This post is by Flavie Halais from Feed: All Latest
In sub-Saharan Africa, about half of travelers move around by foot. Yet in its cities, conditions for pedestrians remain incredibly dangerous.
Apple, Microsoft keep making acquisitions despite pandemic WRAL Tech Wire
How will you spend your resources? If you want to open a can of tomato juice, you can squeeze the sides of the can as hard as you can, for as long as you can, but it’s unlikely to open. You can also focus all of your energy on a very tiny point and perhaps, with the right tools, make a small puncture. But it won’t help you get the juice out. What you’ll need is a can opener, focusing your force at the right sized spot with the right pressure.
The same is true for the way we bring an idea to the world. One thing you could do is spam a billion people, once. Another is to identify a single individual and spend a year bringing this person just the right message, with relentless frequency.
You’re probably better off with something in between.
We can allocate our resources into a portfolio. Even if we don’t know precisely where to put the effort, a focus on the right categories pays off. Too often, we aim too wide (it feels more deniable). And sometimes, more rarely, we aim too narrowly.
Every day, we use our resources to make change happen. Which means that every day we get to choose.
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The torrent of news this week was remarkable for a few reasons. For one, a lot that happened had nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. And it was striking that two of the week’s biggest stories—the Trump fight with social media and China’s curtailing of Hong Kong’s autonomy—underlined potential major shifts for the tech industry.
Trump’s fight with Twitter may be more about distracting people from the pandemic and the economy. The executive order might not stand up in court. But if it leads to even a slight erosion in Section 230 immunity, it’s bad news for major tech firms. Over time, it could drastically weaken the business model of many internet firms by requiring much more spending on content oversight.
Zoe and Cory join to discuss how the pandemic has hit the job market in tech. Zoe talks about the phenomenon of job postings that turn out not to be real. And Cory gives some historical context around how the current job losses in tech compare to previous recessions.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has blurred the lines between work and home lives for many people fortunate enough to work in roles that can be done remotely, hurtling us into a new era of business operations and workplace norms. What first felt like a temporary situation that would resolve in a couple of weeks has stretched well into the month of May, with a future that still remains uncertain. One thing I believe is certain is that remote-first will be the default for most companies going forward.
Late last year, we surveyed more than 3,000 workers across various industries, roles and geographic locations about their experience with remote work. Of the respondents, 86 percent said they believe remote work is the future (I imagine that number would be much higher were we to survey them today; we plan to re-poll annually), and nearly 90 percent of respondents said they believe they could perform their job remotely using their current technology.
The global embrace of remote workers has been accelerated by at least 10 years due to COVID-19. With the lack of a clear timeline for when we can expect the virus to be mitigated or, at the very least, prevented from spreading through second and third waves of outbreak, some digital companies have told their employees to expect to work from home through the end of the year. Others, however, seem to accept that working remotely is an inevitable and necessary future for the health and safety of employees and communities, and are opting to go all-in on transitioning to a fully remote structure. Once the public gathering restrictions and shelter-in-place orders are loosened, most employers should expect much of their workforce to perform their jobs from home at least a couple of days a week.
According to a survey by IBM, 54 percent of the 25,000 working adults it surveyed said they’d prefer to primarily work from home, while 75 percent said they would like the option to do so occasionally. Forty percent responded that they felt strongly that they should have an opt-in option from their employer to work from home.
For a long time, many people tied their identity to where they worked. This sudden separation from the office will serve as a pivotal moment of pause for millions of people to consider precisely that. How interweaved is our identity to the building we march into, day after day? What if it didn’t have to be?
Even employers reluctant to stray from traditional working norms prior to the pandemic find it hard to deny that the benefits outweigh the risks. In fact, remote work could actually help businesses avoid risk. For example, businesses tied to specific geolocations risk compromising their business were a location-bound emergency to occur.
We’ve been fully remote at GitLab since our inception in 2014, and while we haven’t escaped the impact of this pandemic, the effect on how we operate is significantly less than the many businesses going remote for the first time. Getting to this point has required a lot of well-thought-out strategy, multiple iterations of practices, a lot of collaboration, and is always evolving as we grow and learn from organizational and individual experiences.
However, there are some things that have proven to be absolutely essential for running an all-remote company.
