RWL191:Journey of a Remote Work Innovator w/ Pilar Orti Founder Virtual Not Distant

The professional landscape is constantly evolving, and for many, the pandemic accelerated this change. Pilar Orti’s journey to remote work (which began way before the pandemic) is a testament to adaptability and foresight.

As an actress turned remote work innovator and podcasting forerunner, her story is not just fascinating—it’s educational. Pilar’s transition from acting to leading Virtual Not Distant, a company that helps teams adapt to remote work, is a narrative that resonates with the current global work environment.

Today’s episode is a masterclass in embracing change and juggling professional and business commitments with the demands of caring for family.

The excitement of a multinational life is relatable to anyone who’s found themselves at the crossroads of personal and professional commitments. You’ll hear firsthand how embracing virtual collaboration and co-working can lead to unexpected opportunities and why the adage of ‘location, location, location’ may no longer hold true for today’s businesses.

You can find out more about Pilar via the following links:

Virtual Not Distant
Pilar’s LinkedIn page

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Alex:
0:01

Hey everybody. It's Alex once again from the remote work life podcast, and I have one of my podcasting heroes with me today, pilar Ooty. Pilar is a director of virtual, not distant. They help managers and teams adapt to a new way of working, and I've had Pilar as a guest on the podcast before. As I said, she's a hero of mine in terms of podcasting space, one of the first podcasts I ever started to listen to, so I will put the details in the show notes for you to listen to as well. But apart from that, pilar is embedded in the world of remote work. She's a remote work expert, go to thought leader in the area of remote work, especially when it comes to helping teams, helping managers. So, pilar, I want to thank you once again for coming back to the remote work life podcast.

Pilar Orti:
0:58

Thank you for being here well, I'm delighted to be here, always good to speak to you and the second time is so well. I'm really looking forward to see what we talk about today me too.

Alex:
1:07

Me too, and I think last time we spoke, we were talking more about teams. You're giving advice in terms of how teams, especially the teams that were new to remote work, could transition and adapt to the world of remote work, and that's what you want about. But I wanted to, today, find out more about you and what inspired you to be where you are today, and I just wondered you know, first and foremost, pilar, could you just tell the audience about yourself? And you know where are you in the world now as well?

Pilar Orti:
1:42

well, physically I'm in London, so that's good because that's that's my base and I think that's important because I'm someone that has transitioned, so the transition sounds very linear. That has that still moves, in a lot of professional roles and in still in different industries, and I am now in flux. I am really wondering. I've taken this year to think about what's next. So I'm still doing a lot of what I would been doing for the last five or six years, and 20 years actually, but now I'm starting to wonder where am I next? So what I've been doing my professional life I trained as an actress, run a theater company that is like previous life and worked as a voiceover artist, which has still do some voiceover work. But what I've been doing over the last, say, 10 years is looking at corporate training and training in organizations. I started in leadership training around the 2010s or something and I started to see that more and more organizations were using technology to run their teams. So basically, I could see more virtual teams etc. So I started to look into that space and I thought it was a very interesting space because it needed a lot of deliberate action. It needed teams and managers to really think about how they wanted to work together and I thought that is very attractive and a lot of people making a transition to using more remote work. I thought that's great. We can use it as a tool to stop and think and design new ways of working. And then the pandemic came and lots of people had to adopt remote work without thinking, without designing new ways of working, and those years were interesting, I'm sure, for you as well, for a lot of people in the remote space to just see stuff being adopted in whatever way was possible. It changed how I approach the work. It really I was like whoa, what am I doing here? You know, turning to people in the middle of a pandemic about visible teamwork, which is my thing, and so it was an interesting time and I podcast a lot, which because I love talking and because I love having conversations about the work. So the show that you listen to, a 21st century work life, is my longest running show and it really started because I wanted to have conversations with people who were doing things. It was more broadly, in the 21st century, what work looked like, and as I saw that there was more remote work being adopted, I thought, well, actually, yeah, I could fill a whole podcast with just this. So it's been really great and from that I also have a podcast now about podcasting. I have a podcast about food with a friend of mine in Spanish. I have a management cafe still running now with a co-host, so podcasting there's something and that's quite interesting as well.

Alex:
4:40

So yeah, very mixed background, but all over the place but I mean I can see all of the different. You know you mentioned linear, but it's. There's very much a relationship between what you've done in the past in terms of the theatre based work and the creative things that you're doing or we're doing AOL, time Warner, forbidden theatre company to the things that you're doing now. There's definitely a correlation, and I think so you're doing voiceover work as well and obviously voiceover is very much related to the audio landscape that you're in now and you've got three did you say three podcasts all in one go.

Pilar Orti:
5:25

I am involved with five plus one, I think, plus one that I do a co-host for someone else.

Alex:
5:32

Yes, I think and you've got the adventures in podcasting as well. You achieve podcaster there as well. Yeah, you're helping coaches, facilitators and trainers. Gosh, I just about manage one podcast, do you?

Pilar Orti:
5:46

well, that is an issue. Actually it is. I mean adventures in podcasting. I wanted to turn that into some kind of business, doing exactly what you said, using helping, specifically, coaches and facilitators, because those were there still are my peers I haven't. I played with it for a bit and then I stopped and it's now lingering there. I'm thinking what can I do in the world of podcasting that is useful and that people will pay me for? So that's what I love podcasting.

