money by reducing the office space might not be as straight-forward as it looks. According to a set of yet to be released data that Maya’s had access to, to make remote work permanent in some organisations, they will have to invest heavily in IT and cybersecurity, etc. Something they maybe didn’t do during the pandemic. 09.45 MINSThe return to the office is bringing some unexpected challenges and this article covers a few of them: Everyone Is Not OK, but Back at Work Anyway. For example, the dynamics of a team that used to be colocated might have changed when it went suddenly remote. And now that they have to return to their previous workspace… it might not be easy. Many people have changed, and had different experiences of working remotely during the pandemic.  We need to continue talking about how we’re doing, we’re still in transition. What medium people prefer for being open about how they’re feeling might vary. For some, the best medium might be face to face, others might prefer to tell you how they are on Slack, there’s great diversity in this.  Different people and different teams will figure it out as they go along. What’s common is that there is still a lot of uncertainty around what the future of the workplace will look like, and still around the pandemic. (And have you heard of “Schrodinger’s Covid”?)    19.00 MINS On a lighter note, Slack has published this article about how written communication at work is changing and becoming more informal: From jargon to emoji, the evolution of workplace communication styles. Instead of business jargon, people prefer to adopt more informal ways of talking to colleagues, using GIFs and emojis. Is this a hangover from the way we were taught to write “properly” at school? Or is it that we communicate much more in writing with colleagues and therefore can adopt more informal and playful ways of doing so?  However, we can’t let informality bring a lack of clarity (Maya’s words!) and we still need to adopt formal ways of writing when needed. Pilar doesn’t like emojis that duplicate a message, like the article with a smiley face followed by “enjoying” in the text. Sometimes it feels like information overload. But some of these emojis have a lot of energy behind them, and they have their place.  Different teams will evolve their own ways of communicating, even how you react to messages, or even having their own designs.  (Let us know what you think of this!)   29.20 MINSWe move on to a recent article about how telework is being adopted now in Spain, post-lockdown, “Dos años después del confinamiento, ¿qué pasa con el teletrabajo en España?”(It’s been two years after lockdown. What’s going on with telework in Spain?). It’s been written by regular guest on the show Eva Rimbau-Gilabert. (You can hear her talk about the state of remote work in Spain pre-pandemic in episode 214 The View from South Europe.) “The most prominent reason why there is not as much teleworking as possible is that a large part of the people who could telework prefer not to do so (58.5%). The reasons for wanting to work face-to-face include disadvantages of teleworking such as lack of social contact with colleagues, difficulties disconnecting from work or work overload. Added to this is the fact that the private home may not be suitable for teleworking.”This reflects much of what we were talking about earlier and we’re sure this is not the case only in Spain. It’s still difficult to disconnect from work, this sometimes has to do with culture, sometimes with individuals, and mobile phones don’t make it any easier!This research says 58.5% people don’t want to continue teleworking, which is similar to what we heard from previous guest Laurel in episode 298, that the number of people in the US asking to work remotely hasn’t increased, it’s just their negotiation power has changed. “The majority of people who have ever teleworked indicate that, once the pandemic is over, they would like to telework every day (23.5% without ever going to the workplace, and 24.7% going occasionally), with an average preference of 3.8 days of telecommuting per week.”Even though we hear that the main reason for going back to using the office is to see our colleagues, it looks like a decent percentage of people don’t have a need to go back to the workplace. It’s a minority, but it’s there. (Maybe it was always there, but we didn’t know about it…) Finally, the article talks about complex vs simple communication, and how they benefit from different spaces. It helps to define “communication” and “collaboration” when we’re talking about how to best do it.  Some people might prefer the office for complex communication, while others might prefer to do that kind of communication away from each other, taking their time. (Thanks to listener Pedro for this latter point of view, the conversation on LinkedIn is here.) Different spaces are more suited to different kinds of interactions, and these will vary between teams, and even at different stages of the work. Coworking spaces don’t seem to have gone mainstream yet in Spain, even though they can provide a good alternative to working from home.  To talk about all these different things takes time, so it’s worth thinking about moving some of our more transactional, simple team communication to the asynchronous space so that we can use our time together to talk through the next iteration of how we work.  Finally, a shout out to Omnipresent and Oyster for their April Fool’s memos! They almost got us!
