Win From Home
Good News for 2021 with Co-founder, Ian Fraser
Want some good news?
The year 2021 is lining up to be pretty fantastic. It has to be, right?
Once we get a vaccine (insert whatever promising outcome you subscribe to) and ‘normal’ life can resume, here are my top 3 things that I’m excited about:
Spoiler: going back to the office every day is not on the list.
Top 3 for 2021:
- My kids go back to school. They actually leave the house at 8AM and don’t return until 3PM. They get home, grab a snack and then it’s off to soccer or karate. Can you imagine how much you will be able to get done when you’re not slicing carrots, troubleshooting Zoom tech, and refereeing arguments every 45 minutes? A heroic amount of work. That’s the answer.
Given the productivity boost we’ve seen by avoiding commutes (pandemic fatigue aside), we are primed to go into hyperdrive once we can count on 6-8 blissful, uninterrupted hours. With a touch of discipline, it will not only get our work done, but be able to workout, and accept parent duty with a positive attitude (vs barely holding on for most folks!). It’s not a fantasy. It’s achievable in 2021.
- I can go on a real trip. Not a terrifying Cannonball Run, covered in hand sanitizer, with the added stress of potentially killing the grandparents (we got tested beforehand but still!). Imagine a trip where you can sit in a plane, take a nap and/or watch bad movies. Maybe even high five a stranger (although that may be a learning curve since we will all be Howard Huges disciples in the future, I imagine). Then, when you’re at your destination, you’ll get to have a vacation. Like a real one. No doom scrolling or anything to survive in that moment. Remember those? They are awesome. They are the best thing we do and they’re coming.
- Going out to dinner with my friends. A dinner that doesn’t involve huddling under a heat lamp on my porch. One that absolves me from planning, cooking, and cleaning…again. I can’t wait to support my local restaurants. Lord knows if you’ve remained employed during the last 10 months you’ve got a dining-out allowance coming your way.
- Seeing the arts, live. No poorly synced up Zoom show where the dancer is frozen in the position of a pooping dog. I’m going to live music, live performances and live events. Whether it’s a kid’s squeaky orchestra performance or Coachella, I’m definitely going to dance the embarrassing dance of a middle-aged man for all to see. So, heads up to that…
- Seeing sports, live. I don’t care if it’s peewee football or Steph Curry doing his thing, I plan on painting my face and chest bumping strangers. That’s happening.
- Helping other people. I don’t want to give a second thought to jumping out of my car and helping someone push their car out of an intersection. Or to help my elderly neighbor bring her groceries inside. I swear to god, the next ax murderer I see hitchhiking is riding shotgun with me. (Please don’t actually be a murderer. Everyone has been through enough for a bit. Cool? Cool.)
- Work! I know. This seems like an odd honorable mention, however a big takeaway from 2020 is that I don’t need an office to thrive.
We had a gorgeous office space, and co-workers I genuinely like spending time with. I was the old-school guy on my team who was skeptical about remote work. A combination of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute who insisted the gift baskets be delivered by hand. Remember how that ended up?
Sure, I miss the spontaneous walks, chats and immediate gratification of yelling a question and receiving an answer across the cubicles. But along with my co-workers, I’ve learned how to use new technology, and by god it’s working. We’re killing it.
What’s Missing & What’s Possible:
What we were missing at our company is the hang-time that an in-person office space provides. So, we went ahead and built something to fix this. I humbly think it’s the best piece of technology for companies at the moment.
It’s called Go Remote-a browser-based video conference with a game at its core — a virtual meeting with heart and soul. Events range from 10-2,000 players. Each virtual experience comes with a trained, live ‘host’ who leads your team through a series of challenges like an artful mashup of Steve Harvey and Max Headroom for an hour. The best part? In addition to spontaneous and easy laughter, you don’t have to do anything but sit back and participate.
We’re painfully aware of the awkward social capital it takes to get everyone to show up to your ‘virtual hang’ sessions. The promise of a new yoga move, an Origami folding clinic, and ‘deep questions’ sessions, etc are all HARD to execute on. Especially when you accidentally drink half the bottle of wine before anyone even shows up… (this isn’t a thing, right?!)
We’ve been helping teams all across the world with our solution since April, during which we executed about 100 virtual events. This month (Dec ’20) we will run over 4,000 events. The feedback has been hugely positive, and the common refrain we hear is that it felt like real life again. In fact, it’s better in many ways.
A New Standard for Office Culture
Company get-togethers (certainly pre-pandemic) are often weird. Let’s name it. For a lot of us, we tend to stick with our little tribe, grab a beer, watch the game, pair up around the pool table. The IRL patterns kick in, where you hang with the people you know, and know that at the very least you’re outta there by 5:00pm.
What’s been interesting to see is how differently the dynamic plays out in the WFH era. As much as I hate to say it, software plays a huge part in creating the magic. I say that because I’m a Michael Scott at heart. A believer in the voodoo of social chemistry. But the tech is a GIANT help. Whether we pair people for hosted chats, create ad-hoc teams, or get teams seriously competing, the result is consistently the same. The players and team members haven’t felt this close. Ever. And half of this magic comes from the tech we have thoughtfully built.
Of course the other half can be attributed to our amazing hosts, the game content, and our special sauce: we’ve been in the teambuilding game for decades. So that helps!
Without Go Remote, I’d miss the office more. With it, I miss a million things more.
There’s a time and a place to be in the same place with your colleagues. I can’t wait until the holiday week where I can physically get together with our sales team on a sunny patio and big whiteboard. We have work to do that can be done far more effectively in person.
But those meetings aren’t every day — they are probably monthly at most and we know now how to be a functioning distributed team with a thriving, dynamic office culture.
Every company of course is unique, and 100% WFH isn’t a prescription for everyone — even us. I’m curious to see what develops in 2021, but my best guess is that IRL meetings happen every two or so weeks.
Again, I’ll miss it, but it’s a nice to have vs a necessary nowadays, right behind ‘listening to podcasts in my car.’
What are your thoughts on WFH culture and what may be ahead in 2021? Let me know and learn more about what we’re building at goremote.live.
-Go Game & Go Remote Co-founder, Ian Fraser