Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing


Nancy Dixon
 

Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration


Chris Piereman
 

Great blog Nancy - definitely agree -  thanks!

Cheers,

Chris

On Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 2:37 PM Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...> wrote:
Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration


James Robertson
 


A great article, thanks Nancy!

Cheers,
James

On 10/1/20 6:37 am, Nancy Dixon wrote:
Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

--
Step Two James Robertson
Founder and Managing Director | Step Two
Ph: +61 2 9319 7901 | M: +61 416 054 213
www.steptwo.com.au


Murray Jennex
 

I agree Nancy, a good post, but I do think you miss a point:

we have seen the trend to remote work before only to have it die down.  Seems when the labor market is tight companies use remote work as an inducement to get workers, but when the economy goes down the age old issue of controlling workers comes back and remote workers are pulled back to the office.  What makes it different this time?  It may be the millennial and younger workers expect it but I don't think it will be enough to keep it should economic times turn down.  I work at a university and while as faculty we can do research work at home as much as we want, if we want to be administration we have to be on campus during defined hours 5 days a week, just to respond to issues.  I find this interesting because as a student adviser I can approve student requests via email and do most of the work via email, however, the university management wants administrators there at hand to respond immediately to the little crises that come up every day.  Until this management style changes I don't think remote work will be safe.....murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: James Robertson <jamesr@...>
To: SIKM <SIKM@groups.io>
Sent: Sun, Jan 12, 2020 3:28 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing


A great article, thanks Nancy!
Cheers,
James

On 10/1/20 6:37 am, Nancy Dixon wrote:
Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

--
Step Two James Robertson
Founder and Managing Director | Step Two
Ph: +61 2 9319 7901 | M: +61 416 054 213
www.steptwo.com.au


Aprill Allen
 

When push comes to shove, it will be management techniques that must change, rather than expectations of the employees. The management styles we have today are borne from manufacturing and industry. Knowledge work cannot be adequately managed in the same way. 

Recommend reading the more recent work of Rob England on new ways of managing. 

Cheers,
Aprill Allen

On Mon, 13 Jan 2020 at 8:35 am, Murray Jennex via Groups.Io <murphjen=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
I agree Nancy, a good post, but I do think you miss a point:

we have seen the trend to remote work before only to have it die down.  Seems when the labor market is tight companies use remote work as an inducement to get workers, but when the economy goes down the age old issue of controlling workers comes back and remote workers are pulled back to the office.  What makes it different this time?  It may be the millennial and younger workers expect it but I don't think it will be enough to keep it should economic times turn down.  I work at a university and while as faculty we can do research work at home as much as we want, if we want to be administration we have to be on campus during defined hours 5 days a week, just to respond to issues.  I find this interesting because as a student adviser I can approve student requests via email and do most of the work via email, however, the university management wants administrators there at hand to respond immediately to the little crises that come up every day.  Until this management style changes I don't think remote work will be safe.....murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: James Robertson <jamesr@...>
To: SIKM <SIKM@groups.io>
Sent: Sun, Jan 12, 2020 3:28 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing


A great article, thanks Nancy!
Cheers,
James

On 10/1/20 6:37 am, Nancy Dixon wrote:
Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

--
Step Two James Robertson
Founder and Managing Director | Step Two
Ph: +61 2 9319 7901 | M: +61 416 054 213
www.steptwo.com.au

--
--

Aprill Allen
Founder and Managing Director | Knowledge Bird
M: +61 400 101 961
knowledgebird.com


Madelyn Blair
 

Nancy, 

This article is a great reminder of essential aspects of our human nature — that we need to both feel in control and deserve to belong. 

I particularly found the statistics of remote working of value. 

Thanks for a good read.

Madelyn

MADELYN BLAIR, PHD
Author/ Speaker/ Resilience Advisor
301.371.7100  |  301.471.8721 mobile
Skype: madelynblair
Author Riding the Current, Essays in Two Voices and Unlocked (#1 bestseller international)
Visit my blog: www.madelynblair.com
Follow @madelynblair









On Jan 9, 2020, at 2:37 PM, Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...> wrote:

Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon

<Nancy Dixon_Jul042019_95326_Web-17 copy.jpg>
Working to increase virtual team collaboration



Dennis Pearce
 

I think there are two distinct kinds of remote work but a lot of the research I see on this topic seems to muddle them together.

  1. Employees have an office but the flexibility to also work from home whenever they want
  2. Employees work from home full time for someone whose offices are in a different location
I have done both and they are very different mindsets.  I live in Lexington, KY and when I worked for Lexmark, my office was about 20 minutes away.  When I chose to work from home, it was usually either because (1) there was some personal issue (sick family member, repair person coming to the house, etc.) or (2) I had some big project I was working on and wanted to get away from the distractions of the office so I could focus.

