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(Parent reading to young child) “Daddy has a work deadline, so tonight’s bedtime story is ‘Resolving Supply Chain Issues in Real Time: A Proposal to the Board’”

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the Gantt chart bite

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the Gantt chart bite published on

You may raise your eyebrows at the parenting in this cartoon, but think about the bedtime classics. What is Jack and the Beanstalk if not a parable about the challenges of scaling up? Rapunzel is about technological innovation to overcome barriers to entry. Goodnight, Moon teaches us the merits of conducting regular inventories.

Working from home in these pandemic days has meant a lot of tradeoffs as our work lives intrude on our personal lives, and vice versa. We’re taking crucial phone calls in closets (clothing, linen or, ahem, water) because they’re the only quiet place in the house; we’re fighting the temptation to bolt down dinner and get back to the laptop because of a looming deadline. Remote work has meant making often-hasty accommodations — not all of which stand up over time.

But with the prospect of remote work becoming a permanent part of the mix for a lot of people, maybe it’s time to take another look at those makeshift arrangements and build the kind of lives — personal and professional — that we really want. My wife Alexandra Samuel, co-author of Remote, Inc.: How To Thrive At Work… Wherever You Are, has offered a valuable perspective on how to keep remote work from overtaking our home lives. That includes both mental shifts in our thinking and concrete practices that take you beyond work-life balance to work-life integration.

And speaking of Remote, Inc.: For the past several weeks, I’ve had the delight of creating cartoons to celebrate and promote the book. Alex and co-author Robert C. Pozen have created the definitive roadmap to the new hybrid workplace, and I urge you to check it out. This is the final cartoon in the series, and it’s probably my favourite of the bunch.

(person on video call, holding puppy up to the camera) And now Miss Fuzzywiggles will take us through our third-quarter financial results.

Sit! Stay! Roll over! Zoom!

Sit! Stay! Roll over! Zoom! published on

Two historic trends converged during the Great Home-Office Migration of 2020:

  1. Zoom calls, and
  2. pandemic puppies.

The result is more fuel for the very happy phenomenon of pets making appearances — expected and otherwise — in work meetings. My calls with my BCFED colleagues over the past year have been punctuated with a cameo cat, drop-in dogs, a guest-star guinea pig and a central bearded lizard (who did not come with a handy alliteration).

For some of us, seeing each others’ pets is a welcome reprieve from the sometimes-grueling world of never-really-off-the-clock working from home… and a happy reminder that not every non-human we meet on-screen is a bot.

For others, though, the sight of Fluffy or Bailey is an irritant to be endured. For them, those four-legged intruders are at best a distraction.

But maybe there’s something more to that — something more behind the muttering over whether pets in meetings are professional. Or whether having kids walk in on you during your meeting is professional. Or whether any sign that you have a life beyond your job description and work product is unprofessional.

Maybe this blurring of the boundaries between our professional and personal selves hints at the possibility that the workplace of 2019 isn’t coming back — and neither is a world where we show up to work, whether it’s in the office or at home, as only part of who we are.

If that scares you, let me just say — don’t let it. There’s a lot to be gained by getting to know each other as our whole selves. The future is friendly… and fuzzy.

* * *

This is one of a series of cartoons celebrating Remote, Inc., the new book by my wife, Alexandra Samuel, and productivity expert Robert Pozen. The subtitle says it all: How to thrive 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.

(woman lying on sofa with laptop, talking on phone) Hey, dad... remember when I’d be playing video games, and you’d tell me that hanging out on the sofa all day staring at a screen is no preparation for the real world?

Preparing for this our whole lives

Preparing for this our whole lives published on

There’s a lot about working from home (for those of us who are doing it) that still isn’t working well: the Zoom fatigue, the tsunami of ergonomic injuries waiting to be diagnosed, the difficulty finding a quiet place to do focused work, the erasing of whatever tenuous work/home boundaries we’ve managed to draw, the potential for employer surveillance and abuse, and a lot more.

But let’s remember that a lot of offices and workplaces weren’t great to work in, either. Some people thrived on face-to-face meetings and collaboration, but a lot of others found that environment stressful and distracting. (“So why didn’t they raise that in our all-hands meetings?” I hear someone ask.)

We’re going to keep adapting. We’ll solve some working-from-home problems and discover new ones. We’ll resolve them with varying mixes of collaboration, negotiation, innovation and conflict. Work-from-home today probably looks a lot different from what work-from-home will mean next year.

I have no idea when I’ll next set foot in an office. I’m in no great hurry.

Coffee shops — that’s a different story. I’m champing at the bit to plunk down with my laptop somewhere, scan the baseboards for an outlet and ask a barista for a WiFi password.

How about you?