Oct. 4, 2021

The Rise of the Remote Work Influencer

The Rise of the Remote Work Influencer

Wait, you can build a brand making fun of the Microsoft Team's ringtone?

This week, Ryan and Heather discuss the social media genre of remote work parodies, plus ditching the corporate ladder, how to trick yourself into being productive, and more.


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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology people and processes to the approaches they took they will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings speak

Heather Bicknell 0:34
yeah sorry about last week I was on my hiking vacation I was

Ryan Purvis 0:41
sorry I didn't even I've completely forgot about that.

Heather Bicknell 0:43
Yeah, I should have canceled the calendar invite but yeah I'm also terrible at remembering people's vacation like times it's hard to keep track of so yeah,

Ryan Purvis 0:57
yeah, exactly. That's fine i mean i i had another call that came in as we were supposed to start anyway so I ended up dropping off so it wasn't

Heather Bicknell 1:11
too long but yeah, I was Yeah, I was did a three day loop 22 miles just in state there's a lot of beautiful hikes in state but no real mountains but some nice sights anyway so not not really a cell reception there which is nice because then I could unplug from work without you know, I didn't really have a choice.

Ryan Purvis 1:41
Yeah, yeah. It was Burton. This evening. Nice. was a very scenic

Heather Bicknell 1:48
Yeah, it's um it's a trail along a just a nice River. So there's a lot of views. So the first day sort of hike alongside the river and then the second day are on bluffs where you can look down and see really pretty, you know, like Oxbow bends and stuff like that. I think it'd be really pretty in the fall when the leaves start to turn

Ryan Purvis 2:14
a burden

Heather Bicknell 2:17
Yeah, I did and then and then we spent a few more days like canoeing and doing some other stuff like that. Yeah, it's just nice to be outside you know, I've just been so like we've all been really stuck in indoors a lot. So spending so much time outside was great.

Ryan Purvis 2:37
digital detox.

Heather Bicknell 2:40
A week wasn't enough for that. But yeah, many

Ryan Purvis 2:46
Yeah, so what are you talking about as often as we really feel like we need to go to the bush just to get out of the grind. Because it becomes a bit repetitive you know, like you wake up you do the same thing every morning then you work the whole day. And you're the phone holder? I mean, the thing for me is I'm on the phone the whole day and then it kills me. So you really do want to have a bit of nature and I love seeing animals so you know, that's what I look forward to. But even not even natural beauty is great. There's a lot of Sciences looking at natural beauty regenerate, regenerate. So

Heather Bicknell 3:25
yeah, I don't know why I've sort of been on this kick of thinking more about like, how modern life conflicts with our you know, Stone Age bodies how evolutionarily you know, we're still like, pretty much the same as we were when you know, before we had all this technology so we're not really built to cope with this kind of living and that like, I think, you know, I think about it when hiking I guess because you know, you're moving all day and if you were part of some, you know, when was last time humans did that really to live I guess it's kind of silly, but it was on my mind just because there's something so satisfying I think about doing that. And I think part of it is just like trigger something of like yeah, this is what I was like, my body was built to walk long distances. And it's like, just feels nice, I guess.

Ryan Purvis 4:18
It's usually and you're right, I mean, as I hurt my ankle guest today on the weekend, I've been really struggling and we just hit physio and she said to me, you know, you shouldn't be standing those long hours unless you should be sitting down and I was about to say to Well, I don't want to be sitting in a chair who has her back and she said, No, no, I don't mean sitting on a chair. I mean, sitting on the floor, with your thumb against the wall. So you pull you pushing your legs out straight in front of us, you really stretch your hamstrings. Because when you you know as a Neanderthal, whatever we were, you didn't have a che unless it was a stump or Something on the floor so you know that's your most natural position to stretch out I was like yeah that's a good point. And so I tried it today and it's quite funny because I could hardly get by I couldn't get myself into this sort of right angle position because I've been tied but by the end of the you know, some 20 minutes of doing that it started to come right I started to get to that 90 degree thing and I said what two hours and I didn't even realize that I've done it for that long until I lost feeding my leg or the lack of blood flow so you obviously can't be the last person to add things for long periods I think that's the lesson but but it wasn't a good thing to do. So I'm not doing as part of my routine I have like an hour where I sit on the floor against the wall

Heather Bicknell 5:47
now I kind of want to try that today the steak

Ryan Purvis 5:53
if you sit on a table in the country yeah so for sure. You suddenly start doing the Jurassic Park those are the dresses the T rex pose which is not good for you then you then you sort of do the whole strange back and that's usually when you hurt yourself you're like oh no, no my backs on my back because you've got too much Huawei integrals the other one

