Work From Anywhere Series | Episode 10: Asynchronous Anytime Anywhere

Is remote work anywhere a dream? Or can it be turned into a reality? What are the barriers to doing so and the opportunities for companies that get this right?

Welcome to the remote work from anywhere series. This is a series featuring some of the leading people around the world in remote work, global mobility and work from anywhere compliance (remote work tax, employment law, etc.)

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” This quote by American entrepreneur Jim Rohn perfectly encapsulates one of the key benefits of remote work; being able to spend more time with friends and family, as opposed to being stuck in endless synchronous meetings and/or hour long office commutes.

So what are the best practices and tools we can learn around asynchronous work? And what does this all mean for how we spend our time online and offline, in offices, co-working spaces and in our homes? What does this mean for how we design the places we spend most of our time in?

That was the inspiration behind this week’s episode moderated by John Lee of The Work From Anywhere Team and we were delighted to be joined by (1:15) Ryan Anderson, VP of Global Research & Insights at Herman Miller, (3:00) Maya Middlemiss, Founder at Healthy Happy Homeworking and freelance journalist/commercial writer and (5:00) Tyler Sellhorn, Head of Customer Experience at Yac and Host of The Remote Show podcast.

(4:10) The privilege’s of working from home used to be hard fought for. Now lots of reluctant people with a bad first experience of WFH. (6:20) New norms needed to allow Work From Anywhere, anytime, anywhere. You’re more productive worker when you’re more fulfilled in life in general. (9:25) Companies trying to brute force office-ness culture into the distributed culture. There are some things that simply don’t exist when working remotely.

(11:00) The important things needed when we do work synchronously…bonding and relationship building. Asynchronous moments are about the work. (12:40) This is an opportunity to re-examine everything about how you collaborate, communicate and build relationships within a company! Management need to adopt and experimental and agile mindset in trying to come up with new ways of doing things and admitting that they don’t know all the answers. (13:50) What does hybrid actually mean? Term that’s frequently used but rarely defined.

(14:45) How we research it and understand is often different to how we live it. (18:55) If you have important collaborative work that needs 2-3 hours or 2 or 3 day workshops, you absolutely need to get together physically! (19:30) I’m not sure where anyone is most effective! So many factors impacting productivity…e.g. nature of work, team structure, technology tools, personal working style, relationship with significant other, Wi-Fi, care-giving responsibilities, sensory/cognitive abilities…it makes you realise that it’s impossible to generalise, so companies need to empower workers to figure it out for themselves.

(21:30) Remote is a forcing function for intentionality. (23:20) Making work fit around your life and not the other way around. Focus on mental health…needs to be in an authentic way (29:15) 13 years of continuous decline in office utilization as a result of distributed work! (30:45) Strong ties (closest network) versus weak ties (so key to our sense of community). (33:30) Redesigning offices to be more purposeful and reclaim the value of offices.

(37:00) Support network and community is so important in the absence of a physical work network. Otherwise there’s isolation. (39:00) Say No to notifications and expectation of immediate responses. Different channels for different needs/urgency. (43:40) Communicating simple versus complex information. Will also dictate whether you need remote vs co-located.

(48:50) Talent is fully distributed but opportunity is not.

(50:05) Make Co-location meet-ups periodic and at the beginning of something important e.g. new quarter, kick-off. It helps improve the asynchronous work that follows. (53:15) 2nd and 3rd order effects: Hybrid likely most adopted. D&I strategy. Opportunity to think big. Redefine cities, transport. How we use the space around us. The ship has sailed! The big question is…whether or not companies will adjust their sails to the remote work wind.

Some useful resources discussed during the episode:

If you’re interested in becoming a guest on the webinar series, please reach out to us here.

Should you need help with any of your remote work tax or compliance risks, The Work From Anywhere Team would be delighted to help you out! Just reach out via our website.

The Work From Anywhere Team

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