Ohh, good questions @atu
1) Did you notice any difference between managing 10 remoters and 90 remoters?
I’ll add some of my experiences to what @collis said on this one. +1 “Heaps of differences!”
It goes without saying that communicating well through all available means in remote teams is really key to success, but even more so as the team grows. You inherently lose body language communication when remote, which actually accounts for a large amount of the communication people do with each other and how you understand people. People’s varying ability and willingness to adapt to and understand an environment like this becomes much more visible as the team grows partially because, as Collis said, it’s much easier to have closer relationships with 10 people than 90.
There are also some general “rules” of human nature where team structure will form organically as the group size increases if it isn’t purposefully shaped along the way. Although this mostly mirrors non-remote, the challenges it presents are often compounded depending on the the foundation of systems the team is built on (communication, agreed values, etc).
What surprised me early on in managing the Market Quality team as it has grown over the years (50 and growing) was how group / team size related to individual performance and happiness. Though not limited to remoters, it seems to have been more challenging to get it right.
I also found that (maybe depending on the type of work?), the time required for communication wasn’t a linear increase with team size and doesn’t follow the same trends as non-remote teams. As a remote team grows, they tend to require more time for communication than an equal sized non-remote team (where time needs increase faster for remoters). However, when a team reaches a certain size, the required time for communication seems to slow down a lot (requiring less than non-remote).
Having said that, I think it’s very dependent on team structure, type of work, mixtures of personalities and other variables.
Speaking personally as a manager having experienced between a few and 40+ direct remote reports, I learned a lot about the demands various remote team sizes has on me. This is when I initially adopted polyphasic sleeping to better suit a range of time-zones.
2) What is the next step for nomadism? and remote worker?
+1 regarding visas. The world simply isn’t there yet. I’ve called many immigration departments to make sure I’m following the rules, but largely they’re unable to understand how what I’m doing fits into their existing system.
I’m excited about the growing trend for sharing (housing, cars, bikes, etc). This will be a great enabler for nomadism. The applications we use today that facilitate this sharing are largely based on establishing trust level with total strangers. I love this!
I’m also quite excited about recent growth in remote working facilities like cafes, shared offices, libraries, etc. People are quickly opening to the idea that anyone off the street can pop into their shop for a couple hours to be both productive in their work and a consumer enjoying what the shop has to offer.
Beyond these areas, I think the next step is what’s happening with the nomad / remote working community where it’s organizing and strengthening through an increasing number of people with a strong vision for the community’s future, enabling more people to get started.
Edit: One more! There’s more and more information and opportunities online that enable these lifestyles, which I hope to see become much more common place. Like Envato!