Heather Bicknell 6:22
I did read all the links you had sent by the way and the infographic. And then I had one other sort of small kind of fun topic I guess that I guess bring up at any time

Ryan Purvis 6:38
which one it was? Because he

Heather Bicknell 6:42
said yeah, no, it's not really like I haven't read an articles about this phenomenon yet. It's just something I've been observing which is remote worker, tic tocs or sort of other social media, influencer accounts and posts and I've started to engage with this stuff a little bit so of course I'm being recommended more of it. And it's kind of it's so mundane, but there's like a satirical layer about it that is just so relatable so it'll be things like you know, the six kind of ways that people sign off from meetings and you know, it's something like a tick tock or an Instagram reels it's very short and you know, you have the person who just like, immediately doesn't say anything and just immediately clicks and so they're gone. The minute acted by someone who like needs a lot, just like different observations about like, weirdness of how we work. It is

Ryan Purvis 7:47
funny because I always look for his wave, because I'm always saying cheers you later bye. You know? And then you do get the people that just as you're about to end want to say something else?

Heather Bicknell 8:00
Yes, that's one of the types

Ryan Purvis 8:04
because I'm very big budget. Person personally, but because we really want to talk it over again. But because usually, it starts another term another 30 minute conversation. Yeah, you already died after the first conversation with a lot of people so

Heather Bicknell 8:21
yeah, but there's I mean, there's a lot of accounts out there that this is just what they do. And they're amassing large followings and, you know, they exist to like give observations on you know, humorous observations on corporate life and I just think it's, it's it's interesting that we're in a place where I feel like we've had these work influencers, right, who are kind of more, you know, either they're experts in their field, or they're very entrepreneurial. Or they're, like, you know, giving advice of some kind, but to have just kind of humor accounts to make fun of things like the Microsoft team's dial tone. Just speaks to like, I think it's, I think it's something that came out of, you know, remote work and the pandemic and kind of cause these things to sprout up because of a lot of the idiosyncrasies I guess of remote working and it can be funny the you know, you got your collared shirt up top, your pajama bottoms there's just a lot of things like that that lend really well to humor

Ryan Purvis 9:37
You know, I think it's a Saturday thing to think we need their sanity because it can be a grind. And you know, I noticed as well whenever you know, I've ever had to do Tick Tock so I haven't seen his videos. But But you do. You do watch people to see what they do. And I think it's actually quite an important thing for depression. point of view because you know so we did one guy on the phone the other day and it through the conversation he basically said his many words he's lonely you know he's a single guy he doesn't have you know relationship with anyone you know we're sitting at home for a year in lockdown was not good for him and the only way you can talk to people was we felt at least was on the floor sacani sales calls and you know I don't even think about it because when I talk to my family I'm not alone but even I had an episode two I just felt completely depressed It was like it was like the darkness had come in and I just couldn't see the end of the darkness and I put that down to being you know with COVID locked up for two weeks and then recovering from it you know I wasn't going out at all I was basically my little complex walking around so I wasn't getting stimulated by new people it was the same people and you know something I'm one of those people that needs to be out and about and you know so myself to go and see friends for lunch and Alexa then is the picks the mood up so as I think the humor is good, but I think might be the under underlying negativity too many naps as you do when you work from home and in the office

Heather Bicknell 11:31
depending on your culture suppose Yeah, I've seen that office furniture that has like nap pods and stuff but I like how many places really have that maybe like big tech companies but then like I'm very curious how that ends up getting used because you know if you're the person who goes and takes an hour nap every day you know what do people think of you or what's your boss think or whatever

Ryan Purvis 11:59
well I think that's the problem is is there's a stigma and doing that but I can tell you you know I've noticed since I've been mechanistic I don't have that adapted I used to have back in the UK I used to take a 10 minute 20 minutes meditation usually around three o'clock and do my diary but I don't know if it's the way that he'll watch but I just wouldn't go down to do it I just don't have the time so I don't do it so I get bored and bored but I but I'm starting the process and then I just kick you know what I'd rather go out and do something and at the end I don't know what it is but the UK was doing quite a lot and you know that that second part of the day was so productive because I've taken that break and I'm still productive here that's what I'm finding so weird it might be the sunlight I don't know. But you know I've worked in businesses where you know you got to be you don't have the time between meetings to go to the bathroom we'd Lunch and Learn go over nap some way and I would that's changed I hope I hope people have been become a perspective of people needing a break and you know it's protected protected time. I mean even today it's been another day of back to back to back to back. Thank you have the army to get off now. Go for a walk in the sun. So they only needed to begin filming on a walk.