I now work for a non-profit which is based in Chicago.  One of the reasons I chose this is the "work from anywhere" benefit -- my wife and I are building a home in South Carolina (where we plan to retire) and I wanted to be able to separate the timing of my relocation from the timing of my retirement.  But working from home 100% of the time means that, although I spend much of the day in online chats and video calls, the social interactions I experience are not nearly as robust as if I were physically in an office environment.  Contrast that with my previous job, where I could move back and forth between office and home work to find whatever level of interaction seemed appropriate at the time.

In my current job, we have about 20 employees out of 350 who work from home, scattered around the U.S.  Since one of my roles is managing our internal collaboration platform, I'm in a position to try some experiments.  We have a discussion group set up for remote employees so they can talk about the pros and cons of remote work and how to do it more efficiently.  The employees at HQ have a happy hour every Friday afternoon which we miss out on, so I set up a "virtual happy hour" using Microsoft Teams where remote employees can call in (with a beverage of their choice) and just chat for an hour.  We're getting ready to do an experiment next month where our happy hour will coincide with the one at HQ and a couple of my colleagues there will take their laptops to their happy hour so that remote and local employees can mingle simultaneously.

Another interesting trend I am seeing (particularly in the Chicago Online Community Professionals group and in Rachel Happe's Community Roundtable) is the idea of "co-working days."  Remote employees from various different organizations who live in the same city come together in one place from time to time and do their work in the same room.  Because they are all doing the same kind of work (in this case it's usually online community management) they get the benefit of social interaction and bouncing ideas off each other.

But back to my original point -- when we talk about remote work I think we do need to make a distinction between flexible home/office work and 100% remote work, because those really are two different working environments and mindsets.


 

Without passing any judgment, I also suggest there are at least some differing views by sector, private vs. public as the following Jan 12  Washington Post story discusses.

 

Bill

 

From: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io> On Behalf Of Dennis Pearce via Groups.Io
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 07:03
To: SIKM@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing

 

I think there are two distinct kinds of remote work but a lot of the research I see on this topic seems to muddle them together.

  1. Employees have an office but the flexibility to also work from home whenever they want
  2. Employees work from home full time for someone whose offices are in a different location

I have done both and they are very different mindsets.  I live in Lexington, KY and when I worked for Lexmark, my office was about 20 minutes away.  When I chose to work from home, it was usually either because (1) there was some personal issue (sick family member, repair person coming to the house, etc.) or (2) I had some big project I was working on and wanted to get away from the distractions of the office so I could focus.

I now work for a non-profit which is based in Chicago.  One of the reasons I chose this is the "work from anywhere" benefit -- my wife and I are building a home in South Carolina (where we plan to retire) and I wanted to be able to separate the timing of my relocation from the timing of my retirement.  But working from home 100% of the time means that, although I spend much of the day in online chats and video calls, the social interactions I experience are not nearly as robust as if I were physically in an office environment.  Contrast that with my previous job, where I could move back and forth between office and home work to find whatever level of interaction seemed appropriate at the time.

In my current job, we have about 20 employees out of 350 who work from home, scattered around the U.S.  Since one of my roles is managing our internal collaboration platform, I'm in a position to try some experiments.  We have a discussion group set up for remote employees so they can talk about the pros and cons of remote work and how to do it more efficiently.  The employees at HQ have a happy hour every Friday afternoon which we miss out on, so I set up a "virtual happy hour" using Microsoft Teams where remote employees can call in (with a beverage of their choice) and just chat for an hour.  We're getting ready to do an experiment next month where our happy hour will coincide with the one at HQ and a couple of my colleagues there will take their laptops to their happy hour so that remote and local employees can mingle simultaneously.

Another interesting trend I am seeing (particularly in the Chicago Online Community Professionals group and in Rachel Happe's Community Roundtable) is the idea of "co-working days."  Remote employees from various different organizations who live in the same city come together in one place from time to time and do their work in the same room.  Because they are all doing the same kind of work (in this case it's usually online community management) they get the benefit of social interaction and bouncing ideas off each other.

But back to my original point -- when we talk about remote work I think we do need to make a distinction between flexible home/office work and 100% remote work, because those really are two different working environments and mindsets.


