Have you seen a situation where there’s resistance to change and then, when people finally accept it, they want to change everything? Does this seem like what's happening right now regarding remote work? To alleviate that nagging sense of impending massive change, I did some research and found McKinsey had already done my homework for me. They recently reported:

“In most industries, more than half of leaders are considering or planning large-scale changes in their organizations, including how meetings are run, talent management, use of technology, and innovation.”

Although it sounds like impending massive change is on the way, I’m still skeptical. As McKinsey also reported:

“Only 14 percent of companies launching digital transformations have seen sustained and material performance improvements.”

So while those leaders may be considering or planning big changes, there’s evidence of obstacles that may be preventing it from actually happening. The key to getting those changes to happen will be creating capabilities people can use to communicate and collaborate in natural ways that facilitate connecting, communicating, and getting work done.

To do our part, we’re sponsoring a joint hackathon hosted by Jitsi and Mattermost that is focused on tackling communication, collaboration, and engagement challenges facing remote workers around the world.

It’s called, Hacking from Home: Thriving in a remote environment. It will take place virtually from November 10-17, 2020.

The goal of this hackathon is to create new solutions that optimize remote work for everyone while delivering the speed, transparency, trust, and security of open--source software.

There will be sample challenges including:

  1. Helping in-office and remote employees navigate hybrid work environments
  2. Reducing isolation through social interaction
  3. Streamlining operations and processes through new approaches to company handbooks.

Participating teams will compete virtually using Jitsi for video conferencing and GitHub for submission of ideas and projects. Mattermost will provide support for collaboration and messaging within teams. There’s a total of $10,000 in prizes with the top three winners receiving a cash prize of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 (USD) respectively, and an additional $4,000 in merchandise. Given it’s a virtual event, wonder how the cash prize thing works.

This is a tough challenge - optimizing remote work. At the heart of this challenge is getting the communications component right. That’s why it comes across as so difficult. George Bernard Shaw said it best:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

And he said that when in-person meetings were a thing.

It’s also what makes it a worthy challenge. Creating new ways for people to thrive as they work remotely will help everyone navigate the unknown that lies before us. That’s what those leaders are really trying to do - invent the future. This will require change to the way we work, demanding greater ability to deal with uncertainty and necessitating enhanced business resilience when disruption hits. And it’s clear, disruption packs a punch.

That’s why this hackathon is so important - the ability to take advantage of the tools Jitsi and Mattermost provide and craft a capability that makes us more productive, enables more effective ways to communicate, and inspires creativity and innovation. Maybe it even results in more time to work on getting that digital transformation to stick.

Please join us on November 10 to participate in Hacking from Home: Thriving in a remote environment. Additionally, pass this info on to someone you think would be interested in changing the world or even making sure communication is actually taking place.