Communication @Work

The Future of Work-Life Integration

Hint: the future is not cubicles and commutes.

“I hadn’t made it to a weekday dinner with my children in 5 years. Since the onset of the pandemic - I haven’t missed a meal in 18 months.” The COVID-19 pandemic has been horrific, with unnecessary loss of life and all of the economic hardships that have ensued. However, within every challenge there are seeds of change and the possibility of improvement. One of the things this pandemic has done for certain is forever change the way many of us view our work and the necessity of traveling to an office to do it.

These are the types of stories we hear over and over here at Quicki. Stories about how great it has been to not be forced to drastically separate our work lives from our personal lives, and sacrifice so much of the second for the benefit of the first. We hear about how parents are able to see their kids off to school and then be present when they come home. We hear about how many possibilities have opened up now that a couple hours a day are not being spent (wasted?) in the car going to and from the office. Another thing we hear a lot is, “And I am never going back.”

We have to be careful not to overmix our blend of work and personal time to the point that we actually overwork, feel more stressed, and veer toward burnout. For those who can maintain a healthy balance between the two, the far greater flexibility provided by remote work has been liberating. Many people are feeling freed from significant monotonies, stressors, and challenges that stem from the older, location-based model of doing things.

There certainly are many jobs that are location-specific – whether they involve performing some type of physical work or serving a customer base in person. For many “knowledge,” “white-collar,” and “corporate” workers, the steady advancement of technology has definitely changed that. In January of 2021, roughly 79% of white-collar employees reported working remotely. It stands to reason that some percentage higher than that are doing a type of work that doesn’t require being present in any particular location.

Businesses are facing a sometimes complicated, but very important, decision right now, and into the future. How do we design our operations so we can maximize efficiency and productivity while also allowing our employees the ability for better, healthier work-life integration. At Quicki, we believe that thoughtful design, based upon the uniqueness of your organization, your company’s culture, and how your leadership team values in-office time vs. out-of-office time, will begin to establish your organization’s approach to this very important topic.

When Quicki launched in 2018, we were, by design, an all-remote team. We try to limit our tech stack but rely heavily on tools like Zoom, Trello, Slack, Miro, and of course Quicki to communicate and collaborate. One of our favorites has become a good old fashioned phone call. When we find we’ve been sitting too long or are “stuck” on a problem, we will jump outside and have a “walkie-talkie”. All that said, we also deeply value our quarterly “live time” in Atlanta to build our culture, review our OKRs, and solve some of our biggest challenges. As we see it, the building of culture and alignment of strategy are some of the largest challenges in the evolution of remote work - some of which have yet to be fully resolved.

Of course, we are firm believers in the value of video messaging to supplement other established modes of communication. We are aware of the shortcomings of text-based and synchronous communication, and we certainly understand the power of asynchronous video communication. Through the use of a varied tool set, and a commitment to experimentation and open-mindedness related to business operations and time structures, we’re happy to be one of many at the tip of the remote work spear. We encourage others to join us if they haven't already.

If you are looking for remote work advice, we really like Gitlab's The Remote Playbook as a place to start.

We also LOVE their Remote Manifesto.

All-remote work promotes:

  1. Hiring and working from all over the world (instead of from a central location).
  2. Flexible working hours (over set working hours).
  3. Writing down and recording knowledge (over verbal explanations).
  4. Written processes (over on-the-job training).
  5. Public sharing of information (over need-to-know access).
  6. Opening up documents for editing by anyone (over top-down control of documents).
  7. Asynchronous communication (over synchronous communication).
  8. The results of work (over the hours put in).
  9. Formal communication channels (over informal communication channels).

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