Special Episode: Surviving Remote Work Audiobook (Coming Out Soon)!

Gabriela Molina

Sharon Koifman is the founder and president of DistantJob. He believes every company, regardless of its size, should have access to the world’s top talent. That’s why with his 15+ years of experience in the tech, recruitment, and HR industries, he created a unique remote recruitment model that allows clients to get high quality IT remote experts at a fraction of the usual cost.

Sharon is also the author of Surviving Remote Work, the ultimate guide to thriving as a leader and entrepreneur in the remote age.

Sharon Koifman

Read the transcript

Luis Magalhães:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of the DistantJob podcast. I am your host, Luis, in this podcast that all about building and leading awesome remote teams. My guest today is, for the third time, the Founder and President of DistantJob, Sharon Koifman. Sharon, welcome to the show again.

Sharon Koifman:

Hey, thank you, Luis. For the third time, I feel like a big honor here happening. It’s like, wow. Am I the only one that came back for the third time?

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah, I believe you are. I believe you are. Actually, it’s the third time with you alone, but it’s actually your fourth appearance because on the 100th show we had the round table with our.

Sharon Koifman:

That’s right. Yes. I think I have a little bit of an unfair advantage over other speakers. Yes.

Luis Magalhães:

Exactly. Exactly. For one, you pay the hosting bill. So there’s that.

Sharon Koifman:

I do pay, I do. I do. That’s right.

Luis Magalhães:

All right. So yeah, so this is a celebration or maybe a pre-lebration because it isn’t out yet, but we are gearing to launch the audiobook version of your number one Amazon best selling business book, Surviving Remote Work. So by the way, I never congratulated you on air for the number one on Amazon. So congratulations for that. You were number one on a pair of categories, I believe. In fact, I am sure you were number one on a pair of business categories. I just don’t remember exactly what those were, business and management. So yeah, that was a big deal. You did a great, fantastic, fantastic job with the book. I love it. I recommend it all the time. And now here’s hoping that we can break some records with audiobook as well.

Sharon Koifman:

We definitely, definitely do. I mean, I loved the process of recording the audio. It was actually very unique. I feel like my character is really submerged into the content when I get to speak to the crowd. So I really enjoy it, and I’m very excited for people to listen to it. I not only are they going to learn something, I think they’re going to laugh. At least it made me laugh. And you know, as long as then I’m a happy guy.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. It’s also very professionally made. You put a lot of effort into it, and you sound great. It’s quite … I’m not going to say spectacular because that sounds like I’m sucking up to you, but it’s quite a nice book. It’s quite a nice book you have there, and yeah.

Sharon Koifman:

Nothing wrong with sucking up to me. It’s okay. I don’t mind it. Right. But yes, we try not to be an amateur shop here. We really went through a professional production and I’m excited. I’m definitely excited.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. Yeah. Excited as well. So the book is coming out at the end of this month. This podcast will be up this month and it’s at the end of June. I believe it’s June 30th, but I will have Andrea fact check me and put their exact right date and link to pre-order in the show note. But let’s talk a bit about the time between the launch of the original book, the Amazon best seller and the audiobook. A lot of things has happened. The world has mostly gotten over the Rona though, no?

Sharon Koifman:

Yes. I feel good about it.

Luis Magalhães:

I just got it like a month ago. So, but yes, I’m definitely not over it, but yeah. Things have changed. What do you think has changed? What do you feel?

Sharon Koifman:

Look, one, definitely the fact that we are not going to be quarantined anymore, and we have a lot less challenges with kids that need to stay at home. Although, it does still happen is that when people get COVID, even if it’s hopefully less dangerous, the kids being are being kept at home and everybody still need to seclude themselves for a few days. So those commentaries, the feedback on that are still somewhat useful, but they’re becoming a lot less useful. Also, convincing people that remote is awesome is less required.

Sharon Koifman:

I’m still blown away with one of my friends who was the most anti remote guy, right. He was one of my closest friends. Lately we’ve been so busy, so we get to hang out once in three months, once in six months. And I did a lot of interviews of people’s experience for the book. And he was by far the most negative, because he loved to go to the office, hang out with Bob and hang out with Alex and names, chit-chat, have fun, throw paper planes at each other, go for a run or go to the gym or go for lunch during lunchtime. Even an entire experience that he, when he came home, he felt like he had his social experience.

