Head of R&D and Work Futurist | Atlassian
Born in the harsh Manchester Winter of ’77, Dominic has a career that has reached far and wide through Europe, US and Asia PAC. Today Dom is proud to work at Atlassian, a leading provider of team collaboration and productivity software, as the head of R&D program management where his responsibilities span five global R&D centres.
Dom is proud to work at Atlassian, the home of the most intelligent t-shirt wearers in business, as the Head of R&D Program Management.
A keen traveller, Dom has traversed over 50 countries so far, but after 12 years on these shores, he calls Australia home.
Atlassian are behind famous collaboration apps such as Jira, Trello and Hipchat.
Dom’s video greeting:
Future of Work in a Distributed World
Morning, how are you all doing? So before I start, I can’t help but notice these wedding chairs. And my mom always taught me that you should represent the environment that you’re in.
So I need you to also do me a favor. If I could just get you all to stand up. I know you’ve had your fruit and your coffee, and your pastry. If you could just face the person next to you, just pair up. I know, no handholding. I saw that Nicole. That is a different game.
We are not doing that one this morning. DJ, if you could just play us a tune. I need you to do your best wedding dance because this feels like a wedding. And you’re a remote worker so you never get to hang out with other humans. So I thought we’d make the most of it and just spend 20 seconds dancing with the person next to you, whoever they are.
Just make friends with them right now. Go DJ.
– Go on, no cheesy, yes. Get the knees going, knees going, there we go. Come on show on hands, good, love. Get the hands going. Look at that, now walk with dancing here.
– Go on Dimitri, come on son. He’s got his chocolates. Karen, you look great there.Right, you can sit down now. Thank you
– Just to be clear, that has got fuck all to do with the future of work.
That is me taking advantage of having a microphone and abusing the power. So there’s two things I’m going to talk to you about today. One is the future of work, something that I am very passionate about, and the other one is how that relates to remote work.
And the two are slightly separate, but I think they’re very connected. So there’s a few things I’m going to share with you today. I will share my slides, so they’re all going to be open. This is going to be on YouTube. And if you’ve got any questions, I’m @domprice on every form of social media you could find. First thing I want to talk to you about are the Atlassian Values. I’m not going to talk to you about Atlassian’s products.
I’m not going to try and sell you anything. This is not an infomercial. If I do that, feel free to rugby-tackle me on stage. I want to tell you stuff that you don’t already know, otherwise, this is a complete waste of time. Values are important to me when I think about remote and distributed teams because if you don’t know the value of why you’re doing it and how you think about how teams interact, you’re going to get it wrong. The values for Atlassian, one of the reasons I liked them is before I joined Atlassian I never realized this, that I have two sets of values.
There was work Dom and kind of social hang out Dom, and I didn’t realize the veil that I wore when I used to work in the office. As part of my confession, I am a recovering chartered accountant, so I started my life in Deloitte in London because my parents convinced me if I became an accountant, I would have a job for life. What they didn’t tell me was that job was miserable. You would never actually want to do it for life.
I managed about three years. But values are important because you need to know what your values are, both as a remote worker but also the organization you’re trying to grow. I get a little bit tetchy when people talk about culture as a singular thing because I don’t think culture really is a singular thing. If I’m going to think about Atlassian, we’ve got many, many cultures that evolve over time. The thing that stays true are our values.
Things like don’t fuck the customer, not customer first or customer-centric, or think about the customer. Do not screw them over at any account because without them you don’t exist. Things like play as a team. A recent Ernst & Young report shows that 90% of organizations are solving problems so complex they have to be solved by teams.
Kind of challenges the async and sync conversation we had yesterday. If we have to work together and we need cognitive diversity to create geneous things, how do we do that when we separate ourselves from the people we need to challenge us? How do we best do that? Collaboration by its very nature should be uncomfortable and a bit scrappy. The real reason I like these values is most organizations I get to spend time with have bullshit values.
