Building Powerful Relationships in a Remote Environment, With Tamara Sanderson

Building Powerful Relationships in a Remote Environment, With Tamara Sanderson

Gabriela Molina

Tamara Sanderson is the cofounder of Remote Works, an organizational design and consulting firm with a mission to liberate teams from the nine-to-five and teach them how to do their best work anytime, anywhere. Seeking placement opportunities outside her country, she traveled to various locations with airlines, including El Salvador, Switzerland, and Canada. This early experience helped her realize the potential of remote work, even before the advent of smartphones.

Tamara Sanderson

Read the transcript

Sharon  [00:00:00]:

While international hiring gives you access to so much more great candidates where they’re often working at lower salaries. It also comes with a massive pool. I’ve not so great candidates which you must filter through. That’s why a distant job, we get to know you on a personal level. and then go find similar companies internationally where we solicit their career driven focus senior workers. quality candidates, lower prices, and longer retention sounds way too good to be true. But as the first remote recruitment agency, being around for about 2 decades. Not only we have the experience to do it, we guaranteed to deliver these people within 3 weeks. So reach out to us at to learn about our guarantee, about our HR love experience that can increase your retention, and how we can build you an amazing culturally fit digital team. See you on the other side.

Luis [00:01:15]:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the distant job podcast, your podcast, about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your host, as usual, Luis. and today I have with me Tamara Sanderson. So, Tamara is the co author of the remote works book and, the the co founder of remote works, which is an organizational design and consulting firm with a mission to liberate teams from them 9 to 5 and teach them how to do their best work anytime, anywhere. Tamara, welcome to the show.

Tamara [00:01:52]:

Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Luis [00:01:54]:

Yeah. Would you like to expand a bit more on my introduction? You you have a a big, portfolio of things that you used to do and also and still do. Right? So I’m I’m I’m happy for you to have any any context to our listeners.

Tamara [00:02:09]:

Yeah. So, I was a remote worker before I knew that was a thing. I started a management consulting in 2006 and I wanted to get any placement that was not in my country. And so I was in the aviation department, and I would just go to different places where there were airlines. I was in El Salvador, and I was in Switzerland, and I was in Canada. And that just made me, I guess, from the get go of, you know, being newly into the workforce. It made me realize that you can work from anywhere, and that was before the iPhone. I had a a blackberry about 6 months into my job and IBM Thinkpad. but it really, you know, I think that experience really opened my eyes to how things can be. I then moved into tech. I was at Google. I was at automatic, which is an all remote company before pandemic, and I also worked in design at IDEO. And so that’s my corporate history. I left wrote a book with my friend, Ally Green, who used to be the head of people at Duck. Go. and now I’m actually going in a little bit of a different direction. I’ll continue with, promoting remote work, but I’m actually headed to Harvard Deventy School in the fall. And so I’m really interested in how we make meaning outside of work.

Luis [00:03:26]:

Nice. Oh, well, we we we’ll have some stuff to discuss then. So so, yeah, thank you for that. So, I guess that I I want to ask you to focus a little bit more right, on on the on the transition. Right? You were a remote worker before remote work was a thing, right, do doing that jumping around, you know, airlines. And, by the way, I I I do miss the Blackberry. Right? I miss the keys. I like clicking. Right?

Tamara [00:03:59]:

Yeah. So it’s better for, like, fat thumbs. You know?

Luis [00:04:04]:

Exactly. Exactly. But so, How do you when did the the light bulb, you know, go on? Tell me that story about when that light bulb went on. And and you felt that the the remote this remote work thing, right, was going to be what you were going to be pursuing, you know, for the next x years.

Tamara [00:04:28]:

Yeah. so When I look back at it, for people that went to university, I think remote work is a lot more similar to university. So jumping into a corporate place where you work at different times and in different locations, and you may be in different locations as your colleagues. And you basically have, okay, this is the project we’re on. Here’s 8 weeks of what we’re gonna be accomplishing. This is what we need in 4 weeks. This is your role. let’s get started. And so, I think, actually, when you when you we think about more traditional work of, like, a 9 to 5 in an office, it actually feels kind of like a regression back to high school of, like, butts and seats for 40 hours a week. And so, I guess my big realization was with tech in each of these jobs that was getting closer to this, you know, strong autonomy way of working. Google even though it’s very much an office culture. I was in a role where I was dealing with lots of different countries, and I was based in Singapore for 4 years. but, yeah, I’m sorry. I’m, like, now.

Luis [00:05:38]:

Uh-huh. That’s right.

Tamara [00:05:39]:

My answer, Luis. That’s what I’m doing.

Luis [00:05:41]:

That’s great. That’s great. I love that.

Tamara [00:05:43]:

coming up with it. But the big, like, moment was I had joined a very much an in person design company and there was a studio and very creative people. But during the pandemic, I was there, and then we went back. And I was like, oh, cool. I’ve been a remote worker before. This is what it’s gonna be like. And I saw really quickly during the pandemic, you can work remotely, but not necessarily, a remote environment. You know, you’re when you’re not building up from scratch of a a company that’s designed to be remote, really, you’re just on zoom for a 1000000 hours a day. And so that’s

Sharon  [00:06:21]:

Luis [00:06:21]:

Not great. Not a great

Sharon  [00:06:22]:

Tamara [00:06:22]:

One way to do remote, and that’s you know, that may be better than commuting and there can be some benefits to it, but it was so different than my experience in automatic that I was like, oh, wow. I actually think I have something to share with people. that, like, what we’re doing in

Sharon  [00:06:37]:

2020, 2021

Tamara [00:06:39]:

is, that’s not the end all of remote work. They’re much more. You can deal with it when you really think outside of the box.

Luis [00:06:46]:

Yeah. Yeah. Uh-uh. Absolutely. Right. So I want to, talk a bit that you mentioned we what why we do, right, what we do. I I I I sometimes I like to tell the story of how I became a a remote worker before. Again, remote worker with remote working was a thing. Right? Only it wasn’t necessarily work. Right? When I was, in when I when I was nineteen years old, Right? There was this this little video game called World of Warcraft. You might have heard about it. Right. And I ended up taking a leadership position in a world of Warcraft Gill that that was, you know, focused on doing the hardest content at the game at Right? you know, and and doing it, you know, setting records, trying to be some of the first in Europe to do it. and what that amounted to was actually a lot of work. Right? It it it meant, you know, people scheduling around their lives and spending, you know, anything from 2 to 4 hours a day, right, online, doing repetitive tasks over and over. often failing, right, over and over until getting what needed to do right. You know, they call it a game, but I actually think it really was work, and it was the grindiest kind of work, right, and yet people loved it, It was grind. It was a grindiest kind of work. It was constant failure, very little motivation. when there were rewards, the rewards went to, like, 5 to 10% of the team because that’s just the nature of the game. Right? Everyone supposedly gets their turn, but it can take up to weeks until it’s your turn. So overall, you know, they called it a game, but that was like the grindiest work imagine and yet people loved it, and they were there constantly. And I was always puzzled Right. It’s it’s something that I I I think every day to this day, and I’m always trying to figure out the why. Why are people, you know, doing what amounts to much more creative work, right, on their daily job, right, the, you know, these days remotely. same setup computer. They have much better tools back then in World of Warcraft. The, you know, the most the best we had was voice chat. and often we just use Textjet. And somehow people have much better deals today. They’re getting paid for daytime. The the the work is actually more creative and less stressful because there’s not, you know, 90% of times your daily work, I hope, doesn’t end in the failed state. and yet a lot of people are still unhappy with their work. So, I there’s this there’s this weird dichotomy be between the game that feels like terrible work, but people enjoy. And the work that should be stimulating and flexible, and a lot of people still don’t get it, still don’t dig it. So, you know, I put that back to you. Why — I’m curious if you

Tamara [00:09:54]:

have any hypotheses. first of all, I I think that’s such a good example. And when people are like, oh, haven’t done this remote work thing. I’m always like, what have you been doing on the internet the last 20 years? Yeah. This remote work. And so I feel like, It’s a sync communication. Like, have you been on TikTok? That is a sync. Have you been on YouTube? It’s a sync.

