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Durning the pandemic many restaurants turned off their ovens, corked their wine, and closed their doors. Services like Seamless and Doordash exploded providing the vital service of connecting hungry customers with a variety of culinary delights. But many of these orders weren't from restaurants at all, but rather delivery-only businesses known as “Ghost Kitchens.” On this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas chats with journalist Kristen Hawley about the rise of the Ghost Kitchen, an evolution in the restaurant business that began before the pandemic and has grown exponentially with the rise in meal delivery.  Resources:Kristen Hawley's Website: Hawley's Ghost Kitchen Article: Hawley's LinkedIn: Thomas' LinkedIn:   See for privacy and opt-out information.
A Nomadic Love Story

A Nomadic Love Story


The 2020 pandemic led many to discover that they weren't as tethered to a specific location as they previously thought. Realizing that they could continue to do their job from anywhere they had a laptop and reliable internet, it was easy for people to pick up their lives and become a digital nomad. But when your life is comprised of traveling as much as a digital nomad's does, it can be difficult to meet people and forge strong bonds, but that's where our guest comes in to save the day.   Aline Dahmen realized she loved the nomad life but when she found that it was difficult to find and keep friends and develop relationships, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She developed Nomad Soulmates, an online community specifically geared for those like her who were interested in finding friends and romantic partners throughout their travels.     Resources:Aline Dahmen's LinkedIn:  Nomad Soulmates:  Doug Thomas' LinkedIn:  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Have you noticed an ever-increasing cacophony of barks and meows in your neighborhood since the pandemic began? Well you're certainly not alone. Since the pandemic brought the majority of America's workforce inside their homes, people who previously were apprehensive about getting a pet only to leave it home alone for 8-10 hours a day figured that now is the perfect time to get that furry friend they've always wanted.  On this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas sits down with Corey Childs and Kerri Tenniswood, two members of PAWS, an animal shelter based in Lynwood Washington, to talk about the pandemic pet adoption surge. Resources:PAWS PAWS on Instagram Kerri Tenniswood's LinkedIn: Corey Childs' LinkedIn: Doug Thomas' LinkedIn:  See for privacy and opt-out information.
When offices began working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, teams had to work extra hard to figure out ways to communicate effectively when every team member was siloed in their respective homes. Is there something better than just another Zoom or Microsoft Teams call? On today's episode, Doug Thomas sits down with Christoph Fleischmann, the founder and CEO of Arthur Technologies a virtual reality tech company that's working to bring teams into the virtual environment. Whether it's sitting around a conference table and being able to whisper something to your neighbor, or conferences with hundreds of people, the time for Virtual Reality may be arriving at your place of work. Resources: Christoph Fleischmann's LinkedIn: Arthur Technologies: Doug Thomas' LinkedIn:  See for privacy and opt-out information.
Having worked professionally in Australia and Europe, and both coasts of the United States, it's clear that Adam Naor likes to keep moving. So what happens when someone with an active spirit, a health-focused mindset, and a background in computer science is forced to work from inside the confines of his own home for a year? He figures out how to optimize that workflow and share his lessons with the masses. On today's episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas sits down with Adam to discuss the founding of Work From Home Advisor and the informational newsletter training program that spawned from it, WFH Bootcamp.  ResourcesWork From Home Advisor: Bootcamp Newsletter: Naor's LinkedIn: Thomas LinkedIn: See for privacy and opt-out information.
We all have our own ideas about what works and what doesn't in the new digital workspace. Online meetings, video chats, no water cooler talk have various advocates and detractors. And some have learned to love the “new normal.” To quantify these ideas, we can turn to Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center who conducted a survey of over four thousand people to get a more accurate sense of what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, how to keep people engaged in the digital workspace.  On today's episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas speaks with Andy Goodman about his findings in the survey titled, Unmuted: What Works, What Doesn't, and How We Can All Do Better When Working Online.  ResourcesThe Goodman Center: The Goodman Center's Unmuted report: Goodman's LinkedIn: Thomas LinkedIn: See for privacy and opt-out information.
Over the past year as the global workforce largely shifted to working remotely, our work-life balance was thrown for a loop. But one silver lining of the complications of working from home 24/7 and all the confusion and uncertainty caused by the pandemic is that it has led to a spotlight on both our mental health and issues of accessibility.   On today's episode, Doug speaks with Megan Lawrence, Microsoft's Accessibility Evangelist who spends her days working to ensure that everybody has the tools they need to excel at their jobs. Doug and Megan speak about how there's been a paradigm shift in how those in the workforce discuss their mental health and ways that the workplace is evolving to become more accommodating, and the upcoming Ability Summit all are welcomed to.   Links Meghan Lawrence's LinkedIn:  Doug Thomas' LinkedIn:  Ability Summit:  Office Accessibility Center:  Dictate feature in Microsoft 365:  Turn off notifications--distractions--in Outlook:  In Outlook, how to end meetings early or start late:  Author Kenji Yoshino on Covering:   See for privacy and opt-out information.
Your Work: Reinvented