In my time at Deloitte, I was doing some work with a large company. The CEO decided the company had a shit culture and he did what all good 55-year-old white men do. He collected his top 35 white men executives, and took them to an offsite in a vineyard. And partway through a three-hour discussion on culture, they’d landed on their new cultural pillars.
Pride, respect, integrity, collaboration and knowledge. I apologize if any of you have those or if you work there. Now I’m trying to be a grownup but I’m not very good at it. So I always sat at the back of the room and I see them present pride, respect, integrity, collaboration and knowledge.
And I do that thing you used to do as a kid where you try not to laugh, and you do that snorty noise through your nose and ears. Right? And the CEO is like, “All right, smart ass. What’s so funny?” And I was like, “It spells prick.” I said, “I’ve got this vision of the end of year Prick Awards and inaudible with the Best Prick on them, and I don’t know that that’s what we want to aspire to,” so that the head of HR walks up and writes out knowledge, and I said, “I think you’ve missed my point. I think if we moved on, right?”
But values and understanding the values is important and that’s because a lot of the conversations I hear about remote work are about the remote worker, or about the organization, and very rarely do we combine those and say, “How do we delight both parties?” When I see stats that say, “Remote workers feel 85% more productive,” who’s paying the tax on that? Are they productive but it’s at the detriment of the team they’re working with?
Are they productive on a singular task? But when you do that collaboration, it gets a lot slower. A philosophy that I’ve been following recently is around dysfunction. I do a lot of work around the function and dysfunction of teams, and there’s a million and one definitions, and they all give me the shits because they’re all really complex. And I’m not a complex kind of guy, I’m from the North of England, and I love this definition. Dysfunction is the gap between what you know and what you apply or what you do.
Quick example, I turned 40 last year. I know, I don’t look at it. And when I turned 40, I had that midlife crisis and a friend of mine gave me a book voucher for my birthday. Now, they’re not a good friend because they would have given me wine if they knew me, but they gave me a book voucher. I was like, “Fine, I’ll buy a book”. So being a 40-year-old, I bought a book on healthy eating and it based, don’t buy it.
It’s shit. It says, “Eat green things, purple things and red things. Don’t eat yellow things.” It’s what it says. And it says, “Elevate your heartbeat for 20 minutes a day.” I’ve read that book three times. My apartment in Sydney is above a Pizza Hut. My idea of colorful food is a supreme, and my heartbeat races when I’m ordering on the bus, not knowing will I arrive early and it’s not ready, will I arrive there late and it’ll be soggy.
That is my excitement. So I know that I should eat healthy. I know I should do exercise, instead, I’m carrying a bit of timber. And it’s the same for us with remote work. The things we know, the things we’re discussing now about remote work, we’ve known for years. There was no news headlines yesterday where I nearly fell off my chair with, “Oh my God, you can pay people globally?That’s amazing. You can hire remote workers?”
We’ve known this for years. It’s time for us to convert that knowledge into action. So there’s a couple of things I want to talk to you about today. The first thing I want to do is acknowledge the history that we’re living in and the reason this history is important is I think it might represent the barriers of what I was struggling and it might represent the conversation we should be having about why this is an opportunity.
So if you look at the last Industrial Revolution, you go back to the 1920s, right? There wasn’t remote work, there weren’t digital nomads, we didn’t have things like imposter syndrome, we didn’t have innovation events. There was no such thing as empathy. All right? There was a largely white male workforce that went to work with their hands. They were working 9:00 to 5:00 in a factory or some kind of manufacturing system. And in that world, efficiency was king.
Everything it was about was doing the same thing faster, doing it consistently, but we’re in a very different world now, but if I think about most companies I’m dealing with, they’re still stuck in this kind of dark ages. Even for me graduating university, excuse me, in the year 2000, I studied Taylorism, which was about the optimum size of a shovel for shoveling steel in 1910, Pennsylvania.
