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How to team the beast before it bites? To learn from those who know how to do it.
Let's face it: the world has got a big push from the current global situation. Uncertainty, fragility, pressing need for conformity — all seasoned with a survival instinct rooted in the fear of becoming a thing of the past — these are what the largest portion of companies have to cope with today.
This post does not aim at denying that these concerns have grounds. Instead, it was created with the idea of showing how companies can overcome or at least minimize the impact of issues encountered. Below, we are going to guide you through the advantages of working from home practice that is proven to be highly beneficial: and not just in the current situation, but also before and in the coming years.
Remote work as a new normal of doing business
Google has recently published a community mobility report that signifies a heavy increase in the global remote work sector. According to it, on average 39% fewer people were spending time at their workplaces in 2020.
Although the current outbreak is likely to be caused by the quarantine and isolation measures applied worldwide, numerous companies incorporated the remote working opportunities into their businesses well before they’ve been pushed with their backs against the wall. These include such giants as Amazon, Dell, Humana, Aetna, Salesforce, American Express, Kaplan, and others.
Indeed, the remote work model is not as widespread as its old-fashioned forerunner (yes, exactly the one that is crushing today). Nevertheless, the list of remote-friendly businesses is not limited by the world-known names. There are thousands of smaller companies that enjoy the benefits of working from home, including your fellow Emerline.
Mind the Key Work From Home Benefits
For several reasons which we are going to highlight a bit later, having a remote team does not always seem like a good idea for many business owners and managers. Nevertheless, we believe that the benefits of working from home for employers can beat all the doubts.
Increased employee loyalty
Opportunities for remote work help companies retain the existing working force as well as make it more attractive to new talents. Generally, employees feel more comfortable in the privacy and convenience of their homes, so along with loyalty, their productivity also increases.
To rise above the descriptive details, just take a look at the statistic. According to the Stanford study conducted by Nicholas Bloom, people working from home are 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts. For an employer, it means nearly an extra day output a week.
One of the good reasons to work from home is that such practice leads to fewer sick days and day-offs. What is more, when your employees get a precious opportunity to perform the work in the convenience of their homes, generally they show less interest in vacation.
Having a remote team means getting the ability to save on office space, snacks & meals, and other supplies. If you doubt whether such savings can affect your company's budget, note that according to the whitepaper published on OPI.net, businesses with 200+ workers spend $27 to $32 per employee monthly on office supplies only. Furthermore, the smaller the company, the higher are monthly spendings.
You can hire top-notch specialists regardless of their location. In other words, remote-friendliness opens up space for the creation of a more professional, competitive, and trusted image of your business. Moreover, having remote team members in different parts of the world means getting valuable insights into local markets.
These are just the most obvious benefits of remote work. And this list can easily be continued with many more pros. For example, in a current pandemic situation, remote work allows companies to survive in a rapidly changing environment.
It is true that today, most of the companies where a remote work approach can be applied are not denying the necessity of its implementation. But has it always been so? What are the disadvantages of remote working and are there any at all?
Why are remote work benefits often ignored?
With the advent of the Internet and the rapid increase in personal computer availability, a wide range of in-office activities had got the opportunity to be managed remotely. While this resulted in the emergence of remote work positions, the concept of working from home has not freed from its disputed status.
According to the Gartner HR Survey, 81% of professionals employed by the companies that took part in the survey are working remotely due to the pandemic, but only half of the employers (41 %) consider offering some degree of remote working after the situation with the virus will be handled. So why do half of the companies still prefer to adhere to the in-office model? To answer this question, let's see and measure the negative impact of the most commonly pointed disadvantages of remote working.
A lack of visibility
It is often stated that the professional growth of employees is largely based on visibility. That is why remote work is often seen as a barrier to career and promotion opportunities.
But does this belief make sense when a company uses a reporting system that allows measuring the performance of each employee by results?
Problems with accessibility
Quite often, managers support their position against remote work saying that they need their team close in case some urgent issues appear.