Sharon Koifman:

And like me, who starts their social experience or in the afternoon hanging out with our team or going out for a drink or something, he was satisfied. But I talked to him a month ago and he said, “No, no, no, no. Working from the office is horrible. The amount of money I waste on gas. And the fact that I get to have the flexibility,” this is the guy that was so against it. And even he accepted, so that changed a lot. Really did.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. I remember at DistantJob providing our world class recruitment services, once upon a time, the hard work was getting people to accept that we were a global company and the candidates we provided were 100% remote. That used to be the thing that was hard to sell like three years ago. Imagine that.

Sharon Koifman:

Not even three years ago, while was writing the book it was still very challenging. And one of the key advice that I give in the book for the first half chapter, the first chapter is really discussing the idea that you need to buy in. You need to own the aspect that you’re working remote and like it, because if it’s a curse, if you’ve been forced into it, you’re not going to be as successful.

Sharon Koifman:

And now this advice is less and less necessary every day. Although, I just saw an episode on Bill Maher and that Elon Musk brought everybody back to the office and all his panelists were sitting there and going, of course they need to go to the office. Oh, what is this elite concept of working from home? So clearly … so yeah, you should see. I was blown away, I was like, really? Why is there nobody opposing it? This is supposed to be a debate show. And so there’s still clearly a lot of work, but the good news a lot less at least.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. Well, I mean look, so first of all, I do have to state my bias here because I am a big Muskie. I am definitely a Musk fan, but I do think that … look, this is a guy that while he was launching the early Teslas, he slapped on the factory room. This is a mechanical engineer way of thinking. What percentage of Tesla employees can actually do their jobs over the internet? I would guess it’s a small percentage. Certainly you can’t build cars over the internet. We’re not there yet. Maybe someday we’ll have robots, and that will be a possibility, but realistically. I think they’re making a big fuss out of Elon Musk saying that when, to reality, it affects like 10% or 15% of his employees. That’s what I feel.

Sharon Koifman:

So first of all, I am not anti Musk myself. I like what he accomplished. I love the concept that a person has built a business around a social cause, a social idea. You can call him greedy, you can call him whatever you want. At the end of the day, he moved the world a little more forward. Not like Steve Jobs liked to get a lot of credit, but Steve Jobs has done nothing for the planet. They made things innovative and exciting. But Elon Musk, which is often compared with Steve Jobs, actually move the world forward. So I give him full credit, but in terms of his operations, in terms of his factories in everything, he doesn’t have such a good reputation.

Sharon Koifman:

And so the wellbeing of his employees is not necessarily such a huge concern. And the fact, maybe the world blew it out of proportion, although he is the most successful entrepreneur in the world. So it does need to get a little extra media, the fact that he announced it so loudly and so proudly does deserve a little bit of a backlash. Instead of saying, “I understand some jobs are remote, but I want to be fair to all my employees,” because like you said, most of them are the mechanics and putting together the machines. “So I want to be fair. And I want to create an equal environment.” That would be a nice case, but this unapologetic, “Everybody go, everybody go to the office,” like the financial people like to do.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. It was even worse, actually. Now, you’re right. You’re right for saying that. It was even worse. Right. He implied … he didn’t imply, he basically straight out said that people working remotely were pretending to work. So that was not good. But I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder with him how much of it is the real person and how much of it is just the character, right? Because he is a character.

Sharon Koifman:

He’s not just a character. He’s completely … No, the reason why I believe that he is who he is, because he does have some autism, he somewhat on the spectrum. So he is not such an animator. He is a person … the person you see, the person he is actually worse because he has a reputation of being very strict and very aggressive. And again, his reputation is not being highly concerned with the wellbeing of his employees. Is that blown out of proportion? I don’t know. I can only read what the media says and based on my following, it is not the most awesome manager or boss. He’s just an innovator. But also Steve Jobs was guilty for the same thing. Let’s be honest. Is this an R rated show?

Luis Magalhães:

I don’t think so.

Sharon Koifman:

No. So I’ll say it was a poo-poo head, right. Because of I’m a daddy, so we don’t-

Luis Magalhães:

I think that, number one, you’re the only person who has ever said poo-poo on this show.

