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New workplace realities have prompted businesses to create new roles to address challenges like building a team of remote workers. The job titles reflect some soul-searching and creativity in meeting a new generation of challenges.

Remote Work Has Spawned New Challenges for Businesses

It seems unconventional times call for unconventional roles, at least in the professional world. As employers compete for workers, they also are searching for job titles that reflect and address new workplace realities. These are not the job titles or roles business leaders of yesteryear would have created.

Here are some of the new roles as reported by The Times:

To address professional teams working in offices, kitchens and Starbucks, software maker Atlassian has created a “Head of Team Anywhere”. The current occupant of the new role has introduced a “team anywhere-focused office” that transformed its Austin, Texas office into event space with soft seats, a chef’s kitchen and rolling whiteboards. But you can still work anywhere, says the head of team anywhere – who works from her East Coast beach house.

The rise in mental health issues has led A New York media agency to appoint a “Chief Heart Officer”. The officer’s job is to connect all workers to psychological safety information, including through an internal newsletter called Heartbeat. There are live events such as an interview with tennis star Novak Djokovic, who has openly discussed his mental health struggles, as well as one-on-one chats that serve as an outlet to talk about personal struggles.

Zillow has a “Vice President for Flexible Work”, who consults with employees about office renovations and supports remote workers with tips on effective use of Zoom meetings. The Zillow vice president says remote work on scale is a big change “with a big vision and a lot of complexity and unknowns” that requires resources to succeed.

Cybersecurity firm Okta features a “Head of Dynamic Work”, whose central mission is to make “flexibility” workable. The Head of Dynamic Work created a work-from-home store that offered standing desks and ergonomic furniture for remote workers at home. Okta operates on the assumption that flexibility doesn’t mean working at the office or from home. Workers want the flexibility to do both.

The Head of Dynamic Work at a cybersecurity firm created a work-from-home store that offered standing desks and ergonomic furniture to remote workers at home.

3M responded to survey data indicating public interest in science was low. The manufacturer of adhesives, orthodontics and masks decided to name a “Chief Science Advocate” to make science more interesting to more people. The Chief Science Advocate hosts events featuring astronauts and is producing a documentary about women scientists. The coronavirus pandemic presented an opportunity to discuss the science behind public health from measuring community infection levels by testing wastewater to using engineering to develop effective vaccines.

Gtmhub, which makes manufacturing software, appointed a “Vice President for Product Evangelism” to spread the word about what the product does. Day-to-day workloads resemble what marketers do, but the evangelist title puts a different spin on the role. That difference shows itself in the podcast and social media produced by the Vice President for Product Evangelism that strives to engage existing and potential customers, while also boosting internal morale and attracting talent to join the firm.

Whether these roles will continue into the future is unknown. What they unmistakably reveal is the need for a fresh approach to worker flexibility, workplace challenges and product promotion. That is unlikely to change any time soon.

These new roles also suggest looking at changes that address specific problems like remote work, mental anxiety and lagging marketplace attention. Knowing the specific problems facing your organization requires asking questions, challenging assumptions and thinking differently.

Cleverness only goes so far. The job titles and roles you develop should tie closely to the issue you want or need to address, based on your research and your openness to change.