The WFH degree

Today Danish applicants for higher education get a letter saying whether they got into the education and institution of their dreams. Or not.

I don’t envy them.

Back when I studied at the Danish School of Journalism it was good times. No need for a grade point average; a grueling Saturday test decided who got in, and who did not. On average 15 percent got the nod. The rest didn’t. Once in it was good fun and super interesting – and an enormous opportunity to meet and engage will all kinds of fellow students from all walks of life.

Today, what is there to look forward to?

Endless Zoom classes? Lack of a social life with fellow students? Inability to feel the environment and get the most out of the network, the other students and the opportunities that present themselves once you get engulfed by it?

It sucks, right?

And it sounds an awful lot like the ‘Working From Home’ (WHF) concept, doesn’t it?

It does.

And it is so ironic, it’s beyond words.

What the students are already complaining about now – having to be all remote, suspect quality of the classes being taught via video, a lack of the university experience and fellow students – are essentially the same things we’re so busy hyping as the next big thing about WFH.

Studying is work.

Work is also studying.

If we say that we understand and are sympathetic to the complaints of the students about the quality of the education they are about to embark on due to these new circumstances, we should also – as a MINIMUM – put serious question marks on the impacts on quality, innovation and such on a WFH future, before we just jump right in as headless chicken.

I have little doubt, we will fail to make that calculation. And that companies and the ability to innovate will suffer because of it.


Meetup’s remote moment

Yesterday, I received a couple of invites for upcoming Meetups of groups that I am a member of. I am thinking that it must be auto-generated reminders, since actually meeting up in person right about now would be in total conflict with the guidelines set forth by the Danish authorities.

And that got me wondering: Why is it that Meetup doesn’t use this opportunity to branch out with a remote, virtual offering? It may already exist somewhere in there (I haven’t digged around) but it seems so obvious: When we’re already working from home, many would have amble time to meet up virtually to share learnings, educate themselves and foster new connections going forward.

I furthermore believe that branching out with a remote option will make Meetup a much more interesting option for more people. Sometimes it can be a deal-breaker to have to show up physically for a meeting and where doing it from remote would enable more to chip in, expanding the footprint of the service and get more learning out there. It is so damn obvious.


Remote humans

Working remotely is getting a lot of additional buzz following the outbreak of corona-virus, as people all over scramble to try to put themselves out of harms way and/or following the advice of local health authorities.

While there is a lot of great things to be said about working remotely – and there are – there are also some downsides of which the predominant one is this: Missing out on the creative sparks that fly when you bring people together, and they start getting creative.

For me, when people (in the absence of a perfectly legitimate health-related excuse, ed) want to work in a predominantly remote way, they send a signal that they care more about their ways of working than what we are working on; what we are trying to solve. Call me old fashioned, but I am the kind of guy who needs to be able to look my team members directly in the eyes to make sure we are all on the same page, driving for the same results – and feel equally passionate about succeeding. As a team.