Your Work: Reinvented


Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, most of us have transitioned to working remotely. It didn’t take long for some people to see some of the obvious benefits of ditching the traditional office setup in exchange for the remote work model, and many of those people have since realized they don't need to go back to the way it was. And then there are people like Lydia Lee, founder of Screw the Cubicle, who has been practicing nomadic employment long before the quarantine popped up on anyone's radar. On today's episode of Remote Space, Doug Thomas speaks with Lydia Lee about her transition from a six-figure corporate job to starting a career helping people to find meaning in their work and empowering them to find purpose while also making a profit.   Doug Thomas' Linkedin: Lydia Lee Linkedin: Lydia Lee's Website: Screw the Cubicle Lydia's article, How I turned my dream life into my real life:   See for privacy and opt-out information.
We’ve all seen those classic company compliance videos, you know the ones; poorly-scripted dialogue trying to teach us not to divulge company secrets. But Rashelle Tanner, Senior Corporate Counsel for Compliance and Ethics at Microsoft, knew that there was a better way to get information across than the traditional method. Using the Microsoft Runs on Trust campaign, Tanner decided to bring a dash of Hollywood pizazz to the new compliance videos. We’re talking suspense. Actually relatable characters. Drama!  But raising the bar on these training videos takes a lot of production, and when quarantine began in March of 2020, all of that had to stop, or at least shift.  Tune in to today’s episode to hear more about Rashelle Tanner's work, some of the drawbacks of working from home from her perspective as Sr. Corporate Counsel for Compliance and Ethics, and how her team has pivoted to create Netflix-worthy compliance training videos while working remote.    Resources:  Rashelle Tanner’s LinkedIn - Doug Thomas’ LinkedIn - Standards of Business Conduct Seasons 2 and 3 trailers -  See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas is joined by Maria Mendiburo, PhD, a Senior Technical Programmer at Microsoft. Outside of her day job digging into the engineering that makes AI work, Maria has a lifelong passion for education.Maria has taught classes for TEALS, a program connecting classroom teachers with tech industry volunteers to create sustainable computer science classes. Maria discusses some of the advantages (and of course, disadvantages) of remote learning and what the future may look like in education going forward. We also learn more about Maria’s work with LatinaTechies, a Seattle networking group founded by Maria with the goal of connecting women in technology. Doug and Maria discuss how she’s seeing massive explosions in networking via sites like LinkedIn versus the sponsored meetups she used to attend pre-pandemic.  Resources:  Maria Mendiburo - LinkedIn  TEALS program -  LatinaTechies -   Doug Thomas - LinkedIn  See for privacy and opt-out information.
The sudden shift to remote work has forced many executives and their assistants to adjust their working dynamic to fit today’s demands. In this episode of Remote Space, Doug Thomas is joined by Laura Belgrado, a project coordinator and executive assistant to the President of KIND International at Mars, INC. Laura has been working remotely since 2003 and is no stranger to the assistant environment.  Laura’s held executive assistant roles for several companies, including 10 years at Microsoft. Not only is she a champion for remote working, but she also trains executives and their assistants in remote communication and has been a touchstone for many as businesses move to a remote environment.Laura tells us all about “communication shift,” why it’s important for assistants to speak up, how to liven up your team video calls, the importance of embracing technology, and so much more.Resources:Laura Belgrado - LinkedInDoug Thomas - LinkedIn See for privacy and opt-out information.
