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Given the current situation revolving around the COVID19 pandemic and its explosive changes in the culture of work, new possibilities that have opened up around the management of distributed, flexible remote teams, have caught the attention of leaders around the world — including those who hadn’t ever considered this solution before. “We can credit remote work for single-handedly saving the economy during the pandemic,” says Carlos Escutia, CEO of GroWrk, a platform dedicated to improving the conditions of remote workers for companies who are stepping into this new paradigm, “moving forward, we will also find that it offers other ways of improving the way we work, live and grow, together” exclaimed Carlos to a digital crowd of over 2,000 attendees.
Running Remote, the world’s largest conference on building and scaling remote teams, closed this 2020 by hosting its fourth virtual event last Wednesday. After two annual in-person events held in Bali, Running Remote switched to a series of virtual events in 2020 after the start of the pandemic.
Over twenty sessions and thirty thought leaders came together to answer the question that has been placed front and center of every company and team leader in these trying times: How can we cope with a situation that is still so new to many? Though remote work appears to be a technological revolution, it has increasingly shown to be a model that can humanize the culture of work, and the tools we use to get it done. As Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy from ZOHO stated "Remote and hybrid [remote] is actually making software and technology more human."
Remote work can open the door to alternatives that not only improve social welfare, but also environmental and labor quality to a great extent. “Giving people power over their lives is a great way to get and retain the best, diverse talent," says Karen Mangia, VP of Customer & Market Insights at Salesforce who insists that “we romanticize the office because we can’t go to the office” but sees imminent growth and empowerment with the changes that remote and hybrid work can bring. Milena Berry, co-founder and CEO of Power To Fly, agrees, stating that “if you want diversity you have to be open to remote [work].” It’s clear that in this ever-changing new landscape of work, creativity will be crucial for distributed companies to stay afloat and continue to inspire their teams.
A demonstration of how teams are putting creativity at the center of remote work, and definitely one of the most special moments of Running Remote Online, was a breathtaking virtual tour of Rome, courtesy of Withlocals. Gabi, the tour guide, was able to transport digital attendees to the ancient city, capturing the essence of its streets by describing the scents and climate, and even trying some food and gelato at the request of the fascinated audience. This activity proved just how immersive and interactive technology has become, and points to a bright future for distributed collaboration of all types.
It is clear that one of the great transformations we will see (and are experiencing now) within the future of work, will be the approach to which messages will be directed not only when doing business, but within our teams, "Business isn't B2B or B2C, it's P2P: People to People" Stated Hassan Osman from Cisco. Communication is becoming a crucial element not only for the health of a distributed team, but also strategically, and technology has to be used effectively in this matter to achieve projected goals. "You have to make sure the tools you use to communicate aren't overwhelming or separating your teams" Hassan Osman from Cisco insisted companies must keep a lean, efficient yet culturally enhancing communication strategy.
Integrating and recognizing the people who help our companies grow through collaborative projects has become vital for the development of any company, and for the first time, it seems that a truly human-personal factor begins to shape the horizontality of teams through a remote workforce. Remote and hybrid work is an excellent opportunity to empower teams globally, as Bryan Robinson, CEO & Founder of HolacracyOne shared: "Teams with more autonomy and freedom are more effective, productive and responsible, because they are empowered, so they care"
After all, telecommuting has revealed itself as an excellent window for self-discovery, and Running Remote Online has made it clear that whatever the outcome of this situation is, it is definitely a silver lining to the most comprehensive, wholesome and humane way we’ve experienced work.
Remote work is the new frontier and there is gold to be found behind the rocky paths and tall mountains. It doesn't only shine economically, but as a guiding light that can finally bring equality, inclusiveness, diversity, horizontality and autonomy into the work equation. Running Remote showed the world that there are people, companies and investors that are taking the opportunity to make this work revolution not just for profit but a humane, sustainable one.