I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

I often get asked: “What do you mean when you say ‘you have to design a digital workplace’ that enables effective anywhere-working?”

Often the best way to answer this is to show an example of what a workplace looks like that is attempting anywhere working without designing it.

Here is a classic example. Read and weep as this new employee gets to experience what working in such an unstructured environment is like first-hand:

“Even on Day 1, people forgot I was there. I went to [a virtual] onboarding meeting in the morning and then no one said anything the rest of the day.”

“But it was always this feeling of ‘Do people know I am here?’”

“‘This isn’t normal. People should be helping us more. They need to answer questions now, not in three days.’”

“From the start, I had questions like ‘What am I supposed to be doing all day?’ People keep forgetting I am here.”

“People were busy so I could never get questions answered. There was not a culture of responding quickly.”

“When you are a new employee, you have so many questions. Like ‘What are the rules for saving document names?’ That’s a type of question you need answered immediately. In an office, if you see someone not busy, you can just ask them. When you’re [remote], you can’t tell. So I would just sit there with the document open, unsure what to do, waiting for someone to tell me what to name it. I felt so stupid.”

The above folks is what a workplace is like that has spent zero time DESIGNING a work-from-anywhere digital workplace.

Now that you have read this horror story contrast it with this first-hand experience of stepping into a well designed digital workplace as a new employee — Welcome to Automattic: The Onboarding Experience