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How to debug distributed teamwork, as suggested by new research

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How to debug distributed teamwork, as suggested by new research


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Is working from home an advantage or a liability?

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Technology’s promise is that, someday, all knowledge workers will be able to work from anywhere – a hammock on the beach, a hut in the mountains, a pressurized pod on the moon. The pandemic accelerated the remote work revolution, but nobody thought it would look like this. Has the move been a net negative, a net positive or a mixed bag? Atlassian’s head of research and insights, Leisa Reichelt set out to answer that question by sending a survey to thousands of remote workers. Their enlightening responses provide insight into how to help your coworkers or team get through the pandemic.


Organic, spontaneous exposure to other people’s work may lead to greater innovation. When working remotely, you may need to facilitate such interactions.

Atlassian surveyed 1,000 remote workers to get their take on how a distributed office affects their work-life. The results suggest that working from home presents benefits and drawbacks. Employees report longer periods of “heads-down work,” which helps them feel more effective.

One of the more troubling findings is that employees working from home have greater motivation to perform low-stress, structured, routine tasks than to take on complex tasks that require collaboration. People new to the work-from-home structure seem most likely to avoid complicated work. It may be a natural reaction to uncertain times, or it could result from fewer interactions with coworkers.

Unplanned interactions are a major benefit of occupying the same physical space as your coworkers. Serendipitous encounters are often the building blocks of innovation, in that constructive feedback from diverse sources and unlikely collaborations lead to new ideas.

Using tools like Miro (mind maps), ...

About the Author

Leisa Reichelt, the head of research and insights at Atlassian, is also a mentor at Seedcamp.

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