Luis [00:10:13]:


Tamara [00:10:13]:

and a lot of like, when I think about automatic, it came from, like, the WordPress ecosystem. So it was a lot of people that were just

Sharon  [00:10:21]:

Tamara [00:10:21]:

Yeah. project kind of like your world of Warcraft example coming together and like, hey. How can we build on this internet thing? How can we create blogs and, you know, get our own kind of writing out there in the world that started much more as a community, not as something paid? I think this is that’s interesting. I I would love actually, as a a nerd that’s going back, like, into academia. There’s something I would love to do kind of a study of, like, what makes world of Warcraft I mean, I’m sure there’s some gamification concepts within there that probably makes it rewarding in a certain way and also failure You should have it. Like, from a psychology standpoint, there’s a lot of value in intermediate, like, rewards that you don’t know. That’s why people continue to play a slot machine because you don’t know when you’re gonna get the reward. But I would guess there’s a lot more to it. Like, I think first of all, there’s something here I think about choice that people are opting in to your world of Warcraft game, and they’re a part of a community. And they’re also even though it seems like you were organizing it and you were kind of the leader of it, people had autonomy where they all equal players in the game versus being told to do something by someone else. I’m curious. Did you share the rewards across it? So you mentioned certain people got more rewards than others, but was there I’m just thinking about when you’re in a corporation and you are on a team, but more unfair like, not unfairly, but, like, differently rewarded.

Luis [00:11:55]:

Yeah. It it wasn’t necessarily that some people got more rewarded than others, but there was priority. Right? You know, the the most, you know, just like any sports team. Right? You you have the key players and then you have the rest. Right? And and when you add a reward because the rewards in the game like World of Warcraft usually make you perform your role better, right, their tool, Right. The key players at priority, right, over the rest of the team. And since there would be, I don’t know, you know, for a team of 25, there would be, like, 3 rewards per week. That meant that it it would take quite a while, you know, quite a lot of weeks until he could, I actually get your turn unless you were one of the key players. So that is something you you touched the 10 the the the part about, you know, being up

Sharon  [00:12:44]:


Luis [00:12:45]:

Right. I I I would hope, especially in remote. And, you know, again, you know, I’m distant job as a recruitment agent. So that is an important part for us, but I would hope that most remote work is opt in. Right? I I would hope that most people are at their jobs because that they choose to and not necessarily because that’s, you know, the the only thing they couldn’t they could find to to pay the bills, which obviously, you know, a lot of people in the world sadly are in that situation, but I feel that in the kind of the work that you do when you work remotely, that’s probably less call. common common. I think that’s fair to say. Wouldn’t you?

Tamara [00:13:23]:

Yeah. When I think of, like, opt in though, I think of, with opting into how you’re I would guess an individual in your world World of Warcraft game has a little bit more capacity to choose when when they’re I guess we’re thinking that remote And so, hopefully, you do have autonomy. But I you are playing in a place where I think you you’re you’re opting in your free time to do that. So that’s interesting when — Yeah.

Sharon  [00:13:53]:

Tamara [00:13:54]:

and you’re not necessarily doing it to secure resources for your safety and security every day. So with a even if you’re remote job, you you’re opting into the one that you want, but, you know, at the end of the day, work is often to pay for kind of basic necessities. And so there is a different type of opting in, I think, between the two, but, our book, we actually have a chapter that talks a lot about, like, how are people motivated and how to motivate people in our environment. So just thinking about that framework, we usually think of, like, You need to have your security needs met, but then you have mastery. And I think actually mastery is something that really comes into this game of, like, I I assume as people are doing these repetitive tasks over and over again. Are they getting better? Are they getting kind of like really good at what they’re doing? Are they coming up with shortcuts? Are they faster? Like, anytime you feel like you’re gaining a skill that can be deeply motivating, having an autonomy of, like, how you solve the riddle yourself, I think, Ken. And so I assume in this world of Warcraft game, even though you were organizing Were you telling them, like, every, like, okay, at 5 minutes, do this, and then then do this. Like, I think with giving people autonomy to solve the problem themselves or, like, come up own, like, way of doing something. I think that can be very motivating and then also purpose of, like, you have this team and you’re trying to, like, get these different I think I I’ve never played world in Warcraft and I assume don’t you, like, play a lot to get, like, the different

Sharon  [00:15:23]:

Tamara [00:15:23]:

Yeah. — kind of, like, — tokens or, like, the different, like, items within the game. And so, like, you have a collective purpose and you feel belonging with other people. And so, Actually, that’s like getting a lot of those needs met. and and I’m sure, like, there is something really valuable about playing a game than making friends on the side at the same time. Like, as humans, games can be a really interesting way rather than kind of like immediately talk to somebody and become very vulnerable by playing a game, but having, like, the chat on Discord or learning a little bit about each other while you’re doing it, it’s actually a really interesting way create friendships. And so, if I think about not to necessarily make everything about gender, but if I might think about my brother and my father who are just

Sharon  [00:16:11]:

Luis [00:16:11]:

That’s fine by the way. This is a safe space to talk about. Yeah.

Tamara [00:16:17]:

And so, like, if I think about my brother and my dad, like, my mom and I will just, like, chat, we’ll just chat, chat, chat, and when it’s with brother, my dad, were always, like, doing an activity. So, like, replying cards, or when they, like, hang out together, they, like, play golf or go to a sports game. Like, there’s something really valuable with their friendship or their bonding of having a game involved. And so I think there might be something with World of Warcraft of, like, having that game in the forefront to then create this community and continue to come back in a, like, a ritualized fashion to build these friendships over the shared activities. So I actually think there’s a lot that you can learn from world of Warcraft and how do you design your company to also, like, elicit some of those feelings of, feeling together and purposeful and have belonging and feeling like you’re really mastering a task.