50:04 04/21/2022
WLP298 Towards Equality in Your Hybrid Team
We welcome Laurel Farrer to the podcast, to talk about how to lay down the foundations to provide an equitable experience for our employees, in a hybrid setup. The conversation was inspired by Laurel’s article 10 Habits to Ensure Equality in Your Hybrid Team. But before we get into the content of the article, we hear from Laurel about her aspirations for the adoption of remote work. In her LinkedIn profile, she says that she “leverages the power of workplace flexibility to impact business operations and socioeconomics.” She named her company “Distribute Consultancy” – they’re not just talking about working with people who are physically distributed, but they also champion the opportunity to distribute wealth and opportunity. Enabling remote work is about changing the way we work, and changing the world at an economic level. Laurel reminds us that the kind of work that happened during the pandemic, was not “remote work”, it was a contingency plan. This has led to controversy about whether this has helped or hindered socioeconomics.    How does “hybrid” fit into this? Laurel’s research shows that the number of workforce requests from those who want to work remotely and want workplace flexibility has not increased since before the pandemic. What has changed is their negotiation power, having shown that it’s possible to work productively even when you’re away from the office.    This can lead employers to feel pressured into offering flexible working, and offering this from a point of fear, they will be resentful. Whereas if they truly understand the benefits, like more efficient outputs, it can be a great option for everyone. 10.53 MINSLet’s get to Laurel’s article now and discuss the habits she mentions, under different themes. Mindset  Management resistance is the first barrier to success in adopting remote work. There is a danger of people being seen as more committed just because they choose to work from the office and this can lead to proximity bias, where those closer to you are perceived as more valuable. In order to be successful as a hybrid team, we need to operate as a remote team. We need to stop talking about “location”, it shouldn’t be a factor in how your work is recognised. The more we can employ the principles of “virtual first”, the more successful we’ll be. The office can be seen as a tool, somewhere else where we can get the work done. It’s not always the remote workers who feel left out. Laurel quotes Lara Owen, talking about the “coffee vs pants debate”, where each type of workforce thinks the other side is better off.  One of the conversations that is currently missing is why people need to come into the office and when, even if they’re being given a choice of when to do so. Team members start to make decisions on where to work from, depending on personal life factors (e.g. having to pick up a child at a certain time), rather than thinking about what tasks and conversations are best had where. These conversations create a new type of value for the office, and the different environments. 20.55 MINS Blending workspaces: designing consisten workplaces  We’ve been working in offices for a very long while and so there are aspects of the workplace we take for granted, like health and safety regulations which also make us more productive. If we shift from the carefully curated environment of the office to our home, (or a noisy coffee shop) we run the risk of being less productive. So as we are talking about having a choice of workspaces, organisations need to make sure that people working away from the office can still be safe, connected and access the resources they need to do their work. At the same time, office spaces need to be comfortable for people too, which is tricky as different people are comfortable in different environments. (e.g. Pilar is always cold in offices with aircon!) Some people might prefer to work from home, even if they miss the social connection, because they’re more comfortable than in the office, so what changes can we make in the office so that it becomes a place where people want to work from? This is also a conversation worth having with employees.    27.32 MINSCollaboration practices In an office, one of the greatest channels of communication is implicit communication and observation. We can make small changes, so that remote workers don’t feel left out of the hybrid experience. Having more explicit announcements and communicating in public channels rather than direct messages (e.g. in Slack) and paying attention to how we’re using the technology, rather than what technology we’re using. We need to be more deliberate about how we communicate, and pull back on its spontaneous nature, so it’s difficult, and it’s easy to resist it. However, what feels natural after many years of working in the same way, was at some point also intentional. In a way, we are creating our new “organic” way of working. We can still be emotional in our interactions, and facilitate empathetic leadership, but it requires intention.    We are innovating in the ways we communicate and collaborate. And just because we used to do things in one way (e.g. monitor presence rather than output) doesn’t mean that they were the right ways of doing them. Something for change advocates to hang onto. 36.08 MINS Inclusivity  We are different in many ways, more than we’ve been used to thinking about. How we like to communicate, what tech we prefer, where we like to work from. Maybe before they weren’t relevant, or that visible… eg many people are now asking themselves how to engage introverts in online meetings, whereas they’d never considered how this was being addressed in the in-person version…    How can you design your rituals, communication practices etc to be as inclusive as possible? Global and standardised tools, including asynchronous communication, etc. We can let go of some of the systems and ways of working that might have held certain people back. Diversity needs to be turned into inclusion, by making sure different types of people are being recognised. When we talk about flexibility rather than “remote” or “hybrid” we can also look at the flexibility possible in jobs where location-independence is not an option. Schedule flexibility, access to the same digital tools and documentation as remote workers, etc are being explored by manufacturing companies worried about creating a gap between the different types of employees. Then we start to look at true equality. To wrap up, Laurel shares her thoughts and experiences on how remote work is being adopted by large organisations. Her company Distribute helps organisations explore high levels of flexibility, through helping to evaluate their tools, write handbooks and policies, create training programmes etc. Key to making the change scalable is how success is measured. By being clear in our success metrics, we can evaluate whether hybrid work works. You can find out more about Laurel through her website or connect with her on LinkedIn. She also appears on episode 212 on Remote Work and Social Change, episode 189 where she talks about information isolation, and the series on Connection and Disconnection on Remote Teams.   
