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Couple in bed: one is delivering a remote presentation, while the one who’s trying to sleep says “Remind me in the morning — we need to talk about boundaries.”

Good fences make 1) good neighbours and 2) good remote work habits

Good fences make 1) good neighbours and 2) good remote work habits published on

Remote work has always been at least part of how I do things professionally. It’s a natural part of freelancing. But even when I’ve had a job-job, doing some work in the distraction-free environment of home was a recurring trochee in my professional rhythm.

That changed last April, when I had the very good fortune to land a 12-month term as the BC Federation of Labour’s director of communications. My last day was on Friday, capping off a year of guiding the messages and communication strategy for a terrific organization representing more than 500,000 union members throughout British Columbia.

And, like nearly all of my coworkers, I did it entirely virtually. There was no migration from the office for me; I never set foot there.

Yet despite years of working-from-home practice, it was a challenge to keep my BCFED work from encroaching on my personal life. (And vice versa, with unexpected puppy Zoom-bombing being one of the least intrusive incursions.)

That was partly because of the lack of physical separation — with remote work, there’s none of that psychological break that comes from walking out the office door.

But it was also the fact that I care a lot about the work I do. (Which is a tremendous privilege: A lot of people have jobs they find at best meh and at worst awful.)

And this job was no exception. The BCFED had to take on a remarkable challenge: advocating for working people, equity and justice in a pandemic that both raised the stakes dramatically, and transformed the way we do that work. It’s been a fascinating opportunity to find new ways to connect, collaborate, mobilize and effect change. And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I’m delighted to return to my clients and freelance practice, but I’ll miss working with my friends at the Fed. My advice: When you have the chance to work with talented, dedicated people around values that matter to you, jump at it.

* * *

Of course, one thing that’s helped me navigate the challenges of my first-ever entirely remote full-time job is having a front seat as my wife Alexandra Samuel and her co-author Robert C. Pozen wrote Remote, Inc. the definitive guide to (as the subtitle puts it) thriving at work wherever you are.

It’s a practical, hands-on guide for employees and managers alike, and not just for COVID times: Remote, Inc. will help you navigate the fusion of remote and on-site work that’ll emerge as the new post-pandemic normal.

It launches on April 27, but you can pre-order right now.

(sleepless woman in bed, to her partner) Well, on the upside, I'm a shoo-in to win the office sleep-deprivation pool.

40 winks

40 winks published on No Comments on 40 winks

Sleep-avoidance is a holy sacrament in the Church of Very Busy People. And truth be told, I’m a more observant member of the congregation than I’d like to think I am. But I’m working on it. In fact, the moment I wrote that last night I recognized what I was doing and went to bed.

There’s a particularly militant faction of my church (and I’ll cop to attending more than a few services). Adherents to that strain of the faith work for non-profits and advocacy groups in service of a shared mission. And if you’re one of those folks, it’s way too easy to convince yourself to sacrifice a few hours of sleep, or yet another workout, or a healthy meal, or investing in a relationship, in the name of The Cause.

This cartoon is from a book offering several helpful heresies that just might save the lives of some members of the flock. It’ll definitely make them more effective in changing the world. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman argues wellness belongs at the heart of every nonprofit. And Aliza and Beth give you solid advice for putting it there.

This is the fourth of the cartoons they invited me to draw for the book, and I’ll post several more in the coming days. But you don’t have to wait for me to hit publish — and you probably shouldn’t, given my newfound interest in sleeping. You can see the cartoons right away with this simple hack: ordering the book.

Enjoy! Just don’t stay up too late reading it.

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