Chapter 74. “Remote”
I never liked that term “remote.” It is exclusionary. And betrays a sense of “otherness” that I feel is unhealthy for team cohesion. I understand that not everyone finds it easy or productive to work mostly apart from daily, in-person, social interaction. But success is an arm-in-arm effort, and the strategies to build successful teams work regardless of geography if we reward the appropriate behaviors.
I work remotely and have been for a few years since a couple of family moves. It has been a mostly successful experience this time around. What I do not talk about often is the story of when I didn’t succeed as a remote employee, resulting in being laid off years ago. And I think it’s important to talk about that, as well. Because as gratifying as it might be to claim full credit at my current success, I’d be dishonest to pretend that success was all me.
So, what is it that makes the same person excel or fail miserably at the same thing? Let me share some of my experience around this and how I think it might matter to your organization.
There is never a “successful remote employee.” There is always a “team that communicates well” and this goes beyond locality and who’s physically where. I’ve seen engineering teams in the same office fail spectacularly at basic communication around work in progress or around setting expectations for delivering feature work, whereas other teams spanning three different time zones efficiently produce ...