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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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Dec 21, 2023

It’s the last episode of the year, and it’s very hard to break tradition! Maya and Pilar talk through some of the recent stories around remote work and the world of work and try to make up their minds as to whether we’re moving forward or backwards…

Just as they’ve been doing over the last three months, Maya and Pilar comment on this month’s guest, Valentina Thörner the Empress of Remote! What was particularly memorable was her tiara story (of course!) and the way in which she continues to advocate for experimentation at every level in the organisation. (To hear Valentina talking about the two axis of remote work (location and schedule), check out episode 342.)

09.25 MINS

There is a danger of organisations being seen to be discriminating against certain employees if they make them go back to the office. Legally things are not that clear cut. This article from October showed the need for organisations to understand the implications fully: Case update: employers must do their homework before making ‘back to the office’ decisions.

12.52 MINS

One example of the world of work moving backwards is this guidance by the UK government against a four-day work week in local authorities. Note the lack of evidence to support it: “it does not believe that it delivers local taxpayers’ value for money.”

At 16.00 MINS, Pilar brings in an example of the voiceover industry, which makes it clear that being able to work remotely might continue to perpetuate an “always on” culture.

This might all sound like our hosts are in a negative state of mind, but maybe this is something that also applies to listeners? Maybe they are seeking information to navigate the more difficult facets of the modern work environment.

The most popular episodes have focused on terminations (333), conflict (331), The upside and downsides of creativity and productivity (330)… But also some more uplifting ones like Effective Manager Mindset for Global Virtual Teams (315) and one on visibility and transparency in leadership with Mark Kilby (321).

On the moving forwards side…

21.12 MINS

Discussing Buffer's "State of Remote Work 2023" report, Pilar and Maya note a surprising trend: more remote workers now feel that working remotely has a positive impact on their career growth. This contradicts the common belief that remote work might hinder career advancement.

27.00 MINS

We couldn’t end our reflections on 2023 without talking about Generative AI. We already did an episode on AI in November 2019 ( ), so it’s something we’ve always kept an eye out on.

Now that Generative AI is being integrated into everyday tools and is more accessible, what’s going on in organisations? Check out Salesforce’s recent research which shows that More than Half of Generative AI Adopters Use Unapproved Tools at Work. (Does it remind you of how remote teams in organisations often use Shadow IT?)

Generative AI is being used widely by all sorts of professionals, and a few months ago, Amazon had to cap the number of books that authors could upload daily, as GenAI was being used to crank up books.

Speaking of which… Pilar has co-written a book with Chat GPT. “The Remote Worker’s Guide to Time Management” will be out in all formats in January, but the Kindle version is already out for pre-order.

40.10 MINS

If you don’t want to read a book co-created with a bot, then maybe you’d like to chat to humans? The doors to the brand new community of Remote Work Europe are now open! There’s been a rise in closed online communities as social media has become noisy and unreliable. Maya embraces this and has set up Remote Work Europe Connected for remote workers of all kinds who are looking for a space to seek help, connection and inspiration.

That’s it from us this year, we hope you enjoyed our 2023 What’s Going On episodes!