Nancy Dixon
 

I’ve been following the discussion on Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing. Several of the postings were about the terms virtual and remote.  Interestingly neither the business literature nor  he academic literature seems to have settled on what the various  terms mean e.g. remote, virtual, distributed, and global teams. I mostly research and write about virtual  teams and find myself using “virtual” and “remote” interchangeably. To Dennis’s point and for my own sanity I’ll assign terms to four different kind of  teams. (But I don’t expected anyone to necessarily agree to these terms)  

1.     Teams that have no office anywhere and everyone works out of their home or co-working space. There are even whole organizations that work this way like Buffer, or Nomadic. I  will call these virtual teams.

2.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members work in a different country and typically out of their home or co-working space. I also think of these as distributed teams. 

3.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members are  in a different country, working in the company’s office there. I also think of these as distributed teams.  This is the arrangement that that TechnipFMC has.

4.     Teams where everyone has a co-located office,  but team members are permitted to work at home one or more days a week. Let’s call these remote workers.

What do you think of these terms?

I think all of these groups are contributing to an increase in worker autonomy and to improving human flourishing.  In the post I also used the term “gig economy” that includes Uber, Airbnb, etc.  And I’m aware in all four of the above types of teams, some or all of the workers may be contract rather than full time employees. Altogether there seems to be a growing group of people that choose not to engage in a workplace, that is too often making workers ill.  And that includes many of us on SIKM.

Aprill made the point that it is the managers that need to change and I agree. There is a group of managers that are concerned that workers will not put in 8 hours unless the manager can see them in the office. I have been doing workshops with managers of virtual and remote teams to help them figure out how to manage in this new configuration. Aprill also doubts that workers can bring about the change in human flourishing. But I’m more hopeful. If to get the talent they want to work for them, organizations have to allow remote, virtual and/or distributed work, I think it’s possible they will tell managers, “you need to figure out how to make this work”.  I see organizations offering virtual and remote work as a benefit of working for their company so there is a growing awareness that employees value this benefit.  So we’ll see how it goes.

In my post I talk about the empty buildings being converted in to places where teams, whether, virtual, distributed or remote, periodically come together face-to-face to renew relationships and to think together. In my work in the Netherlands, I saw many of these converted buildings and Dennis gave some good examples of how relationship can be built virtually as well which I applaud. 

Thanks to all for the comments and ideas

Nancy


On Jan 13, 2020, at 9:33 AM, Dennis Pearce via Groups.Io <denpearce@...> wrote:

I read that WaPo article and suspect that the key motivation for the government's reversal is contained in the line:
  
"After a big push toward telework in the Obama administration ..."


Curtis A. Conley
 

Nancy - I like the different terms and how you've broken them down. I have to imagine that as organizations try out and adopt new practices, there must be a lot of trial and error, no? Curious what you've seen with your work.

Just reflecting on my own arrangement right now, I'm not sure exactly what to call what my team has at Zendesk. I'm in Madison, where we have an office, but work primarily with folks on the west coast so I only go into the office one or two times a month (or more if there is a reason). Usually I work from my home office because I get way more done there because I'm not commuting (and also, open workspaces are a total nightmare for overall well-being, IMHO -- but I'm sure that is a totally different topic). My manager works from home most days to accommodate earlier/later time zones, but does go into the SF office a fair amount. And I have still other team members that are totally virtual and don't live near an office, but do come in on occasion. Do you think this mishmash of approaches is common as companies try to adopt practices on a case-by-case basis (e.g., what the person, role, clients actually need)? What is it that makes a team/organization move from allowing one-off approvals for remote work, to adopting it fully?

Also, for anyone that is either virtual/remote or works with those who are, the book linked below is a fantastic read and has a lot of really great actionable advice for making these kinds of arrangements work. https://www.amazon.com/Remote-Office-Required-Jason-Fried/dp/0804137501

Best,
Curtis


On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 9:17 PM Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...> wrote:

I’ve been following the discussion on Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing. Several of the postings were about the terms virtual and remote.  Interestingly neither the business literature nor  he academic literature seems to have settled on what the various  terms mean e.g. remote, virtual, distributed, and global teams. I mostly research and write about virtual  teams and find myself using “virtual” and “remote” interchangeably. To Dennis’s point and for my own sanity I’ll assign terms to four different kind of  teams. (But I don’t expected anyone to necessarily agree to these terms)  

1.     Teams that have no office anywhere and everyone works out of their home or co-working space. There are even whole organizations that work this way like Buffer, or Nomadic. I  will call these virtual teams.

2.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members work in a different country and typically out of their home or co-working space. I also think of these as distributed teams. 

3.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members are  in a different country, working in the company’s office there. I also think of these as distributed teams.  This is the arrangement that that TechnipFMC has.

4.     Teams where everyone has a co-located office,  but team members are permitted to work at home one or more days a week. Let’s call these remote workers.

What do you think of these terms?