Alex:
6:17

I do as well, I think, I know, for the same reasons as you. I mean, for me, I it was for me was about trying to engage people in the conversation, but also trying to give them value as well, at the same time as talking to them and reaching out to people. I was working remotely, but I I was funny quite difficult myself to network, so I thought how can I do that, you know, with people across the world and it was accidental, to be honest with you, I think, but it kind of it works, doesn't it? It's kind of it's a nice way to just have conversations and find out about people, isn't it?

Pilar Orti:
6:55

It is. I think it's especially. I mean, I don't know about you, but I don't like chit chat, so I like to get into the meat of the conversation. I mean the kind of conversation we're having now. I love having it. So the podcast gives you that excuse to go straight into it and it's really useful. And also you can reach out to people who you already maybe have something to say to, because you've read an article of them or, like you, listen to the podcast or you know they work in a specific field. So you reach out to them and then the conversation is a conversation that you want to have. I think that's something that a lot of people pitching for being on a show or PR agencies pitching guests. They don't understand that indie podcasters are there because we want to have certain kind of conversations with certain kind of people. So I think that's the main thing.

Alex:
7:46

And there's so much going on now with podcasting there's there's you mentioned we were talking about tools before there's so much going on. There's so many. I don't know about you, but I get a lot of people pitching me to come on on on the show. But, like you, I want to have conversations with a specific type of people and I think it's yeah, I think you mentioned you wanted when you talk about podcasting, you said you wanted to explore doing things more with your podcasting. Is that, is that your, one of your eventual goals? Is it?

Pilar Orti:
8:17

Yeah, that's one of the things that I want to do more of, but I'm really trying to see where I fit in. So again I thought, well, maybe I help coaches and facilitators set up their own show, but maybe that's too vague, maybe it's something about. There's something for me about how you show, how, in a way, how you show up at your best in a show, whether it's with a guest or on your own. So there's something about how much you edit what you say, if you are looking after the edit, or if you're working with an editor, how much of a conversation should be or shouldn't be edited. There's something that's really interesting there. So, the technical aspect of sound. There is something about the persona that we adopt. It is really interesting. If you listen to just as I love me as an example, because I know myself quite well if you listen to me in all the different podcasts, you hear a different side of me. Sometimes it's very subtle, but it's definitely. You bring a persona to the podcast. I was gonna say, to the show, because it is. You need a performance energy. So there's something about how the podcast shows up. That is also interesting to me. But I still, and also haven't found how to help, whether it's with online courses or one-to-one help. I'm still yeah, and it might be that I end up thinking you know, I just wanna have, I just wanna do a podcast, I don't wanna help other people, and then that's another way which a business can go is how do you make money from your podcast? So which I don't think we can make a lot of it, but there might be a way of the content being what generates the income, rather than it being a vehicle for us to then attract people to other parts of our business.

Alex:
9:56

Yeah, it's so many tools as well. There's a deluge of different tools and services, and for me I don't know if this helps you, but for me, the consistency is. The thing that I think a lot of podcasters suffer with is the consistency, because there's so many things that are related to doing a podcast, like getting the guests, booking guests on, and then, once you've made the recording, editing it, scheduling the recording, post-production from you know, promoting it and then transcribing it. There's so many different. Yes, I can see why you're trying to figure out where you fit, because there's so many aspects to it, but in terms of the theater side of things, just going back now to your early career, I'm keen to delve a bit more into that and because, as I said, I was looking at your career whilst you were, you mentioned well, I mentioned an artistic director and workshop leader. How did that? How did you sort of? How did your career progress up until that point? And then, after that, more to a more entrepreneurial side of you. How did that all sort of come about?

Pilar Orti:
11:12

Well, I am totally self-made because I have an issue which some people could look at as a strength, but I think sometimes it gets in my own way, which is I am extremely curious and I also like to learn by doing so. I really I'm very lucky that I have a lot of confidence in myself, and so I don't mind making mistakes, I don't mind how I look to others sometimes, so I learned by doing so. I actually came to London to do a biology degree and then ended up training as an actress. I'd always loved acting, but it's one thing to love to act and the other is to want to become an actor. So I decided okay, let's see what being an actor looks like. Oh, actually, let's learn to act first. So I trained and then, during the time at drama school, I became friends with someone else, another actor, who really was very entrepreneurial as well. So we set up a theater company. So that's how it happened. Of course, meanwhile I was looking for work. I don't think did I get any other work? I'm not sure, but I didn't wait. And also there's a whole thing of I still have an accent when I speak in English, as you see, and I had maybe a little bit less of an accent, but that limits you as an actor what kind of roles people might think you're suitable for. It just takes longer. I think it's possible to have a good career, but that I thought that might be limiting. So I just wanted to do the roles that I wanted to do. It's the same story as now. I wanted to do the work I wanted to do with the people I wanted to work with in the way that I wanted to do it and we just learned and some was really fun and we did some good work. We also did some terrible work at some points and during that I learned I'd always kind of directed, but I'd learned to direct a bit more. I'd always been doing my own stuff when I was little as well. I learned to teach through watching my tutors at drama school, through watching directors direct, and I really started to look at what it was like to lead a workshop. So I learned to be a theater workshop leader as well Again, and that was just by trying to assisting, trying stuff out, and then I started to train other trainers as well. I also got all the other actors going. You want to run, learn how to run a workshop and some people became fabulous teachers within the theater company. So there was a lot of learning. Again, I've always liked running things, but of course you had to learn how to manage something properly, you had to learn about employment law. So I just learned everything and I had a lot of fun learning, and that's an issue I have. And the moment when I thought, okay, there might be something else I can be doing as well, as was when I went to a conference for theater companies and somebody, a guy called Toby Wilshire from Tressel Theater Company, told us about this program, training program they had for corporations where they used masks and theater exercises to train people in presentation skills et cetera. So I started to look into this, I started reading about it, I went on a course a couple of quite a nice long course and then I started doing it. I found people who won. I ran one free session for someone. They gave me feedback. Then someone I knew said hey, come and talk to us and they liked what I was saying. So I did something and I just learned that. And you can see, like everything, there's something that interests me and I learned it by doing it, and sometimes I crash and sometimes it goes quite well. But if you don't try, you never know.

