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Alexandra Samuel | Tech writer and data journalist | Author of Remote Inc.
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

COVID-19 brought about a dramatic shift in the way we work—from the time-honored tradition of the office to the shift to the hybrid workplace. A technology strategist, data journalist, and author, ALEXANDRA SAMUEL has spent much of her twenty-five year career as a remote worker. In her new book, Remote Inc., she uses her wealth of personal experience to help us conceptualize a new approach to working in the modern age: balancing our time between home and the office effectively. Samuel’s must-listen talks show us how to thrive, no matter where we are, by tapping into professional habits of remote work veterans.

“Remote work is no longer looking like a blip in the lives of millions of people, but rather a long-term realignment of how those workers and their organizations operate.”

— Alexandra Samuel

The landscape of how and where we work is shifting again as some businesses begin the transition back to in-person. While we celebrate the reopening, we know, too, that a hybrid strategy will need to take the place of our old systems. “We now have to grapple with a world in which remote work has become, if not the rule, then certainly no longer the exception,” says Alexandra Samuel. If integrated properly, remote work can offer us increased work-life balance, productivity, engagement, and employee retention. But how do we juggle working both at home and in-office? What can we do to get the most out of our time in each? And how can leaders manage a mix of in-person and remote teams? We’ve been given a prime opportunity to rebalance our approach to collaborative and solo work. Samuel shows us that instead of desperately trying to replicate the benefits of the office at home, it is possible to tap into the many different benefits that come with remote and hybrid work. Things like restructuring our days and weeks around our natural energy cycles, or tackling the deep work that’s hard to squeeze in between meetings and interruptions at the office.

 

In her new book Remote Inc.: How to Thrive at Work...Wherever You Are, Samuel teams up with productivity guru Robert Pozen to lay out a roadmap for using this unique moment in history to increase our own productivity. The most successful remote employees adopt a “business-of-one” approach, explains Samuel, meaning that they take on the responsibility and accountability of a small business owner. They define their work in terms of goals and deliverables instead of by the eight-hour workday; embrace a rhythm of “punctuated collaboration” that uses structured check-ins to complement solo work; and use the advantages of remote work to deliver even stronger results. Both the book, and Samuel’s eye-opening talks, teach new and long-time remote workers alike how to organize their priorities, communicate effectively, structure online meetings, and maintain a healthy work-life balance in the context of remote work.

 

A regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Harvard Business Review, the CBC, and JSTOR Daily, Samuel is a prolific writer whose articles on remote work, digital productivity, and tech culture have earned extensive media coverage. The author of the Work Smarter with Social Media series for Harvard Business Review Press, Samuel has long experience helping people make effective use of technology to enhance their personal productivity. More than five thousand students have taken her Skillshare class, Work Smarter with Your Inbox, and she was the lead social media expert for the Web Fuelled Business training program, which trained thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK. A featured expert on Google’s Digital Wellbeing site, Samuel speaks to both the personal and business impact of technology in her keynotes and workshops.

 

Samuel began her career in technology as the research director for the Governance in the Digital Economy program, leading a Toronto-based research program for a global consortium of government leaders from her home office in Vancouver. As the VP Social Media for customer intelligence software company Vision Critical, Samuel led a social media analytics pilot program while working from home so she could homeschool her autistic son. And as the co-founder of Social Signal, Samuel built one of the world’s first social media agencies while working out of her home with her husband and their first hires. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University, where her dissertation was the first comprehensive study of hacktivism (politically motivated computer hacking). While at Harvard, Samuel researched the impact of technology on social capital for Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking book, Bowling Alone.  

Speech Topics

Workshops & Interactive
Planning the Hybrid Workplace
Organizations are now planning for a hybrid workplace that combines a mix of remote and office-based work. But how can executives and managers determine the right structure for their particular organization or team?
 
In this hands-on session, remote work veteran Alexandra Samuel helps you analyze the organizational requirements you’ll need to thrive in the hybrid workplace. Using the FLOCS model, she assesses the function, location, organizational model, culture, and schedule of your team. From there, Samuels will guide you on how to develop a strategy and process for running virtual and mixed teams, informed by your organization’s personal objectives. This workshop covers how to set an initial schedule for the transition, how to establish performance guidelines and expectations, and finally, how to create a robust hybrid infrastructure that involves both updating your IT toolkit and reconfiguring physical workplaces for optimal success.
 
Finally, Samuels will help you onboard your hybrid team, supporting your employees in the return to the office with flexibility and curiousity. Practical and highly targeted to your organization’s goals, this workshop is a smart investment for the future of work in the post-pandemic era.
Team Building
Forging the Hybrid Workplace Remote Work Returns to The Office
The Covid pandemic catalyzed an overnight shift to remote work, but the real transformation lies ahead. As offices reopen, organizations will need to manage teams that mix in-person and remote workers, and employees will need to manage their schedules to get the best of both worlds. This transition offers the ideal opportunity for employers to get remote work right—not just by combining it with the benefits of time in the office, but by providing employees with the guidance they need to make the most of their days at home.

“These hybrid arrangements will require a massive rethinking on the part of bosses,” author Alexandra Samuel observed in her cover story for The Wall Street Journal’s Work from Home report. “No longer will they be able to manage remote workers like they’re office employees whose desks happen to be really far apart.”

In this inspiring and pragmatic presentation, Samuel will draw on her extensive research (distilled in her forthcoming book Remote Inc.) and long experience with remote work to show your managers and team the way forward. Starting with identifying the unique advantages of time in the office, as well as the unique advantages of time at home, she’ll show you how to build an organizational model and culture that enables employees to shift between lively collaboration and focused solo work. Samuel will leave your team ready to turn your remote + office combination into a powerful competitive advantage for attracting great talent, enabling strong performance, and delivering excellent results.
Corporate Culture
Beyond the boardroom Reinventing Collaboration for a World of Remote Work
The modern business meeting solves a very real problemif it’s still 1961. Back then, a face-to-face meeting saved a lot of time and labor and Wite-Out, because the only other way to exchange ideas was by getting your secretary to type it up, mail it out, and wait for a response.

The meeting stuck around long after new technologies made other ways of work feasible. The overnight shift to remote work has made those new ways necessaryand invited us to radically rethink the balance between individual and group work.
 
In this engaging presentation, veteran remote worker and author Alexandra Samuel will show you how embracing that opportunity will not only help your team thrive during the pandemic, but position your organization to be even more successful in the years ahead.
Happiness & Wellness
The Business of One Finding Joy in Remote Work
 It’s not enough to just stay sane while you’re working from home: Your team deserves the chance to thrive and excel. But that won’t happen as long as they’re trying to replicate the lives they lived at the office, and wondering where the heck to find the break room.

Data journalist and entrepreneur Alexandra Samuel invites your remote team to embrace a new approach to working remotely, based on the key habits she identified through her research on both new and longstanding remote workers. These habits release employees from the hopeless effort to reproduce the benefits of the workplace, and instead, discover the untapped benefits of working from home.

In a real-time workshop led from Samuel’s WFH studio, your team will try on a new remote work mindset that shifts the way they think about time, tools, and care-taking. They’ll find a new balance between collaborative and solo work, and between work and personal time, gaining a renewed energy for their working lives.