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Remote Work is a HIT! We’ve Got Data to Prove It
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Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?

Although remote working is unpopular with traditional businesses, remote working is proving to be an essential aspect for the future of business. While traditionalists might debate against the remote working system and draw out ideological divides, remote working is not as notorious as they make it out to be.

Debates Against the Remote Working System

The thoughts of traditionalists were further strengthened when business giants decided on policies against remote working. Although IBM was the recent of the latest IT giants to say no to remote working teams, Peluso made an ironic statement while breaking the news. He stated that there is only one formula of success known to him and that is to put productive talented and skilled people in really creative locations with the right tools and set them free.  Even though freedom of the employee was emphasized, it was snatched away the next second in the same announcement regarding policy change. Here are the points that traditionalists highlight as the disadvantages of having a remotely working team.

  • Remote working teams lack creativity and innovation due to lack of guidance.
  • Remote teams have weak morale.
  • Good management is an issue, which puts a strain on the overall operation of the business.
  • Remote teams lack the human interaction aspect, which helps colleagues to build trust and strong coordination. This factor further weakens the team.

Highlighted Negatives are Not Backed by Data

Although these points are some hurdles in maintaining a strong and beneficial remote team of workers, it is not something a business cannot overcome. If a company knows how to manage remote teams, they will not have any issues and the operations will be smooth. Over recent years, many bigger organizations have taken steps to minimize remote working as they think that remote working teams are one of the factors responsible for the decline in their profits.

It is ironic that, although most of the companies that recently turned against the remote working set up are data driven, they made policies without studying and analyzing the data in a proper manner. They did not have a legitimate base of data to support their decisions to make their policies against remote working. To draw a more accurate picture, Polycom conducted a study with the help of Morar consulting. In this study, they asked 25,234 workers whether remote working works for them.

Remote Working Teams Work as Proved by the Data

The results of the study are definitive data that are backing the claims of those who are in favor of remote working teams.  Here are some points that the study revealed about remote working and what is the worker’s point of view.

Flexibility

In the study, it was revealed that in this age of technology, digital-hybrid employment is what workers prefer. Out of all the employees, only 23% said that they do not enjoy a flexible working environment with their company. While 32% revealed that they often work in a remote working environment, 29% said they work in a remote setting from time to time. Three-fourths of all the employees who took part in the study revealed that they were working with at least one person who is not physically present in their office. Younger generations, especially millennials, preferred “work from anywhere” concept and over 70% wished to work in this kind of setup. Around 49% of employees who were 50 years or older, said they worked away from traditional offices on many occasions. This is very useful for those enterprises who want fresh talent to facilitate the innovative environment required for success.

Remote Working Promotes Work Satisfaction Among Employees

There are many benefits of having a remote team of employees, but one of the crucial benefits is that it promotes both satisfaction and happiness in employees which, in turn, helps to enhance their productivity. This was attested by 70% of employees who took part in the study. Remote working allows the workers to take better control of their work and life, promoting better work-life balance.

Working with Influential People

Remote working allows you to work with great people with talent and skills that ensure success. Not only does the business benefit from the innovative and creative minds working with them through the remote setup, but employees benefit from these interactions as well. This is because they get motivation and help from their colleagues which facilitate growth in them.

How to Maintain a Remote Team

While some negative points that are explained by the traditionalists have no substantial grounds, some other negative aspects of remotely employed teams are not entirely unsupported by reason.  The solution lies in the fact that you already know what can go wrong – and you can, therefore, take measures to prevent that from happening.

A remote team consists of workers who are working from different locations and are not together under one roof. There are chances of losing focus and motivation, or not being able to build a powerful work relationship. However, businesses can take the initiative and promote better communication within the team. Video and voice calls will help in bringing a sense of connectivity. There are many tools that help remote working teams to decide on accountability and track the progress of work. Regular video meetings and a friendly environment will make the remote team more efficient.

In a time when some companies find it easy to blame remote teams for the decline in revenue, it is important that enterprises realize that the remote working set up is not a soft target. Remote working teams of employees are a valuable asset that can prove to be more successful than traditional ones if they are handled efficiently. These teams have all the potential to be a hit as they have shown to promote satisfaction in employees. And when your employees are happy, productivity is improved automatically.

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

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