Heather Bicknell 13:23
Yeah, that's a good idea. Yeah, I mean, I think I guess coming back to the you know, sort of some of the negative sides or Yeah, I think that why the humor of those accounts works so well is because a lot of this is just like slogging through the day. So to bring some levity to it to make fun of these situations and then to know that other people are so many other people are experiencing the same things is I think it brings some relief but yeah, and the break element. I think I'm I'm bad at this. So the carolee offer advice but um, I think giving yourself permission to take a break and not feeling any guilt over it is so important. But you really have to be protective of your own time in that way. Which can be hard depending on you know, the expectations put upon you your you know, level in the organization and your career. But you have to do it because yeah, it's a recipe for burnout and dissatisfaction and just not even like physically taking care of yourself at all.

Ryan Purvis 14:44
That's that's an executive and I think we've talked to this before, that's where this infographic that I sent you that the evolution of the employee, I think is so, so true. You know, we we are almost brute force trained that you've always got to be on working and in this in this infographic, it's it's you got to work not five, whereas you should be able to work, lots of sushi. But if you want to spread your work out through the day, that should be okay, provided you you're not a hindrance to other work. And also a lot of these, all behaviors are related to a sort of hierarchical structure where, you know, if you don't do these things, you're not considered for promotion, you don't get your bonus, you know, it's, it's very much a stick more than a carrot way of working, which, you know, when I when I look at the sort of positives, you know, you create your letter, you focus on outputs, not putting hours in, using any device, you know, you did you define your own career trajectory, you're a leader, because you choose to be a leader, not because you put in a position to be a leader, you know, those sorts of things. And, you know, mental health and physical health are two important pillars of that. And, you know, my, you know, I've worked with bosses that that work 15 hour days, and they get upset when you don't work 15 hour days, and you're like, but I would get some, you know, I also want to go to gym and I also want to have a hobby and you know it that's almost treated like we're not serious about work. Are you really here for lifestyle work. And it's not that at all, it's you want balance in what you do. And I mean, the Elan musk says best if I give you here to do it will take a year, well, what can you do, if I give you three to three months, or three days, you know, you get the same, you will have more focus and you'll deliver the same stuff. A lot of these organizations I've worked in the time to deliver so long, you've got the time to do it anyway. But you could compress it if you've got less time because you don't don't waste as much time. And I mean, I've said for people that waste a lot of time, and then they're always under pressure for their deadlines. Whereas if you feel a bit more balanced, you don't even have six hours of work to do today, to do the six hours at a very hard pace, because you're trying to make space for the other things. Whereas, you know, you can expand your time and do less do the same amount of work, but you're not getting the other benefits. Sorry, I never meant any sense. But

Heather Bicknell 17:10
it did. Yeah, no, the kind of like the, the, you know, work filling the container that you have for it, I think there's obviously like, limits to that, you know, you couldn't do like a whole plan a whole plan and create a whole presentation in PowerPoint that looks really nice, and like 20 minutes, but I think there is definitely you know, I'm procrastinator, so if I don't think about things sort of in that way, to an extent, then things will just kind of shuffle

Ryan Purvis 17:55
as normal. And I think this is the this is kind of the point is that, you know, during the work day, it's very easy to get caught up in in the the reaction action stuff. So you know, you get pulled into a meeting. And because you're on teams, and slack and whatever, there's always something going on. So you're always you're always honored and always connected. But to do the actual deep work or the brain work to do that output presentation. You know, you need to almost you need to disconnect from all those things. And sometimes only time to disconnect with things. We never also see you know, if I want to write a document, I definitely get up at four o'clock in the morning right at the desk. Why wait for the kids to go to sleep, and then I'll work on that no matter how tired I am, you know, the first the first tip is always hard. But once you get into it, that's the best time because he's no distractions. And that's and that's with a nine to five mentality doesn't work because you've already put eight hours in, in theory, you shouldn't have to put more in a day, according to your contract, whatever it is. But if you are articles focused, then you manage your own time. And you know that procrastination is not that it's there because it's always going to be that's a human behavior. By default. We are designed that way. But you can find the time that suits and look at the motivation isn't always there either. So it's not a magic serving my wife and I arguments all the time. She does want to write a piece of content because she doesn't feel like it right now. And I'll say you're never gonna feel like it ever. But the minute you start, it'll get into it, you'll feel like it you know, it's one of those weird things we always think we need to be in the mood to do it but actually create the mood, by the way, and that's the same thing. So so you know, the balance is, you know, trying to try to be a workaholic is working, you know, balance your work between the right things at the right time buying a trailer, I'm trying to summarize

Heather Bicknell 20:00
Yeah, I don't remember the name of the method. But you know, just starting some giving yourself, you know, I only need to do this thing for five minutes. And you know, sometimes you'll start for five minutes and that's all you really needed to get in the groove. Some it doesn't always work I don't think if you're like super resistant or just not like something's going on and you know, you're not in the right space for it. But it getting started, you know, is often the hardest part.

