August 20 2020

The Secret to Seriously Successful Remote Teams Isn’t So Serious

Leading experts who have taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business combine science and humor in an edX Professional Certificate program designed to energize teams and bring joy to the virtual

Cambridge, MA - Remote work culture is constantly changing. Unlike pants, humor is a necessity for dealing with this change. Now that we've passed the initial “abrupt adjustment” (read: wild existential panic) phase of working from home due to COVID-19, companies face the challenge of keeping their remote teams motivated, connected, and out of bed. But, there’s hope in humor — edX teamed up with leading experts in workplace culture and leadership Naomi Bagdonas and Connor Diemand-Yauman, who have taught at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and worked with business executives and celebrities around the world, to combine behavioral science and humor into a program designed to help build and strengthen virtual teams.

Through engaging content and interactive team building activities, the Remotely Humorous Professional Certificate program transforms teams to become more joyful, bonded, and resilient. No trust-falls necessary! Bagdonas and Diemand-Yauman collaborated with writers from renowned comedy institutions like The Onion, Comedy Central, and Funny or Die to create an online experience inspired by their popular course at the GSB with Dr. Jennifer Aaker, and their work coaching business leaders and celebrities. In short, it’s late night comedy meets world-class higher education.

This first-of-its-kind program is perfect for companies looking to provide their teams and leaders with tools to make the best of this tough situation, or for individuals who could benefit from injecting humor into their professional development. And it's for anyone who wants fewer one-hour meetings that feel like three-hour meetings with only ten minutes of useful work. The program builds upon the forthcoming book, Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (out October 6, Crown / Random House). Professional Certificate programs on edX are a series of courses designed by industry leaders and top universities to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today's most in-demand fields.

Find out more about the program and start learning today. Additional Resources Adam Medros, edX Co-CEO and President: “‘Working from home is hard!’ This is a sentiment I’ve shared with the edX team since we first went remote in March. At the same time, it is an opportunity to rethink how we work and connect with each other. That’s why we are so excited to partner with Naomi and Connor to offer this unique and incredibly relevant program on edX. Teams everywhere can benefit from their expert approach to transforming and motivating remote workers.” Naomi Bagdonas and Connor Diemand-Yauman, who have taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business: “With more and more teams shifting to remote work, organizational leaders across the world are experiencing a culture crisis at work. This has sparked a profound change in the way we collaborate, connect, and dress from the waist down. We’ve designed this course for individuals and teams hungry for more connection and joy with their two-dimensional colleagues. This content is first-of-its-kind: imagine your favorite comedy show and the world’s best online educational content had a baby. Then imagine that baby transformed your remote team to be more joyful, humorous, creative, resilient, and effective, all while working remotely. Now, leaders around the world can enroll in that baby."

About the Experts

NAOMI BAGDONAS is the co-author of the upcoming book Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life an Executive Coach, and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Naomi runs a strategy consultancy designing and facilitating interactive sessions for the leadership teams and partners of Fortune 100 companies and nonprofits, helping them be more creative, flexible and resilient in the face of change. Versed in behavioral science, human perceptions, and humor, Naomi coaches executives and celebrities for appearances ranging from Saturday Night Live to The Today Show, and volunteers teaching in San Francisco’s county jail. Formally trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Naomi’s comedy is described by her dog Maxxy as “utterly lacking in treats”.

CONNOR DIEMAND-YAUMAN is Co-CEO of Merit America, a nonprofit preparing low-wage workers for skilled careers at scale, and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to Merit America, Connor co founded Philanthropy University and launched the B2B business at Coursera. His academic research on improving learning outcomes has been cited in over 250 academic articles and covered by The Economist, BBC International, and the NY Times. He is the recipient of the Pyne Prize, Princeton University's highest distinction, and was named to Forbes' 30 under 30. Connor received his yoga teaching certification from Yoga Vidya Gurukul in Nashik, India, and was a contestant on season 17 of The Amazing Race and season 4 of American Idol (and lost on both!).

About edX

edX is the trusted platform for education and learning. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is home to more than 30 million learners, the majority of top-ranked universities in the world and industry-leading companies. As a global nonprofit, edX is transforming traditional education, removing the barriers of cost, location and access. Fulfilling the demand for people to learn on their own terms, edX is reimagining the possibilities of education, providing the highest-quality, stackable learning experiences including the groundbreaking MicroMasters® programs. Supporting learners at every stage, whether entering the job market, changing fields, seeking a promotion or exploring new interests, edX delivers courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications. edX is where you go to learn.