Work has been, and always will be, done wherever you are. And you are not remote. Your team members may be, but wherever you are is local to you. You may be video conferencing instead of working together in the same office now, but for everyone on your team, wherever they are working is local to them. They are only “remote” to you. And you are only “remote” to them.

I get that you may not be commuting to the same office or workplace anymore. But it’s funny how we never called that “remote” work, because everyone had to gather in the same place to do their work.

Currently, I live in Abbotsford. But if I took off to New Zealand and did my work from New Zealand, I would not say that I was working remotely. I would be working locally in New Zealand. And because I live nomadically, I would continue to journey on, exploring different countries (like that’s ever going to be a possibility again). Regardless of where I journeyed, I would say that I was working locally.

I find it fascinating how we attempt to adopt different paradigms for the changing dynamics of work. I completely understand that phone calls and video conferencing are no substitute for in-person meetings. I have also felt the disconnect.

I attended an online conference a while back (while working, I might add), and no matter the sound effects, or digital “claps,” it just didn’t do it for me. It will never replace the connection, excitement, and directness of an in-person conference.

And we call these “virtual conferences.” I don’t get that terminology either. If it’s virtual, isn’t some part of it fake? It’s not virtual, it’s just not happening at a hotel, theater, or conference center. It’s happening online. It’s just a glorified video conference.

Getting back to the point, how effective were your meetings in the first place? If your office was like most, the answer is not very.

And, again, even though I understand well the challenges of communication that come with the heavy reliance on devices rather than direct communication, the fact of the matter is, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between where you used to work, and where you work now.

You’re still staring at a screen (or multiple screens). You’re still using email to communicate (which is funny, because it’s more useful now than it used to be – it probably shouldn’t have been abused in the office). And you’re still pulling the same hours if not more.

This is just the perspective of a digital nomad, so take what you will. But to me, there is no such thing as “remote work.” Work happens where you are. And for your team, work happens where they are. It’s helpful to adopt that paradigm, because otherwise you might tend to think work is happening elsewhere. That’s not quite true. For everyone in your circle, work is happening where they are. And part of the separation you feel is because of that unnecessary distinction.

 

Hold Your Horses, Cow-Person!

From: David Andrew Wiebe
To: You!

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