Second Spaces, “Burstiness” and Innovation

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    Welcome to this week’s Remote Work Newsletter! Each week we drop a remote work tip video, a work-from-anywhere insight and a recommendation to discover more about remote work.

    Research on remote work didn’t start with the pandemic. It’s actually something that academics and businesses have been looking into for many years. Recently, our team looked again at an interesting study from 2018 that examined how distributed teams could work most effectively together.

    You can see the original paper here, but here is the TLDR version – teams that had rapid bursts of communication followed by longer periods of silence accomplished more than teams with more constant communication. The paper argues that this might be connected to the fact that “bursty” communication is a more natural way for humans to communicate.

    We went back to this paper because we wanted to see if it aligned with our own findings. Did it? Well, kind of. In situations where the team is collaborating closely on a shared goal (which is the exact scenario tested in the study) it does seem that rapid communication followed by periods of silence works really well. In cases where team members are not working together routinely on the same things, then a more steady flow of asynchronous communication can work better.

    That said – setting aside time each day (or at least several times a week) where the full team gathers to rapidly answer questions can help in many scenarios. Right now, the team at BillionMinds is experimenting with different models on how to implement it in practice. We’ll report back our findings in a future newsletter.


    A few weeks back, we sat down with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky for a chat about the benefits of hybrid and remote work. One thing we love about Dr. Gleb’s work is how he has pulled together huge amounts of external research on these environments and combined it with his own findings. In the conversation, we discuss what the data really says about remote work productivity, explore why many leaders have a distorted picture of remote work, and look at how to stimulate innovation in remote and hybrid work environments. You can find the Making Remote Work podcast on your favorite platform, or watch the full interview here:

    Remote Work Productivity Tip: Having a Second Space to Work

    Video Length: 88 Seconds

    In last week’s tip we looked at how to set up your home office for success, but sometimes even with the best of intentions you will not do great work from home. So where do you go if you aren’t feeling the work-from-home mojo? Here is how to think about your secondary work location.

    About Us

    BillionMinds bring the Remote Work Tip Newsletter to you each week. Our skills development platform helps employees and managers master great work outside of the office, and become certified as Remote Work Professionals. For more information, visit us here.