There is a way to address this issue and ensure effective remote team collaboration — it is the establishment of proper remote work policy.
Decrease in productiveness
Because distractions at home can result in declined productivity, they are often considered as a good reason to reject the work from home requests coming from employees.
While it is true that home offices are full of potential distractions, aren't they also common to offices, especially when talking about the open space? Generally, there are at least a few people working in the same room, and a certain portion of noise and putting off work dialogues are nearly unavoidable. So after recollecting all potential office distractions, benefits of working from home become even more evident.
The loss of client trust
Many business owners believe that an in-office team is a more preferable option for a client than a remote one.
What really matters to clients, is the result of the work done. So, if a company delivers quality products or services and has a well-established policy that addresses all working from home advantages and disadvantages, it doesn't really matter to which of the working models it adheres.
Unwillingness to go completely remote
One of the most common fears existing among managers and business owners is that a single approval of a 'work from home' request will result in the whole company insisting on the same.
First of all, the current situation has shown that there are plenty of people who would rather prefer to work at the office. Secondly, remote work is not the case for going all or nothing. Allowing your employees to work from home a few days a month or on certain occasions does not mean going completely remote.
As you can see, a proper remote team management strategy can help in solving the majority of the above-mentioned problems. So if you are interested in learning some tips, we are happy to share our first-hand knowledge with you.
Emerline’s approach to establishing remote delivery and managing a remote team
For nearly a decade already, our teams have been providing development services to more than 150 clients from all across the globe. Backed by hundreds of completed projects, we are confident to say that the remote delivery approach established at our company works great for everyone, both our employees and fellow clients. Here are its key components:
Working equipment and tools
Every employee at Emerline has all the equipment needed to work at home, including a corporate professional laptop and required communication hardware. Also, we ensure access to all the needed working tools, whether these are Office programs, Google products, Github or Gitlab platforms, etc.
Remote work & security policies
We have clearly defined remote work & security policies that include guidelines on the best practices for employees to follow, instructions on VPN access, state of the employees' legal rights, etc. Accessible and available to every Emerline’s worker, these policies allow us to eliminate security risks and create a proper environment for fruitful cooperation.
Remote team collaboration
Members of our teams schedule daily meetings on Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, and other platforms for communication. In this way, we promote greater involvement in the working process and keep team members informed of all the important working details.
Communication with clients
Valuing the importance and the impact of communication on the project's success, we are keeping in touch with our clients and are always ready to instantly solve any questions that arise or discuss the details of the project.
At the end of each working day, our employees publish reports on the work done, using such services as Jira, Confluence, Trello, Azure DevOps, etc. It allows us to keep track of productivity and measure the performance of each team member.
Remote onboarding procedures
If a newcomer to the company starts working on a remote basis, our managers carefully guide them through regulatory requirements, training materials, workstation set up documents, marketing templates, etc. With clear objectives set, a constant review of progress, and kind mentoring, the induction process of new employees at Emerline goes smoothly and allows us to enjoy all the pros of working from home.
Every employee at Emerline is subscribed to a weekly digest that highlights the main news of the company, important events, as well as introduces our workers to newcomers. The weekly digest allows us to share the most important information, including reports on conferences, as well as some entertainment materials, with fun and ease.
So is working from home good or evil?
Pushed by the global pandemic, the world has changed, and the business world is no exception. While today, most of the companies are forced to include remote working into their business strategies just to survive in the suddenly changed environment, some will probably let this practice remain.
Emerline believes that the division of those who will incorporate remote work into business and those who won't largely depends on the remote delivery approach used within a company. As we know, the benefits of working remotely are extended to both employers and their employees. The issue is whether a company will be able to extract them by establishing an effective remote team working practice.
Hopefully, most of the companies will be able to experience the advantages of working from home and will let this good practice remain to some extent. Anyway, sooner or later, for good or for worse, work from home will change its status of the desired privilege to a new normal. Considering everything that is happening right now, the bet is on sooner.