“We've got a good mixture of modern buildings with modern workstations, but when you're in the Palace of Westminster is like traveling back in time. One thing that I like to do if I am working on the estate is actually just have a walk round just to remind myself [that] this is where I work, and admire the the walls, the wallpaper, the carpet, the lighting, the paintings that are on the wall and the general architecture that is so historic and hundreds of years old.” – Winnie KingHow are some of the world’s oldest institutions transforming themselves in the digital age? In this episode of Remote Space, Doug is joined by Winnie King, Personal Assistant to the Director General of the House of Commons, and Chair of Parliamentary Admin Support Network. For more than a decade, Winnie has seen the ins-and-outs of Parliament including working at the historic estate, meeting with various officials, and even meeting the Queen! Now, as most of Parliament works remotely, Winnie shares with us her challenges in trying to gratify her personal need for human interaction while providing the same level of support to the Director General and her colleagues.Listen in and learn how the British government is reimagining work life in the remote space.Resources:LinkedIn: Winnie King FEPAA | LinkedInEmail: See for privacy and opt-out information.
"Talk about flipping somebody's world upside down and just shaking them, because that's exactly what happened … And once you flip it and you go online, you have to kind of learn how to, to interact with people completely differently." - Ethaniel SinclairThe retail market has changed drastically. From online retail stores to virtual personal shoppers, consumers can purchase products without ever having to leave their home. But how has the move to a virtual environment changed the way consumers interact with sellers? Can customers and sellers achieve the same kind of human interaction remotely?In this episode of Remote Space, Doug chats with Ethaniel Sinclair, a retail store specialist with over 16 years of experience. In the last 5 years, Ethaniel has worked at the Microsoft store in Washington, D.C. and has recently experienced the quick move to a full virtual space. By focusing on the different ways people are communicating their needs and emotions remotely, Ethaniel shares with us his experience in developing new skills to better understand his customers. He also shares with us Microsoft’s introduction of a personal shopping appointment to help bring the in-store experience into your home.  Resources:LinkedIn: Ethaniel Sinclair | LinkedInArticle: Emergency plan has Microsoft store employees helping people in new waysArticle: Personal online shopping appointments with Microsoft Store associates See for privacy and opt-out information.
What is the future of customer service in the remote landscape?Try and imagine simulating the experience of interacting with a customer in-person while working remote. You might think that interaction could be quite simple, but even with today’s technology, people are realizing that customer experience is more than just a service; it’s everything the customer experiences. In this episode of Remote Space, Doug Thomas speaks to Shep Hyken, a customer service and experience expert, an award-winning keynote speaker, and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Shep discusses how the customer service field has changed in the last 30 years, and how people are using remote applications to try and accomplish customer service success. Additionally, Shep shares on ways to make online presentations more visually interesting and also makes a case for pre-recorded online presentations.Listen in and find out how technology is finding ways to bring about positive customer experiences. Resources:LinkedIn: www.hyken.comEmail: shep@hyken.comTwitter: @hyken.comMedia: See more than 500 video lessons on customer service and CX on Shep’s YouTube channel: See for privacy and opt-out information.
New Life, Interrupted

