Making Strategic Decisions on Remote Work with Gustavo Razzetti

Making Strategic Decisions on Remote Work with Gustavo Razzetti


Sean: Hey, guys. What’s happening? Sean here, your host, aka Mr. CEO at 22. And for today, we have a special guest. His name is Gustavo Rosetti, and we are so excited to have him because he wrote the book Remote, Not Distant, it is a best-selling book on Amazon. Gustavo, thank you so much for being here on the show today.

Gustavo: My pleasure, Sean. Thank you for hosting me. And I think that this is I mean, you’re setting up the environment. We are going through a huge transition, so we need to discuss what’s going to happen next.

Sean: Yes. And I wonder, what was your journey like from where you were before? And I assume that you had work experience working under a leader, working within a company too. What led you to start writing this book?

Gustavo: Yeah. And one thing I mentioned in the book is that I was in the camp of, Hey, we need to be together. We need to work at the office. And I always tend to see remote workers more like a perk or maybe more an exception than the rule. And I know that many companies have been working remotely for many years.

If you take a global team, they cannot work in the same place because they’re based in different locations and they were able to do the work. When the pandemic hit, it disrupted the world and disrupted my business practice as well as a consultant. Most of the things that we do, workshops, sessions, and talks were in person, and normally had to shift that approach.

But also when doing that in terms of facilitating courses and programs and consulting gigs remotely, not only learn a lot but help a lot of my clients to adapt at the very beginning of the pandemic to this new reality. So I started realizing we can work. I think this is not just a disruption, but an acceleration of things that were already in place.

But most importantly, I realized that there’s a lot of data to support this, that people could be not only as productive but even more productive working in a more flexible environment. So embarking right in the book, I reached out to a lot of people, from authors to consultants to executives from large and small firms across the world, to try to understand which people were cracking it and which people were suffering. And that’s why I started writing the book.

Sean: Yeah, Yeah. And so I want to get a little bit into your book. The book is remote, not distant. Why did you title it that way? What is it about remote work and the word distant that is so familiar that you decided to give your book that title?

Gustavo: I think it was a play on words rather than say, Hey, the guide for hybrid work or whatever. But in the end, there’s a belief that because you don’t get to see your colleagues all the time, then the culture is going to suffer, and people are going to feel distant.

My point is, first of all, there’s a lot of research, even pre-pandemic, that showed that people within an office, never connected with people that were more than whatever, 60, 50ft from them because we are human beings.

So we are comfortable. So we only interact with people that are close to us. So the idea that people created connections in an office, it’s debunked. There are a lot of studies that show that there is not a direct correlation between being causation, between being in the office and having a strong culture.

Some companies have been working remotely for ages that have strong cultures. Their companies have worked in the office and have strong cultures, and their companies have worked in the office that have not strong cultures. So the office is just one element. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have it.

I’m saying don’t think that because you have an office or people in the same place, they’re going to have a strong culture. I use an example that some people don’t take in a good way, which imagines a couple, a married couple that has been living for maybe 20 years together that doesn’t guarantee that proximity, that they like each other, that they love each other. There’s a good relationship.

Sean: And Gustavo, who are the individuals that you imagine that your book would help the most?

Gustavo: I think that book is helping based on the feedback. I’m getting a lot of team members. It’s helping team leaders, mostly because team leaders are still struggling with what to do. And it’s not easy to rethink the role of the leader and especially how to lead and design culture in a hybrid work.

So I think that when it comes to team members and team leaders, those are the most affected and benefited kind of audiences. I also heard that lots of facilitators, consultants, and coaches are also using it because my book is full of lots of activities, tools, you know, just about the philosophy of work. But it has a lot of very practical things that people can implement right away. So they are also adopting those.

Sean: Got it. So what do you think about this wave of events happening? One of the biggest things that have taken over the media recently is Twitter. And as we all know, Twitter has been bought by Elon Musk. He’s asking a lot of employees to come back or get out of the bus. What do you think about that?

Gustavo: Think that’s wrong in many cases for many reasons, because first of all, you need it in this challenging culture, you need to design your culture and how you work with your employees. So it’s not doing what the employees want. But also it’s not the leader.

I’m the leader. I do whatever I want because it’s weird that someone is taking care of a business for the first time. You fire half of the workforce without understanding what’s going on, and he made a lot of decisions beyond flexible work.

And now he’s asking people, hey, come back, or who’s going to help me with this? So I think that arrogance is never a good leadership trait. And he’s proving that, yeah, having money is one thing, but being a good leader is a different one. So I think that Twitter operated well with a very flexible kind of workforce.

There are many companies like, for example, Spotify and Airbnb that follow the policy to remind the audience Twitter was one of the first companies in early 2020, 2020 that they tell people, whenever they’re able to come back, you can choose to work from anywhere if you want to stay working from home.

So they were the first to offer a fully flexible policy. Spotify and Airbnb follow through and all the business statistics from those two companies show that engagement is going up, business is going up, retention is going down, and the retention of employees leaving the company and the time to hire new employees have reduced.

So there are a lot of business metrics that show that businesses have embraced the flexibility of a hybrid environment. They’re doing much better. So of course, every company is different. I think that the case of Elon Musk is more showing, Hey, I think that you should be there, so be there. And without data, it’s more of a personal preference. And this is happening with lots of leaders. They are pushing people to make choices based on what they as leaders want versus analyzing if that’s the right move for their business.

Sean: Amazing. Thank you so much, Gustavo. And if there’s any advice that you could give struggling business owners struggling to maybe ask their people to get back to a face-to-face office setup, what is your advice to them?

Gustavo: My advice is don’t make strategic decisions without involving your people. I mean, Apple, and Google, tried to impose something and it became a mess and then they had to adjust. So save that time and save the PR nightmare and involve your people.

And once again, involving the people doesn’t mean that that’s going to be a democracy and people are going to vote. It’s about getting insights. People see things that leaders fail to see because they are in different positions.

And also that’s why you’re paying them a lot of money because they’re smart people. So use them as a portion of food for thought and don’t make those decisions lightly. And most importantly, whatever decision you make, experiment, run a couple of experiments, see what works, and adopt, but also be open to adjusting your behavior from time to time.

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