That’s what I studied in the year 2000. So we’ve not yet moved the conversation to what is it to be an effective organization? How do we focus on outcomes and not outputs? If you truly embrace remote work and you’re empowering people, and you give them autonomy, remote work is just a natural conclusion. But if you’re in that efficiency model, there is no chance in hell you’re going to allow anyone outside the building.
And that’s why I saw the questions I saw yesterday. How do you know that they’re working? You don’t. The same way you don’t know someone in your office is working, you have no idea. Just because I’ve got my laptop open doesn’t mean anything. So this understanding of trust and autonomy, and empowerment, it makes sense, but it’s really hard for us to do.
The Netflix business model was to go on only into web, which not everyone had access to, pick a DVD and then wait for it to arrive in the mail. Blockbusters laughed them out of the room. Now you just get in your car, you drive to this awesome bricks and mortar store, and you hire a video. Why? This DVD thing’s never going to take off.
So on the data they were right, but this is efficiency versus effectiveness, and here’s what happened. Blockbusters disappeared, no longer exist. In fact, after the year 2000, they had a very successful IPO for a few years. They still looked awesome. They still looked brilliant. But they weren’t thinking about the future, they thought their business was video rentals. Netflix realized their business was entertainment.
Netflix has reinvented themselves three times. DVD rental, streaming, and now content generation. Netflix is no longer a $2.2 billion business, it’s a $12 billion business, 120 million active customers globally, already twice the size of Blockbusters in their heyday. So when you’re thinking about remote work and you’re thinking about teams and how teams work together, we have to think about this effectiveness.
And the reason being, and this is when we talk about diversity, hiring smart people, getting access to the right talent, here’s why. This is the average age, the average tenure of a Fortune 500 company. So if you had a factory in the 50s or 60s, if you got good and just stayed good, you stuck around for 60 years.
So the CEO or a senior leader do the same thing on repeat and you remain successful. The average tenure now for a Fortune 500 company is 14 years. So what that means is businesses have to refresh. It means as a remote or distributed team, you have to be thinking about how you stay relevant and change. So let’s get onto the remote part. Now we know the context is why this is important and the rate of change, why it is important for us.
So a lot of people yesterday talked about their why or talked about why as a theory. These are the specifics why for us. We sell products that enable remote collaboration. It kind of makes sense for us to dog food that by actually living and breathing in that world, it makes our products a damn sight better. We also do a lot of remote collaboration. We want to access smart people wherever they are in the world, it’s part of what we do.
We want to be able to share that knowledge because we genuinely think that sharing is caring. And also for us with science, technology, engineering, maths, there is a shortage of people globally and we only want to hire A players, right? I’ve yet to meet an organization that’s hiring the B’s or the C’s, everyone’s trying to hire the A players. But in a supply-demand market that we’re in, you have to go with the A players are, right?
You can’t just say, “We’re in Sydney, I’ll move to Sydney.” So we’ve got t
eams all over the world. We’ve actually got nine Atlassian locations and Home Office, our remote workers are our third biggest office if you all put them in one spa
The first one is distributed teams, two Atlassian offices but they are in separate locations, time zones, geographies. That is the majority of our teams. At Atlassian we have just shy of 3000 employees and 480 small, nimble teams, but those small nimble teams are spread across geos because thery’re cross functional teams that come together, swarm on a project and then often disband afterwards.
And so distributed teams, whilst not truly remote, still require a way of working that enables us to connect people across a wire where they’re not co-located. The second one is the occasional kind of work from home. I’ve got a dentist appointment. My dog’s getting its teeth cut on Wednesday. I’m not going to be in. I’m not going to talk about that today because if you hire fully-formed adults and trust them, the occasional working from home should be a transaction that just occurs.
If you’re having that conversation, leave. But not here, stay here, this is fun, but leave the organization. Because if you’ve not got enough trust to work from home for an afternoon, that’s probably not a conducive environment for growth, but I’m not going to touch on that today. So the second thing I’m going to touch on is remote-friendly. This is something that at Atlassian we honestly thought we were good at until a year and a half ago when we acquired Trello and we’re like, “Oh no, you’re actually good at it.We just thought we were.”
