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REMOTE by GitLab 2021
June 29, 2021, Online, USA
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REMOTE by GitLab 2021: How to - Head of Remote
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About the talk

Speaker: Annie Dean, Director of Remote Work, Facebook

Join this session to learn from Annie Dean, Director of Remote at Facebook, and glean invaluable advice for other heads of remote. Tune in to understand how Facebook's Remote team is thinking through how to structure work, the big issues that frame their conversations, and some of the key areas they plan to invest in for immediate gains and long-term team success.

Get in touch with Sales: http://bit.ly/2IygR7z

00:11 Intro

02:28 Background

07:02 About Social by Design

07:30 Principle Is Impact from Everywhere

10:22 Cross-Border Remote

13:57 The Remote Request Tool

15:33 Onboarding

16:02 Strategy Innovation and Research

16:59 Communicating Progress and a Commitment to Learning

19:02 Organize Teams with Remote Workers

21:21 Better Meetings

23:26 Equity

About speaker

Annie Dean
Director of Remote Work at Facebook
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Hi, I'm a needy and I'm the director of remote work at Facebook. And I know this is a new role for many of you who are in this fashion for many companies and I thought this session call how to how to remote work. Would be a great time to share experiences and keep you in the loop about how we're approaching this role at Facebook. There are four things that I wanted to talk to you about. The first is my journey, and Facebook's journey to creating. The second is our vision and key principles. The third is four easy steps to get your arms around and begin

to design the work. The teams at any initiative that are involved. And then a couple of case studies on strategies that we are currently working through today. I know this session is recorded, but I will be part of the live chat when it's broadcast, and I'm always very happy to connect with any members of the remote Community through Facebook or LinkedIn at any time after this. So, I know there's many of us out there, coming from lots of different backgrounds to leave remote work in our company's and I thought it might help to share my background and how I found myself in this role of

the first part of our conversation. I started to really become interested in new ways of working. When I was an associate in my first job, which was as an associate of corporate law firm. And I was 27 year, olds years old with a man. I was at a stage in my career where I really didn't have the autonomy over my schedule. So is often working late into the night, 1 to 3, in the morning, waiting for documents to come across my dad. And days would go by where I wouldn't see my baby during waking hours. And honestly, I had never experienced the amounts of pain that that cost me

emotionally and physically. I felt like my identity as a career person which was always how I had to find myself with slipping away from me and I didn't think it was only fair that I shouldn't be depressed. You something. I love like my work life with something else that I left like my new, baby. And I really felt like it was the structure of work. That was me back from being able to manage these. Things began to do a lot of research and get really curious about the history of Structure of work and how it existed things that are part of the common conversation

today, but were back in 2012 and 13 when my baby was young. Do I toughed it out? And I continued in my legal career for the next couple of years, but then I had another son and he was born with severe medical challenges and that really inspired me to you start to do something about this structure work, that I felt was holding me back as well as many other and so I quit my job and I sounded a data and analytics startup that we used to begin to influence Executives to understand that remote and flexible working wasn't a lifestyle Choice. It was

a way to strategically get to better outcomes for a more diverse work for and to create Pathways for different types of people that we're not just one-size-fits-all. I started this work in 2015 and in 2020, the company was acquired and I actually wondered if I might move on from the topic because we were seeing a lot of traction and interest, I'm very serious companies and certainly business units. And pockets of companies were beginning to roll out, flexibility in remote. Working policies in Earnest, but things were holding us back, like

leadership not being fully aligned and that was preventing whole companies from really adopting these new ways of working and even basic technology, infrastructure wasn't in place. So as early as early 2020 late 2019, when I would get to the kind of Consulting aspect of my work, I was talking to cios about having, you know, conferencing be a default option in the media environment. And that's really, really crazy to think about. Now that we spend all of our time in workplace rooms or Zoom or the other video. Conferencing that is still part of our day-to-day life.

But then just weeks later when I started my next role at a consulting firm, the world rapidly changed. Finally. There was a set of Political technology economic incentives to really change the way that we were working to match our technology capabilities, expectations as a new generation of workers to embrace flexibility and we were in the future on the opportunity to continue to lead and influence within the face. Facebook was always a company that I had my eye on as a thought. Leader, in this face. I knew it was a company whose work was deeply

entwined with technology. I knew it was a culture that was focused on the creation of the elements of success in a future of work world end in 2020. Facebook would be the most forward-leaning company on a scale. I need something really special was happening because greeting communities across the distance was in Facebook. Heart is in Facebook's DNA, and our Technologies, like portal, workplace, an Oculus really give us a unique advantage in this transformation. So when I found out that there was a

director for my work roll open, I was deeply excited about it, and really committed to the opportunity to leave. This transformational work at Facebook, and I have only been in Courage and excited since I joined So I've been in the role for seven months now and our vision is to build bessent at a best-in-class, experience to help everyone. No matter where they're located. We have a few principles to help us get there. The first principle is Community First, the future of work is not about unconstrained, individual Choice. It's really about

making sure that we are opening up, new ways of working. Support people and organizations. And I think that tension between individual choice and organizations is a really interesting one. Is it a big topic of discussion within this base? And we really intentionally lead into our commitment to community on Facebook. Our second principle is about social by Design. So this is all about figuring out how to build relationships in the virtual environment. No matter where you're located from and it's about making

relationships easy to discover and initiate and grow and making sure that all of our third of working experience. Ranging from meeting to onboarding to others, are all calibrated towards the development of new relationship. What is the statement of existing one? And then finally, our third principle is impact from everywhere. So we're looking towards a future where some people are in office. Some people are remote and many teams will be distributed at any given moment across multiple buildings, multiple working rooms and multiple locations across the globe. So we need to make sure

that the playing field stays level and that every person can fully participate. So now that you know, how I found myself at Facebook and our vision and principles for the work. I thought it'd be helpful to walk through for simple steps about how to get your arms around and begin to design the work. The first step is about establishing a Common Language. The second step is about just finding the partner team. The third step is about designing and structuring the work itself. So we'll talk about how I'm deciding that we're working on right now and then finally

bent the last step is about communicating progress and committing to learning mindset. The first step is to establish a Common Language. So, this was one of the first challenges that I had. When I first arrived at Facebook, I recognize that people were talking past each other and using the term many different thing. So one of my first task, was to build a glossary about 20 different term and to make sure that people just had the clarity at to advance conversations in a high-pressure environment, but also to make sure that our systems data architecture, and other systems of record, reflected

the reality of these Concepts. And I would say that there were three key benefits to that one. We wanted to be sure that people understood that working remotely, those who had truly elected to choose a remote setup. We're different from those people who had been forced to work from home, and we knew that those people's experience was vastly different and we needed to make sure that in our experience. This was something that was well understood by leader. We also wanted to be sure that people understood that while the remote population is a discrete section of our overall

employee population. Everybody is a distributed worker. So, as we designed to support remote skills and behaviors that actually has a positive impact on every person at Facebook, because of the need to continue to be distributed. And even before the pandemic, we had already seen that, we were trending towards greater distribution in meetings and other key areas. We also wanted to be sure that our data and architecture and data architecture and research aligned to our strategic understanding of these definitions. And there was some sort of manipulation

and work to be done around that back and architecture when we first started to reconcile what these terms mean. Finally, I'll call out that many of you are likely working through a concept called cross-border remote. This is a term of art that means that a roll or a person can move across the border and continue in occurrence. When a person move to the next to the international country. They are localized into a local Employment contract and are subject to the laws and regulations of that new country and my conversations with many of you. And I think we all have an early

consensus that this is one of the most challenging and difficult aspect of because of the emerging Regulatory, Compliance landscape in this area. So I thought I'd call it out as a relevant term. In case you all are struggling through it. Like I am. The next step is to define the partner teams. The one of the most complex part of this role is the highly cross-functional nature of the work. Remote is essentially a horizontal across the company. So defining your partner teams is a critical next step. I work with 20 different teams at Facebook. And that number is growing all of the

time and it's a testament to how committed Facebook is to remote work is also an incredible experience for me because of the number of colleagues when I get to work with collaborate, with the in pursuit of advancing this work. I really think of our teams as divided into three categories, people products, and places. And when I say, people, I'm not just referring to the remote team. This work includes our experts in arrears learning benefits, and compensation, compliance, legal finance, and many more about products,

and, including those teams that are building internal tools for people, like our remote work approval to all, as well. As for external teams that are focused on new types of virtual experiences, and then places includes designers, forecasters, and Technology teams that bring physical experiences to light. The next element is about designing at work. So, when I started in this role 7 months ago, I was drinking from a firehose. It was incredible. The amount of needed at that existed across the company to get questions and to build

new prophecy to help Provide support and I knew that we needed to build structure into the work itself. Really took me 6 months of understanding those requests in those areas of need across the company to begin to design an organized. What that what you might look like from a standpoint of Designing team members and having a vertical or Killers within the team itself. So I'll talk to you at hear that. What you see here is how we're approaching this work. Today, certainly may not be the same way that we approach this work and months in the future as our

program at approach continues to mature or design for your own team. May be very different because I think this work is vastly different based on the size and complexity and the global nature of your business. Do all share, the four pillars that are on my team today as well as a key initiative that each of the team members is working through. So with respect to run the business, you know, this is what I called for the kind of group of activities that enable employees to go from remote areas to promote active and supporting the entire ecosystem of prophecies knowledge

policies and partners that touch. That those kind of activities and a key area of this work, is the remote request tool. Request tool is the tool that we've internally belt and it helps employees. Get the support they need. When they are curious about remote work on to understand what their changes to their setup. My it gives them the opportunity to request remote work. Different levels of approval from managers and other levels of the organization. And then, once that approval process is finalized,

it automates, the transfer process with documentation and sort of the operational process related to the transfer. The next filler is about movement. So this is the process of strategically and compliantly distributing rolls and people across the world to locations, where remote work will be performed with team is deeply Focus right now. On cross-border remote work. Really difficult area that I was talking about earlier early to take jobs across border. Our approach, is to open a small number of countries at a time. We just announced a focus on an early focus in

2022 on new countries within a Mia. And this team is deeply partnering with a variety of to make sure that we can relocate those jobs in a complaint with The next vertical or pillar is about employee experience, and brand here is to build a best-in-class, remote employee experience across people product. It's also to create a trusted internal brand and to communicate with the company at all levels about our progress. Onboarding is a key Focus here. And. Onboarding is not just about new hire onboarding or bringing new

remote workers into the ecosystem and into the company, but also to help internal transfer through those people who have requested remote work internally and are transferring its remote roll. How do we make sure that they feel inspired have Clarity and what their benefits are connected to the company? Despite the fact that they're moving into a remote. Our last color is about strategy, Innovation and research. And the goal here is to Define and support Facebook strategy to redesign work for distributed and hybrid Effectiveness against people. Practice is product liability.

And one of the things that we're working on right now, which I'll talk about in a little bit more detail in a couple of slides is that we're working with an xfn team across research product, and people to get to the heart of meeting. What kinds of meetings are valuable. How can we recommend practices that increase? Their value has product features within RVC interface and other elements of our product ecosystem to make sure that that value is active seamlessly. I'll talk more about for optimizing for us as kids study.

The spinal stacked that I think it's really important to communicate as anyone who's taking on this role, is the idea of communicating progress and a commitment to learning a Facebook. Everything is 1% finished. It's our Mantra. It's how we operate. And one of our most important messages to our people is that we don't have all of the answer. We need to continue to build a future, through experimentation, and iteration, and learn together. So, I think one of the things that we're really trying to establish in the way that we communicate and in the programs and policies that we developed,

and we sure where we are and to make sure that people really feel along for the ride and invested in this experimentation so that we can confidently, try new things without fear. I think that if you're in this role, you would agree with me. That's so much speculation exists as to what is going to be an absolute failure in the hybrid world, or what is going to be table Stakes for employees going forward. The media is divided. Our own Community is divided on what really really matters and how

we'll get there. And so I think all of us acknowledge that none of us has a crystal ball and the more that we can leave, the faster. We'll get to the Future that we all really want to be part of. So I hope these four steps have been informative to think through how you're designing the work, and how you're building at your new function, in the head of remote. And again, I'd love to hear from you. Before we fully wrap up this conversation. I wanted to dive more deeply into a couple of case studies of areas that were currently working through one that we just announce collaboration zones is really

top of mind. Do their spectacle aberration zones, we recently announced that will be expanding cross-border remote work in the context of the newly-formed, flat radiation zone. So many issues, especially at larger, companies are probably toying with the idea of a lot of different distance from an office, where how we make sure that time zones are compatible. And we wanted to go with a rule of thumb that was as simple and all-encompassing, as possible. Because we knew that we wanted to optimize for team and Community

