This is interesting, and might help those of us who have been content strategists for a long time finally settle on…something. Finding work has been difficult since marketers have taken over the job title to make it into something that most of us in tech comm aren’t. The explanation in this makes sense, and perhaps going forward in job searches, I can search under “content designer”, with the hopes that those who are putting out the job postings aren’t looking for strictly UX or visual designers (I can do those thing, but on a limited basis).
What do you think of this move by Facebook? Include your comments below.
Today, I was reading Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post about remote work, and how Facebook is realizing that a lot of people like remote work. Surprise, surprise! They acknowledge there’s some down-sides to working remote in some cases, but they want to figure out how to resolve those issues and make it a viable option for more employees (not all, mind you). You can read the entire post on Facebook, but the paragraph that caught my eye the most was this one:
This is probably overdue. Over the past few decades, economic growth in the US has been quite concentrated, with major companies often hiring in a handful metropolitan areas. That means we’ve been missing out on a lot of talented people just because they happen to live outside a major hub. Creating opportunities beyond these cities could also be part of the economic recovery, especially if more companies hire remotely as well.
No kidding, Zuckerberg! This has put a lot of talented people out of reach of you and other companies with the same practice. You’re just figuring this out now?
It also made me think about where we might be today if remote work hadn’t been disrupted several years ago. When was that? It was when Marissa Mayer of Yahoo ordered all positions had to be connected to an office, and there was no remote work for Yahoo anymore. That set a BAD precedence that other tech leaders decided to follow. I said that when it happened back in 2013, and it still applies now. That move set back remote work in the tech world at least a decade or so, and it’s taken a pandemic to force the issue now.
I’m glad to see Facebook and Twitter and other big tech companies start to realize and embrace that remote work is viable. Yes, there are still some issues to work out, especially for those who are not used to being without a physical office dynamic. But for those of us who have been almost begging for more remote opportunities, especially those in tech comm where being in person isn’t always a necessity all the time, it will hopefully expand our job opportunities so that technical communicators can finally work in places where we know we can without having to relocate if we don’t need to. (I’m one of those people who need to stay put because of services related to my son’s special ed education.) Hopefully these changes that are happening will be the new precedence that will have many more companies–even those outside of tech–realize that remote work IS viable for so many of us, and that it should be supported and embraced in order to attract the best talent out there. It doesn’t have to be for everyone, but those who prefer that work should have more opportunities and be supported in those opportunities. Who knows? Perhaps we’d have a better environment with fewer commuters, more local community participation and support for the local economies, more affordable housing options, better interconnectivity infrastructure, and companies could save money while workers could actually find work!
Thanks to Amy Thibodeau for posting this on Facebook in the Content Strategists group.
This is a short but sweet article to help improve how to write hyperlinks in a more user-friendly manner. This is something I work on for myself, but it’s also something I try to teach content providers when I edit and post content. Much of the world is fairly digitally literate now, that if they see a hyperlink, they know it’s going to take them somewhere else. The guidance here is easy to follow, and can help provide some great perspective on how to make hyperlinks easier to use for your users.
What do you think? Are you still part of the “click here” movement? (I know I’ve been working on breaking that habit–I don’t like it!) Include your comments below.
There’s a viral video that just came out that I just love, not only because it’s funny, but it appealed to the geek in me. It’s a woman who bought a fun item for her own enjoyment, and was getting a kick out of how funny it was and how it made her laugh. What can I say? The Force was with her:
It’s a contagious video because it’s so silly, and as she said, it’s the simple joys of life that makes it worthwhile. She has so much fun with the mask, and you can’t help but laugh along with her. My husband and I were laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes.
But wait…did you catch that first part of the video? While she had not intended this to be a marketing video, this ended up being a great marketing video with great content. Where did she get that mask? She got it at a department store chain called Kohl’s. And with this video going viral as quickly as it did, Kohl’s picked up on her video and this woman’s love of Star Wars, and essentially got free advertising! Not only that, but they took it a step further:
Kohl’s was smart! They not only picked up on her mention of the store and how she was a frequent customer, but also on how much one random item at the store brought her so much joy. She had provided fantastic content that reflected well on the store! Fortunately for her, they recognized this, and did something nice by giving her all those gifts as a thank you.
Why do you think that Kohl’s did all that? As I said, they realized the value of this social content. It was all in the storytelling. People who love Star Wars items–and there are lots of them–would especially relate to this story. Even people who didn’t like Star Wars would get a good laugh from watch this woman play with her mask. Kohl’s wasn’t selling anything directly by posting these videos. (Although when I played the videos later, I did see some marketing overlays trying to sell the masks at Kohl’s did pop up, but it was still after the fact.) They did show, in showing their appreciation to the woman, that there were lots of other Star Wars things they sold as a means of indirect selling. Kohl’s showed that they appreciated the value of her sharing her good experience not only with finding her mask, but that she wasn’t discouraged because she had to return some items simply because of sizing issues, and she still found something else she liked. They showed the value of a satisfied customer, which has more value than almost any other kind of marketing or advertising. The gifts were even intended, if you think about it, as a way of keeping her as a value customer.
This is a great example of the power of social media through content and content marketing. The woman was simply sharing her experiences on video through her Facebook account, the video went viral, and as a result, she received all these gifts from the store itself to ensure that she continues to be a valued customer. Kohl’s found appropriate content from a customer that I’m sure will be helping to boost sales for a bit–at least with the Star Wars merchandise–for a while. I’m sure she never expected the attention that she’s gotten, but due to the Kohl’s gift, she extremely glad she shared it!