49:58 04/07/2022
WLP297 Sharing and Retaining Knowledge in Your Organisation
In this bonus episode of the 21st Century Work Life podcast, Ana Neves talks about how she’s structured the conference Social Now, which covers how enterprise social network tools can help organisations in the day to day, ”rather than being an extra thing we have to do”.Your code as listener to get the early bird discount until 8 April is WCL21.The conference started in 2012, and has a fictitious company at its centre. The people in the company have challenges that will resonate with most employees in organisations, and the conference is structured around helping people in the company. Ana blogs as a new employee in this organisation, so that attendees have a background on the case study through the blog Many organisations have implemented these tools, but are not making the best use of them, being used at a superficial level. Pilar was under the impression that online tools are being used efficiently and deliberately at a team level, but this is not the case.  Ana talks about Social Collaboration Maturity Benchmark Report 2021, which shows that teams are still using online tools for videoconferencing and direct messages, but not for what the tools are best, which is working out in the open and documenting. The concepts of “working out loud” or “working in the narrative” are still not being adopted. Eg from I’ve done this document vs I’m working on this document. Work in progress can be useful to others in your team or the organisation, but of course to share this requires a lot of psychological safety. For example, if you’re writing a report over a month, even the first sentences that you write down could already be of use to others. It’s all about having the right culture, not just the right tools. Before the pandemic, the number of direct messages was smaller than during. Before the pandemic, the teams and people using these tools were already behind the concept of working out loud, whereas now they’ve adopted them because that’s all they had. People are afraid of having their work in progress visible to all. At an organisational level, Ana has seen orgs try to compensate for the lack of being together in the physical space. However some of these ways of keeping employees “engaged” sometimes seem purposeless, and focused on the social. If this is not consistent with the organisation’s culture, it jars with people and can be worse than doing nothing. These tools work best when they are used to listen to people and what they have to say, around topics that link back to business. What brings people together is their work, not just their social ties. Creating organisation-wide dialogues about things linked to work eg internal processes, new products is where these tools become valuable. For some employees, it’s difficult to think about some of these spaces where we can have important conversations, not just “watercooler conversations”. The spaces are informal, but you can have good conversations. The key is to evidence that you have been listening, else there’s no point. These tools work best asynchronously and are great for documenting thoughts and ideas that don’t get implemented. For example, “we’ve made this decision, and if you want to look at other ideas that were generated, have a look at this conversation”. This also helps to see who was part of the conversation. It also helps to support the concept of “peer assist”, where people learn from others when they’re kicking off a project. Asynchronous conversations stay as a record for others to 1) identify the people who can help them, and then have a conversation with them and 2) to access thoughts of people who have left the organisation, through their posts19.30 mins  Ana talks about the conference Social Now, on the different ways in which these tools can be weaved into how the day to day looks like in organisations. The focus this year is about enabling engaged and high performing teams, aligned with the organisation’s values and culture.  The conference is centred around the fictitious company Cablinc, and Ana is blogging as the Head of Marketing & Internal Communications at Cablinc. Through the blog she covers the challenges a new employee might have when joining a company, especially around the issues of knowledge management and communication. Regarding the content of the conference itself, Ana talks about the focus of some of the sessions, including Pilar’s. You can find the whole agenda here: Some examples, how to run great hybrid meetings, and how to draft some of the posts to facilitate conversation in the enterprise networks. The conference will kick off with a “liberating structure”, tapping into the knowledge of the attendees straight away. The attendees share common context from the beginning, with the case study providing a common language for all. And the names of the characters are memorable, so they become part of the conversation.  This is a good example of using an external (and fictitious!) focus to talk about our own issues, even something that we can use in your own teams. As well as advice from the consultants for the fictitious company, there are also live demos of some online tools, showing how they can be used in the day to day. This helps participants to get a sense of the impact these tools can have in the day to day. (And if participants feel like they’re being sold to, they can raise their flags!) The blog covers the challenges of the access and retention of critical knowledge, employee engagement, internal communication and teamwork & collaboration. Presenters, vendors and participants of the conference have access to these fictitious (but based in reality!) challenges, and on what everything is anchored. There is also a session which follows the format of “peer assist”, whereby people in one part of the organisation can benefit from the experience of others in the organisation with similar experiences, or with experiences with transferable learning. The Social Now conference is taking place on 19 and 20 May 2022 in Lisbon. You can find all the details and book tickets here: And you can connect with Ana on LinkedIn: And Twitter: And if you speak Portuguese, you can listen to the podcast that Ana hosts, KMOL:  
45:23 03/31/2022
WLP296 What's Your Team's Communication Rhythm?