Sharon Koifman:

Nice. I like to be first.

Luis Magalhães:

And also number two, I think that this is the second time you say it because you’ve said it in the previous episode. So yeah.

Sharon Koifman:

Look, listen man, if you’re not going to let me swear, I am going to use the same standards as I have with my kids. Right. And yes, we call each other poo-poo heads when we’re upset. And I go sometimes bleep instead of, you know what, and that’s what means being a daddy. That’s the story.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. “Daddy, what’s a mother bleeper?” You’re a daddy.

Sharon Koifman:

Right, a mother bleeper. Exactly. We’ve been using in the company also, I’ve been using that language, you mother bleeper. Right.

Luis Magalhães:

All right. But it’s an interesting thing that you brought up with Musk, because there’s the thing about the equality of the experience. Well, if 70% of my people have to be here to do their jobs, because they can’t do it … the internet, why should 15% get preferential treatment? And that’s actually something that I think is interesting to evaluate, because when you started DistantJob a lot, if not most of our clients were using a hybrid solution. They had some people in the office and some people working fully remotely.

Luis Magalhães:

And now after these years of the great Rona experiment, I see a lot of people also pushing hybrid again. And there are many kinds of hybrid. There are those situations of hybrid where you’re expected to work some days at the office and some days away from the office. We can talk about that if you want though, I don’t think it’s the kind of hybrid that I think is most interesting to talk about. I think the hybrid that you taught, that Musk didn’t like, is the hybrid that I think that we can have a good conversation about.

Luis Magalhães:

It’s the kind of hybrid where some people need to be on the office, because I don’t know, because they just like to, or because they must, for some odd reason. And other people can just be full remote, and the interactions that makes happen. Now, to be fair, that is not what we have firsthand experience with at DistantJob. We are fully remote. We’ve been fully remote forever, but you have a lot of knowledge of companies in those situations. So I’d like to hear, how do you think about those before and how do you think about them now?

Sharon Koifman:

So first of all, there’s very different type of hybrids. I know that in our remote community, we like to package everything as the remote first and the rest of the evil people. Right. And I object to that. So first of all, there are hybrids that literally providing an often say, do whatever the poop you want. I’m going to use that the entire show.

Luis Magalhães:

You can do like Babylon5 and say frack.

Sharon Koifman:

Frack, is that … I was a Trekkie

Luis Magalhães:

That’s the Babylon5. I mean, yeah. You’re a Trekkie. I’m a Babylonian, I guess that sounds worse.

Sharon Koifman:

I know a lot of people love Babylon5, especially as an extension for Star Trek. There’s just too many Star Treks that I still did not see till today. And I want to conquer all the series.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah, no, no. Sorry. It’s not Babylon. I’m a shame to nerd-dom now. It’s not Babylon. It’s the one with the robots, with the Cylons. Now I’ve completely blanked on the name. And I love that series. I watched it dozens of hours.

Sharon Koifman:

You’ll try to remember it by the end of the show, but back to hybrid.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah, exactly. But they say frack, right. So that’s what they use. It’s frack.

Sharon Koifman:

Frack. Okay. Back to hybrid. Right? So the companies that literally, that they’re still remote first hybrid type companies are very cool. Look, I feel that until society change, until the world accept remote as a whole and starts creating different social experiences, go back. This is an old school. I am almost sounding like, “Back in my age,” but back in my days, but-

Luis Magalhães:

Battlestar Galactica.

Sharon Koifman:

Battlestar Galactica. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. Okay. Enough, enough.

Luis Magalhães:

The Babylon5 is great as well. No shame in Babylon5.

Sharon Koifman:

Battlestar Galactica I did see.

Luis Magalhães:

I am a Stan for Babylon5.

Sharon Koifman:

Anyways, but back to the hybrid fund. We have not created infrastructure yet for especially young single people to find another social experience outside their company. Especially for the extroverts, it requires a lot of focus and a lot of attention how to keep yourself sane and socializing when you don’t have the work. That’s why my buddy that it changes mind in the beginning said, I need this. I need this work. This is my social experience.