Alex:
14:53

I guess, if you don't find and it seems like you're, it's. I don't know as much as you said at the beginning, your career's got different aspects to it, but it's like I said to me, lots of the things that you've done are related and it seems very logical to me. Is that? Was that deliberate, or is that no, no, no, it's not deliberate.

Pilar Orti:
15:15

I didn't. I mean, if you look at what I'm doing now specifically as well, when I'm doing podcasting and what is it, and I'll say, oh yeah, the training of virtual teams. These are all relatively new things. When I was I'm gonna show my age but when I started my studying training it was 1990. So, boom, things have changed so much and there's no way I could see this. There was a point where everything came together even more, which is when this thing about using theater in training corporate training I was actually doing team away days and leadership training using physical theater, which is something that it's something I love and that was merging my interest in science, in physiology, in psychology. Theater, the corporate training, the leadership, the experience it really was bringing everything together. Now it's gone a little bit well, actually, it's just evolved. So I think what might be happening it's very interesting that you said that, because I think what's happening is just that we develop some strength and interests, and even I might have not even have realized that what I was doing was seeking when, where can I do more of this? I've been doing it like this in this way, but maybe if I do that and eventually you go well, actually, if I do it this way, I do it better, or I feel like I'm doing know what I'm doing if I do it this way. So it's a very I suppose it's quite instinctive way of of shaping the career. I have to say that the voiceover has stayed all the way from when I've been voicing since 1998. I do a lot less now, so I don't have a proper home studio and a lot of work has gone to the homes. But that also just meant that I had an income that was relatively constant, which allowed me to play a lot more. I think that's quite important to say.

Alex:
17:11

So did you have like multiple? It seems like you've got multiple streams, but all kind of running alongside each other.

Pilar Orti:
17:18

Yeah.

Alex:
17:19

Okay, and remote work. As I said, you're a massive advocate and an expert where remote work is concerned and training with remote work. I'm trying to I could probably when I'm looking at your various things, I'm trying to see where that begun for you. Where did that begin? Where did that begin to be important for you?

Pilar Orti:
17:40

So I was looking at the leadership training et cetera, and I started to just see that the people were talking about this thing called virtual team. So I started to look into that and so two things happened. One is, as I was looking into it, I started blogging about it and what I found was that the pieces that were about that space we're getting more attention that the pieces about normal leadership. So I thought, okay, the leadership training arena is full I mean, there's a lot of us there anyway, in whatever aspect. But not many people were doing that the virtual team, remote work thing and I thought, well, also, typically trainers are very people people. And this thing of using technology to build teams to like no, no, I'm a people person I thought, great, gap, I can go in there. I love technology. I've always thought it's great, I have no issue with it. So in my head, that's what was happening. At the same time, a couple of things happened. My father's got Parkinson's and he was becoming more ill and more ill. So I was going more to Madrid and I met my husband in Holland. So at one point, well, he wasn't yeah, he wasn't my husband then, obviously, but at one point I was going to London, madrid, amsterdam, london I mean wonderful life, everything, everything, everything. I was gonna be between three different places and I was trying to build this team building leadership, training, business, and I thought this is really difficult. So I started to look at what work was online, and this is when people per hour was relatively new. Fiverr was around, but that's a different kind of thing Upwork, which I didn't touch on people per hour. So I looked for work, I wrote some blog posts and then there was a post for someone to moderate the forum of an online leadership course and like a credited leadership course, and I thought I can moderate the forum and that's something that you can do from anywhere. So I did that. And then the lady was actually based in the UK. So I even met her and met there were a couple of people in the team then and I stayed with that and then at some point she said would you like to run a webinar? And I said, yeah, I can run a webinar. So the lady who was in charge of the webinar program taught me how to do it and the first webinar I ran and it was what was that? Go to webinar.

Alex:
20:10

Okay.

Pilar Orti:
20:11

On that platform only with slides in the chat, talking to people in the chat. Every now and then someone would open the mic and I ended my first session and I was sweating. Yes, because I've been so engaged and I was so into it and it didn't matter. I felt like I was in a room full of people.

Alex:
20:31

Wow.

Pilar Orti:
20:31

And this is one of the things why I stayed in that space is that some people cannot connect unless they have people around them physically. For me it doesn't matter, just with the chat, just with presence in the chat. I felt like I'd been in a room full of people and so, from that, then the lady who was in charge of the webinar program left, so I took that over and then eventually I just thought, well, maybe I can do more stuff. And then somebody actually through LinkedIn said I see, oh, I started to create an online course on leading remote teams and someone saw it. And they said, oh, could you turn that into an in-person workshop? And I said, yes, I can do that.

