People have been working remotely for years. Remote work has been studied for years. Many companies have global workers, so some remote work is inevitable. But that remote work involved co-located teams and individuals working with other co-located people. This is not what is happening today.

With the Pandemic, whole technology teams are now working remotely – whatever their location. Everyone is a square in a video screen. We spend our days online. No one in a meeting is co-located. Companies are allowing people to work remotely for the next year – and some are becoming remote companies. Everyone is using collaborative remote tools and virtual whiteboards – and our tools are so much better! Technology groups and the culture of daily life is undergoing a radical reinvention.

Is remote work good for women in tech and other underrepresented populations?

The Remote Work Op explores this question. We want to understand the impact of remote work on women in the Pandemic. We know from previous research that remote work can improve interactions for women – but we also know that existing bias will still impact work assignment, interactions, and perception of value. Does this new work context increase or decrease stereotyping, harassment, and coaching support? How does a remote work culture change the way co-workers interact? What are the best techniques for managing remote diverse teams? Since we are reinventing tech culture, let’s make it better for diverse team members. Then we can reap the kind of innovation diversity promises.

Volunteer Opportunity: Please sign up to be interviewed. We are looking for men and women in a variety of technology roles in technology companies and groups in businesses. Take our survey to participate. 

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Nina Schloss for project managing this research effort. Thanks also to Lacey Arevalo, Aditi Shankar, Emily Carlson, Bradlee Sutherland and to my students at University of Maryland HCIM program.

Next Steps: Our first step is to conduct remote field interviews from participants. We hope to have this complete and the data organized by Q1 2021. Watch for livestreams to share findings as we uncover them.  

Donate:  This work is supported by a core team of researchers and administrators. Please help us cover our core costs by donating to the general fund.

Also see our initial work on remote work in these videos…
Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams
Retaining Women in Tech in the Remote Work Environment
Remote Contextual Design