What Is the Future of Remote Work?by@podcast
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What Is the Future of Remote Work?

by PodcastAugust 26th, 2021
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HackerNoon is run fully remote by humans from all over the world. Linh Dao Smooke has her first in-person meeting with Marcos Fabian, our wonderful dev. Amy, Marcos, and Linh's experiences with remote work have been like. How does remote work affect mental health? How does it affect the workplace? What is the future of remote work? How are micro-managers panicking about trust and accountability? How has the pandemic shaken up the physical boundaries of the office?
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Hiya - Amy the pod host here.

If you don't already know, HackerNoon is run fully remotely by humans from all over the world. I've never worked with people in Japan, India, and The Netherlands all in one company.

Aside from navigating time zones (which is my greatest weakness and I hold time zone calculators near and dear to my heart lol), I love working remotely. I love all the cultures mashing together, the different ideas and perspectives, and the global awareness it gives me.

And in truth - it keeps me grounded. In the past, I may have been able to turn an ignorant eye to international news. But working with people all over the world reminds me that everyone is human and I'm so lucky to be where I am. It's a perspective I've never had before - and I think I can attribute that to the relationships I've made with the people I work with at HackerNoon.

So, cheers to the HackerNoon team and the ability to work remotely, to choose top talent without physical borders, and to do it all in harmony (and without shitty office coffee too).

Stay weird and I'll see ya on the internet,
Amy ✌️

We're talking about remote work This Week On Planet Internet (ironically while Linh Dao Smooke has her first in-person meeting with Marcos Fabian, our wonderful dev) 😂 But anyways that's neither here nor there because HackerNoon is a fully remote company and WE'VE GOT THINGS TO SAY about working remotely 😤

Listen to The HackerNoon Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.


  • First off, what have Amy, Marcos, and Linh's experiences with remote work been like? 👨‍💻 (01:10)
  • How does remote work affect mental health? 🧠 (08:53)
  • Why are all the micro-managers are panicking about trust and accountability? 😂 (12:50)
  • How has the pandemic shaken up the physical boundaries of the workplace? 🧂 (17:45)
  • To go back to the office or not, that is the question 🤌 (21:12)
  • What is are our purposes for working? 🦸 (25:01)
  • What advice does Linh (Master of Remote Work) have for companies who want to be remote? 👩‍🏫 (31:15)



[00:00:00] Linh: Hello everybody. My name is Linda smoke. And this week on planet, internet, I'm bringing in of course, Amy, Tom, a regular host and podcasts, extraordinary. And Michael's five-year and a new voice on the podcast. Yay.

We're just gonna discuss remote work today. I thought it's a very interesting topic because for those of you who don't know me, David and Marcos and Richard, I'll add the developer actually all in the same place in Los Angeles while it doesn't look like that right now, because we are recording from two different locations, but we've been hanging out, eating together, walking all over LA, playing basketball together.

I thought were talking about remote work while we physically together for the first time would be a great topic. So let's dive in. Let's start with you, Amy. What's your experience thus far in your career? How have you worked, have you been in the office or work remotely? For the most part?

[00:01:01] Amy: I have only ever worked in an office. Intel hacker noon. So yeah, I tire career husband office base. No, that's not true. Once I had one retail job for two months, other than that, I have only ever gotten paid sitting at a desk, so in an office. So this is my first time out work experience. 

[00:01:25] Linh: Wow. All right.

And like how long have you been, like how long has your career. I'm going to say six years, six years. Okay, cool. So like for the majority of those six years has been in an office. What about you Marcos? 

[00:01:40] Marcos: So I will say more like half and half for me. I so when the help on diagnosis, pandemic started, I work, not having to ask applications and it was thoroughly remote.

It was kinda weird. Cause I wasn't like expecting yeah. But outside of that, I did a lot of freelancing work, which is actually like remote as well. But before that, before 2020, it was mostly person or, going to the office or like waking up and just driving to work or taking the subway to work and all that type of stuff.

So I do have some spirits in in the room. Like environment, still going to the office, this is still like the most popular way of bringing out an incl to, to the farm. 

[00:02:30] Linh: Gotcha. Gotcha. So I actually will put this link on the show note, but according to planet, internet, planet money 97% of Americans still before the pandemic, still working from an office.

And then after the pandemic, that number. Moved to 93% so even though we like working in tech and it seems as though everybody is remote, but like the reality is actually the opposite, by far, most people still work from the office and the pandemic. Just move that number a little bit.