Alex:
21:08

When was that Pilo about? What time was that?

Pilar Orti:
21:12

That was 19,. Sorry, 2000, maybe 18.

Alex:
21:15

Okay.

Pilar Orti:
21:17

Yeah, something like that. So I did a few years pre-corona of thing and everything changed so much. So, anyway, that was where the remote work came in. Is I needed to? I went into the space and saw the need and just evolved.

Alex:
21:33

And have you? I mean, there was a period where I went back into the office myself and, yeah, kind of reflected. But has there ever been a time when you've had to do that yourself or been in a period where you've had to sort of dedicate yourself back into an office environment again?

Pilar Orti:
21:48

Well, you're gonna laugh. So I've been freelancing since all my career. As you probably noticed, I've been freelancing because I liked so many things the only way of doing that. So I had one time when I used to go into an office. You mentioned AOL, time Warner. I was helping with some of the audio there for the Spanish feed, the Spanish TCM, and that was. I think it was one day a week or something and I'd go into the office and the studio's there. The other thing is the theater company had an office and in fact I remember sitting with the board of directors. The office was also an issue because we're in London and I didn't wanna find the. I don't really. I didn't wanna move to have an office somewhere, but we had an office at a very highly reduced date, sorry rate in central London and it was always an issue in the board. In the trustees meetings it was always an agenda item what's happening with the office? Because the lease was about to expire or whatever, and at one point I was like if we don't have an office, we don't have a company, really. Yeah, because that's how it was.

Alex:
22:54

Yes, yes, that's how it was.

Pilar Orti:
22:56

If you didn't have that, you had no other place for people to gather. And then eventually cafes started to open up in central London and then it wasn't as important. Yeah, just like you really just changed that you could have meetings in, but there was a point if you didn't have an office, you didn't know where to gather your people. Yeah, and so, yes, but since we, since I love the theater company, I started using co-working spaces, but I rarely use them anymore as well. I am, I'm fine home. I've now my life has a lot of. I do exercise, so I go out once for a couple of hours into the social club. It's a gym, but it's also social. And yeah, I mean, if I had an office that was really near and really comfortable I mean, I am part of a co-working space, but it's not as comfortable as this setup. This is the only thing. But if I would, I would there, I'd be there. We used to have this office in Rupert street in Piccadilly. If I could have a really cheap, nice office there now where I was super as comfortable as I was, then of course I would have it. But it's not one thing for the other. So yeah, Now, that's.

Alex:
24:11

That's it's funny to say about the, the idea of if you don't have an office, you don't have a business. Because before I started, well, no, there was a point where I actually, when I was working remotely, I didn't actually tell anybody I didn't have an office, because I was actually quite afraid how they would react to me. I had, I had this on my business card, I had this like a service office, Uh-huh, yes, Service office address, which made it look obviously as though I had a. You know, I had an address which which I didn't. It was just where I took, well, I gathered all my letters, but I would never tell anybody that I didn't have an office. Because there was times when I did tell people and they would say, basically, their whole sort of demeanor and their mood towards me would change because they think, what kind of serious business person doesn't have a, doesn't have an office? You know in, and it's just amazing how you know, okay, there's still a way to go in terms of remote work being taken, you know, seriously, visual, virtual work being taken seriously, but back then, it's so much different now then to what it is now, isn't it?

Pilar Orti:
25:22

Yeah, completely. There's a lot of people have told me the same thing as well that they didn't mention to their clients or potential clients. I think I think now that's that's different, which is great, even that that's been one big. Some things changed after the pandemic and some things haven't, but I think that's changed that actually now people know that you can run a successful business, that actually having an office is probably a choice, and I'm really happy about that. But then for me it wasn't.

Alex:
25:54

It was the place where people gathered and yeah, so you're gathering, you say co-working spaces, but again, like me, I've got access to co-working cafes. Well, we're in London, so you basically can go anywhere. But I mean, although I go out, probably once a week, maybe sometimes twice a week, I'm like I love my home set up because it's just so, it's just like so comfortable, it's like it fits me like a glove and I can play my music in the background when I'm doing work or, you know, put my headphones on if I'm trying to focus, or whatever it may be. You can never make a co-working space as you want it to be, can you? And it's kind of, it's just so. Yeah, but that's me, that's just me. But I wanted to ask you, peter, as well. So now you're doing virtual, not distance is one of your main things. Tell me, just give us an example of the kind of clients that you work with. I mean, you don't have to name them, but the kind of clients that you work in, the kind of work that you're doing. If you could, that'd be great.