I think all of these groups are contributing to an increase in worker autonomy and to improving human flourishing.  In the post I also used the term “gig economy” that includes Uber, Airbnb, etc.  And I’m aware in all four of the above types of teams, some or all of the workers may be contract rather than full time employees. Altogether there seems to be a growing group of people that choose not to engage in a workplace, that is too often making workers ill.  And that includes many of us on SIKM.

Aprill made the point that it is the managers that need to change and I agree. There is a group of managers that are concerned that workers will not put in 8 hours unless the manager can see them in the office. I have been doing workshops with managers of virtual and remote teams to help them figure out how to manage in this new configuration. Aprill also doubts that workers can bring about the change in human flourishing. But I’m more hopeful. If to get the talent they want to work for them, organizations have to allow remote, virtual and/or distributed work, I think it’s possible they will tell managers, “you need to figure out how to make this work”.  I see organizations offering virtual and remote work as a benefit of working for their company so there is a growing awareness that employees value this benefit.  So we’ll see how it goes.

In my post I talk about the empty buildings being converted in to places where teams, whether, virtual, distributed or remote, periodically come together face-to-face to renew relationships and to think together. In my work in the Netherlands, I saw many of these converted buildings and Dennis gave some good examples of how relationship can be built virtually as well which I applaud. 

Thanks to all for the comments and ideas

Nancy


On Jan 13, 2020, at 9:33 AM, Dennis Pearce via Groups.Io <denpearce@...> wrote:

I read that WaPo article and suspect that the key motivation for the government's reversal is contained in the line:
  
"After a big push toward telework in the Obama administration ..."


Murray Jennex
 

so I'll ask my question again Nancy, what makes you think that virtual/remote working will succeed this time when we've done it a few times before only to have management back away from it when  economic times got tough and organizations felt the need to bring everyone back into the office to control them?....murray


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...>
To: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jan 13, 2020 7:17 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing

I’ve been following the discussion on Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing. Several of the postings were about the terms virtual and remote.  Interestingly neither the business literature nor  he academic literature seems to have settled on what the various  terms mean e.g. remote, virtual, distributed, and global teams. I mostly research and write about virtual  teams and find myself using “virtual” and “remote” interchangeably. To Dennis’s point and for my own sanity I’ll assign terms to four different kind of  teams. (But I don’t expected anyone to necessarily agree to these terms)  
1.     Teams that have no office anywhere and everyone works out of their home or co-working space. There are even whole organizations that work this way like Buffer, or Nomadic. I  will call these virtual teams.
2.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members work in a different country and typically out of their home or co-working space. I also think of these as distributed teams. 
3.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members are  in a different country, working in the company’s office there. I also think of these as distributed teams.  This is the arrangement that that TechnipFMC has.
4.     Teams where everyone has a co-located office,  but team members are permitted to work at home one or more days a week. Let’s call these remote workers.
What do you think of these terms?
I think all of these groups are contributing to an increase in worker autonomy and to improving human flourishing.  In the post I also used the term “gig economy” that includes Uber, Airbnb, etc.  And I’m aware in all four of the above types of teams, some or all of the workers may be contract rather than full time employees. Altogether there seems to be a growing group of people that choose not to engage in a workplace, that is too often making workers ill.  And that includes many of us on SIKM.
Aprill made the point that it is the managers that need to change and I agree. There is a group of managers that are concerned that workers will not put in 8 hours unless the manager can see them in the office. I have been doing workshops with managers of virtual and remote teams to help them figure out how to manage in this new configuration. Aprill also doubts that workers can bring about the change in human flourishing. But I’m more hopeful. If to get the talent they want to work for them, organizations have to allow remote, virtual and/or distributed work, I think it’s possible they will tell managers, “you need to figure out how to make this work”.  I see organizations offering virtual and remote work as a benefit of working for their company so there is a growing awareness that employees value this benefit.  So we’ll see how it goes.
In my post I talk about the empty buildings being converted in to places where teams, whether, virtual, distributed or remote, periodically come together face-to-face to renew relationships and to think together. In my work in the Netherlands, I saw many of these converted buildings and Dennis gave some good examples of how relationship can be built virtually as well which I applaud. 
Thanks to all for the comments and ideas
Nancy

On Jan 13, 2020, at 9:33 AM, Dennis Pearce via Groups.Io <denpearce@...> wrote:

I read that WaPo article and suspect that the key motivation for the government's reversal is contained in the line:
  
"After a big push toward telework in the Obama administration ..."


Karen Budelier Brown
 

I just joined Kronos where their entire Professional Services staff is virtual (#1 below ), but we're called remote.  There are also employees that work from one of the many offices.

I believe trust is very strong in the organization. They are able to attract talent all over as people do not have to pick up and move to work in a job they love.  

