The working world is in the midst of a massive redesign. The way we work, collaborate, and connect with others is changing rapidly—are you keeping up with the changes?
At Loom, we’re passionate about helping organizations all over the world keep communication lines open and strengthen company culture. We want to help you streamline your work day, cut down on unnecessary meetings and bond with your co-workers—despite physical distances.
So far, we’ve helped more than 14 million people and 200,000 companies do just that. Since 2019, there have been 150 million looms recorded and 629 million videos viewed, and we’re just getting started.
Part of this mission includes creating educational content to help you and your colleagues stay connected, increase overall productivity, and as a result, optimize your outcomes. That’s why we’ve launched our brand new podcast series, See You at Work: A Loom Conversation Series.
In each episode, we interview thought leaders and industry experts to get their take on the evolution of the modern working world. From hiring talent remotely to achieving work/life balance and everything in between, See You at Work is looking at the workforce through fresh eyes while offering cutting-edge advice, insights and predictions about the new age of the working world.
An interview with “The Queen of Remote Work”
In the very first episode of the series, Loom’s former SVP of Marketing Rebecca Kline sits down with Sara Sutton, the founder and CEO of FlexJobs. With more than 20 years’ experience in the online job market industry, Sara earned the coveted title of “the Queen of Remote Work”—and it’s not difficult to see why.
During their conversation, Rebecca and Sara discussed several topical issues related to remote work today, including achieving work/life balance while working from home, mental health and entrepreneurship. They also explore the future of the workforce, and how we can all take advantage of the opportunity to change the way we work for the better.
In this blog post, we’re sharing five ideas from the episode to help you navigate the remote working world like a pro.
1. Remote work has the power to benefit everyone
As someone who has been operating in the remote work space since long before the pandemic, Sara has a solid understanding of the value it can bring to people of all roles, industries and organizations. She notes that the cultural attitudes around remote work have shifted immensely to recognize that this working style has the power to benefit a wide variety of people by addressing their unique needs.
“A lot of people need and want work flexibility for a lot of different reasons… I mean, this is something that can be for people in rural areas, people in urban areas who don't want to commute, people who have health issues, people who just want better work/life balance, people who have childcare situations going on. There's just a wide variety of reasons.”
Indeed, the benefits of remote work apply to a range of life circumstances, personality types and living situations. Now that the world is beginning to recognize its value, Sara says the next task is to discover best practices for different organizations and individuals.
2. Remote work is an important tool for talent acquisition and retention
Not only does remote work benefit employees due to its flexible nature, but it also benefits the organization as a whole, and its leadership team. Sara noted that offering remote work as an option can help companies attract and retain top talent, in addition to acting as an insurance policy in case a challenging event or circumstance should arise.
“Remote work is something that I've long viewed as an insurance policy for organizations in a lot of ways, and a recruiting tool,” Sara says. “One is recruiting the best talent regardless of location—if you're only looking in your local area, you’re really limiting yourself in many ways. And then the other part is that it’s an insurance policy, so if you have a great employee, they won't have to leave the company just because they have a family emergency, or because the schedule doesn't completely work for them and they need to come in at 11:00 in the morning instead.”
Sara also noted that remote work can be beneficial when it comes to supporting refugees who need work despite having been displaced from their homes. At the end of the day, remote work can help both sides of the coin—employees and employers.
3. Trial and error will be essential moving forward
In many ways, our perspective on remote work has been skewed by the pandemic period. Sara noted that many people may have had a knee-jerk reaction to some of the downsides of remote work (think: dogs barking, loneliness and isolation, and kids needing help with their homework during the workday), that’s not a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
On the contrary, our approach to remote work will only improve the longer we stick with it. Working from home in the future won’t always look like it did during the pandemic period, which is a relief for many of us.
“The pandemic was a highly abnormal situation. The beauty, in my opinion, is that the pendulum is going to swing and companies are going to have a chance to find out what really works, not just for them, but for their workers and also in some cases, for their clients… I think that there's a lot of different angles that employers can still continue to evaluate.”
4. Freelance opportunities are skyrocketing
Another key takeaway from this podcast episode with Sara was about the rise of the freelance market. As remote work continues to thrive, we’ll continue to see more people diving into freelance opportunities and taking a more entrepreneurial approach to their careers.
“The growth in the freelance market has been so significant over the last 15 years and it's really exciting,” Sara says. “It gives workers more optionality over their careers, and some people really thrive as freelancers. I think that there's a huge amount of creativity and empowerment that comes along with it.”
She believes that as technology continues to evolve, it will become easier for people to manage their own “mini businesses” and wear a variety of different hats. What’s more, the term “freelancer” used to only be associated with a few verticals like writing and graphic design, but today we’re seeing more people go freelance across industries.
5. Technology is enabling us to shift the narrative around the workforce for good
As the workforce continues to evolve around us, we all have a golden opportunity to find balance in our working lives.
Sara believes that remote work has the power to encourage what she calls “heart-forward” or “human-centric” leadership.
“We've been forced into seeing parts of our employees’ lives that we hadn't seen before. We've had the chance to see our colleagues in different roles and we can't go back. Or I would say, we shouldn't go back in some ways, because we have an opportunity to use the technology that has existed for quite a long time for good, to create a more cohesive, sustainable, beneficial arrangement.”
She noted that part of adopting a more human-centric leadership style includes helping your colleagues avoid burnout and setting firm boundaries. We know the old model of work has proven to be far less effective, so it’s time we develop a more conscientious and sustainable outlook.
Remote work is here to stay
Overall, as someone who has been in the remote work game for years, Sara says she’s glad to finally see it being legitimized and taken seriously across industries.
“Remote work is something that I've been evangelizing for a very long time, and to be able to see it helping so many millions of people stay in business during a time where otherwise, more places would have had to just close shop, it's been really powerful,” she says. “While I wouldn't have wanted it for these reasons at all, I think the silver lining is that we have an opportunity to change the way we work for the better, and that's huge and exciting.”
Listen to the full See You At Work podcast episode featuring Sara Sutton here: