What Remote Means Now

Few words have changed meaning as quickly as remote. A word that until recently meant “having very little connection and lacking relationship” is now used to convey a new kind of connectedness, one made possible by virtual networks as opposed to physical locations.

There’s emotional depth in this new remote. We conduct distinctly personal affairs remotely. We talk intimately online with doctors and therapists and have heartfelt conversations with friends and family. Our expectations for the richness of virtual connection have redefined the social fabric of our lives. Today’s remote implies distance that is anything but distant.

The shift to remote work has breathed new vitality into professional life. Survey after survey reveal that employees’ freedom to work where they want is second only to compensation when it comes to workplace satisfaction. And communication is the lifeblood of remote work.

Communication is culture and culture is communication. Anthropologists have long known this to be true and as work becomes more and more remote it’s a truth the C-suite leaders are grappling with. The words that leaders use and how they communicate have never been more important. From employee engagement to brand reputation to market capitalization, the quality of a company’s culture determines success and communications are the catalyst.

Words are like chameleons: they change as the environment changes around them. Their meaning evolves slightly and subtly over time. So does culture transform imperceptibly before our eyes. When it comes to the meaning of remote, it’s not just a word that has changed meaning, but rather our world.

The stage is now set for a new generation of organizational communications. In an environment where remote work is the norm, every touchpoint has added significance. It’s more than a communications experience within an organization. In remote work we experience organizations as communication. This new reality requires different approaches and should inspire leaders everywhere to take a fresh look at their communications strategy.

A new kind of connectedness: that’s what remote means now.

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