Health, while creating ample choice for employees to choose where they live, and also create new opportunities for us to sort of talent and a more frictionless way to ultimately be decided to establish. Three collaborations owns the Americas and the emea and APAC. And the goal was to have teams located within a single discreet sound. So long as a whole team is within the Zone, they will have compatible time zone and he will overlap for about half of the business day. Even if they are thousands and thousands of miles apart. So looking at that person who might be

located in Anchorage versus that person, that must be, it might be located in Chile in the America. Is there quite far apart that they continue to have a half-day overlooked so they can stay connected now, I'll share that, not every single team fits into this Paradigm. Some teams do fall across collaboration Zone pacifically. Those that have strategically, determined that the strategy strategy about this, is that it continues to enable us to organize around. Synchronous work. We're not at a place as a company where we are. So committed to and

ready for asynchronous work in a way that would enable us to kind of untethered our teams to an asynchronous format. Think we really need to build it. Ecology and people processes to support that and there's some strategic reasons why we continue to need the opportunity to work synchronously. We're Product Company. So with that said, as we continue to advance our asynchronous skills, we may decide that we want to advance our approach with collaboration zones going forward. And I think that's a testament to the fact that we are in a learning mindset and we continue to build structures

that are simple and scalable and adjust them based on what we learn. The final area that I wanted to share with you today is about better meeting. So we recently convened, a wide range of leaders that are cross-functional irresponsible for remote work and we did a review and we did a knowledge Harvest of all of the research being conducted at Facebook over the course of the pandemic about remote working and we use that to a problem statement representing keep in the remote employee experience. And in the distributed

across the company as an opportunity for a high skills, impacting our overall ability to increase our capability and distributed work with this idea of building better meeting and we are now a cross-functional team to understand what this looks like. And are focused on optimizing meetings in three key areas. The first is about relationship. Do we have a hypothesis that we want to make a meeting some more fun? And social and make meetings themselves, a breeding ground for new relationship development as well as strengthening existing

relationship. So when I think about is this shared experience and how can we create a really multimedia experience within that shared setting to make sure that new people can really connect? I think one of the things that is a watch out is the fact that we've been treating relationship development separately from the work done. And I think I am happy hours as an early example of that. So how do we create time neutral moments for relationship development have relationships flourish? The next element is about efficiency and Effectiveness. And I think that's

all comes down to a new understanding of what is valuable about meeting. How do we make meetings more effective by aligning to that value? And we just conducted, a research study looking at 19000 different meeting to get closer to that answer and then hopefully to build product features and people practice. Is that get closer settings. Finally, we're really concerned about Equity. How do we make sure that people can contribute to meetings? No matter where they're located. And I think this really is when we get back to the office and you have

two people in a conference room and two people who are in distributed or remote setting and the two people in the conference room, want to pick up the Whiteboard marker and write on the Whiteboard that the distributed members can't see, how do we create an experience, that doesn't degrade the experience of those interested as well. Not making sure that we are inclusive of this to people who are distributed. So we're really thinking about this from a location at 44th. And of course always have diversity and inclusion top of my

We are so excited to be able to continue to work in the years to come and create a better experience for our employees at Facebook. Whether they are remote workers, distributed workers in office workers, collaborating with either of those two archetypes, as well. So, good luck to you, as you continue to find your role as head of remote. Thank you so much to dare to get lab for inviting me today and freaking the incredible space to share ideas, as well. As to always be a great place to create new resources to educate the world on how to succeed in

this environment. So, thank you. I hope we'll have a chance to connect with you soon and good luck to you.

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