Luis [00:17:06]:

Yeah. Yeah. So so, again, so in one of the forklift, right, that was part of a team of leaders. And, you know, my my role was, I guess, you would call it the culture office this days. Right? My role was mostly, you know, try to figure out, right, how people were, you know, how to keep people people happy. Right? The the people actually leading during the the top tier content. Right? And and, you know, I was a part of that, but to your point, it it it was sometimes like highly choreographed. Right? You know, in the extreme, in the most competitive, right, arena, it it it really tended to be, Okay. You need to be here at this time and do this. Right? Everyone and everyone has their marching orders and it was more it was less a challenge of creativity and more a challenge of, you know, being in sync and highly choreographed Yeah. But the the preparation, you know, to get there, though, that that that, you know, obviously allow, you know, people more leeway. I mean, you know, you you know, you have to be there at that time, you know, with those potions and those resources and etcetera. And, you know, how you get that, and, you know, it it’s it’s up to you. So so there’s a little bit, a a little bit of everything. Right? But, you know, to your point, right, about people bonding and making friendships, Right? That’s another, you know, thing that that puzzles me, a little bit. Right? But, I see that there’s a little, you know, I’m getting a lot a lot more pushback, right, on the the concept, and I don’t know if you’ve encountered this. on the concept of of making friends, right, in the in the office. Right? Not now, personally, right, you know, and and this may shock you as a remote work person myself. But but I actually think that that you know, that that that’s overrated. I mean, I’m I’m happy to make friends in the office, right, if it if it happens spontaneously, But I don’t really feel the need, you know, to make that happen. Right? I’m I’m perfectly capable of having, you know, friends in my personal life. and, you know, just just having a good working relationship, right, with with my working, you know, with the working people. So I don’t know what what fall what what site, you know, of the, of the card you you fall in that

Tamara [00:19:27]:

Yeah. So I think actually, the more so I think sometimes you’ll see companies be like, okay. We’re gonna have community and we’re gonna do this event everybody’s gonna come to it. And, like, a lot of times, it’s after hours. So then you’re like, great. Now I have just even longer. I think, the when you mentioned kind of also with World of Warcraft, you were creating these friendships while doing the work of

Sharon  [00:19:53]:

Luis [00:19:53]:


Tamara [00:19:54]:

the potions and the the 2 things that you were doing in the game. Right? And I think the more that you can have people feel purpose in the actual work they’re doing and bond with the people they’re actually working with in the day to day. That feels a lot more like 2 birds, one stone. Like, you’re you’re not trying to be like, hey. Let’s create friendships that are completely separate from the actual task at hand. So the more that you can, like, create little realms within work that you are naturally feel belonging within your team. That is much easier and I think much more efficient than trying to develop a way that companies can make sure that everybody’s friends outside of the actual job. so that’s that’s my opinion is I think you can when I think through a lot of my really close friendships from work, It I didn’t meet them at, like, a bonding day of the company. Usually, I met them just, like, through I don’t know. We would just kind of, like, bond during a meeting or we would make a joke or something like that. And that’s we actually became friends during the work, not outside of the work.

Luis [00:21:05]:

Yeah. I I guess my point is more to the to the end of, you know, some people claim that one of the problems with remote work right, is that there is no there there are no bonding opportunities that you need to create them. Right? I’m not entirely sure. I agree. Right? You know, just as an, you know, in word-of- Warcraft, I I I can’t say that, you know, my guilt was something like fifty people. And I think that I made, like, 2, 3 friends at most there, right, you know, just because I have a a nice game playing relationship with someone doesn’t mean I would call them a friend and, you know, same thing same same thing in same thing in the office. I just don’t complete. Why disagree the most is that with is with the people that say that when you if you do the remote work and you don’t create those bonding opportunities, and people are going to feel isolated, right, and not have enough social, you know, connection in their life. Yeah.

Tamara [00:22:08]:

I think I have, yeah, I get what you’re saying. Also, I think you’re saying, I have a great game playing relationship with these people. Like, I would actually consider that a form of friendship, even though you might not consider them one of your best like, your close friend. So I think, like, I don’t know what you would define that as, but,

Luis [00:22:25]:

like, some of us, like — Right? That’s, you you know, there there’s a couple of people, right, in in in my, you know, in my company, same as in World of Warcraft that I would enjoy, you know, meeting in person and hanging out if I get the chance. Right? that’s not the case for most, you know, most people. Right?

Tamara [00:22:43]:

Yeah. and I also think, like, So again, there’s this book called bowling alone, and it talks a lot about specifically in America, how you step, like, bowling That’s a great idea. — activities. Yeah. Right? And now, like, without we don’t have bowling lease, we’re often bowling alone. And I think, like, corporations have often taken on extra things of, like, in the US, they they provide your health care. And so that is — usually provided by a company and you, like, they’re supposed to find enrichment for people and their friendships and their community. And I actually think we should couple that. I don’t really think your corporation should be in charge of creating your social life. And, if it happens, that’s great, but I I think we’re in a weird moment right now with remote work is that, you know, it’s kind of disrupted how we used to spend our time. And so because so much of our time was the office. Like, our friends came from the office, but now that we’re doing remote work, it kind of leaves this vacuum. And I think actually the vacuum isn’t that remote companies need to find out how to make everybody friends at the company. I think the vacuum is, like, we need to think through, like, how we can make friends in our community. So I don’t really think that is the job of a corporation to ensure that there is friendships across the organization. I think even making friends since we were a little kids. Like, that’s something that humans can do naturally. also, there used to be a study by Gallup that always said that, like, The the Victor was having a friend at work, and that was something about kind of retention. But Ally and I, we often like to say Instead you need a friend to work with. It doesn’t have to necessarily it can be a friend at your organization, but I think, like, you can just Like, Ally and I didn’t work for the same company, and we used to be nomads together. We would work a lot at the same cafe. Yeah. and it, like, we we didn’t work for the same company. I didn’t actually work physically with many people from my actual company because it was automatic. People were all around the world. but I often did have, like, friends that I would, like, get lunch with and then go do some of my own work or different people I could, you know, being in a cafe and you’re around other humans or you I used to work at the library a lot. Or and like, or you you I’m in a part. I lead a young, young, and dream group. And so in the middle of the work day, I’ll close off, like, work. And then instead, I’ve been actually leading a group about people’s dreams that are completely different than work, but it’s like a social

Sharon  [00:25:14]:

Luis [00:25:14]:

Really cool.

Tamara [00:25:15]:

energizer throughout the day. And so I think that’s also, like, there’s a lot of creative ways that you can, you can start thinking about how to break some of that isolation and it does necessarily mean that, you know, your head of HR has to tell you how to do that.

Luis [00:25:29]:

Yeah. Yeah. I know. No. It’s

Sharon  [00:25:31]:

it’s tough. finding a great developer that is not only a magician with code, but also integrates into your company culture. And while international hiring gives you access to so much more talent, often at a lower salary. It also comes with a massive pool of not so great candidates which you must filter through. That’s why at distant job, we get to know you on a personal level and then go find similar companies internationally where we solicit their career driven focused senior workers. And with our exceptional HR love experience, we also make sure these candidates last with you for the long run. Quality candidates, lower prices and longer retention sounds way too good to be true. I know. But as the 1st remote recruitment agency, being around for more than 2 decades, not only we have the experience to do it, we guarantee to deliver these people within 3 So reach out to us at to learn about our guarantee, about our HR love experience, and how we can build you an amazing culturally fit digital team. See you on the other side.