I am aware of another organization that is moving in the the other direction currently. They are "getting rid" of all positions that are not technical to move to "agile" and requiring employees to be physically together.  I believe that the trust in this organization is disappearing. This disruption has caused a lack of trust in leadership and a lot of stress in employees.

I don't believe the economy plays a role. I think leadership's lack of trust in their employees plays a large role.

Karen

On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 11:47 PM Murray Jennex via Groups.Io <murphjen=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
so I'll ask my question again Nancy, what makes you think that virtual/remote working will succeed this time when we've done it a few times before only to have management back away from it when  economic times got tough and organizations felt the need to bring everyone back into the office to control them?....murray


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...>
To: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jan 13, 2020 7:17 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing

I’ve been following the discussion on Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing. Several of the postings were about the terms virtual and remote.  Interestingly neither the business literature nor  he academic literature seems to have settled on what the various  terms mean e.g. remote, virtual, distributed, and global teams. I mostly research and write about virtual  teams and find myself using “virtual” and “remote” interchangeably. To Dennis’s point and for my own sanity I’ll assign terms to four different kind of  teams. (But I don’t expected anyone to necessarily agree to these terms)  
1.     Teams that have no office anywhere and everyone works out of their home or co-working space. There are even whole organizations that work this way like Buffer, or Nomadic. I  will call these virtual teams.
2.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members work in a different country and typically out of their home or co-working space. I also think of these as distributed teams. 
3.      Teams where some members are office based and some team members are  in a different country, working in the company’s office there. I also think of these as distributed teams.  This is the arrangement that that TechnipFMC has.
4.     Teams where everyone has a co-located office,  but team members are permitted to work at home one or more days a week. Let’s call these remote workers.
What do you think of these terms?
I think all of these groups are contributing to an increase in worker autonomy and to improving human flourishing.  In the post I also used the term “gig economy” that includes Uber, Airbnb, etc.  And I’m aware in all four of the above types of teams, some or all of the workers may be contract rather than full time employees. Altogether there seems to be a growing group of people that choose not to engage in a workplace, that is too often making workers ill.  And that includes many of us on SIKM.
Aprill made the point that it is the managers that need to change and I agree. There is a group of managers that are concerned that workers will not put in 8 hours unless the manager can see them in the office. I have been doing workshops with managers of virtual and remote teams to help them figure out how to manage in this new configuration. Aprill also doubts that workers can bring about the change in human flourishing. But I’m more hopeful. If to get the talent they want to work for them, organizations have to allow remote, virtual and/or distributed work, I think it’s possible they will tell managers, “you need to figure out how to make this work”.  I see organizations offering virtual and remote work as a benefit of working for their company so there is a growing awareness that employees value this benefit.  So we’ll see how it goes.
In my post I talk about the empty buildings being converted in to places where teams, whether, virtual, distributed or remote, periodically come together face-to-face to renew relationships and to think together. In my work in the Netherlands, I saw many of these converted buildings and Dennis gave some good examples of how relationship can be built virtually as well which I applaud. 
Thanks to all for the comments and ideas
Nancy

On Jan 13, 2020, at 9:33 AM, Dennis Pearce via Groups.Io <denpearce@...> wrote:

I read that WaPo article and suspect that the key motivation for the government's reversal is contained in the line:
  
"After a big push toward telework in the Obama administration ..."

--
Karen Budelier Brown


Jasper Lavertu
 

Very nice blog post Nancy, thanks. The topic is interesting indeed. Many interesting replies to your post.

Many people will agree with you. Since 2016 there is even a law here in the Netherlands called ‘Wet Flexibel Werken’ (‘Flexible Work Act’). It gives the right to employees to ask their employer to adjust the number of working hours, place of work and/or work times (e.g. you can ask to perform more or less work, to work from home, or to arrange your work times differently). The employer can refuse a request on certain, defined grounds (which can be interpreted in several ways). However, it stimulates you to arrange your work differently, exactly because of the arguments you are mentioning in your blog (autonomy, work-life balance).

 

However, I don’t necessarily agree. In my experience, I also see the opposite happening and with good reasons to do so. I work at a shipbuilding company (high-tech custom build ships) and work in our company is more and more organized to foster face-to-face (offline) collaboration. Our engineers have to solve complicated and complex puzzles, where multidisciplinary solutions are key. Working together, in multidisciplinary teams (live, face-to-face) on these puzzles is paramount. Instead of promoting to work virtually, we have several high-tech concurrent design facilities in place where all stakeholders can work simultaneously on mutual challenges. Furthermore, we have colleagues all over the country (although the Netherlands is quite small, it can still be a couple of hours driving between our locations). Again, instead of working virtually, the teams are collaborating face-to-face and what you see is that teams as a whole change location together (based on the core of the work to be done at that stage, eg preliminary design work at the technical office for design and naval architecture while detail engineering will be performed at our manufacturing facility).


