The 2016 100 Top Companies to Watch for remote work and why you'll want to read about it here instead of Forbes.com
This morning I tried to read an article on Forbes.com about remote work and I don't want to share the link without a warning because I don't want it to lock up your browser like it did mine.
Forbes is a sterling business news brand, but their website is out of control. A quick google search told me I'm not alone with my experience and here's a screenshot to show you want I mean.
Anyway, this is the third year FlexJobs has published a list of the companies that have posted the most "work-from-home" jobs. Those jobs include "remote, telecommuting, and virtual" as categories.
(I've never understood the use of the phrase "virtual worker" in this context, you're either a worker or you're not.)
Based on 40,000 jobs in the FlexJob database, Remote work job listings increased 26% from 2013 to 2014 and 36% from 2014 to 2015. So, not only are remote work opportunities increasing, they're apparently increasing at a faster rate.
It's interesting and encouraging to see a couple of US Government jobs sprinkled in this list as well as a traditional university or two. I believe legacy institutions will have to embrace remote work at a faster rate to remain relevant.
Here's a link to the list and here's a link to the Forbes article if you want to test your ad blocker software.
Yesterday, my #remote friend, Carlos Ponce tagged me on a great blog post written by Matt Perez, COO of Nearsoft, a consulting firm headquartered in Mexico.
The title of Matt's post 12 Ways to Work Remote and Still Be Present is a slight play on words I really appreciate.
"Being Present" in the dharmic sense is an important thing. It's probably the most important thing. It transcends professional personas, religion, even humor.
To illustrate what I mean, check out Bill Murray's great ad hoc dharma talk about what it feels like to be you. It's a very clear definition of presence anyone can understand. The same presence I sense the folks leading Nearsoft understand.
It feels great when you're fully present - and no where else. Notice how everyone's expecting a joke during Murray's talk and the joke never comes. Only truth.
And, as Matt Perez points out in his great post, if you work remote from your colleagues, it's imperative to practice being present; not only for your own well being, but for the sake of the people who aren't physically present with you as you do your work.
Employee engagement doesn't just mean you and your tasks, it also means you and your co-workers. Engagement requires empathy and your co-workers want you to be fully present with them as they interact with you.
Presence is the most generous thing a person can offer another person. When it happens in the workplace everyone knows it, even if they can't quite describe the experience. With the rise in remote work, presence is the currency required for creative innovation.
Working remote requires extra effort and practice. But, it's worth it. The people at Nearsoft have figured this out and it's probably one of the many reasons why they've experienced such productive growth in such a short period of time.
This morning Will Thomson posted an article to Twitter that Jeff Boss wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine in which he discusses one of the many challenges associated with managing remote workers. It's 4 Rules to Avoid the Game of Telephone When Leading a Virtual Team, and it's worth a quick read.
I love the Telephone Game analogy and use it fairly often when discussing management challenges in general. But, as with most everything else, the remote work lens can easily and quickly magnify and distort what he said or she said, twisting small disconnects into dramatic outages.
In his article, Jeff Boss shares a short list that's as simple as it is intuitive:
1. Meet face to face as early as possible
2. Establish virtual rules
3. Create a communication cadence
4. Celebrate wins
You know what each one of those points require? Empathy. Unless you can put yourself in the shoes of the other, your actions won't align with theirs and employee engagement will suffer.
Other than making new friends on cold prospecting calls, stumbling onto a useful idea in front of a white board, while collaborating with colleagues, has to rank at the top of my favorite and best professional memories and ongoing activities.
But, what becomes of that scenario and experience when you work remote? I asked a good friend that question this morning and received a very useful response I want to share here on nextwork.io. He told me about Stormboard::
I’m a visual person who loves brainstorming in front of a whiteboard full of sticky notes. There’s something about that mechanical process that gets ideas flowing and brings clarity to problems that I’m working on (alone or with a team). But that method doesn’t work very well when all or even part of your team is working remote.
Just a quick post to mark the day. This is what's been on my mind all day today - it's approximately 177 days until our family celebrates our youngest son's birthday in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm fully aware that just as I've passed the shortest days of last year I've begun thinking about the coming year's longest days.
It's unhealthy to spend too much time living in the past through reminiscence or regret, nor is it healthy to live in the future through anxiety or even positive anticipation.
Right here and right now is the only place any of us will live and getting right with that is the key to bliss we all seem to chase in all its various forms.
To that point, people who work remote are brave in their isolation. There are pitfalls to not running in packs, and controlling the mind is a big one. The mind plays tricks on you when you're alone and maintaining creativity and optimism in an isolated setting can be tough.
Remote work absolutely needs to be a mainstream professional option for the sake of company innovation and agility, for the sake of healthy families and their communities.
But, people need people and remote work requires balance. One of my many new year's micro-resolutions is remembering to post stories on this blog about the negative and tough aspects of remote work as often as I promote what's positive and expansive about it.
We can't learn the truth unless we hear the whole story.
Here's to a year of truth and balance and new discoveries for you and your tribe.