In this episode, Maya and Pilar discuss the different communication rhythms that remote teams adopt. They also cover the concept of documentation, as something that can help slow down a team's rhythm, or at least help it towards "burstiness", a characteristic of successful teams. Plenty here to reflect on.Communication in an online team requires a different mindset to that of when you are collocated, and requires different ways of interacting which might feel unnatural, or even uncomfortable. It all started with this tweet: “Over the last years, I’ve worked & collaborated with a wide range of people online. 1 thing that strikes me is that the rhythm of communication & the speed of the workflow become apparent. I’ve noticed when somebody’s rhythm clashes with my own. Is this something you’ve noticed?”Saskie replied that she also noticed when it WAS in sync, and gave this metaphor: “Musing on your tweet brought to mind an image of 3 legged races as a child. Just agreeing to begin with the outer leg first was a winning tactic. It wasn’t about running faster – just about not falling over ourselves!”As external people, we notice this when we come into a team, but the team might not be aware that there are different rhythms of communicating. There are teams which communicate constantly, either because the task requires it, or because they’re used to it. So this presents itself like constant tagging, and many near real-time replies; on the other hand some teams barely tag anyone, just post messages at some point, and don’t require as much synchronous communication, neither to do their work or to feel connected.  We explain the terms “asynchronous communication”, “documentation” and “single source of truth”. For more on this, you might want to check out this newsletter from Remote Fabric:   Teams can start by pulling together different bits of information and gather them in one single space, so that it’s accessible for everyone. Think of it as a key area in your online office. You can also adopt the principle, thinking, “is this conversation or document something we want to keep for future reference, could it help someone?” It’s about making it easier to find where the expertise is in the company, so this is not only about content but also about knowing who can help you in the company.  Could this be relevant to learning and development roles? Shifting the mindset from how to run “engaging online workshops” to how can we curate the information and knowledge in the company? Technology is making this easier by the year…    (For more on this check out next week’s episode on Knowledge Management in organisations.)    19.00 MINS DIfferent teams have different rhythms and they are influenced by the nature and progress of task and task interdependence, perception of and real hierarchy and level of autonomy to make decisions and social culture.We begin talking about the rhythm around tasks and how this is affected by the nature of the task, the progress, and if we’re in a project, the stage of the project. Eg kick off and brainstorming at the beginning might require regular lots of exchanges, then a slower rhythm and less interactions as everyone “gets on with it”, and a faster pace. We can reflect as individuals and as a team whether the rhythm we have is useful to us. Also, don’t forget about our wider context and how this might affect the rhythm in which we communicate. Task interdependence will also affect your communication cadence, as well as whether you have a space where you go to communicate your progress. (You can find out more about this in episode 239, or read the show notes.)By the way, creating documentation is all about creating the space for meaningful conversations, and conversing when it’s the best way of getting things done together, not as the only way of getting things done together. It helps us avoid information being held in someone’s head. Documentation is live, so that improvement to our processes can be communicated too. But none of this helps if we don’t develop a culture of accessing documentation and other asynchronous communication. (We know, it can feel like a lot of extra work, but transitions are always difficult…)   As team leaders, we need to change our mindset and focus on creating an ecosystem within which people can work rather than always being the main point of contact for information. It can be difficult to figure out which technology can help us best though… Another challenge…    And of course, none of this works without psychological safety… 36.00 MINSThe sense of hierarchy and real hierarchy, as well as the ability and trust to make decisions on our own also can result in constant communication, as everyone feels like they need to check in. Presenteeism and the need to be seen as working really hard, can also result in lots of “push communication” when we complete the work – rather than the more calm cadence of making our workflow visible in an agreed way.    If we don’t have a system for communicating innovations and experiments, one person can end up in the receiving end of lots of information requests, rather than people going to a specific place to find out more about this.    As team leaders, we can take the coaching approach and document some of the answers people might be looking for, so that they can access them on their own, rather than relying on you. Personality also plays a part in this, and the ability to figure out things on your own, or finding your way through information is a core skill for remote workers.   43.00 MINSFinally, let’s look at culture.Is psychological safety as important in remote teams as in colocated? At least you have to know it’s ok to bring things up. In teams where people have a need to feel connected physically or emotionally to each other throughout the day, we might also get fast paced communication.    