Sharon Koifman:

And the hybrid gives that opportunity. There’s plenty of young people who come of university, who don’t want to sit at home. There’s also a lot of people who needs the office working environment. I’m one of them. I need a professional working environment. The thing is that I like coworking spaces. I don’t need to go to a specific office.

Sharon Koifman:

I like having my co-working space two blocks away. I think the co-working space need to put more effort in creating a more social environment and networking events and everything, which is really, really missing. But until then, for now, until we figure it out, until we change our society around remote work, to give that social experience, some people need their office. And if a company gives a remote first hybrid working environment, not so bad. Really, really not so bad. Once they start making those rules, I need you three or four times in the office, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sharon Koifman:

Now you’re creating complications, but where it comes to Elon Musk specifically, if he would express himself in a way saying, look like you said, 85% of my company is physical labor. We’re putting together cars. We need to be there. And the 15% are remote. And I do not want to create clicks, which is actually one of the topics I talk in the book. You got to be careful with the clicks. You got to be careful with this experience of remote people versus local people. And if that would’ve been the decision, I would not be so aggressively critical of Elon. But the fact that he was, “I am going to show this guy work is done in the office,” I don’t buy that poop.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. But it’s worth considering how to avoid building those clicks. That’s something that I’ve been talk … I’ve had a couple of people on the podcast talk about that before. But I do think that the subject becomes a real thing again, because I see that now that … it’s so funny because some companies are clearly fighting and losing war. They started by saying, “Now everyone needs to go back to your office.” Then they’re like, “Oh,” they started losing people obviously. And they’re like, “Oh, okay. Maybe three days at the office, maybe three days at the office.” And then when people start saying that’s … by the way, I think that concept is the stupidest of all. Stupid is not a curse word. So I can say it.

Sharon Koifman:

You’re allowed to say stupid. Okay, good.

Luis Magalhães:

I think that concept is the stupid right. Because what is the reasoning behind, “Oh, we need you at the office three days a week. And then you can be off of the office two days a week.” What is the reasoning? If the reasoning is, well, we don’t believe work happens outside of the office, then it’s like, okay. So you’re basically just giving me a three day work week, is that it? Are you admitting that you only need me three days per week? That makes no sense at all to me. It’s like, if I can be trusted to work from home two days a week, why not? Why not the full week? That doesn’t make sense at all to me, don’t you think?

Sharon Koifman:

So I will take the devil’s advocacy aspect of it, just to be fair, because you are preaching to the choir. But to be fair, the three days a week means that the company’s trying to offer some kind of flexibility. They’re trying to say, look, if you have a doctor appointment once a week, if you need to be … we want to show you that we care about you in offering flexibility. That by itself is not such a negative aspect for a company who obsessively believes in office work. I think that’s an upgrade. They’re offering that flexibility.

Sharon Koifman:

And also, those companies really do believe that culture is built in the office and they might not even know how to build culture outside the office. Some companies been doing this for centuries, and you got to give them a little bit of a break. Part of the reason why many companies want to go to the office is not because they want to be tyrant. It’s because they don’t know how to build the potentially amazing thing that they build in a remote environment.

Sharon Koifman:

There is something to say about the, again, the social experience, the business culture. Yes. We at DistantJob have managed to create an amazing business culture within a remote environment. And it’s not due to my credits. It’s us as a team. We did great, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy. And you might just give up on it.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, you are due some credit. I’m not so good as you to be fair at generating good positive office culture. I’m more of an intern.

Sharon Koifman:

I try. Yes.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. I mostly try to work asynchronously, and I think this is something that we were talking of, and I think that it makes a bit of a sense to talk about. You don’t talk about the synchronous work a lot in the book, because the book is called Surviving Remote Work. You need to save that for the sequel that is going to be called mastering remote work or something like that.

Luis Magalhães:

Because I do think that asynchronous work, as I was telling you in the beginning, is the next level. If you’re coming out of COVID trying to figure remote work, I would say some people will think this is controversial, but I think that the sync is not the place to start. Sync is a good place to start if you’re building a company from scratch. That I do believe. But if you’ve had your company for whatever, 50 years, to 5 years, even 5 years being in a coworking location, I think that going that to 100% the sync is a recipe for a disaster. People are better served by having a lot of connection touchpoint and stuff like that. How do you think a bit about the sync situation? Because people are pushing it a lot these days.