As for myself, I think I'm the odd one out, I've been working mostly remotely for the majority of my career. So I started out as a teacher and as a research assistant, then I became like this representative of a university, which is based in San Francisco, but then I'm in Asia. So I, yeah, I had to have meeting at 1:00 AM.

So I'm like really strongly empathize with Lee mark and whoever that's based in Asia right now, like I know that just having meetings that have very American centric and like now I'm like on the other side of flight having meeting time that like works for me, but then I feel for Asia-based people.

But yeah, like since, I guess 2014 I've been working remotely, so it's been like seven years. And that's majority of my adult life have been working remote yeah. Okay. So my next question would be what do you think, like how has your experience been prior to working remotely and after working remotely?

How about you Amy? 

[00:04:09] Amy: I never thought that I would be suited for remote. I don't know if you've noticed, but I like to talk a lot. Yeah. So to me it's like a lot of like social stimulation, like a lot of social stimulation. So I never thought that working remotely would be right for me because I love going into the office and saying hi to people and talking all day. Like I used to get reprimanded. Yeah. Corporate job for being away from my desk too often, because I would just be like everywhere, like talking to everyone.

So I honestly feel like I'm more productive at home because there's no one to talk to you. And I actually like it. It's nice. I'm getting like definitely getting some more introspective alone time for sure. But I do miss office life a bit in terms of like socialization, but. Actually discovered some other ways for me to still gain that socialization.

I'd say about like once a week, maybe twice a week, I go and work from someone else's house, like one of my friends so that I can just have a coworking session and be around people. So 

[00:05:13] Linh: yeah. Cool. 

[00:05:18] Marcos: I feel like for me, it was more like before the help on them, it was just like, there was not optional free, more free, more work for me.

I remember just like looking for a job. What, like remote work was not on my head, the way it was. Oh, okay. I got applied to this position. I got to go to, downtown to the city and then, just work next to, my colleagues and all this type of stuff. But then. Because of what I do working, as a software engineer, like you mostly working like in front of a computer and that's where you spend most of your time.

So when re more remote work actually came into place in like in my life, I didn't actually feel like that much of an impact just because. You? No, I'm still like in front of my computer and all that stuff, but I do believe that the Muslim fab in powerful way was like the whole swimming interaction or like video calls like that was really like impactful for me because it's not I can just be all, I seen for help or just like talking to whoever's next to you, or, or having a onboarding flow where, you have somebody you're showing you around the building and just presenting people to you. So that, that, that way it's, I'm kinda missing that because I do have two positions that I deal remote and he was.

No, they introduced me to everyone, but then it was like more you figure things out, they gave you all that resources, but you're free to go through in the south. So you felt weird to even ask for ask questions and stuff like that. Yeah, I feel like I agree with Amy that whole.

Interactively and sociality station kinda missed that. But then at the same time, we look at the productivity side of things. It's you are at home, you wake up, you work like you do things your way and 

[00:07:15] Linh: controlling your own schedule. 

[00:07:17] Marcos: Yeah. So it's a lot of like props about some concerts.

[00:07:21] Linh: Yeah. Yeah. I agree that there's definitely so many cons to remote work. Like we don't even have to start listing them. Like we in this weird time of the pandemic really. Put into perspective of what how much humans crave connection, right? Like how much that we're not like really built for being in isolation all the damn time.

Like it's this whole men mental health crisis and like all of the violence and like the mental health stuff that have been popping up here. I think it's got to do with just human, like a reaction against the isolation and the feeling of loneliness. But I also want to not via too much into the dark side, because I I have the perspective of someone who.

Not only have been working remotely all of my life, but also starting a company. Basically the baseline was remote work. So I can like, see, you know how someone let's say a Wayfair is one example is like my Starting loss company. And that is a company that's like very heavy in-person culture, it's like sticky notes and white board and people like moving in and out of someone else's office and asking for help, like you mentioned, Marco's that's like a very culture of the company is built off of in-person interaction.

So like when the pandemic happened, like moving from that. Like you can't just like overnight, switching that switch and be like, boom, done. Like now we can all work remotely and do the same thing. You basically have to shift the culture of the company and the mindset of the people. The expectation and managing style and trust issues, is all came out an entire 

[00:09:07] Amy: workflow 

[00:09:08] Linh: too.

Yeah. And tie workflow and all of this tools. So yeah, in that same, like planet money. Podcasts. They mentioned like this basically remote work pandemic is not like a techno technological challenge is literally a culture challenge. And it's hard for someone who has never done that to like all of a sudden do that, overnight.