There was some research done on the rhythm of communication done a couple of years ago: Successful Remote Teams Communicate in Bursts by Christoph Riedl and Anita Williams Woolley, published on 28 October 2020 HBR online   Bursts of rapid-fire communication with longer periods of silence in between are characteristic of successful teams. Bursts help to focus energy, develop ideas, get closure on  specific questions and condensing the synchronous time, can help those who really miss the ‘buzz’ of face to face interactions.    Find synchronous time together and define it, rather than suddenly move to synchronous communication. This does not need to be set in advance, but can be built on what’s going on organically or can be emerging by sharing availability.  From the article, “The bottom line: Worry less about sparking creativity and connection through watercooler-style interactions in the physical world, and focus more on facilitating bursty communication.”   Let’s not forget that artificial intelligence is making it easier for us to find information, including how real-time conversations are being recorded (in video, audio) and how they can be searched. We know none of this is easy – let us know if you need some help.  54.00 MINSWe’d like to share an article by our friend Jennifer Riggins which is both timely and evergreen: How to Support Teammates Living in Ukraine — or Any War Zone.The article offers examples of how to support people in crisis situations in both practical and emotional ways. It’s very relevant to today’s context, but can also help in the future. We hope you enjoyed the episode, feel free to send us some feedback or any other thoughts you would like to share with us and the listeners. Sign up for our monthly newsletter below as a way of keeping in touch, or join us over at LinkedIn.
59:21 03/24/2022
WLP295 Taking the Online Participant Experience to the Next Level
Catherine Nicholson is the Director of The Virtual Training Team  She last appeared on the show in episode 274, almost a year ago. Now she is back to let us know how the work with their clients has evolved, and how they have changed how they work as a team. The novelty of having to move online because of the pandemic has faded. Trainers, as well as other knowledge workers, are now looking at how to make the most out of the online space, once everyone has embraced the mindset that things can be done through technology.  Trainers can move onto the next level by taking “learning loops'' as a first design point, by looking for a routine that learners are used to so that they feel familiar in the environment. Before this familiarity turns into predictability and people “stop trying”, it might be necessary to “shake things up a bit” – but how? We need to enhance the learning experience, but maintain purpose. One of their approaches is to “be a kid in the sweetie shop”, the sweetie shop being the huge amount of tools, stories, research, technologies out there that they can use. (Although always coming back to the purpose of the training.)Once they explore one of these “gigs”, they focus on what is going to be essential to deliver the experience they’re looking for. But they don’t let everything go, in case it’s useful as supporting materials. Another approach, driven by clients whose main challenge is the need for participants to consume and understand long chunks of materials. Here the problem leads to the process, rather than the output. For example, the material can be turned into an audio that summarises the key points, to be listened to before they go to the full material. Catherine covers a few more approaches that can prime people before they interact with the content. (In some ways, we’re going back to “blended learning”, in the widest sense of the world.) 13.30mins Learning pathways can be designed for learners: required and desired pathways, to help us curate the content and design the learning experience. This is a great way of fuelling the autonomy aspect of intrinsic motivation.  Internal trainers have another challenge which is delivering sessions where there’s a lot of content to be covered, through material designed by others in the organisations, sometimes even by another department, like communications. Catherine mentions a few ways to tackle this, like creating more slides. (More slides, you say? Yes!) Or if you can’t change the deck, you can use “hide and reveal”, or even using the pointer to direct people’s attention through the information. Look out for Catherine’s upcoming video on “Hide and Reveal”!(Their videos can be found here.)21.30Let’s leave the tech to one side and focus on the quality of the conversations that participants have in the session. When you first start to train, it’s easy to be scared by the “tumbleweed moments”, but these aren’t always bad, sometimes they mean that people are thinking, and sometimes they’re necessary. (Plus, they feel longer in the online space!)There’s a lot to think through when you’re delivering online, screen, chat box, reactions, slides, camera pointing at you… While still being in “delivery mode”. Having your questions planned in advance is key.    Which will provoke deeper thinking in participants? Which can lead to more fruitful conversations? Thinking through these in advance will make delivery easier. 27.15There’s a parallel here with the challenges managers have when they’re leading meetings.Plus, we’re now having conversations we didn’t have before, more personal, more sensitive. Psychological safety is key. It’s also important to know who is present at the meeting, in what way, and what they’re supposed to be doing. For example, graduates might be attending to observe, can make this explicit during the meeting, and if they have their camera off, explain why. As a trainer (or manager), you can also keep a “contribution log” – being respectful that people want to contribute at different levels. Catherine covers some of the reasons people contribute less, and the fact that our introversion/extroversion preferences become more radical if we are uncomfortable.  