Sharon Koifman:

Oh my God, it’s crazy. Luis, I just came from a conference called Running Remote. And first of all, it was a wonderful conference. I had a great time. The organizers were wonderful. The only one legitimate thing that annoyed me all the time is literally every fourth presentation was about this obsession with asynchronous work. And I see value in some asynchronous work, but I feel like I’m a rebel in this remote community that I-

Luis Magalhães:

And let me interrupt you to point out that those things, those talks about the asynchronous work were happening in a stage, in a live physical event.

Sharon Koifman:

Yes. Yes. Okay. But yeah, they’re great. Trying to find ironies is funny, but the point is that anybody who’s obsessive … like my philosophy, and if you ask what my future book will be, it will be about productivity and longevity. This is wherever the sequel, I will actually not tackle asynchronous as such a level. And I purposely did not tackle it in this book while other remote books all talk about asynchronicity and work without communicating.

Sharon Koifman:

The part of productivity, yes, asynchronous works. Why does asynchronous work? Because it is, distractions is the biggest enemy of productivity. Anytime that you distract somebody, it takes 20 minutes to get back to attention. And the ability to communicate in between projects and in between tasks is a good goal to have. And that’s really what we mean by asynchronous work.

Sharon Koifman:

The ability to communicate in between tasks and projects. I mean, the original definition, you communicate whenever you want. But the real goal here is to have communication between projects and tasks. The challenge with that, and that leads to good productivity, but it doesn’t lead to good longevity. Because at the end of the day, we need connection. We need communication. We are social animals. Even the introverts, every once in a while, need a little rah, rah, rah.

Sharon Koifman:

The reason why we focus so much on social, emotional connection, company culture, motivation is because we want to not just have our people be productive, but we want them to be productive for a long time without getting burned out, without losing a part of themselves. And that is … the only way to do this is through synchronicity. It is communicating with people, is motivating them, is hanging out with them, is sometimes talk about projects in real time.

Sharon Koifman:

So this robotic, dystopian concept of pure asynchronous work in my opinion is completely insane. It’s completely dehumanized. At least what I envision as proper remote work. We need to fight for social experience and the wellbeing of our people in remote environment. This is the biggest weakness that comes with remote. Don’t make it even more robotic. That’s not good. So just finishing, just one thought. So, the rule of thumb is if anything requires more than two to three back and forth in a conversation, that should be done synchronously. If you need updates in a little communication or throwing jokes and everything, that can be asynchronously. No problem.

Luis Magalhães:

Oh, that’s very interesting actually, I’m not sure I 100% agree with you there. I actually think that synchronous is fantastic, well, for cultural purposes. Or for having a conversation like we have, and et cetera, an exchange of ideas, stuff like that. It’s very interesting. But for example, for brainstorming right, the other day, we wanted to promote a piece of content, right. And what I did was I opened a Slack channel and I said, “Hey we need some ideas. We have five days. No pressure, but whenever you can, everyone put here two or three of their ideas to promote this piece of content. And we have five days, and in five days, let’s see what we have. And I felt that generated ideas much better than if I had grabbed everyone into a one hour call and forced everyone to have their ideas at that time.

Luis Magalhães:

So I think that it’s a bit harder to define. I haven’t thought about this. I’m just thinking about this in real time now. But I think that when it comes to generating ideas, there’s a lot to be said for async. When it comes to debating stuff like we’re doing now, I mean, you can do async. I’ve had good debates asynchronously, let’s say on LinkedIn or Facebook or stuff like that. But it does, you do gather an interesting thing. A more active engagement when we’re like this, on video.

Sharon Koifman:

So, good. We disagree completely. First of all, the purpose of asynchronicity, if I pronounce that word properly, is to reduce distraction. This is the goal. This is the reason why the remote world, they don’t usually define it clearly, but that is the reason. To reduce distraction on people. So you don’t call them in the middle of a project. The problem is, there’s another source of destruction that is happening with asynchronous brainstorming. It means that you cannot disconnect from your ideas for the entire day. You need to sit on it and think about it and everything. And it’s incredibly distracting. I don’t know if you ever had a debate with somebody on Facebook, I don’t know if you ever got into some kind of argument about any topic on Facebook, on Twitter. For me, unfortunately-

Luis Magalhães:

What else is Facebook and Twitter for, if not for arguing with strangers?

Sharon Koifman:

Well, for me, I don’t know if you resonate with me or the listeners resonate with me. That conversations, which I avoid like a plague these days, can sometimes drag me for a day. So we’re trying to work in an environment where we’re focused on a project and task, and I’m sitting there waiting. I’m angry, I’m really heated about the topic and I’m waiting for the person to respond, and even if the other person is so proactive, it takes him 20 minutes, half an hour. So I go check my Facebook. “Did he respond? Okay, good. Now I’m going to tell him this,” that thing drags you all day.

Sharon Koifman:

Yes, so if you really are in a passionate brainstorming, like one that involves, “Hey, let’s come up with some amazing ideas. Let’s go back and forth,” I personally believe in pure synchronous brainstorming using only people that the time is now wasted because the people that the quiet in the corner have no opinion. They can go away. Let’s not waste their time. And actually what I love to do, if it’s a really important topic that really needs to be discussed, sit there, brainstorm for an hour or even half an hour, then let everybody digest it.

Sharon Koifman:

I call it, I plant a seed. Take the ideas, start evolving, start this. And the next conversation becomes amazing. This is in my opinion, the way brainstorming should be done. It actually should be done in two phases, asynchronous brainstorming is incredibly distracting. Right. So I know it is like, everybody’s so passionate about it. Asynchronous brainstorming. It sucks your entire day. It’s no good.

Luis Magalhães:

That’s so interesting. That’s so interesting. I can just put it in the box. I can just say, okay. I put my idea here. Now I’m going to go do something else for three hours, and then I get back to there, right?

Sharon Koifman:

You’re not passionate enough about that idea.

Luis Magalhães:

Well you know me, I’m a very unpassionate person.

Sharon Koifman:

Look, if so we are offering ideas and we are offering what challenges that comes to ideas. At the end of the day, the important thing to understand that your goal is to be as productive as possible and have a good, healthy experience about it. If it works for you, if you really can’t disconnect from the idea, and not get your brain, doesn’t start revolving when people start throwing ideas at you, I’m impressed, but I’m not sure it’s true.

Luis Magalhães:

Well, it’s why I always say about management and leadership is that everyone’s mind works in a slightly different way. So at the end of … they usually need to compromise, right?

Sharon Koifman:

Yes.

Luis Magalhães:

You usually need to get some compromise out there. But yeah, but it’s very interesting because I hadn’t thought about that. I can understand why some people’s brain works how you describe. And yeah, I can understand that for those an asynchronous discussion is probably a very, very stressful situation. So, yeah. That’s a good point.

Sharon Koifman:

If I care about the topic, asynchronous brainstorming is the worst for my type of brain. It is the worst. Remember, everybody that listens to us needs to think, “How can they function in the least distracting environment?” Distraction is the focus, is the goal. That is the word that you continuously need to look at and to focus. How do I get work done with as little distraction as possible? Because if you figure out your distraction, you will get your work done at a quarter of the time that usually takes people to do it.

Sharon Koifman:

Especially if you start in the morning focused on that thing, you destroy. That is actually one of my new advices also in the audiobook or the second version of the book, which I didn’t discuss in the first version, is the morning. How powerful is the morning. And I discovered it … I’ve been doing research on productivity for 20 years, but this is the most recent one. That’s the one that helped me write the book is the idea that you should plan your most difficult, most challenging task for the next morning, at the end of the day for the next morning. And you really should prepare the tool.

Sharon Koifman:

If you are writing a book, prepare the word processor or the editor, and that should be open to your computer. And the morning, once you’re done dropping your kids off and having breakfast and whatever, you run to the computer, you don’t look at your emails. You don’t look at social media, you don’t look at anything, you do this, and you will cut the time to finish project literally by three quarters.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah, exactly. Much to our marketing second in command chagrin. Much to her frustration, I have adopted the practice of not opening Slack until midday. So yeah.

Sharon Koifman:

So that’s where asynchronous is really powerful. And that’s where we recommend bosses to accept that, to accept that people will respond after their projects or after their task, because we kill in the morning. And I’m shocked at myself, right. That I can, these days go to work and not touch email. Not touch social media, because I was a little bit of addicted to social media. So even if I do check social media, I check it in the afternoon. Now I don’t touch it. I just run to finish that first project.

Luis Magalhães:

I don’t know how our social media manager handles it, because when I have to go to DistantJobs social media to do something, just to check a stat or something like that, I lose like 30 minutes minimum.

Sharon Koifman:

You can’t, you can’t. If somebody tells me to check a video and they give me a link to YouTube, if it’s an important video that we’re editing or doing anything of that sort, I go, I check that video. I watch it. And then there’s like 10 other video. Oh, I wanted to watch this. Oh, I wanted to … I can’t, it’s very … The key for me is cold turkey. Is don’t open the email. Don’t open social media until I’m done with that big, tough project.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. That’s great. Okay. So we do have to wrap up, there are usually some questions that I ask guests to wrap up, but you’ve been through all of those, so I’m not going to ask them again, but there are a couple that I want to know if there are any updates on, because it’s been a while. Right. So I always ask, what is the purchase that you’ve made in the last year or even six months even that has increased your productivity or your work life balance, or the metric you cared the most about your work. What is that purchase for you? Has that changed?

Sharon Koifman:

Yes. And I actually updated this, the audiobook and the second version of the book with that change. So it’s somewhat related. So there’s actually two big things for me that I’ve been a game changer. And I don’t remember if I bought them … six months ago, a year ago.

Sharon Koifman:

So first of all is Oculus Quest. I bought the VR goggles and my ability to work out at home playing video games is incredible. I actually even bought little Amazon gloves, weight gloves, wrist gloves, and I play video games and I’m getting pumped. And it’s great.

Sharon Koifman:

And the second one, which is a real game changer for me that is also health related, but not just health related is a folding … It’s so cool. It folds into half. A folding walking treadmill, not only I get to move and my back gets stronger. And I burn a few like 90 calories at 1 kilometer an hour. It’s not much, but my brain thinks better. And I function so much better on that walking treadmill. My employees already got used to the concept that I’m a little bouncy when I walk, but this, so the Oculus Quest for the funnest workout that you ever had in your life and the walking treadmill for somewhat workout, but just a more productive way of working, those are my two big toys that I absolutely love these days.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. I actually can’t wait until we were able to do this on Oculus. It’s still a ways off. I mean, they have their workspaces out. I need to try it with you. I’ve tried it before, and it’s very interesting, but not ready for prime time, but I can’t wait until it is.

Sharon Koifman:

Unfortunately, my projection is it’s going to take another 5 to 10 years.

Luis Magalhães:

Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s going to be earlier, but let’s see.

Sharon Koifman:

The experience of I put a goggle on and you put your goggles on and we are having this pleasurable conversation that we have right now. First of all, the virtual reality goggles need to be smaller. They need to shrink them to-

Luis Magalhães:

I agree. 100%.

Sharon Koifman:

Glasses size. This big machine on your head doesn’t work. It’s already not comfortable. I mean, it’s all about comfort.

Luis Magalhães:

It needs to be like a diver. It needs to be like a divers glasses. Right? I think that-

Sharon Koifman:

Like divers glasses, right. I’m a little concerned about diver glasses because I don’t want to raccoon eyes for the rest of my life. So I’m not sure, but it needs to be sunglasses. It needs to be comfortable. You put them on and it gives you a virtual reality experience. Maybe closes off a little bit, but whatever, that’s the key. And after that, then you need to have cameras in your house to actually project you. Because this concept of avatar chat, that’s useless. That’s not going to work.

Luis Magalhães:

Oh, no, no, no. I disagree. I disagree completely. I think that with some work, the avatars can work. Because already, even with those terrible cartoony avatars, just the fact that it’s 3D and it’s in a space already makes it more interesting than the Zoom call. So on that, I disagree. I think that all you need is 40% or 60% better avatars and you’re good to go.

Sharon Koifman:

We’re going to keep on testing it and we’re going to write about it throughout the years.