But however, because hack a noon, we started out as a remote company. From the get go. We attract people who I'm more like independent, like self-starters know that they can control the schedule and like that they can control the schedule, so like it started like for us, it's just become natural.

Like I remember like the first thing. Marcos, when we met it's like, how do you just ensure that people don't like abuse the system, cause like you can't really see how, if someone is like working or not, or taking time off way too much. And I'm just like, huh.

Interesting. Because I mean that's just built in to the system, right? Can not afford this kind of company. That is what has to send distributed. If we don't have trust in the first place, like it's just like basically has to be. Reverse engineering it. And we like, okay, we have trusts, which just assume that everybody will do it now, what we do, if there's like degrees of like different productivity and people needing different and handholding different simulations.

So it was interesting to me to think of a, what if and like the. The different kind of exceptions to the rule. I never think that we have to remote work because I never had that luxury of thinking I anything otherwise, but yeah why do you think people.

W why is trust? Like, why is like knowing how much is being done so important? And you guys think like, why is the culture is like having a meeting and like accountability and like asking people what is being done like is it's just so rampant. Like, why is it so important? 

[00:11:18] Amy: I think that everything's coming from the top down.

No, like I'm the CEO. I want the triple bottom line to be met. What are you doing to meet them? Top line manager. Oh, okay. What are you doing to that? Meet that middle line manager. Okay. What are you doing to meet that bottom level employee? Like people it's more, the productivity is more about like, how are we going to make money and continue making money when we can't physically see what people are, how hard people are working.


[00:11:47] Marcos: I think that trust in this type of environment is essential without all trust. It's like I do see things falling apart. And let me say this is because it's so hard to like having a supervisor that is on top of everything in this environment. We can do it, but then, they, the whole culture of the company will take a CIF, and I just feel like the fact that. That trust is there, like from the get-go, like we just assume that people will do their part, I have a bunch of tasks and my, yo guys are assumed that I would just, going and do my job. And for that, and that, in that aspect you expect me to use do me, but that's why at the same time, that's why we look for people that are more like independent and are willing to take the chance.

And honestly, I didn't thought before working at Hopkins that I called dual social esteem. Be me and then give us figure things out. And then when I didn't realize that's when I was like, wow. So I'm really more productive. I'm really like, just more happy overall and really like spending more time with my family and really like spending less money traveling to work and like waking up, taking a shower, like eating breakfast on the subway or whatever.

Like it's just a whole change. So I do believe that, we, everything happening like in the war is just a change that was like, made it at the same time. But it's like you mentioned, it's like a cultural change that, people just need to adjust to it. And, it's that whole mindset thing, because you really.

Not everybody's like dishing a lot. It's more like you just figuring things out and hopefully, you up for the challenge of working with both, 

[00:13:42] Linh: I feel like. Like the trust has to be there, but it's also like it makes business and practical sense for for a company like ours to attract talent.

Not because they congregate all in the same spot, we like, why is that such a so important that like most companies have to be based in San Francisco pre pandemic, for example, that's because that's where most people live. And, the chances of stumbling of on talent is like higher.

And then because of that, it's like a chicken and egg thing, most people. And because most companies are based there, most people also go there and because most people go there like most convenient based ag, it's just like a circle Because we started outside of those kinds of bubbles. So we have to look around and be like what is the best way to attract people?

Without going to a place while I guess we have to be open, we have to be transparent. We have to like, tell people that we trust them. So that hopefully that it will it will be a magnet that like people who come to us will be like that. And. We are actually getting people like you guys and all of the teammates who are from literally all parts of the world, we have people from India, Pakistan.

We have people in Vancouver with Pepsi, Florida. We have the Netherlands Germany, like just everywhere. And I'm just like astounded and reminded every single day of the kind of just like amazing people that we able to meet. Had we not been remote, we wouldn't have been able to stumble up on you guys, like we would have to fly you guys.

And yesterday Marco's you were asking me about what do you guys do about visa? And do people need to have access and easy access to America? No, like we can meet whenever we want. Which is why we meeting right now in LA, but it's not a mess that people need visa access to America, so like that reduce to me a lot of physical boundaries and like just artificial kind of border thing that like, we don't need to deal with, it's like talent is BoardList and so should work. So 

[00:15:48] Amy: yeah. I heard that Silicon valley is getting shake has gotten shaken up since the pandemic. And then a lot of people are moving to Austin.

I was like secondary Silicon valley. So 

[00:16:00] Linh: yeah. It's natural, like people realize that within the bubble of the cities, it's just harder to do work, especially if you're like under lockdown on if most businesses and most activities that close. Like I think Michael is here is like case in point he was in New York.