Yes, we also use tools to enable virtual working and for video conferencing, etc. But still, we see that there are many benefits of working together “in one room” (one of them being the fact that the engineers very much enjoy the dynamics of working together in one room and to realize solutions that they have developed together as a team).


I believe that the benefits of working virtually (also) depends on the type of work to be done.

Kind regards,
Jasper

Jasper Lavertu

Knowledge Management Specialist, Knowledge & Innovation

 


Ivan Butina
 

Our executive director at UNICEF has been pushing flex work - which allows remote work both within and outside the duty station. I fully took advantage of that, although it looks like it's not a widespread practice within the organization yet according to the first data from HR. While senior management and employee matter a lot, a third very important actor to make it succeed is the middle manager. Based on a few conversations I had with other colleagues, some middle managers embraced this push from top leadership while others have pushed back with their supervisees. 

Ivan

On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 3:37 AM Aprill Allen <aprill@...> wrote:
When push comes to shove, it will be management techniques that must change, rather than expectations of the employees. The management styles we have today are borne from manufacturing and industry. Knowledge work cannot be adequately managed in the same way. 

Recommend reading the more recent work of Rob England on new ways of managing. 

Cheers,
Aprill Allen

On Mon, 13 Jan 2020 at 8:35 am, Murray Jennex via Groups.Io <murphjen=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
I agree Nancy, a good post, but I do think you miss a point:

we have seen the trend to remote work before only to have it die down.  Seems when the labor market is tight companies use remote work as an inducement to get workers, but when the economy goes down the age old issue of controlling workers comes back and remote workers are pulled back to the office.  What makes it different this time?  It may be the millennial and younger workers expect it but I don't think it will be enough to keep it should economic times turn down.  I work at a university and while as faculty we can do research work at home as much as we want, if we want to be administration we have to be on campus during defined hours 5 days a week, just to respond to issues.  I find this interesting because as a student adviser I can approve student requests via email and do most of the work via email, however, the university management wants administrators there at hand to respond immediately to the little crises that come up every day.  Until this management style changes I don't think remote work will be safe.....murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: James Robertson <jamesr@...>
To: SIKM <SIKM@groups.io>
Sent: Sun, Jan 12, 2020 3:28 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing


A great article, thanks Nancy!
Cheers,
James

On 10/1/20 6:37 am, Nancy Dixon wrote:
Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

--
Step Two James Robertson
Founder and Managing Director | Step Two
Ph: +61 2 9319 7901 | M: +61 416 054 213
www.steptwo.com.au

--
--

Aprill Allen
Founder and Managing Director | Knowledge Bird
M: +61 400 101 961
knowledgebird.com


 

Reading through these posts, some things standout:

 

  1. Working virtually is context dependent on many levels
  2. Organization culture directly affects the opportunity and the practice
  3. Organization leadership determines success
  4. Being able to measure the value of this workflow approach is important for sustaining
  5. There are many personal views on its value which may be demographically dependent
  6. There is a difference between the academic theory of virtually working and the practice of virtually working—refer to #1 above.

 

Sure there is more to discuss.

 

Best

 

Bill

 

  

 

Learn more about the solutions and value we provide at www.workingknowledge-csp.com

 

 

 

From: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jasper Lavertu via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 05:17
To: SIKM@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing

 

Very nice blog post Nancy, thanks. The topic is interesting indeed. Many interesting replies to your post.

Many people will agree with you. Since 2016 there is even a law here in the Netherlands called ‘Wet Flexibel Werken’ (‘Flexible Work Act’). It gives the right to employees to ask their employer to adjust the number of working hours, place of work and/or work times (e.g. you can ask to perform more or less work, to work from home, or to arrange your work times differently). The employer can refuse a request on certain, defined grounds (which can be interpreted in several ways). However, it stimulates you to arrange your work differently, exactly because of the arguments you are mentioning in your blog (autonomy, work-life balance).

 

However, I don’t necessarily agree. In my experience, I also see the opposite happening and with good reasons to do so. I work at a shipbuilding company (high-tech custom build ships) and work in our company is more and more organized to foster face-to-face (offline) collaboration. Our engineers have to solve complicated and complex puzzles, where multidisciplinary solutions are key. Working together, in multidisciplinary teams (live, face-to-face) on these puzzles is paramount. Instead of promoting to work virtually, we have several high-tech concurrent design facilities in place where all stakeholders can work simultaneously on mutual challenges. Furthermore, we have colleagues all over the country (although the Netherlands is quite small, it can still be a couple of hours driving between our locations). Again, instead of working virtually, the teams are collaborating face-to-face and what you see is that teams as a whole change location together (based on the core of the work to be done at that stage, eg preliminary design work at the technical office for design and naval architecture while detail engineering will be performed at our manufacturing facility).