Luis Magalhães:

And Zuckerberg has actually talked … I mean, I’m not sure if you saw that interview, but I sent it to you that he’s actually talking about putting webcams inside of the helmet to read your eye movements and then using the camera outside on your computer or whatever, to translate your expressions, your facial expressions and eye contact to the avatars. And that I think is going to push it over the uncanny valley and make it as good as what we’re doing right now.

Sharon Koifman:

That’s what I’m talking about, and I’m projecting five years. Yeah. It’s not as quick as you think. It’s going to be hard to really project my face and my experience and this, because that’s what we want. We want to be able to hang out. We want to literally feel like we’re sitting in a bar and chit-chatting. The only thing is missing is the real physical drinks. That’s okay. We’ll bring our own drinks or go see a movie together, but it’s still far away.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. Well, when you get VR helmets plus drinks, you know that straws are making a comeback.

Sharon Koifman:

True. I hear you.

Luis Magalhães:

All right. So the final question is, well you know the Chinese restaurant question. If you were hosting a dinner with the decision makers from big tech companies from all over the world and the topic of the night was remote work and the future of work, what message would you place inside the Chinese fortune cookie? What’s your updated message for post coronavirus times?

Sharon Koifman:

On your remote experience.

Luis Magalhães:

On your remote experience. Fancy.

Sharon Koifman:

Yes. I’m giving you a … yes. Own your remote experience. This is what it’s all about. It is that this experience is only going to be as good as you make it. The experience is only going to be … first of all, you need to buy in. As I always preach, if you’re not into this remote experience, if you feel you’re just being cursed into moving to home, you already set yourself for failure. Yeah. Just go to the office, just move on. Right. It just doesn’t make sense.

Sharon Koifman:

Once you buy in and you like the experience, you got to make it your own. Like in my world, I have a standup table, a 72 inch oak table on a standup table. I made it pretty and nice with a walking treadmill and my comic books around and my kids’ photos. And this is, and I made this really special. I made it this really unique. So yes, the fortune cookie should say on your remote experience.

Luis Magalhães:

All right. I think that’s a great place to wrap up. Thank you so much, Sharon, for being here with me today. Of course, we’ll have all the information in the show note, but please tell people how can they connect with you, continue the conversation. And when, and where can they find your audiobook, the audiobook version of your best selling book.

Sharon Koifman:

So the audiobook is going to be on Audible soon. Woo hoo. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear people’s feedback about it. I really tried to make it super funny. You can reach me at [email protected] Also, check our other media site, Think Remote, which Luis runs and rocks on a daily basis. And also, if you need to book speeches I just recently gave a full presentation to the Canadian Revenue Agency about working remote. That was a great experience. So I’m out there to help people. Please reach out. I will be very excited to tell you what I think, if you care. And that’s my story, email [email protected] Email me any question, I’m there.

Luis Magalhães:

Yeah. Well, and we’ll be here as well next week. For now, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for listening to this episode of the DistantJob podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. See you next week.

Luis Magalhães:

And so we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast. And if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners. And the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me. And I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well.

Luis Magalhães:

You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to DistantJob.com/blog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

Luis Magalhães:

And of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world, because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. And to help you with that again, DistantJob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who we need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of DistantJob podcast.

We all know remote work is the present and future. It has all these amazing benefits, but have you ever felt a bit overwhelmed in terms of how to manage your remote team?

Surviving Remote Work is the ultimate guide for entrepreneurs who want to get the best out of the remote work experience. It is also perfect for remote work newbies who want to learn how to tackle distractions and boost productivity. And the audiobook version is coming out soon! Which is even better, as we guarantee you’ll not only learn but also laugh.

During this podcast, Luis and Sharon engage in a fun conversation about popular topics remote managers are currently dealing with and key insights about Surviving Remote work.

Highlights:

  • Why Surviving Remote Work is a must-have book to enhance your remote work experience
  • Insights about how remote work has changed since the pandemic started
  • Hybrid work: Is it effective?
  • How to build a great remote work experience for your employees
  • Async vs. synchronous work: which one is better?
  • The power of doing in-depth work in the morning

Buy Surviving Remote Work here!

Are you our next superstar remote developer?

You live, breathe and eat code, and have fun figuring out how to solve problems. And you love living in South America or Eastern Europe. But you don’t feel as fulfilled as your friends in North America.

I NEED A JOB