Luis [00:26:37]:

Again, you know, bringing on my my gaming background. there’s problem that I call the NPC problem, right? An NPC is game lingo for non playable character, right? It’s — Oh, yeah.

Tamara [00:26:49]:

I’ve heard this. Yeah. Yeah.

Luis [00:26:50]:

So so it’s basically the the computer guy or or or girl, right, that exists in the world that that serves as a vending machine, you know, to give you quests, give you tasks to do, and then, you know, do a ultra Right? It looks like a player, but it’s actually just controlled by the computer. Right. And and this happens a lot. I see in remote teams. in remote work, especially, you know, people that don’t take a a conscious approach to to remote work, that you do it long enough and your colleagues start becoming you you start automatically almost treating your colleagues as MPCs, right, if if there’s not some, you know, I don’t know, I guess, minimum effective dose of human interaction, if you just start showing a, you know, to, okay, you know, you know, a a a this this is the time of the day where you give me those documents and then, you know, I do some with them and I give them to the other, you know, to the other person or representing the teammate. It said you have if the if your volume of interactions If a a large part of your volume of interactions, just things like that, right, then you automatically start seeing that colleague, right, not as another human in the other side of the screen, but kind of like, you know, an AI almost. Right?

Tamara [00:28:11]:

Yeah. Or like an avatar, like, you see their little black image. Right? Yeah.

Luis [00:28:15]:

Exactly. Exact exactly. So I I usually try to tell, you know, people that, you know, remember that there’s a human. There not just a a Slack image. It’s not like just a a Slack picture, but, I, you know, it’s I find that we we tend to default. I don’t know if you agree with that, but think that we tend to default to starting to see people as NPCs unless there’s some unless we actually take the initiative to interact them in a more min with them in a more mining mindful way.

Tamara [00:28:46]:

Yeah. So the the structure I usually think that works well in remote is so in our book, we talk a little bit about, like, a relationship kickoff versus, You always have project kickoff at work, but you don’t think about, like, a relationship 1 of, like, what do you value? What are you motivated by at work? Like, what are you hoping to get done on project, like, having that over ideally, you know, it can be zoom. It could be in person at a retreat or if you actually live in the same city with somebody, but, like, having that initial connection. That’s like a one on one conversation, I think, can be very helpful to remember that the person is a human. You can see their background. You know a little bit more about them. We also, you know, suggest this concept called, like, a user guide where you start, like, understanding, like, you know, you can have a one pager of, like, just to learn more about, like, the person and, like, how they work and all that. So I I I think those kinds of things are important, and there are things that I think are better even though a lot of remote work is kind of like they’re very pro and I’m pro asynchronous work and pro, you know, some text based stuff and being not in meetings all the time. I think there is a lot of value still in having kind of one on one connection or, like, team connection. And, it serves more the SF relationship building for trust. I also think you could have used lots of, like, little, things that are human, like, just do you put, like, emojis? Do you, like, if you just even look again, like, Facebook or Instagram or TikTok, those all feel very human even though, you know, you’re there, you know, you may be following people you’ve never met. And it could be kind of, you know, have some aspects of it MPC, but, you know, you can infuse lots of, you know, little bits of humanity of just if you’re doing a team stand up once a week, you start with, like, a little fun game for the light for 5 or 10 minutes, or you can do, you know, you can put stuff in slack that’s fun. Like, we don’t, you know, we don’t have to remove our humanity in the professional

Sharon  [00:30:46]:

Tamara [00:30:46]:

Yeah. — at every moment. You can still have, like, fun throughout the workday, to make sure that you’re not treating people just as kind of a robot. yeah,

Luis [00:30:57]:

Yeah. Do do I feel that the difference is that in social networks, right? The the ball is on the other side, right? In in in social people go to a social network to to share, right, you know, the their lives and part of them. And I find that people, for some reason, don’t so inclined, you know, to do that in work. Perhaps they they feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they, yeah, I don’t know. There could be a variety, a variety of reasons but it it does seem to that it it does all the all the advice, right, in this area, you know, usually, said by, you know, people like us talking about remote work, you usually gives the initiative to each employee to find out more, you know, about their colleagues instead of saying, you know, a a everyone should share a little bit more perhaps be a little more vulnerable. Right? So I think that maybe there’s a a bit of a shift, right, that that that’s needed there. But, yeah, but, yeah, that’s a great That’s actually a great point.

Tamara [00:31:57]:

Yeah. And thinking about, like, who if you’re I think, in remote work, everybody becomes a leader or manager in different ways.

Luis [00:32:04]:


Tamara [00:32:04]:

But I think also it’s really important for leaders in the organization to, like, mirror the behavior that they want from employees. So, like, if you’re Yeah. If your feeder just naturally shares a little bit more that’s personal or, like, you know, like, if they’re I don’t know if like, whatever they’re doing and if that’s helping to create something that feels more human in the organization, that’ll trickle down. So I really think leaders need to model behavior that they’re wanting to see from other people. And there’s lots of ways you can be just a little bit more vulnerable, a little bit more human even if you’re remote.

Luis [00:32:42]:

Yeah. Oh, well, that’s yeah. that that’s true. So you do have a background in, what what was it? You you did have, a background in psycho analysis. So tell me a bit how that has shaped your perspective, right, in in in these topics.

Tamara [00:33:02]:

Yeah. so I am a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Psycho Analysis. I guess, you know, it shapes a lot of my thoughts. I I tend to I tend to think that work, a lot of time, it’s not actually about the work. And so for better, for worse. So I actually think being a little bit more of that NPC is not necessarily a bad thing because it does make things a little bit more about the outcome in what you’re trying to achieve. I think sometimes you can be in a place where so much of it is actually not about that. And I do think we bring into work a lot of, our own family dynamics. So whatever role you play in your family or whatever role you play in your relationship at home, I think we bring in a lot of that it can be positive. It can be negative. It can be baggage. It it just is. It is. Like, I don’t I try not to think of, like, the human experience as being good or bad. It’s just paradoxical. And, yeah, so if you were you you just you just play out a lot of these things in the workplace. And so I think within teens, you’re seeing actually a lot of, like, siblings competing with each other, and the manager ends up playing kind of a weird — parent role sometimes. And I don’t I don’t I think with psychoanalysis, a lot of it is just awareness. And so the more you can be aware of the dynamics that are going on, the more important that can be. I also think with my with psycho analysis, I’ve also just realized I there’s just yeah. The we’re just it’s a company as a group of people. And so there’s just stuff going on at all moments of, like, people may there’s topics that they don’t wanna talk about. What people say is true may not be true. what is conscious is not always the only thing that’s around. There’s a lot of stuff that’s still in our unconscious that we’re unaware of. there’s true self false there’s just, like, tons of stuff, but it’s because it’s made up of humans. And actually, there’s been a couple studies. So I’ll get now into something that’s a little bit more concrete. But, first of all, like, they say that, you know, a manager has just as much power to shift your mental health as we’re spouse, Like, they actually are or and, like, and more so than actually your therapist or your doctor. And so I don’t think we think about how important like, managers are playing a huge role in everybody’s psyche at work. And so, like, I think having some training on, like, emotional intelligence or how to deal with conflict, how to deal with all that is important. And, like, as one of the only non therapists in my fellowship for psychoanalysis, The number 2 thing that people come in with is work after kind of their marital relationships and maybe their relationships with their child. And so It it it is something that I think is not really addressed. And, like, we pretend in a work world that we’re all rational, like, oh, I’m making this decision because it’s the best decision or, you know, this is the professional thing to do, but in reality, like, actually, there’s a lot of other stuff that we’re totally unaware of that actually playing those decisions. And we don’t want to admit that we’re actually, like, very irrational creatures. And we’re not irrational. We’re emotional creatures and things that may seem irrational actually usually has kind of a history of, like, it’s not necessarily rational for this moment in this situation. But we’re being triggered in some way of something that’s happened before, and it could be a past work experience, a past team experience, a past manager experience, a friendship, a family member, like, all of those things are affecting our world of what we feel is safe and safe and what we feel is scary and where we feel we can thrive.