Yes, we also use tools to enable virtual working and for video conferencing, etc. But still, we see that there are many benefits of working together “in one room” (one of them being the fact that the engineers very much enjoy the dynamics of working together in one room and to realize solutions that they have developed together as a team).


I believe that the benefits of working virtually (also) depends on the type of work to be done.

Kind regards,
Jasper

Jasper Lavertu

Knowledge Management Specialist, Knowledge & Innovation

 


Arthur Shelley
 

Yes true Nancy,

Many of us, like you, Stan and myself have been doing this (Working remotely) for a long time (in my case since 1999). Working remotely has significant financial benefits for employers, but also for the self employed.

One challenge that many underestimate is the value of proximate serendipitous synergies that occur when people engage in unplanned conversations. I find to get around this I have a lot of “coffee conversations” as this helps maintain the relationships and trigger unpredictable outcomes. Humans are social beings that flourish through personal contact and trusted (face to face) interactions this will be the significant behavioural change that some may struggle to adapt to. Invest the time to engage with others frequently in high quality conversations. Quality is the difference between efficiency & effectiveness (and social wellbeing).
A

Arthur Shelley
Founder, Intelligent Answers
Producer Creative Melbourne
www.OrganizationalZoo.com
@Metaphorage
+61 413 047 408
https://au.linkedin.com/pub/arthur-shelley/1/4bb/528 

On 10 Jan 2020, at 06:37, Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...> wrote:

 Friends,
The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.

Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

Nancy
Nancy M Dixon

<Nancy Dixon_Jul042019_95326_Web-17 copy.jpg>

Working to increase virtual team collaboration


Colin McIvor <colin.mcivor@...>
 

The “coffee” conversation is very important. This is why (though most employers don’t see the benefit) there is actually huge advantages and benefits to people setting up – for example – non work related yammer feeds – eg pictures of people dogs or the like as this significantly increases unplanned conversations and forms common ground for future conversations

 

From: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io> On Behalf Of Arthur Shelley
Sent: Wednesday, 15 January 2020 8:30 AM
To: SIKM@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Virtually: Redesigning Work for Human Flourishing

 

Yes true Nancy,

 

Many of us, like you, Stan and myself have been doing this (Working remotely) for a long time (in my case since 1999). Working remotely has significant financial benefits for employers, but also for the self employed.

 

One challenge that many underestimate is the value of proximate serendipitous synergies that occur when people engage in unplanned conversations. I find to get around this I have a lot of “coffee conversations” as this helps maintain the relationships and trigger unpredictable outcomes. Humans are social beings that flourish through personal contact and trusted (face to face) interactions this will be the significant behavioural change that some may struggle to adapt to. Invest the time to engage with others frequently in high quality conversations. Quality is the difference between efficiency & effectiveness (and social wellbeing).

A

Arthur Shelley

Founder, Intelligent Answers

Producer Creative Melbourne

@Metaphorage

+61 413 047 408



On 10 Jan 2020, at 06:37, Nancy Dixon <nancydixon@...> wrote:

 Friends,

The remote movement is precipitating a much needed change in human flourishing in the world of work. As companies come to realize the economic benefits of remote work and as more and more workers choose to work for companies who provide this choice, it seems safe to predict that the future of work will bring greater human flourishing.



Here is a link to my latest blog where I explain why I think remote work is creating a much needed change. https://www.nancydixonblog.com/2020/01/working-virtually-re-designing-work-for-human-flourishing.html

 

Nancy

Nancy M Dixon

Blog: www.nancydixonblog.com  

 

<Nancy Dixon_Jul042019_95326_Web-17 copy.jpg>


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

 


Matt Moore <innotecture@...>
 

“so I'll ask my question again Nancy, what makes you think that virtual/remote working will succeed this time when we've done it a few times before only to have management back away from it when  economic times got tough and organizations felt the need to bring everyone back into the office to control them?....murray”

Here in Australia, many large organizations have engaged in “activity-based working” initiatives. In some cases this means that they have thoughtfully redesigned their premises and jobs at the same time and in the same strategic direction. In others, it has simply been a cost-cutting exercise. Office space is expensive. And if someone is working from home then that employee is paying for electricity, water, internet, etc. In most cases, organizations are now physically unable to bring everyone back into the office.