And then, within the pandemic, what can you do? Can't even walk down the street or enjoy the type of activities that usually you could. So you move away from New York, pay that 

[00:16:29] Amy: premium for that's. Why a lot of pride out of San Fran, because they were like, why would I pay this much money when I can't do anything?

So I'm just going to move to Texas instead. 

[00:16:38] Linh: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Marcos, what do you think do you have any prediction about will people eventually come back to the hubs of the world and the cities of the world, like New York, San Francisco, or what do you think? 

[00:16:52] Marcos: I do believe that it will come back just because of necessity, but I do believe that right now according to the numbers, A lot of people would just rather work from home because not a lot of people are realizing that they can actually do that.

It's been proven that, if you it's just more productive thing, like working from your house, then why are you actually why are you even going to an office? If you can do the sat among with that. From your house, like why are we paying rain on an enough is somewhere in the downtown of a city, and also I do believe that margin, that gap will increase. So right now it's less 7%. I think we just keep going and going. Yeah. It also depends on what type of job due to the window. There are some other type of jacks that they do require to be in person, like essential worker type of gaps, so for that, in that aspect they would just keep going to, their in-person, regular jazz, but for us. If you can just do the same thing from your house and from the office. I really like, and a lot of people are coming into the realization that you don't know a lot of companies actually like, why are we playing like thousands of dollars in like an office in, and coming into play.

Like my step brother, he works is working remote. Job wants him to go back to the office. So he's he's a full stack developer as well. He's a senior full stack developer and. He already got used to like the, he actually found a job in the pandemic. So while everything was going down, even myself, I lost my job in the pandemic.

So he actually found a new job in up on them. He got to work remote and all that, and he just. It was like, I just, he just adjust to it. And he figured out that he's just more productive in that his life is just way better. They don't have to wake up, go take the subway. It's playing without, for 40 minutes on the subway.

Today and go to a crowded city and then actually dead to the office. Instead he just, at home, he worked, he spent more time with his family. He seems more happy overall. And now they telling him like, listen, we are about to open a cane. And that brings a lot of doubts in you because you don't know if you experienced both wars, the, like going to the office and then you are like working from home.

You are like at this point where they're actually telling you, you need to go back, but you feel more confident. Working from home is already thinking about salary, looking for new positions. And this is where it's gonna go. Like a lot of people believe that, there is no reason why you to go to the office if you can do the same amount of house.

So I think I do expect a lot of people. You don't know, a lot of companies will emerge from that. Like a lot of company already immersed in the pandemic, 

[00:20:09] Linh: Google, for example, has implemented this new policy that workers can work indefinitely remotely or from home. So I think out of the companies probably will follow suit as well, but yeah, like I think that actually a great segue into the second video that I share in the show notes as well of just zoom out a little bit of like why we even work, why we even work all this idea of an eight hour work day from like nine to five.

And like this idea that like your identity is tie so much with your job and your employer and like your coworkers, also your friends, that kind of thing. Apparently it's new. I the most, like for most of human lives, like our identity is not so tangled, within the work like, and most of human lives, we don't even work it hours, Workday, or even work at all.

Months of the year because with the invention of the light bulb, apparently that is when it happens that like the eight hour Workday and people can like work past sun down and people can like work over time because electricity and light and stuff like that allow that to happen. Prior to that, people just work whenever there's the sun and the sun, goes away, then they don't work.

And in the winter months, Because it's just so cold and there's no electricity. So they also don't work. So like this whole new, like identity, we have like our everything about us is about work. And it is about the eight hour is like relatively new compared to human being. So my question for you guys would be like, What do you think?

Why do you think you work? And and that's the first question. And the second question is what do you think about the great resignation? That like the mass amount massive amount of people. I like just quitting that job. Especially starting when the eviction moratorium just end it in America.

That's when we see so many people she's quit that job. Yeah. So what is your comments slash thoughts on those two questions? How about, would you first, Amy? Okay. 

[00:22:20] Amy: Quick side story. I recently saw a bunch of family members that I haven't seen in two years because of COVID and I, so I saw one of my aunts that I haven't seen in a long time.

And she was like Amy, what are you doing? And what do you think you're going to do in the next 10 years? You know how they want to know like what the low down is of your life. And I was like, what do you want to do in 10 years? And I'm like, literally not. I don't want to do anything in 10 years.

What are you talking about? I don't want to work like, as it is, they're going to judge me for being like, oh, I don't want to do anything. Oh. They expect me to be like, oh, I'm going to become a doctor or something. I actually don't want to do anything. So I guess like my purpose for working is that I want to.

