Fully Remote Work All The Time

VP of People, Opreto

3 minute read

Fully Remote Work, All the Time!

The upsides outnumber the downsides. If you can get away with it, you should. If there is any way that you can restructure your company and/or your line of business to accomodate fully remote work, you should employ it. You should get as far from limitations like WhErE yOu ArE rIgHt NoW as quickly as you can. If you don’t work in a business that can make that transition to fully remote right now, you should seriously consider changing your vocation and getting the hell out of your industry.

Because the Robots Are Coming.

Pundits may pund that Only Human Hands Are Capable of Handling Certain Tasks, but I’m convinced that isn’t true. We are directly on the trajectory towards full automation of everything; where our screens end there will be drones to complete the work. Increasingly sophisticated drones with increasingly better fingers and eyes, and stronger limbs. Star Trek may have foretold the cell phone, but Star Wars foretold the Droid Economy we’re hurtling towards.

Soon there will be no need for human hands for anything. No call for bricklayers, farmers, or beekeepers. No need for surgeons or psychologists.

Everything will have been replaced by mechanical limbs. Just as we are witness to the current tide of generative AI replacing human mouths and human eyes in writing and art, so too will go the hands and feet and backs of humans everywhere.

But I’m here to tell you that fully remotable work is the best kind of work to do, and the best thing you can do to defend your business, your human employees, and the species at large. I think we spend a lot of energy right now in categorizing work as either clumsily binary (you’re onsite/you’re offsite), or fumblingly flirting with these oh-so-confusing HyBrId MoDeLs, and we’ve lost sight of some things.

The tension about onsite vs offsite is slightly about efficiency, but mostly about accountability and oversight. Lets be honest: Most employers do not trust employees to spend their time productively unless they’re corralled and put under watchful warden eyes. Employees, like any sane sapient animal, resent being corralled and watched. There is a simmering war happening worldwide, and none of us are really speaking to any greater picture or possible solutions. And all the while the automatons are coming closer.

Let me help: The key to remotable work is measurable deliverables and some concept of velocity that they can be applied against. This is why software development has led the way in all things re: geographical disintermediation, utilizing and refining the techniques and tools required to support effective and efficient remote work. It has been able to already achieve a full remoting, having less friction and more synergies to do so. As such, it (significantly) predates The Great Pause of the pandemic era that sent everyone else home for a year, and gave them a taste of what life could be like in a remotable utopia.

The holdouts need to stop pretending that its impossible to turn any business outputs into a set of achievable goals and milestones that permit performance evaluation, independent of location. My brothers and sisters in civilization we just don’t have the luxury to linger and straggle right now.

The chief concern of many conservative reactionaries who defend onsite work, of course, is the supposed loss of interaction between team members, with a consequent loss of magical efficiency. In the mystical mind of the mountain fortress manager, there is a superlative flow that comes from choreographed teams that blow through obstacles in lock-step, and that this can only be achieved putting them all inside a fenced area together for 3/4 of each day.

That is ridiculous. Some of the best performing teams in the world now are completely online. Feel free to sugar it with in-person meetings to create lovely times, but these should be closer to a party than a project if you really want to create harmony. Your workplace could be fully remote right now, or it soon will be as drones and droids are decanted into cities worldwide.

We need to look up, see the robots coming for our livelihoods and passions, and start figuring out the pathway to agile, international teams of humans who can collaborate on complicated and creative tasks and pivot on a dime.

In everything.

We’re going to need that flexibility and that level of performance across our entire civilization in order to survive (and ride) the Dawn of the Machine.