You never know where good content will come from. This is a great example to show that it can come from anywhere if you have the opportunity to make it or appreciate it.
What do you think of this event? Include your comments below.
I was re-reading an article I had posted on Facebook years ago, namely “More Companies Turning To Virtual Employees” found on the Huffington Post in early 2012, and saw that technical writers were among the top positions listed to be good remote positions and positions for independent contractors. Back then, I thought, “Great! Sign me up!”
Four years later upon re-reading this article, I was thinking, “Great! Sign me up!” However, I’m wondering if things have changed since that article has posted. The reason I ask is that I’ve been looking for those remote positions, and I’ll be damned if I can find one, or find one easily.
Now, keep in mind, I’ve had the opportunity to be a remote worker, and I did it for about three years. The small consulting gig I have after hours that’s an extension of that job is still done remotely. I know what it takes to be a successful remote worker.
So why is it so difficult to find these remote positions? When Marissa Meyer of Yahoo took away telecommuting privileges in 2013 (a year after the Huffington Post article), did it scare everyone else to do the same? I protested that move then, and I protest it now. I’ve seen many positions listed that could be done remotely, or mostly remotely (like an occasional visit to the office would be okay), but everyone insists that workers need to be in the office. I’m all for teamwork, yet I’ve been on several teams remotely without any problem.
I have a feeling that there are several misconceptions about remote working on the part of employers. Perceptions I have heard include:
Workers will get more done in the office workers who work remotely goof off and regard the time as their own.
Working from the office costs will be less expensive.
You can keep a closer eye on workers/micromanage when they are in the office.
There’s nothing like the social aspects of being in the office as part of a team.
Being in the office with your fellow co-workers will instill more teamwork, and more company loyalty, and more productivity. (This was an argument of Marissa Mayer.)
Rubbish, I tell you!
I have found from my own experience, and the experiences that others have told me, all these are not true. This is not to say there isn’t some truth to some of these preconceptions, but they are based on the worst in class workers instead of the best in class.
Here are the 6 reasons why employers should consider hiring more remote workers:
Remote workers actually put in more hours than office workers.
Since we don’t have to commute to the office, we often are starting work earlier and finishing work later. Good remote workers will usually have a home office so they can be removed from household distractions, and distractions are actually fewer than in an office setting. Even if we have to step away for a doctor’s appointment, pick up the kid from the bus stop, etc. we put in more quality time in those working hours. In most cases, we keep the same business hours, but are at our desk more than someone moving around the office.
Remote workers take on a good chunk of the operating costs.
Since we work from home most often, we pay for the space, electricity, heating/AC, and the internet connectivity. All the other potential costs, like a VOIP phone, network box or VPN, and a company computer would be the same as if you were at the office. In some cases, the remote worker uses a VPN connection, and it’s the cost of using their own computer or equipment being used. The employer doesn’t have to pay for the occupation of space at the office.
Good remote workers don’t need to be micromanaged.
Remote workers can keep themselves busy, and are more productive if they don’t have someone constantly looking over their shoulder. If details are important to an employer, remote workers have to deal with details to ensure that communications about projects are understood well as a result of being remote. They ask clarifying questions as needed. Just relax!
Social time isn’t going to get the work done.
Being a remote worker can be lonely sometimes, and some of the social aspects of working in an office can be missed. But thanks to social media tools, web conferencing, and good old email, being remote isn’t anti-social. Work, after all, isn’t about hanging out with your friends. Work is about getting a job done, and if you become friendly with your teammates, that’s great. I’ve seen plenty of situations where workers at the office socialize more than they actually work. You don’t have that problem with a remote worker.
Remote workers work harder to be a valuable member of the team than those in the office.
While there is some validity that face to face events help to foster teamwork, it’s not a must-have. Remote workers can feel out of the loop a little bit when there are small chats across cubicles that are missed out, but when phone meetings or web conferences are going on, remote workers will go out of their way to integrate and ensure that their contribution is at least on par with the office teammates and that the other teammates know that you are pulling your weight–sometimes more. This is especially true of global or cross-country teams that all meet remotely whether they are at the office or not. By being allowed to work independently as a remote worker, and by being allowed to work in a way that best suits that worker, this situation allows for more worker satisfaction, which can lead to more loyalty to the company, and further productivity.
Here’s a bonus for prospective employers–you don’t have to limit your search to a local commuting radius or pay for any relocation for the right remote worker.
The best person for the job might be 100, 1000, or more miles away, ready to adapt to time differences if needed, and ready to work!
Not everyone is cut out to do remote work. And yes, some jobs do require that you need to be in the office, or at least every now and then. But in this digital age when we can connect in so many ways, I don’t understand how this hasn’t taken off more. I have Skype, WebEx, AdobeConnect, and other web conferencing tools at my fingertips. I also have email, social media, and internet access. I have most of the standard tools such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud on my laptop. What’s stopping me from getting another remote position? Oh yeah…it’s that I can’t find where they are, and they aren’t many of them out there.
What do you think? Should remote working or telecommuting be happening more? It was predicted that more people would be telecommuting by now, but I haven’t seen it happen yet. What are your experiences? Include your comments below.