Now that working from home has been a reality for a couple of months, every digital company in the world is forced to lay a remote infrastructure as a matter of business continuity. Additionally, setting up a remote infrastructure allows organizations to more easily hire, equip and onboard remote workers in the future. To build a strong infrastructure for the future, it’s important that organizations opting to go remote take inventory of what has worked and what hasn’t:
Lean into what’s worked, and consider tools and tactics that other fully remote organizations swear by. Additionally, encourage employees to resist the urge to default to meetings and instead rely on asynchronous communication wherever possible.
One of the most sizable challenges when going remote is keeping everyone informed in an efficient way. In order to communicate company-wide, a single location to document common questions around tools, access, company values and culture, job role expectations, and so on, is incredibly important.
At GitLab, our robust and comprehensive handbook is our single source of truth for all 1,250-plus global employees. Any time something new is implemented, it’s put in the handbook. This way, employees don’t have to wait for a response from a coworker in a different time zone, and information doesn’t have to be repeated multiple times. If an employee has a question, they’re encouraged to look for the answer in the handbook before asking a coworker.
Putting emphasis around systematically documenting important process changes and company updates in a central place helps us avoid confusion, interruptions and dysfunction. To start a rudimentary handbook quickly, consider the Suddenly Remote Handbook.
One of the biggest challenges many workers find about working remotely is communicating and collaborating with colleagues and clients. To help combat this, it’s important to find ways to effectively and efficiently communicate, as well as to default to transparency as a guiding principle when sharing information, even if hiding the facts would be easier.
Asynchronous communication is increasingly necessary for remote workforces, especially those that are widely distributed across time zones, but it only works best when there is companywide alignment on how and where to input communication. Leaders should carefully select the tools their organization uses to communicate, and aim to direct communication to as few channels as possible.
Establishing transparency as a value for your organization also helps to foster trust in a remote setting and can help ease the transition for managers accustomed to keeping tabs on their employees. Conversely, when transparency is properly practiced by managers, it helps employees understand what is expected of them from a deliverable aspect rather than actionable. Having a single source of truth will also help promote transparency across an organization. Any changes made to the company should have the reasons for the change clearly laid out and documented. A change with no public explanation can lead to a lot of extra questioning. As we say at GitLab, “Say why, not just what.”
Establishing a strong work culture is probably more important for remote teams than those that work in-office. According to a 2018 study from Walden University, remote workers are more engaged with their employer, for longer periods of time, when they have “a personal connection to the organization’s mission and vision, and where they feel the work culture is familial.”
When transitioning to remote, don’t try to create an exact replica of the in-office experience and culture. Consider each aspect of your company culture that is unwritten or implied, and document each one. If you need inspiration, look to other fully remote companies and how they engage their employees on a daily basis. It will also help to document any company values. There is great power and efficiency in teams who share company values. Values give guidelines on how to behave within the organization, but they must also be actionable. They provide a framework for distributed decision-making and allow individuals to determine what to do without needing input from their manager.
Although tragic, this pandemic has revealed the humanity of us all. While it’s important to maintain a semblance of boundary between work and home life, the reality is that working remotely has put us all in vulnerable situations. We’ve opened part of our home to all of our colleagues via video conferences, with children, partners and pets inevitably popping in and out of frame during meetings. It’s important to accept this as par for the course in this new era of remote work. Embrace these interactions as a way to get to know one another better.
For years, many have been told that their job “cannot be done from home,” and suddenly, it can. As millions of people recognize this at once, they’ll begin to realize how significant autonomy is. They’ll spend more time with their family. They’ll have a choice when it comes to spending the time previously assigned to a commute: resting, cooking, cleaning, exercising, community service. The list is long.
I believe that we’ll emerge from this with a healthier outlook on who we are. We are neighbors, sons, daughters and community members first—colleagues second. We are experiencing a revelation that work and geography can be decoupled. If work can be done from anywhere with a stable internet connection, the door suddenly opens for a much more fulfilling life.
Darren Murph is Head of Remote at GitLab. In this role, he leads all remote initiatives and is an expert on best practices for implementing or transitioning to remote-work. He is also a Guinness World Record holder in publishing and has over 12 years of experience recruiting and leading globally distributed teams in media, communications, and marketing. He’s an explorer at heart, having traversed nearly 50 countries and all 50 US states, becoming a Delta Million Miler along the way. He’s passionate about enabling remote work for all and credits his remote-work lifestyle to being able to become an adoptive parent.
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