Pilar Orti:
27:01

Yeah. So I ended up some by choice, just by default, working with traditional organizations that are still trying to make remote work work. I think that's always. That was always my client, actually, because I like that. I like being the bridge. I have a part of me which is very traditional worker and then I have the part, but this is the let's see what's next around the corner and let's make it up as we go along, but I like that. I've always enjoyed working with the more traditional organizations, maybe because that's maybe because they're the ones that have a longer way to go, so I feel I can help them a little bit more. So within that over the last few years, it's been everything seen, from small teams, so very small companies, to intergovernmental organizations, so really large organizations, and some hierarchical, but maybe just because they haven't embraced the transparency that online can bring. So not because of anything, but just organizations that are where it takes a long time to do things. This kind of these have seemed to be, seem to have been my clients and what's really important, I think what I've noticed is that I just have to enjoy working, working with the person I'm working with, so the learning and development or training person. I really we really have to be on the same wavelength at some in some level. Now, it's not that we agree on everything or see the world in exactly the same way, but there's got to be something there where there's such a mutual respect. And I've really seen, like recently someone invited me to to apply for their to be on their books, basically from having come in at Hogg and we had to do. I had to go through all this official thing, even though I'd already worked there a couple of times, and my my contact, she just we did this interview and she was. You could see that she was asking all the questions to make me shine and stuff like that, and it's really nice for me it's very important to eventually see the client as a collaborator. Some some of the jobs have done that hasn't happened and it's been like well, we just didn't, we just saw the world in such different ways that they didn't work and so that. And then the kind of things I do well at the. I think I'm in the end I'm just doing training. There was a time I wanted to do more consultancy, but in the end what I'm seeing and I'm not quite sure what I think about this is that most organizations want you to come and do one session about something and then that's it, and I always wonder is that enough? How much can I do in two hours? Yes, and the truth is that you can do a lot in two hours. Sometimes you might just touch one or two people and the light bulb goes off for them, and that's enough. Other times, you can see that more people want to do something different after you've been with them. But one of the last pieces I did was really nice, was a little bit longer, because it was about asynchronous communication, and that's what I'm focusing on now, because I don't know if you've noticed, in the remote space, everyone was doing remote, remote and I were going. Oh okay, remote is huge.

Alex:
30:15

Some areas yeah.

Pilar Orti:
30:16

Yeah, now that it really exploded. Some people are doing well-being, some people are. A lot of us are doing asynchronous, because that's the piece that's missing now in remote collaboration for most people. So we were doing, and the client wanted me to come and do a webinar so very traditional again, but with cameras on this time and because that's how she thought it would land better and what people could do. So what we did do was set up a space where they could discuss some stuff ahead of time, like in teams. My colleague and I, who I was running it with, recorded a little piece just to introduce asynchronous communication. So nobody turned up at the webinar. We had to start right from the beginning. What is asynchronous communication? So we did that and then we created a guide to go with the webinar so that people could do continue asynchronously. They might still be in that team space. I don't know what's going on, but that's a much more satisfying piece of work because it's got a little bit more of a chance of making a difference.

Alex:
31:26

Yeah, it's important. I think what I'm seeing a lot is yeah, there's more discussions around asynchronous work, but there's still I don't know if you're feeling this as well in terms of the online stuff. I don't know if this is a reflection of how the real world is, but there's still a lot of conversations around mainly castigating remote work. There's lots of people who are still not quite there. Obviously, there's lots in the news about bosses saying that workers should come back into the office and are you getting an impression of remote work? There's still people perhaps not taking it as seriously as it might be taken.

Pilar Orti:
32:18

So I don't know the number of the episode, but the episode that's coming out on the what's four and seven 11th of May. I discuss a lot of this with Maya in the 21st century work life, because this is happening now and there's a lot of stuff happening which is we're still people are still working out what is good for them, what is good for the organization. A lot of the people who are making the decisions of how remote we can be or their hybrid setup, or whether remote work is even allowed now, are people who haven't been in that world. You think about what their version of remote work was. It was probably madly being in meetings all day trying to rescue the business or trying to see what do we do. So a lot of the experience of the people making the decisions is not a good version of online collaboration and remote work, so that's something we need to bear in mind. It's a shame, but it's happening and we'll see where it all lands and we are still in flux. They will. We see companies going yeah, people can do this or no, we can't or no. Yes, we can or no, we can't. And in a way, sometimes you think, well, they've got to try something and they've got to say something, what I think is a shame. And, interestingly, we just go back to I think it was October 2020,. I was on a I did like a panel thing with an organization in Spain and they said what do you think is going to happen after the? How are we going to come out of the pandemic regarding remote work? And I said, well, we're going to see companies that are office first probably didn't use that term, but I said people who say everyone in the office at the other end of the spectrum will continue to have fully distributed companies, and then you have a whole thing in the middle. And the important thing about this that is different to the before the pandemic is that now people might have a choice. Now everyone has a choice of where they work, because now everyone is that fortunate or how they work. But the people who have a choice will look for that. And if you're someone who wants to go into the office five days a week and you want a culture where that is important, hopefully you'll have places to go to, and if you want the opposite, you have to. Hopefully there's that choice. So my hope is that, yeah, jp Morgan has said all the managers need to be in the office because this and that Well, let's see what JP Morgan is in 10 years time, and maybe it does really well, but everyone there has a certain way of working. The other thing I think we need to bear in mind is the reasons that people are giving are sometimes not great. I just wish they said, look, we can't make it work. Like I think it was one of the Google guys said I don't know how you train managers to be remote. Great, that's what we need. We just need more transparency of look, we just think this is not working for us for these reasons, but not because you can't do collaboration, not because you can't do productivity. It's like we know you can do all of that. It's just look, we haven't figured it out and we've decided that, instead of trying to figure it out, we need to get out with a business. We need to continue doing this. We need to continue that. We don't have time to explore that. We're just going back to how it was. Okay, it's a shame, but payhold, I don't mind the organization saying we don't want people to work remotely, but don't say it's because remote work doesn't work.

