22 | Hybrid work vs. remote work with Liam Martin (1/2)

This episode of the Better Monday® podcast is a special one: we focus on the pros and cons of hybrid work, remote work, and other working models for not one but TWO whole episodes! The subject is so important we didn’t even want to try to squeeze it into 30 minutes.

Our guest star for covering the topic for the next two episodes is Liam Martin, a remote work advocate, as he calls himself. Liam is a co-founder of several remote-first companies and co-organizer of a conference called Running Remote. Liam’s companies have no physical offices, and his team members come from 35 different countries. Liam has been running remote-first companies for over a decade, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about.

In the first part of the two episodes, Milla and Liam talk about the future of work, asynchronous communication, and the differences between remote and hybrid work. They also discuss their different viewpoints regarding successful leadership in a hybrid organisation.

Milla and her guest Liam Martin talk about the pros and cons of hybrid work.

A remotely working organization is not the same as a remote-first organization

One of the things that separate a remote-first organization from an organization that only works remotely until further notice is the way they communicate. The traditional way of communicating at work is synchronous, meaning that everyone is present and receives the same information at the same time. Therefore, synchronous communication in a remotely working organization usually includes numerous Teams meetings and wasted work time that could have been spent on something more productive. This is the old way of viewing effective teamwork and communication. A remote-first organisation, in turn, opts for asynchronous communication.

Asynchronous communication means that people can consume information when it best suits them. Some examples of this are recording meetings to be watched later and using communication tools that increase possibilities to exchange information even if people are working in different time zones. 

According to Liam, the future of work is remote – but can Milla agree?

In Liam’s opinion, hybrid work might turn out to be the worst of both worlds, if people have to come to the office at some point.

“In July 2021, more people quit their jobs than in the whole history of the United States. 89% of those people reported that the reason for the resignation was that their employer wanted them to get back to the office”, he explains his viewpoint.

One of the main areas where Liam finds remote organizations more effective than hybrid organizations is talent acquisition. Remote organizations can hire anyone from anywhere, but a hybrid organization still has only one office to which they hire new people.

I think hybrid is just an in-between step for people who are a little scared of whether they should go completely remote or not. Remote work is the future – it’s the new way of working. The question is will companies accept this and learn to adapt”, he concludes.

Milla, on the other hand, has great experiences with hybrid work and reminds that Sofokus, for instance, never obligates their employees to come to the office even though they have a physical location. She finds that the only issue of hybrid work is the current taxation system: what if an employee wishes to work from abroad for a couple of months but officially lives and works in their home country?

Stay tuned for part two of Hybrid Work vs. Remote Work!

The second part of the special episode will drop later this December. Milla and Liam continue discussing the pros and cons of remote work, and Liam shares his ideas of how a company could increase its employees’ happiness at work.

More info about Liam Martin and the episode

Episode highlights

  • 03:45 What makes a Better Monday for Liam?
  • 08:20 Who is Liam Martin?
  • 12:55 What does the future of work look like according to Liam?
  • 18:04 Asynchronous vs. synchronous communication
  • 22:10 How does remote work differ from hybrid work?

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