They were remote from the get go. So what they have learned, the knowledge they’ve acquired, the practice that they have are significantly better. So distributed teams. About four or five years ago, when I first joined Atlassian, I sat down at the end of my first 90 days and I said to my boss, “I need to be honest.I really don’t like it here.” And the reason I didn’t like it was I was trying to do a lot of firefighting and he wanted me to do something different.
He said, “Dom, we’re kind of good now because we’re small.” We were kind of 400 or 500 people at the time and we’re now nearly 3,000. He said, “Your job is to avoid us getting slow, monolithic and fat. So use the knowledge that you’ve acquired from all these other organizations and let’s go and form awesome, great teams. The nimble, autonomous, empowered.” I was like, “Cool, how do I do that?”
And he’s like, “You’ll work it out. You’re a clever guy.It’s why we hired you.” And I was like, “Okay, so I need to work out what makes a great team. If 90% of organizations need cross-functional cognitively diverse teams, what makes a great team?” No surprise, I worked for a technology company and essentially, our staff developed Tourette’s and just shouted tools at me. “Tools, tools, tools, products, tools, Trello, Jira, confluence apps. We need apps, we need products, we need tools.We need to be able to communicate, we need chat, we need tools.”
And I’m like, “That’s cool. Calm down.” What we discovered is that a fool with a tool is still a fool, but be very careful, you’ve made them faster. So if you do have idiots, do not give them technology, don’t. You will make them faster at being bad and that is not a good thing.
So the second thing we looked at was people, like people like you. How do you hire smart people? There’s about a trillion ways of categorizing people. We went for the very simplistic growth mindset, fixed mindset. Growth mindset enables you to challenge the status quo. You’re all about exploring and abundance, and experimentation. You love getting stuff wrong because you learn from it.
Fixed mindset is, “I am who I am. I am where I am. I have what I have and this is all I can do”. We hire for the growth mindset, but here’s the bit where remote work and distributed teams got caught up. Practices, our practices are ways of working our policies and procedures which kill my mojo on a daily basis, are baked in the 1920s.
They’re baked in an environment of distrust where we want…how can you make sure that my staff are working every day and doing the hours they do? You can’t, be a good leader. Inspire them and then get out of their way. So practices was the thing we focused on. First thing we did was we looked at three awesome Atlassian projects. Complete waste of time.
So when you look at a great team or a great project and you say, “What was the secret sauce that made you awesome?” You’re like, “It just worked, which is really nice.” I’m like, “That’s cool. I can’t bottle that up.” So we looked at three failures, three Atlassian projects that where just saying the project name made people want to hide, curl up in a ball, want the ground to swallow them up.
And we landed on eight attributes for a healthy project team. About 80% of our teams in Atlassian act and smell, and feel like a project team. They are cross functional. This isn’t departments. I don’t care about marketing or sales, or IT. We don’t care about functions in departments. This is teams, cross-functional, subject matter experts coming together to work on a common goal.
Our project teams tend to swarm. They tend to work on milestones. When they ship, they tend to then disperse. We used these to all our teams or project teams for a while and then we discovered two of the team personas, leadership teams and service teams. Leadership teams, any leaders in the room?
Awesome. So you might be able to empathize with this. We noticed three attributes of our leadership teams, two that were good, one that we weren’t so sure on. Great leadership teams inspire, coach, mentor, right? They are there for their teams to actually amplify them. They are a true multiplayer. They also set long-term vision and direction.
They set the North Star. You’ve heard a few people talk about purpose and mention Simon Sinek, that here’s that big hairy audacious goal that I want you to get excited by. They’re the two things that great leaders do. The third thing we noticed with our leaders is what we call the pigeon boss. So the pigeon boss has read the book on autonomy and empowerment, and they leave you alone. And then the second week of the month or like towards the end of the quarter, they wake up a bit nervous and they fly into your projects area, shit everywhere and fly out.