We can manage our presence in our meetings, and part of this is discussing/communicating how we use our cameras. For example, video is useful, but doesn’t always have to be on. There are times when it’s important for it to be on, and there are advantages, but it’s not an absolute. It’s important to understand our own preferences and not always design for them. Balance – that’s the word.  37.00 The conversation turns to how Catherine’s team is experimenting with new ways of working. They’ve come across the challenge of balancing schedule autonomy, with the need to be available to each other when needed. One challenge some team members have is seeing a message and, even if it doesn’t need immediate replies, the message presence lingers, so they’re using the Schedule message function in MSTeams.“Flexible work” is great, but it needs structure. Catherine and her colleagues are experimenting with core hours, with flexibility within them. Through experimentation, we get clarity, and have to have conversations about working together. You can find out more about Catherine here: The Virtual Training Team
44:24 03/10/2022
WLP294AddOn Chapter from Thinking Remote
In the last What's Going On episode, which was actually a hybrid of WGOn and ReThinking Thinking Remote, Maya and Pilar discuss Maya's chapter from our book Thinking Remote, "Sick and Tired, Working and Not Working in a Remote Team". This add-on episode is the audio version of that chapter. You can read the blog version of the chapter here:  
13:01 02/26/2022
WLP294 What's Going On: Wellbeing and Emojis
WLP294 What’s Going On: Wellbeing and Emojis This episode is a hybrid of What’s Going On and Thinking Remote. Maya and Pilar revisit the chapter from Thinking Remote: Sick and Tired, Working and Not-Working on a Remote Team. They also discuss asynchronous communication and how it’s being adopted in the workspace, they talk about the role of emojis and finally, they share a couple of social media discussions.  4.05 mins  In the past (before the pandemic), taking time off work meant you had one of two choices – both were difficult processes.  The first option was to go into work, even though you were ill - unless you were very ill, it was almost expected you would go into work, plus, we did not want to let our teammates down.  The second option was to stay at home, but even then you were not fully away from work, as you could still do some work online and lessen the workload for your colleagues to feel less guilty. In both cases there is a sense of fear of work piling up that is still prominent even in current times.  This has continued even in the pandemic. It takes a lot of self-discipline to step away and focus on resting and recovering.  When visible teamwork is implemented, it should make taking time off to recover an easier process. As we are able to communicate our progress and give access to our work. This can help people rest and recover.  Another part that is changing is our approach to mental health, as it is becoming acknowledged and more accepted to take a mental health leave in the workplace. 20.12 mins  Pilar and Maya talk about the new space created by Salesforce called Trailblazer Ranch. It is a holistic and nature driven space with the purpose of getting people to connect with their team. They also discuss the article Diving Deeper Five workforce trends to watch in 2021, which states that wellbeing is a part of how we are doing work, it is not a separate aspect of it. (Yes, it’s a year old but it all still feels relevant.) We can give people autonomy to make meaningful decisions about their contributions to the organisation to help prevent disconnection. This means we don’t need expensive programmes to look after our employees’ wellbeing. 25.47 mins  The Royal Society for Arts (RSA) has recently released Social security: The risks from automation and economic insecurity for England’s social renters covering the state of the UK’s social housing, used by those who cannot afford market rates. Part of this article states:  “When employed, people in social housing are less likely to benefit from good work practices that support their economic and personal security: only 38 percent of social renters are in work which offers them an annual incremental pay increase, and three quarters (74 percent) never worked from home, even in the height of the pandemic.” When we are considering why we are doing hybrid or remote work, the main aim is to achieve autonomy and flexibility , but we still need to prevent a two-tiered workforce being created. You therefore need to find ways to provide flexibility for those who cannot do their work remotely.  31.49 mins  Maya and Pilar shift to the topic of asynchronous communication, in the context of emojis. They discuss an article titled Do emojis represent the whole gamut of human emotion? The short answer is, yes they do.  For this experiment they took 74 different facial emojis and observed how much valence and arousal they had communicated amongst a demographic of 1000 Japanese participants aged 20 to 39. To quote the article: “They see our emotional experiences as falling along continuous scales of both valence - how positive or negative an emotion is -  and arousal. So, for instance, “sadness” has a negative valence but is fairly low in arousal; “anger” is also negatively-valenced but high in arousal; and “excitement” is positively-valenced  but is still high in arousal.”  They have given us a cool graph with all of the emojis plotted of these different levels to show how different emojis have different effects. For instance, emojis that have accessories, such as the starry eyed or blue icicle, have higher arousal ratings. When communicating with people from different countries and cultures we need to take these aspects into consideration. The article, Caution! These emojis mean different things in different countries, discusses this. For instance it mentions that the prayer emoji can have different meanings depending on the culture.   