Alex:
35:35

Yes, 100% agree. That's probably a lack of acceptance that the future is. There's a what's the word? Sort of like a spectrum of different ways of working, like you say. Well, like you're inferring, is that there's not an acceptance that some people prefer to work this way and there's other people on this spectrum that prefer to work that way? Yeah, it's something that's it's difficult. It's very difficult because I think even the idea of hybrid work to me is quite difficult. There's a challenge where hybrid work is concerned, and I can see, because when I interviewed Nick Francis a few years ago, obviously Nick Francis remote first, you know, remote first CEO, and I was thinking back then when I first spoke to him, when he said to me you know, because obviously his theory and his ethic is around remote first being the best way for his company to work. And if you've got a blend of sort of like remote and hybrid, that's where it becomes even more challenging to keep people on board with the culture, you know, career development, all those different things. I hope you think you loved it. It was only when I started to sort of really think about how many different things that hybrid managers have to do in order to keep their team engaged, that I realized how what Nick Francis said was you know it really made sense to me. Then there's so many things I mean you have to. You know, if you're working in a hybrid situation, there's gonna be some people that may come in more than others or have more interaction with a manager than others, as others that might not. You know, somebody might come in a different day or just totally different complexities to it. So I don't know, I can't see myself how it's gonna sort of shape up, and I'm sure there are other. I'm sure there are hybrid teams out there that are doing it successfully and in fact I'd probably like to have a couple of them on the podcast.

Pilar Orti:
37:37

Well, you know, when just before the pandemic, I think was 2019 Gallup surveyed engagement for remote workers and they said the highest engagement was for those I think it was either three who were either three or four days not in the office. So already before then, remote actually didn't mean that a whole team was away from the office and it didn't even mean that one person was 100% of the time away from the office. Remote then also meant that sometimes people were working not in the office, but because that was probably not that widespread, then it was just remote. So I think that hybrid already existed before, but we didn't call it that way. The other thing is that hybrid is very difficult and one I'm hearing you speak. It just needs a lot more coordination and deliberate communication than remote only or office only. So people have to work a lot harder, and I'm not sure that everyone really wants to do that. And the other thing is that what we're going to see as well and this might not be very popular, I don't say this often is that people who want to work because there are a lot of employees who want to work in a hybrid way it's not just the organization saying we want to see people in the office. People are saying what I want is to work a couple of days from home, or three days from home, and I want the office. However, that means that the employers have to keep those offices ready, and not just ready. They have to be the kind of place that people, when they come in, feel welcome. But I think at some point and this is already happening actually there's going to be not just forced going into the office from people who want to use those buildings, but there's going to be forced working from home from organizations that say you know what doesn't make any sense. So I'm sorry, if you want to come into the office two days a week because you're going to leave the house, we don't have an office for you anymore.

Alex:
39:36

Wow.

Pilar Orti:
39:37

Yeah, and that, of course, why would you? Why would you? But again, this is, I mean, the situation we're in about it, alex, if you think about it is really weird, because if you have the same job I mean I'm not employed and if you had the same job in 2019 as you have now, you might not have signed up for the conditions in which you are now. You didn't sign up for that. So there's going to be a time when now people need to, at some point, know what, how their work life is going to continue with regards to that organization, so that they can make, hopefully, a choice about whether they continue or not. But at the moment and this is why it's so difficult is people are like I didn't sign up for this, I didn't sign up to work from home all the time from people who were going to the office and people who have to go to the office all the time are like I didn't sign up for a workplace that didn't listen to what had been going on for the last three years. Yeah, so this, oh.

Alex:
40:39

Lots of complexities.

Pilar Orti:
40:40

Yeah, I did a session on the psychological contract for a client, because this is what's happening is everyone's unspoken contracts and what we expected from each other and from our employees have been broken and we need to talk about it because expectations we had before might not be the same and anyway, it's a huge. That's why it's so fascinating. It is fascinating.

Alex:
41:02

It is fascinating and I see you know what you just said is big as well having the discussions around it, the contracts and all that sort of thing and the way it sort of plays out to me every day when I'm looking because I look online, I look at, you know, when I'm dealing with my clients I'm helping to find work, for example, and, like what you said, there's some of my clients who are very much about. They don't want to go back to the office, there's others that want to go back to the office and there's some in the middle but their lives are not is not made very easy by some of the job adverts that you see on. You know some of the job adverts you see online. I mean LinkedIn is just one example where you've got some company saying you know, remote, friendly or remote first, or fully remote, 100% remote or remote open to remote. You know what I mean.

Pilar Orti:
41:54

Open to remote Okay.

Alex:
41:57

It's just like what does that actually mean? So I think I don't know if it was you that said online I think it might have been you that there needs to be sort of a definition for what, what? What do you mean by remote work? Because I think now even somebody like who's it? I think, is it GitLab? I think they, they, they call themselves all remote and that that confuses. That's confusing in its. I'm not saying that they're confusing, but I'm saying these different definitions confuse people. And then the people that write the job descriptions and the adverts, who perhaps were that good at writing adverts anyway to begin with, are now trying to tempt people by saying, oh, what would this that would do that? But it's, it's, it's confusing me, you know.