Luis [00:37:02]:

Yeah. No. That that makes a lot of sense and that there are a couple of things I’m I’m trying to make notes because I want to touch in a couple of points that you mentioned, but so first of all, I I I do think that we as a society in general and remote work probably helps solve this to some extent, but it will take time. I I think that we’ve conflated ourselves and our personality too much with our work. Right? It’s become a huge part of our identity and, you know, it it’s good that work is some part of your identity because you’re you know, hopefully you’ll enjoy what you’re doing, and you’ll be be you you you’ll be proud of it, right, and, you know, seek to seek to become better in that side or so, but it’s perhaps, you know, I I think that the balances would be skewed for for most people. And I I definitely saw that in my own self in the past, and I I’ve tried to shift a little bit, you know, away from that. Right? it’s, I think that most people should understand that it’s fine for work to just be work. Right? You know, it it’s it’s something that you do for a variety of reasons, right? You know, you you hopefully you’re doing work, not just to put food on the table, No. You know, it’s actually fine if you’re doing that. I don’t see those people. Right. I don’t judge those people. That’s perfectly fine. but, you know, hopefully just for yourself, you’re doing it because you have some higher purpose, but then, you know, it it’s also good that you finish your work and there’s a variety of other things, right, that that go into your identity. That feels healthier and I don’t know where the skewness started, where it started to skew, but I suspect it has a bit to do with what you touched briefly on before, you know, about the way we are our education goes. the way our education, our school education is struck structured.

Tamara [00:39:03]:

Yes. There I yeah. This is interesting. I have several different thoughts on this.

Luis [00:39:07]:


Tamara [00:39:07]:

So I think one is We so in the first half of your life, you’re often developing kind of your ego or, like, how to work in the world and in society. And so Yeah. If you’re in the world and you’re being noticed that, like, your career ends up to be something that’s being pushed a lot on, like, what people talk about or how they identify, and you’re gonna naturally need to build that up as a part of your ego. And actually, there’s a lot of breaking of that around midlife where, you know, things that you’ve been building the first half of your life, you realize that actually some of those might be false identities or they might not be have as much purpose or you may have achieved things and you’re like, cool. I thought like the second I became like, you know, had this degree or had this job title. I’d be really happy or this house. and then you realize, oh, you know, actually, it it doesn’t necessarily lead to what I expected. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually a very normal part of human you almost have to have something built up to then have it kind of crumble apart and then you build again. So you see that in a lot of religious traditions. Like, in Hinduism, you have Shiva, the the god that is both the creator and the destroyer. but, you know, I think, like, the question, especially in the US, they said, like, to kids? Like, what do you wanna be when you grow up? And that’s, like, a very common question. And by that, you’re usually that question is, like, what do you wanna be when you grow up? It’s it’s usually the answer that an adult is looking for is, like, what career do you want? It’s not in a like who you want to be. Right? And so, I noticed that my nephew, he initially answered that question is if he wants to be a daddy when he grows up. That was his thing because he wants to be just like his. and now he has, like, more kind of professional things, but, like, What would it look like if we said, like, what do you wanna be when you grow up and they’re more qualities? Right? Like, I wanna be a good friend or I want to be a person that spends time in nature, or I want to be, a good daddy like Hudson, you know, and so I just saw I I’m usually not in the middle of a lot of cultural moments at the moat, like, at I think with remote work, sometimes I’m in a lot of just, like, lived in a lot of different places. But I saw the Barbie movie, which is very big at the, like, a lot of hot pink, Margot Robbie’s in a, Ryan Gossling. I think Yeah.

Luis [00:41:31]:

yeah. — quite good. Right? I haven’t seen it myself, but but people seem to have enjoyed it. Right?

Tamara [00:41:36]:

Yeah. Especially if it’s not.

Luis [00:41:38]:

You know, it it doesn’t seem like it’s a polarizing movie as some might thought it would be. Right? Just but just seems that people globally enjoy it.

Tamara [00:41:46]:

There’s a lot of nostalgia. It’s beautiful. There’s a lot of, like, witty kind of like one liners.

Luis [00:41:53]:


Tamara [00:41:53]:

but what I noticed is also even in the shell, when they think about, like, when you think about, like, who is Barbie, there’s, like, astronaut Barbie, and there’s president Barbie, and there’s, like, this type of Barbie, but they’re, like, it’s kind of the same thing. Like, again, like, you’re thinking about people in their even like Barbie, like, all the Barbies were like, there’s a lot of professional Barbies, doctor Barbie, nurse Barbie, this type of Barbie. And, again, I think that shows into, like, how we’re being kind of like our mind.

Luis [00:42:24]:

They’re all happy. Right? And there’s yeah. So I I suppose that suppose it’s a good thing. We we didn’t get the existential dread Barbie. Right? That that was — Yeah.

Tamara [00:42:34]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But it it like, I think even that those shows that you know, the way that we’re whoever created those, right, are like humans, like adults that are, like, kind of pushing the idea of profession

Sharon  [00:42:48]:

Tamara [00:42:48]:

on to children. And I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, but again, it shows like that’s a really important part of our culture. And so, I I I think, you know, everything goes. Everything goes back and forth. And so, like, I think sometimes you have, like, a push for professionalism so that, you know, coincides a lot with the feminist movement of wanting to have role models so, like, women can see that they can be professional when that was something that wasn’t really, you know, allowed in most places of the world, you know, a 100 years ago. So, like, it serves a huge purpose. to show that, like, you know, women can be in all these roles, but also, like, you can, you you can also have that moment where you’re like, actually, I’m so much more than the And I think those are fun. Like, everything’s a push and pull. And so with professionalism, a job is a part of your identity, and it might not be all of your identity. And at some moments in your life, you may, like, completely identify with, like, being a lawyer or completely identify with being a teacher, and then you may get very burned out. And then you completely identify with, like, I don’t know, being a person that likes to watch Netflix and that might be your, like, main enjoyment. And I don’t think there’s any thing wrong with that. I actually think it’s very normal based on kind of the flow of life.

