Human Capital Management

Really, Really Remote Work

Who can survive the stress of isolation?

By Tara Swords

Winter 2019


Percentage of business and HR leaders who anticipate adding gig workers to their workforce

After a Russian researcher stabbed a coworker in an Antarctic outpost in 2018, it’s time to ask: How do we protect extremely remote workers, especially as we prepare to send more workers into space? Organizations should conduct assessments and extensive training to ensure that workers can withstand the stress of isolation, as NASA does, says Kimberley Norris, a clinical psychologist who has studied Antarctic workers. “Selection assessments ensure that the most-suitable applicants end up in the environments—those who are less likely to experience severe mental declines that could result in security risks,” she says. Another must? Strict control of weapons and medicines is "vital.” More at

Illustration by Wes Rowell