Companies going remote is not a new trend. Since 2005, remote work has grown 159% according to Global Workplace Analytics upon analysis of the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This data defines a remote worker as someone who works with location independence at least half of their time and is not inclusive of freelancers or online entrepreneurs.
All of this, even before the COVID crisis took its toll on the workplace.
It is safe to assume that companies going remote will continue to increase in popularity, and while some companies are afraid of losing a sense of community, accountability and control, we are here to pave the road to a successful transition which will result in a more effective business model.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of taking your company remote.
Let’s put this nasty rumor to rest. Many companies will argue vigorously that they are afraid of losing productivity in a workforce if they are not on location and held accountable. According to a study supported by the Harvard Business Review the opposite can be expected. In this study, employees of a telecommunications company were given the option to work from home and results were compared between those who volunteered and those who did not.
Results found that not only did the company save on rental space and furniture costs, but they saw a marked increase in job satisfaction leading to an increase in results and productivity.
When employees are allowed to work from home they establish better work-life balance and create routines more adapted to their desired lifestyles.
We know for a fact that one of our team members is a night owl, producing his best work between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM in the morning. Remote workers can find the balance that works best for them and thus create more efficient and productive work practices.
Won’t my employees get distracted by working at home?
If you think carefully about most workplaces you realize very quickly the number of distractions available to employees throughout the day. Coffee breaks turn into 30-minute catch-ups. Colleagues interrupt your focus for clarification, or to discuss their new girlfriend’s mysterious social media posts. Working from home can result in quieter more focused task loading, leading to more efficient work efforts.
Using conservative analysis, Global Workplace Analytics found that the typical company could save $11,000 USD per half-time employee in a given year by offering a remote option. These costs are primarily cut through the reduction in real estate and furniture cost, decreases in turnover caused by increases in job satisfaction, and better preparation for disaster (COVID-19 being all too familiar).
Remote companies also see fewer employees calling in sick, resulting in increased productivity. When employees are given the chance to work around their social commitments and find a work schedule conducive to their lifestyle, they are more likely to budget in overtime and less prone to unscheduled absences.
See for yourself! Use this Savings Calculator to determine how much your company can save by going remote.
Increased Talent Pool
When companies move their workforce remotely, they are no longer constricted to settling for satisfactory talent because they have no other options. Instead, they can expand their networks and seek out top talent from across the country, or around the world.
Increasing your company’s talent pool allows you to gain access to top professionals, as well as provide your employees with a network of diversely skilled peers with which to grow. Providing a network that encourages peer-to-peer progression will instil a greater sense of community and increase productivity.
Now that you understand a few of the benefits of taking your company remote, let’s look at some steps to a successful transition and a well-maintained “smooth sailing”.
Important Steps to Taking Your Company Remote
Effective and centralized communication:
One of the biggest challenges previously faced by remote teams was ensuring there were effective modes of communication and resource sharing to avoid unwanted stalls. Luckily, software companies like Slack and InVision have made it their mission to streamline communication in the remote world, solving many of the common problems remote companies run into. If your company requires a more in-depth logistics or resource sharing program, you can review a list of more tailored programs here.
In addition to a central communication platform that simplifies workflow with remote teams, make sure to not overlook the challenge of maintaining a social connection among colleagues. Organizing weekly video calls and staff meetings, or even planning creative digital events is a great way to promote a sense of community and sharing within a remote team scattered all over the globe.
One of the most important aspects of transitioning to and maintaining an effective remote team is to establish trust and be flexible of working patterns. Companies should focus on results, balance and sustainable work, not the hourly deadlines that put unneeded stress on employees. Once again, by going remote you can seek out professionals who do not need to be micromanaged and are capable of meeting deadlines and providing top quality results.
Encourage your employees to travel and work. Allow for flexibility in lifestyle and you will see an increase in productivity. If an employee feels the company trusts their work ethic, they will actually work harder (and longer) hours to get the job done correctly.
As a company, there is no longer a need to shy away from a “remote” business plan. If 2020 and 2021 have shown us anything so far, it is that in order to continue to grow as a business in an unpredictable economy you must adapt quickly and earn loyalty from your workforce.