Ryan Purvis 20:29
Yeah, there's a there's a, there's a medical thing for common words called either is this someone that I'm sure it's like atomic tasks or something. But it's, it's also breaking up, you know, big things into small things. Because often, the reason why you don't start something is because you think I'm ready to write a book. And every time I think about writing a book, I thought, you know, my brain starts going into how difficult it's going to be in whatever, I'm just going to remind myself that actually, you've already got all the content, because you've earned it already, you just got to now go and do a little bit on it every day. And that's, and that's sort of the trick is to keep breaking into small pieces to do a little bit every day. So you have a routine that becomes second nature. Yeah, well, the methodology is called.

Heather Bicknell 21:20
Yeah. But I think it's interesting, a lot of these things that we've been discussing, it's like, you know, employees, individuals are sort of left to figure these things out for themselves, and everyone's sort of inventing their own way. Which is kind of silly to extent because it's not like we haven't done knowledge work for a long time. And you know, there are ways to like, think about project management. But there's not a lot of, you know, it's not something you get in school, obviously, you have to, like learn the rhythms of homework and testing and everything. But it just seems like something that corporations could potentially save themselves a lot of productivity on. Yeah,

Ryan Purvis 22:06
well, what would remember that the average corporate employee is, is taught, and this is even goes back to the school example, you're you're suggesting to, you're taught to be told what to do. And you're taught to follow someone else's schedule. And you're taught to answer the questions that you're given. And those are all very bad ways of teaching someone because, you know, and then this is where you have the rebels who don't like that, and then they get called rebels, they get in trouble, because they don't want to follow the schedule, they don't want to be told what to do. And they also don't want to answer just the questions you give, but they're also going to ask questions, and get those answered. And that's, and that's the mental shift we need to go through. So a lot of the things that you're just going through there, as for you're saying is, is the old corporate mentality where, you know, if you think about it, the old way to get promoted, was to be the one who had all the information, and could one up everyone else, because you had to no one else had it. You know, it's a very oversimplification on it, but it is a political thing. Power. Yeah, it's all about how, as a very good book by Richard Greene called the Laws of Power, something like that. And he goes through plenty of examples. And it's all backed up by history of gangs contact us to do that. And this is the power play and all the rest of it. And, and what, what really needs to happen is what you're saying is that we're we're a networked organization now. And I mean that in the sense that, you know, you and I do work with the same company. You know, we share information all the time, which we share with a whole bunch of people that listen to us, and thank you for listening, who's potentially someone else. So we're always open to share, which means you're getting more information, which, which feeds itself. And when you work it when you work in your organization, the best way to be recognized and to be accepted now is to buy be someone who's open your shares is friendly, that honest, it's authentic, because there's too much. I'm trying to try to wear this in the nicest way. But by holding things, you create a negative vibe by by being open about it, you create a good vibe. And even if you give away an idea, there's no good there's no it doesn't mean that you use the idea that you but you benefit more because someone will take your idea and add something to it. And then they may take it further and you may get you might not commercially make money out of it because someone's idea did something with it. But but it was no guarantee. If you held on to the idea. You want to take it and make something of it either. If you don't, I mean like you know my wife was doing the show, and I don't get people to sign NDA was for something that I'm thinking about. And I said well, sometimes I really care about Dahlia walk it's a good idea it's an idea, but I don't want to invest my next 10 years working but if I give it to Joe, Joe Bloggs and Joe sober Nova and they take it in them and they do something with it then fantastic because you're making money as well you know they end with evidence they make money and maybe the idea doesn't work and then they wasted time and it doesn't work you know so either way you know it only you know then you didn't you don't create a good vibe and it didn't work on either anyway because there's always something else you got to work on.

