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A Remote Rallying Cry: Treat Knowledge with Respect

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

I'm sure you’ve heard it, said it, or read it at work:

Knowledge is our greatest asset. Knowledge is power. We're all knowledge workers now.

We agree. We're pro-knowledge over here at Remote Works. But we want to challenge organizations actually to live this truth.


If knowledge is one of your company’s key assets, then take care of it like you would any other asset on your balance sheet—cash, inventory, trademarks, and office buildings.


Think for a moment about how your organization cares for traditional assets. Cash is deposited in the bank and marked in accounting ledgers. Inventory is stocked and tracked. Legal documents protect trademarks, and office buildings are cleaned nightly by janitorial staff.


Now consider how your organization cares for the intellectual capital created each day about employees. All the meetings they attend, the emails sent, and the ideas discussed. Are they treated as crown jewels? If your work experience has been anything like mine, knowledge is hap hazardously cared for. Meetings happen in closed rooms without notes; most of the points discussed are forgotten by the next week; decisions need to be re-made (again!).


If we cared for our other assets in the same way, cash would be stuffed in drawers, and office buildings would be growing mold. It'd be ugly—just like our knowledge management processes.


Thankfully, remote work puts technology at the center of most knowledge processes.


Here are three easy steps your team can take today to manage your intellectual capital better:

  • Build a Knowledge Hub: Create a home for documenting the intellectual life of your company or team. It can be as simple as a Google doc, where notes are kept, or as complex as a project management tool. At Automattic, Tam used internal blogs to capture the decisions and discussions happening across the company.

  • Embrace Async Communication: Think of this as “two birds, one stone.” As you move more of your communication out of meetings and into a written, async format, you’ll naturally leave a trail of documentation.

  • Keep Each Other Accountable: We get it. Taking notes is not fun. Try to rotate note-taking roles in meetings to share the burden, and keep each other accountable. You’re building a new habit, which takes repetition and behavior change.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What type of knowledge do you struggle to find or maintain at work?

  2. How could you create a process to capture this knowledge in one place?

  3. How can you incorporate technology into your workflows—so that tools do the heavy lifting, rather than your memory?



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