In practice, organizational executives will still wax and wane in their enthusiasm for remote working. The smart ones will find the mix of virtual and face-to-face that is optimal at the organizational, team and individual level.


Stephen Bounds
 

This is provocative ... but in general, only bad managers feel the need to "control" their employees.

True activity-based working arrangements quickly highlight which managers are really only watching their employees do work, and which are actively seeking and achieving value-based outcomes from their team.

There are legitimate reasons to co-locate temporarily or permanently. Some on the list have highlighted them already: client service, genuine and hands-on collaboration, serendipitous knowledge exchange among team members, and ad hoc training.

Even here, some of these should really only be one factor among many when considering the pros and cons of remote work, rather than an excuse to forbid them altogether.

None of the reasons should ever include "I don't believe that you are doing work for me unless I see you occupying a chair". If you have the systems to do work remotely, and none of the other factors above apply, managers shouldn't care where you do the work. It's between you and them to establish the appropriate accountability for what counts as "I have done my work".

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 15/01/2020 12:13 pm, Matt Moore via Groups.Io wrote:

“so I'll ask my question again Nancy, what makes you think that virtual/remote working will succeed this time when we've done it a few times before only to have management back away from it when  economic times got tough and organizations felt the need to bring everyone back into the office to control them?....murray”

Here in Australia, many large organizations have engaged in “activity-based working” initiatives. In some cases this means that they have thoughtfully redesigned their premises and jobs at the same time and in the same strategic direction. In others, it has simply been a cost-cutting exercise. Office space is expensive. And if someone is working from home then that employee is paying for electricity, water, internet, etc. In most cases, organizations are now physically unable to bring everyone back into the office.

In practice, organizational executives will still wax and wane in their enthusiasm for remote working. The smart ones will find the mix of virtual and face-to-face that is optimal at the organizational, team and individual level.


Nancy Dixon
 

There have been so many thoughtful responses to my post on remote work, many drawn from the writer’s own experience.  This is the kind of in-depth conversation I love, and what Kate Pugh and I hoped for when we talked with Stan about the gender/diversity issue. 

Several people have asked questions which I want to try to respond to here. Murray, bless his heart, still wants to know what makes me hopeful so here are few statistics showing how remote work is increasing that fuel my optimism.

Several people  talked about the need for F2F meetings and I fully support that. Those that have heard me speak on the topic, know that I talk about the Oscillation Principle. Below is a bit of what I’ve said about that principle. If you want to look at the Oscillation Principle in more depth, here is an article I published in the Learning Organization in 2017, called “Learning Together and Working Apart.” It describes a virtual team at ProQuest and how they blend remote and face-to-face work. None of the 30 team members work out of a company office. Karen’s post mentioned trust and Arthur wrote about how we are social beings. The Oscillation Principle is a way to address both of those vital human needs. The above article talks about how ProQuest builds trust in their face-to-face meetings, which are held for 3 days, 3 times a year,  and how they use their virtual tools to keep the trust going after the face-to-face meetings end.

“The promise of virtual work lies in the blending of virtual and face-to-face work. I have named this blending The Oscillation Principle. It is the rhythmic movement between team members meeting together face-to-face then working apart. It is based on two well researched findings 1) that sensemaking tasks like planning, designing, strategizing, and innovation require periodic face-to-face time and that periodic face-to-face time creates and renews strong interpersonal relationships necessary for such collaborative activities to be generative. 2)  Knowledge workers require alone time to focus on their individual tasks.  Congregate to collaborate, separate to concentrate! 

In this recent  blog post I explain the factors that influence how often those face-to-face meetings need to take place.   

I hope I addressed most of the issues raised. This has been a very valuable discussion for me.  My thanks to all.


Nancy M Dixon


Working to increase virtual team collaboration

On Jan 14, 2020, at 8:13 PM, Matt Moore via Groups.Io <innotecture@...> wrote:

“so I'll ask my question again Nancy, what makes you think that virtual/remote working will succeed this time when we've done it a few times before only to have management back away from it when  economic times got tough and organizations felt the need to bring everyone back into the office to control them?....murray”

Here in Australia, many large organizations have engaged in “activity-based working” initiatives. In some cases this means that they have thoughtfully redesigned their premises and jobs at the same time and in the same strategic direction. In others, it has simply been a cost-cutting exercise. Office space is expensive. And if someone is working from home then that employee is paying for electricity, water, internet, etc. In most cases, organizations are now physically unable to bring everyone back into the office.

In practice, organizational executives will still wax and wane in their enthusiasm for remote working. The smart ones will find the mix of virtual and face-to-face that is optimal at the organizational, team and individual level.