The challenges of Hybrid Remote
The Challenges Of Hybrid Remote — Part 1
What is Hybrid Remote and how can you be successful doing it
I’ve always wanted to land a remote job.
In my mind, I saw ultimate freedom. I’d be lord of time and space.
It felt like the perfect balance
In a remote setting, I thought, I could work wherever and whenever I choose, all I need is my trusty laptop (and a power socket), a solid internet connection and… well… that’s it!
Say I want to spend time with the kids — I could work mornings when they are in school, eat lunch together, and then get back to work when they are doing homework or spending time with friends.
Or maybe a little league soccer match I really want to see my son play in. Or a lunch date with my wife. Or sleeping in late and pulling an all-nighter, just because I can.
I love Travel and Photography, so business trips seemed to me like a huge bonus. An exciting chance to spend time and explore parts of the world I have not been to yet.
Then, one day, opportunity knocked.
I work for a consulting company based in Israel, and we started working with a client based in San Francisco. I was excited about the opportunity to join the ride, and finally, get the flexible life I imagined.
The client came to us, wanting to expand their operations to our timezone.
What is Hybrid Remote?
Before I go on telling my story, I’d like to take a quick break and talk a little about Hybrid Remote.
What is it? Why would you, as a company, want that? How is it different from the way you do things now?
Most companies (prior to Covid-19) worked in what we call no remote.
What that means, is that the company has an office and all employees come to that office daily. No remote work is encouraged, and in some extremes even strict work hours regime is applied.
This is when a no remote company decides it wants to support remote work. The main office is still there, and some employees still come to the office daily.
But — and this is the crux of it — the company adopts openness for remote work. Some employees work remotely, at least some of the time. Some work on a remote site or satellite office, and some just work from the comforts of their own home.
Why Adopt Hybrid Remote?
In a Hybrid Remote setting, you get the chance to extend your operations across the globe and expand your hour range of support for your customers.
You also get a chance to hire equally high quality talent outside of high areas of demand — for a lower price. It can be someone living in Iowa, or in Tel Aviv, Israel.
All remote, is when you go “All In”. The company completely abandons the office, and all employees work remote. Think about it. No office. That is extremely hard to do, well.
Everything becomes hard to implement, be it social gatherings, brainstorming an architecture or properly assess candidates before they join the organization.
That is why, most companies looking to adopt remote work, will most likely go with Hybrid Remote, simply because it is easier to implement.
The bubble burst
Back to my story.
So, remember how excited I was? looking forward to be part of this remote adventure?
well, that faded faster than I could anticipate. The first few months were challenging. A lot of bubbles burst, and reality kicked in. Hard.
Not that easy
Turns out, there are two sides to every coin.
Sure, I could still go to that soccer game with my son, or that lunch date with my wife. But that flexibility went both ways.
I was used to have a clear, line in the sand, separation between my work life and personal life. That balance went out the door, and the flexibility I was enjoying collided with the flexible hours that remote work demanded.
Many a time I had to leave the dinner table to join a meeting on US timezone, or leave a family event in the middle to hop on a call.
Also — the time difference was a real drag on productivity.
When you work in a colocated environment, and you get stuck, all you have to do is talk to the guy sitting to your left or holler down the hall, and get unstuck quickly.
In a Hybrid Remote setting, you sometimes get stuck and have to wait 2 or 3 days to get unblocked. Plus, you have to plan for those road blocks and keep a steady flow of tasks you can pick up when this happens, just so that time isn’t waisted.
I quickly realized, that the way I used to work up until then, did not apply in a Hybrid Remote setting.
Our team, based in Tel Aviv, and the HQ team based in San Fransisco, didn’t know how to overcome the difficulties.
We simply didn’t have the tools required to be successful in working this way.
As it turns out, we were able to maintain a very successful relationship for almost 3 years.
In the next post, I’ll go into greater detail what problems and difficulties we encountered, and what worked for us.
I’ll elaborate about the changes we had to make to the process, to make it work.
As you might have read in my previous post, part of this success is choosing the right tools for the job or situation. In the meetup we held (here is the recording, in Hebrew, in case you missed it), I talked about that and GraphQL specifically, as a tool that helped us do Hybrid Remote better. I’ll go into detail about that too!
See you on the next post!