If you’re not laughing it’s you, but this is part of the therapy, it’s okay. It’s a Sunday, you’re amongst friends. They’ve not got bad intent, they’re not malicious, but they distract and disrupt the entire team with a random statement. Great leaders have an agreed rhythm and cadence of how they communicate, and they work to inspire and multiply the team, not micromanage and not this laissez-faire, “I’ll fly in at the end of the project.”
It’s somewhere in between. Service teams were interesting for us. They smell and look a lot like project teams, but instead of having a backlog, they have a queue. So their first job tends to be to triage. You’ll know the service teams in your organization, they’re the firefighters. Do we have any firefighters in the room? Awesome.
Right, so you’ve got your cape in your drawer, you wait for shit to go wrong, you fly in, you put the fire out, you take the wine, the plaudits, the employee of the month award. Be careful for firefighters, they’re also fire starters. Yeah, because when stuff starts breaking, they get nervous they’re going to lose their job. So when no one’s looking they’re like, “Oh look, a fire.I happened to be here to put it out, to get my Employee of the Month badge.”
But service teams are great for understanding how you prevent and not just cure. Again, in remote environments, this becomes even more important. So what do we do with this? We looked at the eight attributes of what made a healthy project team, leadership team and service team. And what we did was we made this a non-technological thing. We say to our teams, “You own your health of how you work together.”
As a distributed team, this means that they have a meaningful conversation in advance of how they work person-to-person. Cognitively diverse teams are awkward and painful. They can feel like an investment when you get them right, but at first, it slows you down, it’s scrappy. We’ve now run over 4,000 of these across the organization and thousands externally.
It’s nothing to do with technology. This isn’t a sales pitch for Jira or Confluence, or Trello. You do this with thumbs and Post-it notes. We actually get people to vote first and speak second because that enables the introverts to share their view because we want everyone to contribute. Everyone sees the world through a different lens and this is our way of hearing their voices.
Now, we actually worked on this internally and that enabled us to scale at a rapid pace, and not get slower monolithic. We actually start to ship almost quicker and we had more Mojo. We won Best Place to Work. We’ve got great engagement. As we added more teams and we thought stuff would go wrong, we actually got faster and better.
Essentially, it’s comprised of three health monitors, one for each of those teams and we’ve now got 31 plays. Imagine this is like a fitness instructor, puts you through the drills, that’s the health monitor and then they give you some fitness exercises to do, that’s the plays. The plays are things like a project poster, elevator pitch, retrospective. How do you do a project kick-off?
How do you do a pre-mortem partway through a project so you know to avoid the things that might go wrong before they go wrong. Not a post-mortem, about find out after the event. So we’ve been running with this for about two years and then one of my bosses, one of our co-founders, Mike, said to me, “You know how we call this our secret sauce? I’ve had an idea, let’s just call it sauce, it’s no longer a secret.”
So we published it externally. So if you go to Atlassianteamplaybook.com, every artifact that we use to manage our 480 teams globally is on that website. This is used by our distributed teams every single day to avoid the friction and natural conflict that you get when you’re in different cultures, customs and times outs.
It enables us to get on the same page up front rather than fixing. It avoids that miscommunication. Interestingly, we only have one version of this. So the teams at Atlassian, those 480 teams, they use this same site. So when we publish this, we made a decision to retire our internal version.
So this isn’t a marketing play to get people to buy our products. It’s free. You can use it without our products and if you use our products, every template and blueprint we have is in there for you to use free of charge. So remote teams, how are they different? Now I’ll be honest, when I got invited to talk at this conference, to be honest with Liam and Igor I was like, “You know, we’re not fully remote, like we’re not the example of a 3,000 person company where everyone’s in different countries.Like home office is our third biggest, but we’re not fully, fully remote.But we do have great knowledge on remote teams.”
This is something that Barry Murphy, one of our senior engineers in Trello taught me a while back and it’s great to hear this from an engineer because again, nothing to do with technology. And he just he reminds me of this every time we catch up. Every interaction, both sides here, every interaction is an opportunity to reinforce how much we care about remote teammates.
There’s a flip to that. Every interaction is also a chance for you to screw it up, to get it wrong, so you’ve got to make sure that those interactions are meaningful. Quick example, anyone here been in a conference room and you’ve got remote people dialing in. And then how much do you hear from them? Not very much. They are quiet little beings those remote people, aren’t they?
Because you start having a conversation around the table and you forget they even exist. Like back in the day before video conference when they used to dial in, you’d be like, “Jason, are you there?” And you lost Jason 50 minutes ago. Like his contribution was that unimportant, you didn’t even notice he’d fallen asleep. So this was a challenge for us. So this is what Trello taught us.
Again, every interaction, that is an interaction, so it’s a chance to reinforce. So now we have a philosophy. If one person dials in, everyone dials in. It does not matter how many people are in the same location, you do not gather in a meeting room and have one person dial in. Everyone dials in. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty freaky when you first do it. Our Trello town halls where you’ve got 120 people is 120 laptops, 50 of which are in an office and 80 of which are dialing in remotely, but it levels the playing field for everyone.
Everyone is in the same environment. It just makes sense when you do it and you realize how it works, like it just makes sense. That builds empathy that I could never build in any other way. As a tech company, we obviously are very indulgent with our swag. We used to get all our swag delivered to the office. There’d be a swarm because engineers love a free t-shirt like nothing else other than a free lunch, and then we’re like, “Hang on, this isn’t cool for our remote employees, they’re missing out.”
So now when we have new swag, it doesn’t get delivered to the office, gets delivered to your home. It doesn’t cost us any more, but it makes that remote employee feel equal and equitable to everyone else. It also means kind of like on some of the pictures we saw yesterday from Sarah, the idea that we’re all wearing like t-shirts, that geekiness, that inclusivity can still come even though you’re in very different locations.
We also did something with our teams, this is an autonomous thing, one of our teams in Trello did as well as actually sharing their experiences, so they get to share personal experiences and stories with each other, so they care about the person, not just the work. They also did an idea where they’re like, “You know what, one afternoon a month, just go and do a thing with your family and then share it.”
So we gave everyone an afternoon off. Why? Because in our office, we do celebrations all the time. Remote workers don’t. So we said to them, “Go and not just share the experience, go and have an experience and tell us what it’s like in your area, and tell us the fun things you do.Tell us about your kids.” The storytelling on this seems like a tax, it’s a brilliant investment when you get it right.
Because when you genuinely care about your colleagues, you can find out how you genuinely communicate and work together. But it’s not all success. I’d be lying if I said we got this right every time. So a quick story about Effica. So one of our teams in New York celebrating a release, they go for dinner, there are a few wines in. you can see beardy guy, little bit excited, right?
He’s had a few too many chardonnays. They’ve got the beads on and they’re going wild, and they’re like, “Hey, we’ve got a remote team member. I’ve had a really good idea.Let’s dial them in.” Yeah. Yeah. If you want to create the fear of missing out, get six of you round a table drunk as you can dialing in your teammate who’s at home.
Right? So the idea, and this is cool, we celebrate these failures and we tell stories about these failures because we’re not superhumans, we’re experimental experts and we have not solved remote working. I actually don’t think we ever will in our lifetime. But if we continue to experiment and explore, and share the things that work and the things that don’t, we’ve all got a chance of getting a little bit better at it every single day.
So we’re not remote first and I don’t think we ever will be, but we try our hardest to be remote-friendly. How do we get an environment where the remote worker succeeds and the organization succeeds? If it’s one or the other, that trade-off does not work. It has to be both parties. So tools are important to us as well. They do help us. We do use chat an awful lot with Trello.
We insist on some level of times that overlap because for incident response, for problem-solving, it just helps when people are online at the same time. We use remote tools like Trello, not only does it enable us to get better at building Trello, but we get to experience things like remote workers and it just means we’ve all got the same version of the truth. It just removes that wasted time where I end up doing a task and then realize the next day someone else has already done it.
