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December 🤔: What do Christmas movies, the World Cup, and Harry & Meghan have to do with Remote Work

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

From our Remote Works Monthly Newsletter. Sign-up today here.

This month’s reflection is brought to you from Ali (writing from her sofa nook)

Okay, I'll be completely honest with you. As someone who travels abroad and has lived in exotic locations around the world, I also spend a lot of time (especially this time of year) watching Netflix rather than visiting tourist attractions. Nothing beats popcorn, hot chocolate, and getting sucked into captivating stories on my laptop or big screen.

This year, I’ve been drawn into a trifecta of drama: the cheesy, methodical rhythm of Christmas movies (I have already watched half a dozen this year), the controversial, aggressive games of the World Cup (That shoot-out!), and Harry and Meghan sharing their side of the story, along with intimate Instagram pics, despite the press backlash.

So, how do these three recent television phenomena relate to remote work? There are two camps—both with strong opinions. You simply love it and can't get enough of it, OR you despise it and want to let everyone know.

If we take a step back from the hot takes on remote work and the haters of Christmas movies featuring Lindsay Lohan (may I repeat, I am not one of them), we can acknowledge why the division exists and what to do about it.

The first step is thinking about the intentions and asking yourself: “why?” or “what is the importance or significance of this opinion?”

For example, a Christmas movie might be intended to provide an escape into a predictably dreamy story, during a time that can be lonely and stressful. Or, the World Cup might be significant because it depicts a story of passion and hard work (especially if there’s an underdog at play). The sport can raise awareness of one's own emotions and camaraderie while reminding us that we are one of many in this wide world of countries and cultures. On the other hand, Harry and Meghan’s story may symbolize the importance of speaking your mind, regardless of what others think.

The constant debates over Remote Work, Hybrid Work, and Return to Office that flood my LinkedIn newsfeed highlight reel are not significant because there is a “right way” to work but rather because it highlights the unmet needs in our workplace approach. For some, working from home has left them feeling isolated, missing their community at the office that readily provides an escape from their daily routine. However, the proponents of "work from anywhere" might see how this working model could advance global equity by expanding hiring opportunities, as well as bring a genuine sense of freedom & flexibility for employees.

It’s impossible to persuade one side that they’re right or wrong. Instead, what if we focused on the underlying goals, needs, and values of each side, in order to have a more meaningful and productive discussion?

Step two is to ask yourself, “what can we do about it?” or “how might we meet these needs or goals in a new way?”

Rather than over-indulging in cheesy movies this holiday season, we might consider how else we can bring a sense of happiness, community, and truth into our pastimes. Or, for remote work, we can reframe the question: how can we design a work experience that allows for individuality, promotes getting the work done in a productive and equitable manner, and ensures our teams’ emotional needs are met?

By flipping the script, we avoid seeing things from simplistic, two-sided perspectives and instead bring more nuance to the discussion.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Why do I hold a certain belief about remote work?

  2. What needs or values does that belief represent?

  3. How else can I get those needs met in my work or daily life?


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