Luis [00:43:59]:

Yeah. The part I feel is that in in good conditions. Right? Because it’s very easy also for remote work. When you’re doing remote work, when you’re working remotely, it it it could happen that work just takes over your life. You know, that’s an interesting thing to explore as well, and I’ve definitely seen that happen, and it becomes ugly. but there’s also and maybe this has to do with the particular kind of personality or maybe it’s, you know, the kind of setup you have or your company, but what I’ve seen that many people are are also actually able to closed their laptop and they closed their laptop and work ended. And because they don’t have that physical stimulus, right, of being, you know, every day in a specific location surrounded by specific people all around that term of their work. they actually close their lap up and and they say, oh, you know, why now? Right? And and and there’s this disconnect that that they they don’t tank can identify with work, right, not necessarily as as often. And, well, I I think that’s a good thing, actually. I think that’s a strength of remote work, except when you get pulled to the dark side, and you have no limits and your managers and leaders have no limits. And then you’re just perpetually stuck in home in in in every, you know, division of of of your house. Right? That that is just that is a a special kind of hell.

Tamara [00:45:30]:

Yeah. I think I think it’s interesting what you’re mentioning. It’s like some people can be really addictive. essentially is what you’re saying. And so with all of those, I think they require a bit of a double click of, like, what behaviors are you showing and, like, what is the root of those? And so, I guess, you know, some psychologists believe that you know, you can be addicted to work in a similar way that you can be addicted to alcohol or drugs. And so, you know, if somebody can’t close off, of their laptop. There could be aspect that’s of addiction. there could also be an aspect of avoidance. Like, you have, I think within work work, You do have this kind of, like, illusion of control that sometimes you don’t feel like you have in the rest of your life. Like, you can accomplish attack and you can manage a person or you get to create your own little world within work, and that can be

Sharon  [00:46:20]:

Luis [00:46:20]:


Sharon  [00:46:21]:

Tamara [00:46:21]:

something that, you know, people really like where they may be avoiding things in the real world that can actually feel like they have a lot less control. you know, some of this, I think there’s a lot of value in setting boundaries. We talk about that a lot in our book like

Sharon  [00:46:34]:

Luis [00:46:34]:


Sharon  [00:46:35]:

Tamara [00:46:35]:

because you don’t have those, like, keys around you of, like, work’s done. Everybody’s heading out for the day. commute starts at 5, like, because you don’t have those queues, you have to set that boundary yourself. And so we often say, like, try to come up with some type of, like, routine that basically it’s not a commute, but you may wanna go for a walk around your neighborhood that signifies it’s the end of the day or play, like, a certain song or we we interviewed a woman that, like, plays the piano as her transition. And so to have some type of ritual that shows in your brain, like, okay, I’m done with work for the day. but I also think, you know, with remote work, some of it can be like, I know that a lot of when I couldn’t turn off of work, it was usually because of some type of anxiety that, like, It’s like that I needed to be on top of something, and I needed to prevent certain things from conflicts or solve different conflicts within the organization. And so, like, a lot of that came from my own personal anxiety and also a little bit my own neuroticism. So there is a lot of this year, like, the 5 personality types that kind of like play into, like, how easy you can shut off of work. If I was very low on neuroticism, I bet I could shut off a lot easier. And so there’s so many way reasons why you might not be able to shut off of work. That’s why I think it’s a really interesting question because so much you could spend hours and hours just discussing your feelings and what arises and what why you’re being triggered and, like, what you might be avoiding. And I think you know, by just having that conversation and having a little bit more awareness of your behaviors is just super

Sharon  [00:48:21]:

Tamara [00:48:21]:

Yeah. — important. And actually, if you don’t if you hold it nonjudge mentally, you know, it just tells you a lot about yourself and what you value and what you’re scared of and, that makes you like a a more full per and so, yeah, I think there’s so much when we can can’t shut off of work and what are the dynamics at play.

Luis [00:48:40]:

Yeah. the conversation about triggers, I think, is interest thing. Right? The the there’s something that I called, the poke culture, right, which is you mentioned, you mentioned a while ago, right, that that the manager can affect your your mood, your mental state as much as your significant dollar. Right? And that’s So why I call it a poke culture is when your manager, it just writes on slack. Let’s say, hey. Right? Doesn’t need to be it’s just a, hey. Right? It it’s just a because, you know, they expect, you know, they want, obviously, they’re the manager thing what the manager is thinking is, hey. I want to initiate the conversation. I have something to ask this person. Right? so let me, you know, be polite and start with with a But because communication tends to be asynchronous, then the manager goes away and does something else, and that, hey, sits there. And then, you know, the the employee looks at that day and replies back, hey, and then there’s no reply. And then the employee is stewing, wondering Am I am I in trouble? Is is is a lot of work going to be Palestine? It’s the the not knowing. Right? It was this I I I I don’t remember if it’s which writer it was. Perhaps it was Emingway, but that might be, you know, be getting this wrong. It was a famous writer that said that, you know, I I I’ve, you know, I I’ve, I’ve talked about something. I’ve had a great deal of problems, right, in in my life. fortunately, most of them never actually happened. Right? They were just right? I faced I suffered a great deal from from, you know, from problems in my life. Fortunately, most of them never actually happened. Right? And and I think that’s that’s something to be mindful of. is that the a big part of the problem with the synchronous communication is that if you don’t get right to the point, then the other party starts imagining. And we always tend to see a mouse’s shadow as a dragon, right, That’s that’s just in our nature. obviously, it will value with how high neuroticism you have, but I think that everyone has a little bit of Right? We don’t usually it’s not just in our nature, right, to to see something and think, oh, it’s probably nothing. Right? So that that’s not No. people act like that. So one thing that usually advise people to say is, don’t just say, hey. Right? If you’re in a sync, just write the whole. You can start it with, hey. Right? Be polite. Of course. I’m not saying to be cold and unpolite. Right? But but go straight to the point and say, hey. I I I’d like to talk about this and that when you have the time. Right? That that makes more sense to me, and it seems a lot more psychologically healthy.

Tamara [00:51:34]:

Yeah. Well, I love that you’re calling the poke culture. I think sorry. I’m gonna probably do that, but I’ll give you

Sharon  [00:51:39]:

Luis [00:51:39]:

Go ahead. I

Tamara [00:51:40]:

think that’s really, clever. but I think there’s, again, with a poke.