And then we also use external tools and now we’ve got the guy here from Stormboard. This is like, there you are. An equivalent to Stormboard, yeah, there’s a whole of whiteboard products out there, but this just gives us that extra fidelity on when you are doing something complex and curious, and creative, and you want a tool that gives you that freedom.
There’s loads out there. And then the other thing we do is with Confluence, we use this for recording decisions. So one of our plays in the playbook that I showed you before, it’s called the DACI, this is where we consider options and make decisions. We make sure that we only ever have one version of the truth of those decisions so everyone can see that and work off the same information. Really simple, but whether it be sync or async, just make sure that it’s not a watercooler conversation that determines the work you do.
Make sure it’s a central, shareable, transparent version of the truth because then you save people wasting their time and the friction. And then lastly but not leastly, and this should be common sense, but apparently it’s not. When we’re hiring remote workers, we do all the interviews remote. Sounds logical with a whole companies I’m working with they’re like, “You know, with remote workers, we want to fly them in and do a few face-to-face, really want to eyeball them first,” and I’m like, “That might be a problem.”
I’m not saying don’t eyeball them at some stage, but if you need to do that to actually get your confidence, how are you going to manage that over time? It enables us to actually see how they’re going to communicate in a remote environment by creating that environment on purpose. Sounds logical. A lot of people forget it. So, actions for you. First one, Unlearning. I believe we’re in an epidemic of knowledge acquisition.
We’re getting really fat with knowledge and we’re doing nothing with it. So how can you unlearn old practices and habits, either yourself or how can you help others unlearn who are stuck in the 1970s, 1980s way of working and think remote working means you’re going to be on Facebook all day? So how do you unlearn before you learn a new way of working?
Again, kind of logical, most of us learn and we never forget, we never forget the old way and you end up with hybrid models which are neither of either. I use the four Ls. What did I love? What did I long for? What did I loathe and what did I learn? I do that every quarter. The learn is the gift that keeps on giving, the longed is the thing I have to stop to add in a longed for, just my way of constantly evolving and unlearning.
Secondly, as a remote worker or in a remote environment, or remote company, how do you understand the environment because it is constantly changing? I think the danger for remote working companies is we can become very insular and we know our environment, and we think it’s static, and it’s not. Different generations in the workplace, you’ve now got remote and distributed teams.
You have both, are they different? How do you treat them? And then mental wellbeing is probably the thing I’m most passionate about right now. If you’re not in my line of sight and I can’t sense you getting upset or tired, or stressed, if I can’t see your anxiety and I only connect with you once an hour, once a day or once a week online, how do I take my duty of care for looking after your mental health?
When the phone and the device enables us to be connected 24/7, how do we do the best work and not the most work? I think we run the risk of a mental health epidemic in the future. And then the last one is the levers, understanding how technology can help change us but also things like diversity and inclusion. And for me, the fact that the old business world, the currency was consistency and I think the new business world, the currency is creativity and curiosity.
How do you enhance that through remote and distributed teams? So I always like to finish with a quote. I’m a massive fan of Peter Drucker and his work. When he talked about the future is one of those things where we can sit here and debate, and discuss, and essentially we run the risk of being a bystander.
We run the risk of getting three, four, five years down the line, coming back to this conference when there’s a thousand people and going, “If only everyone else could understand remote work.” And we don’t want to be the bystander, we want to be the people that take action, I think it’s why we all self-selected to be here. So instead of thinking about the future, the only way we could create it is to take action. For the smart people in the room, you’ll realize that it’s not actually Peter Drucker, it was Abraham Lincoln, but I don’t like politics, so I always go with Peter Drucker instead.
So that is all from me, I hope there’s some exciting questions on Slido. I’ll be around for the rest of the day and I will genuinely answer any question you’re willing to ask. Thank you very much.