Reaching remote work nirvana

Now that we’re in another level 5 lockdown, we’re going to need level 5 remote working. 

Matt Mullenweg, founder of one of the world’s largest remote companies Automattic, introduced the idea of the 5 levels of remote working:

The five levels of remote work
  • Level 5 – Nirvana A culture that works better than any in person company ever could
  • Level 4 – Asynchronous communication A rewarding culture embodied by shared values, and time to focus and create
  • Level 3 Adapting to the medium Using shared documents, and charts, as well as better equipment to harness remote work.
  • Level 2 – Recreating the Office, Online Think unnecessary meetings, interruptions, and real-time communication, except it’s now online.
  • Level 1- No Deliberate Action Nothing deliberate has been done by the company to support remote work.

If you’re on Zoom calls all day, that’s not remote working as it would be in a remote company. In most remote companies, there’s some element of asynchronous communication. Luckily you can take a test and see where you fit on the spectrum:

https://twitter.com/We_Are_Async/status/1296193221014556673?s=20

At Grow Remote we’ve trained managers in over 30 companies in managing remote teams. 

Each lockdown, we seem to speed through the stages in each level. Currently, there are three main trends in moving to the next stage:

Connection. Internal communities of remote workers are being set up to tackle isolation and the way in which remote workers can become invisible. We spoke a bit more about how to build these here.

Trust. Experts in training remote team managers Remote How ran a survey in 2020 to understand the challenges managers face. 

The most significant issue we’re seeing is trust. To address this, companies are changing how they track performance management, changing to more outcome based measurement, but the real key to this is coaching for managers of remote teams. 

New Roles. Where there has been a global trend towards hiring for ‘head of remote’ roles in companies, in Ireland employers are implementing cross-departmental working groups. 

By involving all parts of an organisation, it should enable everyone to feel they have a stake in the process, and any changes that are made.

By regularly surveying their staff, these working groups can understand where progress has been made, and what challenges need further attention.

As we hopefully edge towards a world where we’re not forced to work from home, this is a valuable opportunity to make lasting change.