6 The 10-Second Commute while sitting down [here], and wearing [this]? And next, although everyone feels a little bit (or a lot) farther apart when we chat online, to what degree do feelings of distance matter in how we think about each other and our work? Spoiler alert: it matters a lot and changes the way we think about people, problems, and collaborations, and can lead to subgroups in desperate need of knowledge brokers to bridge divides. Section Three: Technology’s Role It all hinges on the tech. It’s safe to say that technology is mission-criti- cal to sustaining productivity when working from home (or really, from anywhere), and there are an overwhelming number of choices available to both individuals and organizations for the tools themselves. However, the use of any one requires time spent on a learning curve, some of which are quite steep. This means that regularly changing from one platform to another is not practical even if something better continually hits the mar- ket, as we’d spend more time learning how to use the tools than actually using them. What makes one tech product succeed where another fails? Is it merely a matter of design? First-mover advantage in the market? The right combina- tion of features without a crushing number of options? It’s all of these things and more. The race is on: People adapt to available technology as technology simultaneously advances and adapts to how people need (and want) to use it. However, even the best remote tools alone aren’t enough to do our best work. No doubt, adopting the right technology matters. But it’s only one ingredient of the recipe for recreating a workplace online. We also need effec- tive processes and expectations to keep all workers on the same mental wavelength. Much of this burden falls on the leadership, as the need for structure is amplified. The check-ins, explicit expectations, “open-door” pol- icies, use of technology with ease, and strong personal relationships all ensure mutual purpose.20 Technology has also opened up whole new job opportunities, inspiring many to break ties with the office and call it quits entirely. At the ready to absorb them was the ever-growing gig economy. People can now turn hob- bies into careers and launch into new industries as they become de facto hoteliers or chauffeurs. This move creates new challenges, as guaranteed work (not to mention benefits) essentially disappears. Nevertheless, the pros- pects created by the gig economy have tapped a geyser, and it’s the technol- ogy that created this wide-open portal. Making virtual work work requires a delicate balance of a million tiny details. It’s having both the tech and the time and space to accomplish some- thing, and it’s having a boss and colleagues who co-adapt with you in pro- ductive ways. It’s being fully present when needed (not that this is always
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