In a world of remote work, will control replace culture?
At the height of the pandemic, I started a company called Cosmic Centaurs to help organisations and individuals adapt to the new realities of work and education. We spend a lot of time studying the impact of the profound changes to the workplace that were accelerated by the global pandemic. We frequently discuss the rapid rate of digital transformation, collaboration and remote work, the need to continuously retrain and upskill teams as well as how humans can use technology to enhance their lives.
During one of these conversations it occurred to me that my grandmother, Jamal, had been a remote worker in the early 1990s. Originally a stay-at-home mum, she decided that she needed to find a way to financially contribute when my family emigrated to Canada. So, Jamal became a seamstress, turning precut fabric into garments each week. I vividly remember massive shipments of bright yellow GAP sweaters arriving to our home and I am fairly certain she had no idea who she was producing for, save for the name on the label which she carefully sewed inside each garment. Someone in a warehouse somewhere would control the number of items that were up to standard, and my grandmother would get paid by the unit.
Undoubtedly, the retailer probably didn’t know of my grandmother’s existence. She never received a welcome email or took part in a company town hall. “Company Culture” was a foreign concept, the only thing she knew was “control”.
The pandemic has brought the collective realisation that remote work ...
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