Luis [00:51:45]:


Tamara [00:51:45]:

The reason, like, that hay, I’m sure if the hay was coming from If it just said, hey, dot to dot, and it was just like, a a colleague around the company that necessarily didn’t have influence over you. you probably wouldn’t react the same as it being your manager. and so some of that, like, hey, dot dot dot, I know when I experience a trigger, I usually that dot, dot, dot, the reason why I’m getting triggered is because I probably have had a negative experience where that’s happened before. Right? And so, I started my career management consulting, which meant I easily worked 60 or 70 hours a week, and then I moved into private equity where, like, we were mandated work 80 hours a week. So it was just like this always on culture. And so, like, part of my job was to be always on call in case the, like, managing partner or managing director pinged me. And so when I get those triggers, like, when I get a a hey dot dot dot, I’m not always, like, thinking in that moment. Instead, I’m, like, going back in time thinking, what’s the worst thing that’s ever happened when somebody a manager or somebody in authority told me, hey, dot, dot, dot, and, like, what You know, what happened is, like, I would be out with friends and I would get, like, piled on a bunch of work or a fire drill and then have to, like, you know, upset the person on WEX saying like, oh, I can’t now focus on my friendships or my relationships. I’m now in this work mode. I’m very scared about, like, how much work I’m gonna have and how much time I’ll have to do it in if I’m gonna perform correctly or if I’m in trouble for something. And so there’s a reason that, hey, dot, dot, dot, it’s bringing in servicing a lot of those memories. And as humans, you know, we don’t we often think Like, there is something about, like, how our memory holds more of this kind of negative experiences because we try to be more vigilant in the future. we don’t think about how many times have we gotten a, hey, DACA dot dot, and nothing happens. Like, that is not something that we really think about. We think about, like, that time that we got a negative consequence from it. but I think, you know, some things I think it’s a great thing of just, like, don’t like, that’s a behavior that you can just quickly change. And also, like, I think creating expectations with your manager of, you know, what are the expectations for how quickly you need to get back to a ping? like, what what are the expectations for, completing work and setting deliverables. Right? So you’re not doing all those fire drills or minute. Like, I need this from you immediately, or I need you to join this call immediately. You’re not having that if everybody’s planning better in ahead because you know, for the most part, remote workers are not ER doctors, you know. It’s like sometimes there might be every once in a while, they’ll be fire drill. There might be an emergency. But at that point, maybe, like, the person should be calling you, right, and it’s actually a different signal. But during a a normal work week, where you all have, like, typical jobs and functions. You shouldn’t be having a

Sharon  [00:54:49]:


Tamara [00:54:49]:

fire drills. That actually usually means you’re doing planning or it’s coming down in a weird way. And that actually is a sign of a culture that needs some help.

Luis [00:54:59]:

Oh, no. Yeah. Abs so that’s something that I always tell whenever someone joins my my marketing team. Right. What I usually tell say is that, hey. We’re not saving lives here. We’re a marketing team for a recruitment agency. You know, whatever work I I send your way, you know, you can usually I I don’t expect it in in in less than 24 hours. Right? usually more. That it’s absolutely fine. Even a reply. Right? No one is going to die if you wait if you only reply to my to my Slack message tomorrow. So so definitely, you know, and and obviously, you know, your mileage may vary. if you work in customer support, right, or if you have a if your team is customer support, then, you know, you do need some more similarity to the proceedings. It’s you know, every case is a different is a different situation. But but, yeah, totally hear you. Right? People should know what to expect. What does the expected response time. And speaking of time, you know, I’m I I am trying to be mindful, right, of your time. We we were I I I was so entertained by the conversation that I didn’t know this is the time going by. So, I I do want to perhaps close on a on a more personal note. So, I I’ve heard, correct me if update me if that’s not the case anymore, that that you’re building a library in your apartment, I I know. Oh, obviously.

Tamara [00:56:31]:

Oh, that is lovely. This is one of, is that the

Luis [00:56:36]:

the 4 hour chef? Right?

Tamara [00:56:39]:

oh, no. I don’t know if the 4 hour shop — No.

Luis [00:56:41]:

Oh, the just the cover seems similar. Oh, and and uh-oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Of course. your book. It’s remote work. It has the same colors. Okay. It has the same color.

Tamara [00:56:50]:

Good. Yeah. This is the book for more work.

Sharon  [00:56:53]:

Luis [00:56:53]:


Tamara [00:56:53]:

better listening. So I actually did one of 8 different shelves.

Luis [00:56:59]:


Tamara [00:57:00]:

I got deeply. So when I thought about so I put My main, I guess, persona for, you know, most of my twenties and thirties was as a traveler. I was additional nomad. I was an expat. I was a management consultant in, like, really fun locations. And then I just decided, you know, I think that I I wanted to be the exact opposite. I just wanted to stay put. I think, you know, the pandemic helped with that. And I always thought if

Sharon  [00:57:27]:

— —

Luis [00:57:27]:

hard books.

Sharon  [00:57:27]:

Tamara [00:57:27]:

I had my own, yeah, I thought, like, Once I’m more settled, like, the 2 things I wanted, I want my apartment to look like a bookstore, and I wanted, to also have, like, an art little studio. And so in my apartment, basically, it looks like a bookstore meets an art studio. And so I’ve been collecting books the last 3 or 4 years using thrift books that have great deals. And it’s basically everything I wanna read in my life, and I have different, you know, shelves. So, you know, this shelf is fiction and it’s all alphabetized, which I recently did. But over here, I have, like, all my history I really like children’s fiction. I wanna write kids books, so I have those there. I have, I’m going to the Vindy School. So I have, like, books on all the world religions, have a lot of books on art. So they’re all in different places and I have science downstairs, in quantum physics. So, like, I have I have psychology at another book shelf and then young kids stuff. But, I love I read probably 4 or 5 books a week. I I mean, I’m obsessed with reading. It’s my favorite thing to do, and I obviously wrote a book. So, but what I think is, you know, I I had spent so much time having all my books on the Kindle because I was never in a physical location, and I’m actually finding there’s something different about reading a physical book, which people used to always say. And I was like, meh. Okay. Whatever.

Luis [00:58:46]:

No. I totally get you.

Tamara [00:58:47]:

That’s that’s up. But I think actually what I noticed is because I’m such a visual person. that, I will walk around my apartment, and I’ll be in different mood. So I usually have several books going at the same time. and I can, like, like, kind of go through and be like, oh, yeah. I see this cover and it’ll stand out to me and I’ll be like, oh, this is exactly when I wanna read right this second. And there’s something about physically and visually seeing it that reminds me of both, like, what I’ve read before, but also, you know, I use My apartment a lot as a mirror of who I am. So as somebody that no longer has the same professional identity I did before, you’re kind of searching for a new like, more authentic one. And by looking at, you know, the books that I like, it really is a strong mirror of, like, who I am and what I value and what I enjoy reading and yeah, by looking around my apartment, I’m able to see a lot of aspects of myself.

Luis [00:59:40]:

Why do you think that? Because I I have a I I think I have the opposite story, actually. So why do you think that that that is because so what happened? And by the way, this this is this is a little bit hypocritical because, I I am a part time Otter, and 99% of my book sales are on Kindle. Right. But but I do agree with you. I I do think that the book experience, the physical book experience, is far superior. of the all my books are available in physical format as well, but but they’re much harder to sell for some reason. Right? People buy ebook. much more easy much more more easily. But but, yeah, I so when I when I got out, of a 7 year relationship and we, you know, we moved, I I got I got out and got my own my own place, right, I I gave my library. I had a library, you know, a bit like yours, but perhaps a little bit smaller. But, yeah, but I I love it very much, but I I gave it to my old high school. basically. And I and I went, you know, with thousands of books on on Kindle, and those were the dark cages for me, Tamara. Right? The the those were the dark reading ages. I had, like, a thousand books on my Kindle, and I think that I read maybe 10. and, you know, only now I’m starting to rebuild my library and I read a lot more and I take a lot more pleasure in in reading. So there’s definitely something about the the tactile feeling. And also, I don’t know about you, but I’m a scribbler. Right? I like to make even in fiction. right, if I like a quote or a passage or something like that, I just like you to underline it and make a little note in the corner of the page, right, so I can refer to that layer or or or something like that. And, you know, nine times out of 10, I will never go back and read my scribbling or or remember my underline, but I just like the fact that it’s there and that that that it’s available. Right? So so and and, obviously, I know that that I can note and underline things in my Kindle, but it’s like, yeah. I do it, and then it’s not there. Right? It it it just doesn’t feel like tackle. Right?

