For workers who are never on site, ‘off-site’ work is still laughter

Many people think that remote work is more transactional than face-to-face. You Slash someone when you need something, and otherwise stare at your own screen in your own home. Managers see off-site as a way to make remote work more personal.

Laura Burkhauser, Twitter’s product manager in San Francisco, planned an off-site collaboration in January to help her team build what she calls “the elusive relationship.” “. In May 2020, Twitter tell its staff so that they can continue to work from home permanently. Ms Burkhauser, whose team includes workers in London and New York, says “offsite work is more important than ever in the age of virtual work” because you really know it’s easier for them to trust and communicate with colleagues from afar.

If many tech workers and executives agree that there is some value in on-site retreats, even if they are held remotely, the way to do them is much more complicated.

Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and co-founder of Strivr, a virtual reality startup, called the idea of ​​making a multi-day break with meetings. consecutively “crazy – and I’ll use that word lightly”. He added, “You can’t just talk to someone for 36 hours and expect the brain to absorb it.” He recently published an article about Tired zoom, and he said that “Zoom is like a fire hydrant. You are inundated with nonverbal cues. “

Then there’s the question of how to actually spend your time together on an external site. Ms. Wu said the recent off-site activity of her Napa, California startup, which Offsite Company has planned, has been largely social. She knows that on-demand software engineers, in particular, can easily quit and take on different jobs. “So,” she says, “you want to really create an environment where people are drawn to it, trust the company, like the people they work with, and not just jump ship. ”

Meghana Reddy, a human resources manager in Oakland, California, said that while off-site websites used to be “nice to have”, during the pandemic they have become “a must-have”. . She said that for tech companies looking to attract talent, investing in off-site sites “would be a better use of money than trying to get people back into the office.” Some companies have abandoned their offices and shifted their facility budgets outside. Hunter Block, founder of Offsiter, said he knows of a large company that is planning more than 600 off-sites per year for smaller groups of employees.

Mr. Bailenson, who wrote on the weary Zoom, would advise that, whatever companies do to ramp up their off-site plans, they shouldn’t put too much emphasis on video chats. For workers who are never on site, ‘off-site’ work is still laughter

Fry Electronics Team

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