Heather Bicknell 25:36
Totally Yeah, I think those knowledge silos are so interesting. I'm always sort of taken aback a little bit when I come up against them or like there's some piece of information that does feel like it's hoarded and it's like why why why isn't this just out there in a team with the or whatever

Ryan Purvis 26:01
What have you think about I mean how many examples of this but you know you've got you got a sales organiser I'll tell you what I'm thinking of going through at the moment so we our audience arguing with our medical insurance company about something now the new business side part of the same company has no access to our medical history on the claim side. So when they signed us up, they didn't take any of our claims periods now we've been in this company with him since she was born. Until we moved to the UK we now move to the UK we join them there as another it's another business and now we're back in South Africa we've joined them again so you know we've been very loyal to them and when you fill in the forms to join them you're supposed to stipulate all the things that you've had now we did we separated most of you can remember we didn't take one box this is what the arguments about we didn't take this one box and the argument is an argument is well you've got a history Why do you need to tick a box? Why do you need to fill the form again? Yes, we need to fill in the form for the period of time around the country because I get there's a there's a legal requirement for that. But because you've already got the information you should already be bringing that into into the into the discussion because you've already signed all the forms that give you access to information. So we almost expect you as the service provider to ever have an enrich service because you have all the information you're asking you're asking us to provide our information expecting us to be more accurate than you and mean the average human factor let's be honest, all humans have got to haven't got great memories for every single thing that had done to them medically. We were joking about how can you remember what happened to you when you were three years old? You know, because your parents may not remember either and the military those days were on pen and paper that we're not on you know honestly I mean I was born in the 80s there was there was a computer just started coming out as personal computers so there was a guarantee my doctor didn't have one I mean TV only came into fruition in the 80s in South Africa so late late 70s and it's that thing is it's just there's a level of

openness that's required you made it you made the mistake we've picked it up in our record is so correct and you say yes oh sorry thanks for picking it up you know, write that into executions and then it's fine but instead it's becomes nasty mess because this these two silos don't talk to each other. Yeah such thing where they should talk to Joe especially as as me as the as the subject of that question. Or In fact, it's cursed. My wife has already given them permission to do it. So legally, they are now granted the permission to do it. But they're two separate business units and they will not talk to each other and talk to you and then you talk to the other one. And this is how it works. This is crazy. It just creates such a poor experience.

Heather Bicknell 29:16
Yeah, that seems like just so and unnecessarily painful way to go about it if they're gonna call you out of any way because they could figure it out it's like, well then why don't you just do it? Yeah, it's it's a lot to be expected to remember your own entire medical history and a lot of people you know, might not have the education or Yeah, great memories or whatever circumstance to do that super accurately. Remember everything.

Ryan Purvis 29:44
I'll be honest, I've got a spreadsheet notion of all the things that I can remember you know, kind of keep track a little bit. But it's another reason that I happened to be getting I happened to wanted to do it for app for a thing to see what it would look like in in unless I haven't, you know, it's not it's got There's gonna be a reason. So when it came to filling in my stuff is quite easy like tick, tick tick. Because it doesn't remember, in fact, we've got a crate back in the UK, I mean, the crate is massive, full of all your files, because your files authentic. And I said to the guy on the phone, I said, Listen, I'm not uploading my home right now I'm renting a house in another country, we're just here for for an extended holiday, you know, basically, we're stuck here. So if you actually wanted my full medical history, I have to I'd have to ship the whole criteria to go through it because it's not digitized. So it was kind of this well, why didn't you do that? Because we need this fuel form. And I'm thinking, you know, that would you know, to sign up your medical insurance to do that. It's just, it's illogical considering you call the inflammation in the claim side, the date of that, because you got a 10 year requirement to stored plus other related legislation. So it is just bizarre. And that's and that's a great example of what the average corporate is like, you know what, one tower doesn't talk to another tower, because it's, it's got all this rigmarole that's been put in between, it's actually probably no longer relevant anyway. But we've always done it that way. So we won't change.

Heather Bicknell 31:08
Yeah, that inertia that inertia to change from the legacy behaviors can take a lot to overcome. The bigger as I imagine, I've never worked for a large corporate but I imagine there's just more of that the bigger the, the company,

Ryan Purvis 31:25
you're gonna come in who gave you the step but anyway, in the merging over 1000 people, that every person you hire, overloaded manages to keep the business running, its admin for the business is not to generate more value. Which is a scary thought when you think of I mean, I've worked in businesses about 30,250 to 450,000. Okay, probably that 10,000 mark is slightly different in those sizes, but it's still a lot of people hired to keep the business in place not to actually do value for the customer. Yeah. I was gonna walk before next week to catch up, and I will check the next week.

Heather Bicknell 32:07
Sounds good. Okay. Enjoy your rock.

Ryan Purvis 32:09
Thanks. Thank you for listening today's episode, and the big news, our producer editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website, www dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

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