50.52mins News from the social media community and our connections: Follow the conversation on Twitter about helping people adopt asynchronous communication. Pilar will be speaking at Social Now in Lisbon, in May. Check out the programme, centred around a case study. (And look out for organiser Ana Neves talking about it on this podcast.) Penny Pullan has released the second edition of her book Virtual Leadership. You can get a 20% discount with the code FBM20 from the publisher’s website. Lucid Meetings have released a new course “Free Your Team From Unproductive Meetings”, If you would like to sign up to their March/April programme, this link will take you there. (Please note it’s an affiliate link, so if you sign up, you’ll also be supporting this podcast.) Have you got any news you’d like to share with our audience? Let us know through our contact form or Twitter. We also have a page on LinkedIn you can follow.   If you have any other questions about asynchronous communication or have any thoughts or ideas you want to discuss you can tweet at Virtual not Distant or at Maya or Pilar directly.   
56:10 02/24/2022
WLP293 Crafting the Role of Head of Remote
In this episode, Pilar speaks to Chase Warrington, Head of Remote at Doist. Chase shares how he is challenging how remote work is approached at his organisation, and what he has learnt in his new position that can be used to improve the business and its people.   You can find the show notes below, and there's a transcript over at  Chase discusses his new position as Head of Remote and talks about how as a community we can help each other learn and grow, and figure out what is the best way to overcome the challenges remote teams face. 24.36 mins Chase discusses the importance of bringing a team of people from different departments together to socialise and work on a new project, to help overcome feelings of isolation, loneliness, disconnection and disengagement.  Working remotely does have its own set of challenges to overcome, not in the way of changing the entire system, more so that we have systems in place to implement when facing these challenges. Having a social calendar can benefit remote work as there can be a time set at the end of each month for people to come together and connect. However there are ways to make these gatherings more impactful. (You can read Chase’s article “How to Build Human Connections in an Async Workplace” from Doist’s website.) Chase has created a “social crew” to have these gatherings be more structured,create innovative ideas and have a sense of leadership. Having a place  where individuals can come together to connect can be beneficial to not only the members involved but to the business as a whole. With these social crews there has to be intention behind the crews and the intention has to come from being connected at work, but not in the sense of being in the same departments. There are other factors that can connect people in the workplace, even when it is remotely.  Connecting members from different departments to work on a project each month can help prevent feelings of isolation and disconnection. The most important aspect of the crews is to create this feeling of connection and get members of the business outside of their “bubbles'', to make them get to know each other under a common goal.    45.45 mins Chase hosts the About Abroad podcast separately from his work at Doist, and it’s the result of him being an American expat in Spain. During his travels he’s met many other expats and digital nomads facing similar challenges to him. So he’s created the About Abroad podcast to discuss these various challenges, help other expats, or people travelling outside of their country for the first time.  The podcast was originally set up to discuss living, travelling, and working abroad, but as his travels and discussions with people grew, the topic of remote work came into the discussion as well, as many expats do work remotely. There are a multitude of people from around the world who come on to the podcast and tell their own amazing stories, from building a community of nomads, to what it is like living in the South Pole. 42.57 mins As for Twist: Future of Work, this is a video  series that promotes the use of various products and services that can help with the future of work. Twist is one of the products that Chase encourages listeners to use (it’s part of Doist, of course!)but  there are numerous products and services out there that seek to benefit the future of businesses. They have creators behind those products and services as well, and Chase is keen to feature them. Another aspect of this podcast series is to bring in founders of companies and discuss the ethics of the company, why they chose to start their own companies and any personal stories they want to share about the company and product.  51.55 mins Finally, Chase coversthe Estonia E-residency, which gives entrepreneurs and freelancers an opportunity to set up their own business in Estonia, and do business with other EU companies as well. Estonia E -residency does allow individuals to work remotely as an individual can live in another part of the world, for instance in Hungary, but they are seeking to do business in Estonia, they now have the means to accomplish this.    Working remotely does have its own set of challenges, however there are advantages to it as well and ways to overcome these challenges. If there are any questions that remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers have regarding remote work there are ways to find the answers to them.You can connect with Chase on LinkedIn, and listen to About Abroad on all podcast apps, or from the show’s website. 