Pilar Orti:
42:45

I think, just thinking back to whether I said I think I might have been talking about hybrid, specifically, right, the, the, because, yes, remote first, full remote, blah, blah, blah, blah, all of that is confusing. I think that hybrid is that times three times confusing, because hybrid means nothing. I mean hybrid can mean, and also, I think we're still. We're still talking about location. What is this? What does hybrid mean? Does it mean hybrid choice? Does it mean that you have a choice? Does it mean that you're working with P in an environment where there's so much independence that everyone does what they want, because some people might not want to work in a team where everyone can choose where they work because that might not be what they like. So, yes, I think that, yeah, I think at some point, hopefully, the hybrid first, I don't know. Hybrid, the three, two, hybrid, autonomous, hybrid, dictated, remote, dictated, working from hundred. Take the co-working enabled. We can think of lots of definitions.

Alex:
43:47

There is so many definitions and that's yeah, but hopefully, I mean, I don't know how this is all going to sort of sort of pan out and how it's all going to sort of set yourself down, but I think, yeah, it'd be interesting to see what things happen. I think somebody said I think who was it that came on the podcast and was saying to me that this year and the beginning of next year is going to be the year of sort of get people getting back into the office or businesses saying come back in the office. And he said that, as of you know, maybe tail end of 2004, beginning of 2005, that it's going to be more around things going to settle down and then we're going to see a bit more definition in terms of the companies that are more comfortable to say fully remote or whatever. It's remote first, but be interested to see what the future holds, you know, but we will see, we will see and we shall see. And for you, pila, because there's so many avenues in which your career can go down, you have your freelancers, you said and you've done a variety of things but, as I mentioned, all interconnected. If your career, if you visualize your career as like a staircase. How far are you along that? How far are you up that staircase?

Pilar Orti:
45:12

Well, if I were 20, I would say at the bottom, but not 20. Just from. So I am shifting how I look at my life. Anyway, I want to do more writing. I'm learning to write fiction as well. There's just a lot of stuff that I'm trying to do and I am at the beginning of where I want to be in 10 years time, if I get there, because what I want to, I want to have a lot more sources of income and I want to productize a lot of what I'm delivering now. I really want to do that, in fact. I want, in fact, if you or anyone listening knows of a way of delivering audio courses that is easy, where you can charge not through a podcast, not through teachable then let me know, because I think that I would love to do that. I want, in fact, I've been creating with a colleague hopefully we'll get it out at some point this year an audio course about asynchronous, and I think I would like to do a lot more of that. I want to create audio courses that people can listen to and reflect on away from the computer. So I want to do that. I want to do more writing and find what ways of income I can create as a creator, as an artist I'm. Also I want to go into the self-help arena because I've been doing some doodles with Happy Day C, which is where she's got this message of slow down and smell, slow down and smell the coffee kind of thing, and so, and again, I'm learning. I'm learning how to draw comics, so I just there's a whole new way of. I read somewhere that work is how we express ourselves, and that has been so true for me and I think I'm now ready to just make it about self-expression rather than anything else. So I am at the bottom because I am shifting, I'm completely shifting, and I think I'm ready to leave some parts of my professional career behind. I'm not ready to leave some others. So I think I'm yeah, if it were a staircase, I'm definitely at the bottom and I'm rolling a. There's a lot more to come.

Alex:
47:27

There's more to come. I wouldn't say you're crawling with talk. I think there's the message I got from that is lots more to come. And I think there's so many different averages and I think, yeah, audio I think is going to be as big as it is now, but it's going to get even bigger. And you know, back to the idea of remote work and async work. There's still not complete clarity on how that's all done. So if you can deliver that in an audio course, then you could be onto something there.

Pilar Orti:
47:59

I hope so, and it's pitched what's really interesting? So, without going off on another tangent, what's really interesting at the moment is there is a lot like this week I there's a lovely guy who's about to publish with the mainstream book on async, so I got that to have a look and give an endorsement. Someone else also got in touch with me and said can you have a look at this stuff online which is all about async? And then I saw someone else post on LinkedIn. I've got this new guide about async. There's a lot of stuff that's coming out for fully distributed, mainly software developers, that kind of. You mentioned GitLab. You know the GitLab aspiring those companies that aspire to be like GitLab. There's a huge piece for organizations like the ones I've been working with, which are the traditional ones, which are not going to use half of those terms. They're not going to do all that stuff, but need to make their remote work more sustainable. So that's the space I'm looking at, and I think our course is very basic, but I think it just touches on all the things that some people have not had time to think about. So, and yeah, in audio, I'm really excited about finding a way there's still not a way of delivering audio as courses, but I think it's a matter of time before someone says here's an app.

Alex:
49:16

Yeah, because all you get really is you've got audio books, but that's not really a course, is it? And then you've got I mean, LinkedIn has started to test a lot of audio now, so that kind of is a clue as to what's to come, maybe.

Pilar Orti:
49:31

Yeah, and to be honest, I haven't looked at how that would work there, but the LinkedIn courses and stuff are. I mean, they're closed, so you need to be invited to deliver them, which I suppose I could look into, and they have been looking at audio and even podcasts and stuff. One of the online course platforms now has come up with a mobile app. That might be the solution, because then you can have your PDFs in there as well for reference and there might even be a community featuring it. But you don't need to feel it can feel it can be okay delivering audio through that. So maybe that's the answer. But I definitely agree with you that audio became very big, has become really big over the last five years, and I think we're going to see more.

Alex:
50:20

Maybe you could create your own platform. Maybe it could be a new thing. I'm trying to wrap my brain. I can't think of anything that just delivers audio.

