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21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations.

Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.

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Jun 2, 2022

Thanks to everyone who commented on our 300th episode! You can now find all the interviews over at the new podcast Work Life Changes and Remote Work in Organisations.

We kick off looking at “what might be going on”. Maya has written “Virtual e-residency, a future in the metaverse?”, a piece looking at the potential of emerging technologies, and how we might make use of them as part of work in the future. Will “hybrid” mean we use both the metaverse and the office? Will there be a place online where all Estonian e-residents and businesses can meet? And how will taxation work?

12.45 mins
We bring in the voices of two of our guests from episode 300, for this section on asynchronous communication. (We like to practice what we preach!)

Mark Kilby tells us about a new experiment he’s set up using asynchronous video. He’s using the app Volley to bring people together who are reading his book and have questions and comments. It was not feasible to set up online meetings to bring everyone together, as readers are spread all over the world.

Following episode 294, where we covered a couple of articles on emojis, Ross Winter, our own “podcast polisher” has some further questions on the use of emojis: Why do we only have a handful of emojis? Should we ditch them? Are they harming the quality of our communication? What about predictive replies?
Or is it just a matter of sending a quick reply vs no reply at all?

31.16 mins
John Hopkins, has recently completed some research on hybrid work in Australia. It outlines the three main hybrid work structures, and how happy workers are with them. Pretty happy by the way.

Back in the UK, two government politicians are determined to get everyone back in the office. One of our listeners asked for commentary on the news that an unnamed politician (we don’t want to give him the space here in our blog, but we name him in the episode) has been leaving notes on civil servants’ desks telling them they are much missed at the office. He wants everyone back and one of the reasons is that the tax payer is paying for the buildings. (Yes, you read right.)

One of our listeners sent us coverage of this story, with his own thoughts about how the different departments in the civil service are still recovering from the pandemic backlog, are at different points in their “digitalisation” and how some jobs can be done remotely while others can’t.

46.08 mins
Finally, if you are looking for an activity for your team, check out these online puzzles from Google Arts and Culture. And let us know if you try them yourself! (Pilar heard about this in the After Hours podcast.)


We have some things to report from our network, but before that, Maya is hosting a new podcast: The Future is Freelance !

Thanks to everyone who commented on the 300th episode! And remember we now have a new show: Work Life Changes and Remote Work in Organisations.
Many thanks to Hans Gaertner for sharing episode 298 with Laurel Farrer, all about biases in the hybrid workplace, and to Zahra for letting us know that our work resonates at her end too.

Nancy Settle-Murphy recommends to remove backgrounds from profile photos and make quick edits, and there is still time to get a 10% discount on Penny Pullan’s book Virtual Leadership, Practical Strategies for Success with Remote or Hybrid Work and Teams when you get it directly from the publisher’s site. (But you need to listen to the episode!)

Let us know what you think over at