CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.

The future will most likely be some variation of a distributed work model. Whether it works or not depends on how well we enable team communication as the new systems are still being built.

Even after a few years of pandemic-induced remote work, we’re still learning to collaborate. Communication challenges linger with distance between remote workers caused by not just city blocks, but time zones, language barriers, and cultures.

CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.

Technology is the answer. Imagine how well your team will innovate tomorrow if they learn to effectively collaborate from anywhere today.

And don’t be fooled into believing that a few years working remote has taught you everything you need to know, either as a team member or team leader.

Virtual teams need collaboration tools like never before—not least because many remote team members aren’t fully remote. By now, most of us have experienced one or two people calling into a team meeting from another location, working in a shared doc on Google Drive, or setting timelines via project management tools.

All of this requires remote collaboration tools that aren’t necessarily new, but are more valued than ever.

Darren Menabney is lead of global employee engagement at Ricoh Co. Ltd., as well as a lecturer at GLOBIS University. In his online course, Leveraging Technology for Remote Work, he talks about a few key considerations for the future of work:

  • Knowing not only what technology you need, but how you’ll use it for remote team collaboration
  • Understanding the spectrum of remote work
  • Balancing company goals and values with what employees want

Below is a transcribed excerpt of his course.

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Transcript:

The Right Tools the Right Way for Remote Collaboration

Darren Menabney: Successful remote work requires getting good at three things, which I call TLC. It’s kind of the framework I came up with:

  • Technology
  • Leadership
  • Culture

You have to master all three to be successful with remote work.

If you look at technology, in particular, it’s not just picking the right tools—and there are some criteria for what is “the right tools.” It’s knowing how to use those tools and matching those to the work that needs to be done.

When we talk about tools and technology, we’re talking about tools for remote communication and tools for remote collaboration.

So we often tend to focus too much on just what are we using. But the real value of technology tools for remote work is how to use them and integrating them with a project.

That’s really the difference between successful remote work and unsuccessful remote work on the technology front. It’s the right tools for the right job and making sure that everyone uses those tools.

The Spectrum of Remote Work

Menabney: So to talk about remote work, we have to think about what kind of remote work. There are three kinds of remote work.

There’s the one we’re most familiar with, which we think about from covid: fully remote, 100% remote. Everyone is working not in the office. They’re at home, at a work site, at a coworking space, whatever.

Then there is, of course, hybrid work. Some members of the team or the company are working in office, and some people are working remotely.

So those are the two main differences: fully remote and hybrid, which is a mix of remote and in office.

To a certain extent, we can also consider in the office. So we have a spectrum of 100% in the office to 0% in the office. In the middle of that we have hybrid work—50% to 90% to 75% of people are working in the office.

And we’ve found that hybrid work seems to be the preference of most workers globally these days.

If you some studies done by Slack, Microsoft, and others, globally, people prefer to work from home three-to-four days a week. That’s kind of the sweet spot for companies.

So hybrid is kind of a global standard, and that’s how most of us are working these days.

The Future of Remote Work: Hybrid as the People’s Choice

Menabney: When we think about the future and where remote work could be going, there’s a lot of different opinions, a lot of different perspectives on this.

Some people say, “Hybrid will not work. So we’re gonna go either 100% remote or 0% remote. Either all in the office or no one in the office.”

I kind of disagree with that. I think hybrid work does work. We’ve shown it will work. And as I’ve mentioned, the preference for the workforce is hybrid work.

If you give the employee what they want, they’re more engaged, they’re more happy, and more productive. So hybrid is really the way to go. I think that is the future of remote work.

The key for leaders and members of remote teams or hybrid teams is how to work that environment. We have to ensure we’re inclusive, we have to use the right technology, the right tools, and leadership. Back to the TLC formula.

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