57:25 02/10/2022
WLP292AddOn Two Chapters from Thinking Remote
Following episode 292's conversation on working out loud, here are the two chapters from Thinking Remote we covered. 
21:40 01/28/2022
WLP292 Rethinking Thinking Remote: Working Out Loud
In this episode, we revisit the chapters from Thinking Remote which addressed the concept of “working out loud”.Adopting the concept helps to keep the team spirit, how to stay aligned and creative. Working out loud allows those who thrive on interactive energy - we can think of “working out loud for productivity, creativity and collaboration”.The concept of working out loud has been around for a while, since the online world started thriving. (For more on this, check out episode 170, with guest Jochen Lillich )8.50mins  How have things changed since we wrote those blog posts?18.01minsAn example of the power of “working out loud” and “thinking outloud”.We quote from this article: Can Matt Mullenweg save the internet? 25.40  We revisit the chapter from Thinking Remote The Dangers of Working Out Loud ,  First published as a blog post in 2016. 30.40Next up, we turn our attention to the team member, and revisit the chapter by Maya: Now that I’m remote can anyone see how hard I’m working? 39.36 Community news, we share what others are tweeting and saying from our connections For more links and transcript, head over to
49:49 01/27/2022
WLP291 Starting a New Role Remotely
In today’s episode Pilar catches up with long-time friend of this podcast, Marcus Wermuth to talk about his mid-pandemic transition into new role as the full-time senior engineering manager at This podcast is brought to you by Virtual Not Distant in London ( where we help managers and teams transition to an office-optional approach. For detailed show notes, visit our podcast page. 
35:35 01/13/2022
WLP290 What Do the Many Versions of “Remote” Look Like?
This podcast is brought to you by Virtual Not Distant in London ( where we help managers and teams transition to an office-optional approach. In today’s episode Pilar and Maya reflected on the changes which have taken place in remote work throughout 2021 - differentiation of terminology, the rise of asynchronous communication, new apps, and the endless talk about hybrid! We also thank our community, and share news about upcoming workshops and themes for the new year. 36.08 Virtual Not Distant news 40.52 Thank you to our community
50:19 12/21/2021
WLP289 Bringing Together the Remote and Rural Communities
This podcast is brought to you by Virtual Not Distant in London ( where we help managers and teams transition to an office-optional approach. In today’s episode Pilar interviewed Carlos Jonay Suarez and Elsa Rodriguez from Pueblos Remotos: about their exciting initiative to bring remote workers and rural communities together in Spain’s Canary Islands. Connecting local entrepreneurs with international nomadic workers synergises creativity and idea sharing, while creating lasting friendships in a sustainable ecotourism environment, to benefit all participants. Carlos would rather network with you in person than online, but meanwhile can be found on LinkedIn and also (in Spanish) SinOficina, and LinkedIn is also the best place to find Elsa - as well as keeping up with all the news and information on the main Pueblos Remotos site. You can find out more information and get in touch with us over at
37:04 12/09/2021
WLP288 Rethinking Thinking Remote - Designing the Digital Workplace
This podcast is brought to you by Virtual Not Distant in London ( where we help managers and teams transition to an office-optional approach. In today’s episode, Pilar and Maya kick off a series reflecting on Thinking Remote: Inspiration for Leaders of Distributed Teams, which was published in 2018 - a geological epoch ago, in remote work terms. What has changed, what has stayed the same, and how have Pilar and Maya changed and evolved their own thinking on these themes? The first chapter of the book dealt with designing the digital workplace, and you can read the original blog post from which the chapter derived here: Designing the Digital Workspace: What We Can Learn from the Physical Space — Virtual not Distant.
58:38 11/25/2021
WLP287 The Struggles of the Remote Manager
This podcast is brought to you by Virtual Not Distant in London ( where we help managers and teams transition to an office-optional approach. In today’s episode host Pilar Orti speaks with Corine Tan from emotional wellbeing platform Kona. They discuss their recently published Remote Manager Report 2021, and the product they have created - which helps teams check in with each other and share their context and emotions, via a slackbot which presents as a cute dog avatar. Download Kona’s team building guide, and keep up with Corine and Kona on Twitter.
33:08 11/11/2021