Tamara [01:01:49]:

Yeah. Yeah. I also had a moment where I did give up some books that I had a couple of moves before. And that’s when I was like, I’m not gonna buy physical books again. I’m only doing the Kindle because of I can never decide where I wanna live and yeah. Now I’ve gone back to buying books, but I’m also a scribbler. as well. And so I understand that. I also read very differently now that I write. I don’t know if that has changed. Like, I think a lot of my underlying I’m often seeing kind of the techniques that authors use and, like, how they’re, like, presenting information. So there’s I think I’m subtly learning like, how writing works.

Luis [01:02:27]:

Yeah. But it also makes it a bit harder to to enjoy fiction, doesn’t it? I hear it. You know, I I find myself. playing, you know, playing backseat editor when when I’m reading the book, which is not the best have it. But, anyway, you know, before we close and I, you know, I I ask you to tell people where to find you. I just wanted to ask, why is Apart from your own book, obviously, what book or books do you gift the most?

Tamara [01:02:59]:

That is a good question. what I recommend the most is I really like, Eric Frome. He was a psychologist in the 2nd wave of psychology and, the 19 fifties. So I really just like his perspective on the world, and I think specifically has a lot of thoughts on just as our our I think they were he was, like, on the early end of,

Luis [01:03:30]:


Tamara [01:03:30]:

know, seeing a lot of the change that we’re — experiencing now. Life was just speeding up and we were, you know, he’s talking a lot about feeling kind of like you become an object within kind of our consumeristic world. And so I think he has a lot of interesting philosophical thoughts.

Luis [01:03:47]:

Yeah. He he he felt like my my NPC theory, I guess.

Tamara [01:03:52]:

Yeah. He would be really interested in that. He yeah. Yeah. I’m actually, like, thinking of stuff that he said that he would definitely be interested in that. so that’s probably somebody I really like to specifically recommend things based on what I think somebody would like. I guess, a fiction writer I’ve been, like, obsessed with lately is Iris Murdoch. she was kind of in England and she wrote between maybe, like,

Sharon  [01:04:18]:

1950 1980,

Tamara [01:04:20]:

but, like, I’m I’ve been, like, really obsessed with her books at the moment. I been reading reading through. So Walden, which I think is actually a good hat tip to, I think, the self reliance movement has a lot to do with the remote work movement. but, yeah, yeah, reading is such a joy and such a pleasure. And I often what I’ve noticed is sometimes as for kids’ books, like, you’ll often see adult writers that actually did a kids’ book. So, for example, I love James Baldwin, and he actually has a children’s book. So sometimes I gift, like, even adults just really pretty children’s books that might be from, an adult Yeah. Like, Nathan Hawthorne actually has, like, a whole book of, Greek myths that are really lovely. And so That’s another thing I like to do is find a children’s book with something that might still resonate, because they’re both beautiful from a art perspective, but usually messy for children, you know, are distill but they have some type of truth. I really love my favorite children’s book as The Valvatin Rabbit, which I think has a lot to do with their journey. Life as an adult.

Luis [01:05:30]:

I I find that, I find that people underrate children’s books, right, as adults, you know, I think that adults should read more children’s books.

Tamara [01:05:43]:

Yeah. Definitely. I think

Luis [01:05:44]:

we we I think we agree on that. Okay. So Look, it was lovely having you. Thank you so much for the conversation. We you know, definitely, I think we could do this for now, for now, for next hour, you know, maybe possibly, you know, sometime sometime in person. Right? but, but but, yeah, I was lovely having you. Thank you so much for being here, and I I would like you to tell our listeners where can they continue the conversation with you, where can they find you and find out what you’re up to?

Tamara [01:06:15]:

Yeah. So I guess first of all, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m Tamara Sanderson, and you’ll see a little banner on there about remote work. So that would be the first place you can find me. I would love for people to check out our book, and so that is available worldwide. It’s distributed through Penguin Random House and, We have a great, publisher, Barrett Kohler, but you can find that on Amazon or Barnes Nobles or whatever your, like, kind of local way of getting books so it’s called remote works, managing for freedom, flexibility, and focus. And it is by myself and my co writer, Ally Green, In the forward, it’s written by Matt Mullenweg. And so he’s the founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automatic. and so if there’s any WordPress people out there, make sure to check out. we also have a website called, which you can always find out there, but I love having conversations with people. So Yeah. Find me on LinkedIn. Send me a message. I would love to know how you’re getting along with remote work. Even if you say, I think this is the worst thing that’s ever happened. Tell me. I think it’s an interesting conversation because, I don’t think there’s one way to do remote work, and I don’t think there’s one way to do work. think there’s lots and lots of ways and lots and lots of people and, it’s important to kind of think through, all kinds of different ways of operating.

Luis [01:07:33]:

Alright. Yeah. Couldn’t have said it better. Right? I I this is a whole, other can of worms and a whole new con conversation, but but, I I do think that people expect people often expect, you know, me as the guy who’s, recorded 200 episodes of a remote podcast. By the way, congratulations on being

Sharon  [01:07:52]:


Luis [01:07:53]:

Right? That’s a good number. people expect me to be all, you know, all up in arms about everyone should work remotely. And I like Nah. I’m pretty sure that that it’s about 50%. It’s probably a pretty even distribution. It’s probably a gosh on distribution. right, of people who thrive in the workplace versus people who who thrive in remote words. So it doesn’t make sense to me. that that doesn’t make sense to me that remote work is automatically better for everyone, right, as much as it’s right for me. So so, yeah, that’s think that’s a good place to to end up, and thank you for for that for sharing.

Tamara [01:08:31]:

Okay. Great. Thanks.

Luis [01:08:33]:

See you. It was a absolute pleasure having you again. thank you much for being here and thank you for listening to the distant job podcast. I was your host, Luis, and see you next week.

Tamara [01:08:44]:

Great. Bye.

In this milestone 200th episode, Tamara Sanderson joined us to share valuable insights on the power of building relationships in remote work. She emphasizes the importance of a relationship kickoff, using user guides, and incorporating small human elements to maintain a sense of humanity in the virtual workplace. 

Tamara also delves into her own experiences as a remote worker and raises interesting insights about the conflation of work and identity in society. 

Key Insights:

  • Importance of building relationships
  • Incorporating small human elements in remote work
  • Establishing a healthier work-life balance
  • Ego development and societal identity
  • The role of emotional intelligence and conflict resolution training for managers
  • Engaging in social activities during the workday

Book Recommendations:

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