What’s New About Working Remotely?

Sponsored by Poll Everywhere

Working remotely is nothing new. Yet somehow, it has changed. Wait. Weren’t we just (finally) getting comfortable with Zoom meetings and 4-day workweeks? What exactly is different? And why should leaders be paying much closer attention right now?

Well frankly, the stakes are getting higher. Even during today’s economic headwinds, the market for qualified talent remains remarkably tight. And let’s face itif you lose strong people because you don’t see eye-to-eye on remote work, replacing them will be costly, time-consuming, and may even end the same way.

How Can Working Remotely Succeed, Going Forward?

Maybe it’s time to shift your work structure. Maybe not. But here’s the bigger question: Whatever you do, how will you know if you’re moving in the right direction?

Every company is unique — no matter what the work structure may be. The tradeoffs you need to consider are specific to your team. So it makes sense to engage people in honest, open conversations about how to map their work expectations with your organization’s mission and business realities.

How can you make that happen? Let’s talk with someone who understands this process from the inside out…

Meet Our Guest: Robert Graham

Please join me in welcoming Robert Graham, CEO of Poll Everywhere a SaaS company that offers live online polls and other interactive feedback tools that help organizations gather and act on valuable insights from employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

Robert is a software engineering expert and serial solo entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering his team — all of whom are working remotely. He’s also interested in helping other leaders grow their teams personally and professionally, while building successful companies. I’m interested in that, too, so let’s get started!

What People Want From Work Now

Welcome, Robert. To set the stage, tell me your perspective on the modern workplace. What are you seeing?

We see people being more interested in a relationship with work that is tied to a mission, especially for Millennials and Gen Z. And these expectations are defining what employers need to provide.

There’s a video by Simon Sinek that talks about how we all used to be more involved with “third places.” People were members of a church or a softball team or community groups.

But now we spend a lot of that time online or watching Netflix. So we’re looking to work to fulfill more aspects of our lives.

Motivations Haven’t Changed

You recently published a LinkedIn article about engagement and working remotely. What should employers consider about these issues?

Key features of the modern workplace haven’t changed much. However, our relationship to them has changed a lot, and our context has also changed a lot.

For example, you and I are able to do this podcast remotely. A lot of our work can be done remotely now. And that’s mostly about new tools and processes that make it possible.

But as Daniel Pink says, people are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Those things haven’t changed much, even though the environment has changed quite a bit.

So if you want people to feel engaged while working remotely, you need to get them connected to those intrinsic motivators. How do you build a remote culture and teach managers to be effective in that setting? There are so many trade-offs.

The Value of Continuous Listening

How can organizations respond to these changes?

Doing this really well requires curiosity and consistent listening. Because when you try new things you’ll make some mistakes. Or sometimes the context will shift, so what worked previously may no longer be right for your organization or your people.

It’s important to find ways to build systems that encourage new ways of working, and promote people who work effectively when things are changing. That’s especially important if your organization is growing.

Where Listening Fits In

Whether people are working remotely or not, how can listening help improve employee engagement?

Start by asking yourselves if your organization has a clear purpose. Have you communicated it? And do your people believe in it?

And another part of that journey starts with asking your team what motivates them. Do they feel they have autonomy? How can you enable them to be more autonomous? Do they feel they’re able to grow and develop mastery over their work? Do they feel connected to a purpose?

Every organization is going to start in a different place with those questions. And that’s why this process depends on listening.

Learn More About Working Remotely 2.0

For more insights from Robert about how organizations can adjust to today’s changing workplace, listen to this full podcast episode. And be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Also, to continue this conversation on social media anytime, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Let’s talk!

The Future of Work: Awakening the Artist Within

More people will pick themselves in the 21st century. Choice is abundant and there is simply a multitude of opportunities and possibilities. That is the exciting new path for people in the human-to-human purpose and experience driven era.

Many will no longer wait to be picked for that job, promotion or project. An increasing number of people will start picking themselves and setting their own path as they see life as a daring adventure, where work is just one element of it. LIFEworking will be a way of life.

We will start asking ourselves, what’s my enough? And realizing that we want to set our own path and follow our own journey; not someone else’s story.

Over the next 25 years, people will choose to join organizations with shared purpose that value people. Purpose will become much more important to people than mission statements that hang on corporate walls. Trust, relationships and community will be the currencies that matter more in a world where people will choose to focus on business for good.

This journey has already begun with a wide range of organizations moving in the direction of being powered by purpose. Today, people are becoming much more conscious of the food they consume as more organizations tell us that the food they produce is poison free. Today’s packaging inform the consumer that their food does not contain harmful ingredients.

In the future, more people will question whether working for a certain company will damage their health and wellbeing, as well as whether the company’s practices are good for society and the planet.

Research has shown that the companies that do good in the world return more profits to their shareholders than their counterparts — those who do harm. Staying competitive in today’s socially conscious climate means more than having good products and being profitable.

Not only are people more likely to buy from brands that share their social values, they are willing to spend more on their products, are nearly twice as loyal and employees are more than 50% more engaged and nearly 20% more productive. As Gina Manis-Anderson of Savii Group tells us, “Turns out doing good is good for business.”

Innovation should never be a department. In today’s world, many organizations focus on innovation and yet do not have the systems to allow for true innovation which include experimentation that often leads to the failure that is associated with it.

In the future of work, we will make choices that sustain us and we will not be constrained by internal systems like incentive plans that restrict our ability to experiment and fail. Innovation will be exciting as it will be in the fabric of how we work and collaborate. With shared purpose, people will bring innovation to their day-to-day practices and have the freedom to create.

The artist needs freedom to create. And we are all artists, makers, creators and doers in business.

A call to action. Imagine what could happen if we no longer needed to fight for our lives and we simply lived fully and co-created the world we want to live in where business is a force of good? In the 21st century human-to-human era, anything and everything is possible as we have everything we need to create a healthy and humane world.

Imagine the possibilities, and find the people who want to co-create in living colors. We are waiting for you to join our journey to business common sense. It’s a conscious choice.

A version of this post was first published on 2/2/16 on

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