Give more like diversity to the tech industry and bring more awareness to like females in stem and that's my purpose for working, I think. But what do I actually want to do? Nothing I don't ever it's not no offense Lang if I could stop working tomorrow. I, what. 

[00:23:23] Linh: Okay. Remind me to send you another take talk video.

It's like this person, like eating a watermelon and like the beach of like the Caribbeans or whatever. And she's that humans are designed to be like butt naked, eating fruits. And have you seen. In the wild

take talk real. Okay. I'm definitely going to send it to you. All right. So that's your answer? What about you at Marco's? Why do you work 

[00:23:57] Marcos: for me? It's more it's a little different for me. I just love the challenge to be honest. If I don't work, I'll be super lazy too. We aren't saying, I just don't like.

Being there doing nothing, to be honest, even if I had a, it'd be five because my meter, and then I feel like I will still wake up, trying to challenge my brain who, either learn something new or whatever. But yeah, that's me, but I just wanted to bring something now it's like y'all mama people, especially in America that you don't know are accustomed to.

You don't know that live like that lifestyle of just even though being a 

[00:24:35] Linh: slip at work or something, 

[00:24:37] Marcos: he took them off, it was just going to an in person type of job you like that is just flipping around to be on the screen. Now I remember like before moving to Florida or even before I started hacking I was having a conversation with my dad.

I told him like, yo, I got hired at this company, blah, blah, blah. They look great. I love their green, blah, blah, blah. And he was like, oh, where is you located? He was expecting me. I was still living in New York city. So it was expecting me to say oh, in downtown and downtown my hand or.

Near Rockefeller center or near world trade center. I was like no, I just worked from home. And he was like, really? And you got playful that he literally was questioning me getting paid for working from home. So a lot of people still believed that even though working from home, it's not acceptable.

Like a lot of people don't even realize that. I don't even recognize that I started real job, so I just believed that in that instance, all of that would change in the corporate, like in the next couple years, because a lot of more people will realize. You don't know if I could just do it from my house and used to be more comfortable, but like just do what you then white, even trying to apply to a new position where you are just required to work more because waking up, are there certain time and doing, like following your routine to go to work, that's work too.

Like you're working just to follow the rules. So just the fact that you can create your own routine, like that's less work already. So for me, I think just to answer your first question is the five that I love to chat. But also I just believe that people are not accustomed to it and they, this might be something that new generations will bring to the table.

So we might see these whole like remote work growing, like in the next couple years, just because more people who will choose that. And now we'll just have options of Even though choosing like, oh, do I want to go to the office? And I see companies struggling to be honest because personal now will have to change their mindset.

They church changed their culture, change all the like the workflow, all of that will have to change. So I do see a lot of struggle for companies brown. I do see a lot of good things happening, but because it's good to have options. That's what I'm saying. 

[00:27:07] Linh: Yeah. And that's from the worker's side, right?

I think from the employers side, it's like a wake up call for them as well. It's they realize that people are not going to necesarrily stick around just because they are required to, they have options, like you mentioned now, so they can just skip the job or quit the job or don't show up to work and just don't show up to any job at all, because.

Like for what, if people are like starting asking the questions, like I'm paying minimum wage I'm being paid minimum wage and I'm being treated like a transaction. Like, why do I even do this? So I think companies also have to realize, to not treat people like a transaction, to create a fostering environment where people can recognize self-worth or what have you otherwise, we're going to have, I think the great resignation is also.

Basically a realization that maybe we just in this treadmill, like little hamsters without recognizing that we can just. Oh of the treadmill, of the little wheels and just be like we at hamsters, we're eating cheese now. So I think companies just have to take a page from this and be really cognizant of what is in store for them.

And, either change like you either change or you don't survive, basically. I really hope that more people will realize this, a revolution of some kind welcome companies will realize that people are humans and they deserve to be, treated as such. And hopefully work will not die. At least one other foreseeable future.

If we find like an alternative to work and to capitalism, I'm all ears. I haven't seen one, all the alternatives have been resulting in worse and mass murder of people in the best. So I don't think that is the answer, but yes, if anyone who listens to the podcast find an alternative to a work slash capitalism.

Let us know 

[00:29:16] Amy: capitalism 

[00:29:17] Linh: until then we probably will see you in the next podcast.

Okay. All right. It has been fun. This has been this week on planet internet with me Lindo smoke, the CEO of pocket news. Until I'm not anymore. I don't know. Then Amy our podcast host and Michael is probably being a full stack software engineer. See ya? Bye. Bye.