New Life, Interrupted


Congratulations, you’ve landed a new job! Minus filling out HR paperwork, your first day will be exciting as you shake hands with your teammates, get introduced to your new workspace and office equipment, and (most importantly) make the acquaintance of the coffee machine. But what if you couldn’t physically meet your coworkers to shake hands? What if your new workspace was actually your living room?In this episode of Remote Space, Doug Thomas chats with Emily Hacker, a Threat Analyst at Microsoft. Emily recalls her first day on the job--the week Microsoft sent everyone home--from remotely participating in her new employee orientation, to meeting her co-workers over online chat. Emily describes that while her tech career started a bit differently from others, she was still able to navigate new waters and adapt to her role in helping to protect businesses from cyber criminals.Listen in to find out how an experience in remote onboarding could be the thing of the future. ResourcesEmily Hacker – LinkedIn See for privacy and opt-out information.
With the mass migration to remote work earlier this year, companies quickly found themselves changing their work model and mode of communication, sometimes overnight. But for other companies, the shift to remote work came before the environmental necessity to work from home.In this episode of Remote Space, Doug Thomas converses with Chad Gniffke, CEO of briteCITY, an IT services company focused on improving companies through cyber security services, cloud and various IT solutions. Chad shares with us his success story of how his company tried out in 2019, a work-from-home model for 90 days that proved so effective, they never name back to the office! Chad also shares his method for keeping his team focused and accountable to support over 200 businesses with their security concerns, as well as what simple steps you can take to protect yourself from a cyber-security threat. Listen in and find out how an experiment in remote work became a permanent change for a local IT solutions company. Resources:Chad Gniffke - LinkedInbriteCITY - Website See for privacy and opt-out information.
Who didn’t dread the commute to work? Getting dressed, scarfing down breakfast, the traffic, the crowds, the anxiety. And that’s on a good day. In a different world where we can go to work in our pajamas and work entirely from home, a lot of us are actually missing the commute to work.  In this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas chats with Natalie Singer-Velush & Lukas Velush, both former reporters and who now work as a Senior Marketing Communications Manager and a Content Program Manager at Microsoft. As two busy parents with careers in tech, Natalie and Lukas help remind us that commuting was not all that bad. In reflecting on how they used their travel time to chat, plan family events or coordinate logistics, travel time created a buffer of personal time before officially starting their workday. In addition, Natalie chats about how recent data around commute time is encouraging technology to focus in on wellbeing and productivity.  Listen in and find out how a dreaded daily occurrence has now become a reminisced pastime.  ResourcesNatalie Singer-Velush – LinkedIn Lukas Velush – LinkedInMicrosoft analyzed data on its newly remote workforce – ArticleIntroducing insights in Teams to power wellbeing and productivity – Article  See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Family Tech Guru

The Family Tech Guru


In today’s tech world, remote work is part of an overall remote lifestyle. From smart home devices that can lock doors, turn on lights, and set your thermostat, to digital apps that help your entire household stay organized, remote work is a welcomed addition to life in the digital age. In this episode of Remote Space, host Doug Thomas chats with tech guru Sarah Kimmel, a digital parenting coach and owner of Family Tech. Drawing from her 16 years of experience in supporting companies as an IT manager, Sarah talks to us about the benefits of upgrading your entire space into a smart home to fit a remote work lifestyle. Sarah also discusses her views on using tech to stay in shape, the positives of introducing children to cell phones at a young age, the importance of unplugging from our devices every night, and even tech gift ideas!Resources Sarah Kimmel - Website, LinkedInFamily Tech – Website See for privacy and opt-out information.
Same Game, New Rules

Same Game, New Rules


The quick transition to remote space has got us rethinking our approach to work. The same issues surrounding company productivity, employee engagement, and work and life balance are now met along with an urgent push towards working remotely. While this sudden change has got a lot of our heads spinning, we can be assured that support staff are ready to meet the challenges. In this week’s episode, we are joined by Bonnie Low-Kramen, a best-selling author, trainer, speaker, and former personal assistant to celebrity Olympia Dukakis. In her more than 30+ years of experience as an assistant and training administrative staff, Bonnie shares with us her views on the new ways Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants are propelling the change to remote work. Bonnie offers her insights on how support staff are building partnerships with those they support, to foster a productive and engaged remote workforce. From a love and hate relationship with technology, to the quick shift from open space to remote work, listen in and stay informed on how administrative support staff are encouraging us to rethink old ways, and adopt new rules. ResourcesBonnie Low-Kramen – LinkedIn, Website, TwitterEmail:  See for privacy and opt-out information.
The transition to remote work, while having its challenges, has also brought unexpected positive changes to the new way that we work. Now more than ever, workers from different locations around the world, who may have found it difficult to connect remotely before, are able to connect fairly throughout remote space. In this episode, host Doug Thomas speaks with Hanna Wallach, Senior Researcher at Microsoft. In addition to her work in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Hanna also leads a group of summer interns in Microsoft’s Research program. In this episode, Hanna describes the unique ways she has connected with interns through virtual social events including yoga, painting classes, and even a cocktail making lesson. Additionally, Hanna explains how the full shift to remote work has propelled a more inclusive effort in scheduling meetings, video conferencing, and even large-scale virtual conferences. Resources:Hanna Wallach – MSR Bio  | LinkedInFATE: Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics in AI See for privacy and opt-out information.
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