Rita Gunther McGrath, a Professor at Columbia Business School, is the author of the book The End of Competitive Advantage. In a recent Harvard Business Review article she wrote:
"As knowledge work grew as a proportion of the US economy, the new reality of managing knowledge and knowledge workers challenged all that organizations knew about the proper relationship between manager and subordinate. When all the value in an organization walks out the door each evening, a different managerial contract than the command-and-control mindset prevalent in execution type work is required. Thus, new theories of management arose that put far more emphasis on motivation and engagement of workers."
The challenges of remote work include the lack of face-time on which we all rely to express our ideas and negotiate compromises. Remote employees and their managers must rely on empathy to bridge the proximity gap.
As the amount of remote work increases, the value of empathy continues to rise. Authors like McGrath and articles like the HBR piece referenced above, are helping to reprice the currency of empathy.
Last Spring Wade Foster published this great ebook about remote work. At the time we were taking a hard look at everything related to talent acquisition and management where I work and one cornerstone of our final strategy was flexibility.
When and where knowledge workers do their work was finally subordinated to the speed and quality of their work.
We still have a lot to learn and always will because we're a learning organization. But, we've learned a lot from Wade Foster and the Zapier team who have done a lot of things the right way.
And, it speaks to their learning culture that they would take the time and make the effort to share such a valuable document to promote the benefits of remote work.
I can't recommend it highly enough.