Pilar Orti:
50:28

Well, if any developer is out there because I did, and I was talking to someone at some point who was creating something, but I don't know what's happened people come and go, but yeah, I think that I want to create something that I know will work and that if someone, if a learner, has a problem, that I'm not the one they go to. So I want a platform where they have a customer service so I don't have to deal with that. So creating something new might be a bit scary, but you know, let's see. Watch the space Watch the space.

Alex:
50:58

We'll be watching this space, definitely. Well, I mean, it's been great having you on again, auti, but I just wanted to ask you finally, because we've talked all about work what do you do when you're not working? What do you do? You gave us a bit of a clue in terms of some of the things, like the gym. You mentioned the gym. Are you a fitness? What are the things that you do when you're not working?

Pilar Orti:
51:24

So lots of stuff, because something I've been really trying to do over the last year was to spend less hours at the computer and work less actually, and just the reason I want to work less is so that I can enjoy it more. So I don't feel like I'm really done working and catching up. I know I want to do things well, so I actually take Fridays off, but work on Saturdays, and by work I mean editing podcasts, which is so awesome, and it's like being in a room with my friends listening back to conversations. So I love it. But I did that and it's very interesting. If anyone has any flexibility. I found that, because I take Friday off, saturday is great because I have a lot of energy for that last day. Then I take Sunday off completely and then I start again on Monday. I do pilates, which is great for Well, as a voiceover. It's great for the breath something I discovered after drama school and it's great for posture. It's great for strength. It's like if anyone is thinking about yeah, we're all sitting up now. So pilates. I do a dance class. I used to do Zumba, but it's too cold in the gym where I do it. I do a dance class because I love dancing and this is just like a fun dance class and then I do another kind of pilates thing and then I started doing yoga, which I really like. I really like the teacher. She's like a. Really Her style reminds me of the physical theater tutors Really just wonderful. I read a lot. I love reading. Every morning I read at least 20 minutes and then throughout the day, if I can, fiction. I also read a lot of nonfiction and I watch a lot of television. I love crime dramas, yeah.

Alex:
53:09

Crime dramas.

Pilar Orti:
53:10

Great, especially the foreign ones.

Alex:
53:14

What's the latest crime? What kind I mean? I don't get to watch a lot of TV, but the last crime? I don't know if this counts, but the last crime drama I watched was Breaking Bad.

Pilar Orti:
53:24

Oh, I didn't ever watch that. I know it was big, but I didn't watch that at all.

Alex:
53:30

I don't know if that counts as a crime drama, because I'm not that into TV. As I said, Maybe you do that.

Pilar Orti:
53:36

Yeah, well, if anyone listening does like crime drama. Well, we don't have Netflix because we were going to sign up to Netflix.

Alex:
53:43

Oh, I see.

Pilar Orti:
53:44

And we were going to sign up and we bought the Broku the thing to go online and Channel 4 in the UK has so much stuff and then we also still record from television into a digital recorder. There's just so much stuff. We don't need Netflix, but there's a lot of. Channel 4 in the UK has lots of Scandinavian drama, lots of French crime. That's just so great. And then I also like cozy mysteries because that's what I'm writing. So I also watch things like Private Eyes or I was watching today Rearounds of Castle. I don't know if you've heard of that?

Alex:
54:17

I've not seen that. No, no, what's that about?

Pilar Orti:
54:18

Yeah, Castle is just Well. They're now in season 17, but I used to watch it when it was season one. It was about a crime writer that joins the police or that is shadowing someone in the police. So it's just like really easy cases. It's just very cozy dramas and you don't really see blood. There's no real violence, it just you know. They just solve the case and then you know. You always know that the person who did it is whoever. If they have a relatively high-profile actor in the episode, that's the person who did it.

Alex:
54:47

That's the one that did it, so it's not difficult to work out who did it.

Pilar Orti:
54:51

So I love that, I love watching television. I really, really do it. So, yeah, that's the things I do, but work is fun, so Well, it's good to.

Alex:
55:00

It's good when you can get to that point where work is fun. There's not many people that I speak to who have reached that point, and I think everybody. What I'm going to do is leave your details in the show notes, pilar, because I think and that's the reason why I did it back on the podcast, because I know that I get a lot of inspiration from what you do with the podcasting and your work, so I know that other people can as well, and I just want to say thank you again for being on the podcast and we'll certainly be looking out for what you do in the future, and maybe there's a third episode in the making at some point.

Pilar Orti:
55:33

That would be great. Can I do something really quickly? Something I've realised through adventures in podcasting and especially talking to Michelle Ong, who's a lady who has steam-powered podcasts talking to women in science, and when we were talking we thought one of the things that came out that really struck me that I hadn't thought of before was when we podcast. As podcasters, of course, we connect with our audience, so we create a space for ourselves. Then we bring a guest and the guest wants to communicate with the audience, and that is very important as well. But what we also do is we create a space for the guest when we're doing interviews to stop, and we create the space for them to talk about their work, to reflect on their stuff, and your questions have been really amazing. So thank you, because I really really enjoyed that. It's just such a nice. You created a really nice space for me, so I hope the listeners also enjoyed it.

Alex:
56:27

I loved it. It just feels like a great conversation to me and, like I said, I hope people can get some value I'm sure they can and put your details in the show notes. But, yeah, and it sounds like there's a lot for you to come, it sounds like you're involved in a lot of things. But, as I said, I'll be keeping an eye on things and, yeah, hopefully speak to you again soon, pilar.

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