Updated: Nov 7, 2019
The benefits of remote work are becoming crystal clear to many companies — both established corporations and startups alike. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs released a survey revealing that remote work increased in popularity by 159% over the last 12 years.
With a wider talent pool, companies are no longer restricted to a 50-mile radius to recruit candidates, and it is much easier to scale your workforce when you do not have a physical office.
With the freedom of working remotely, employees are happier and more productive. Gallup research discovered that employees are 43% less likely to burn out when they are able to choose when and how to get their work done. Plus, no one ever has to hear someone say "sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays".
Also, with the exponential growth in technological advancements and the expanding millennial workforce, the option to work remotely is quickly becoming an expectation from potential employees — not just a perk.
Should your company be remote-first?
According to Buffer's 2019 State of Remote Work report, currently 31% of companies that have remote options are fully remote .
But is going remote-first right for your company? Before you make a decision, ask yourself these questions:
Is going fully remote the best thing for my unique business model? There is a wide range of fields in which it is possible to work remotely. Most remote-first companies come from the IT, software/app development, marketing, education, etc., but some businesses can't be remote, like healthcare facilities, salons, or restaurants. Is your business location-specific? If not, then you're good to go!
Should we become "remote-first" or maintain an office as well? In my opinion, it is better to go totally remote — but companies like Dell might disagree. On one hand, when a part of the team works remotely and others work together in an office, a distance grows between the employees over time. The remote employees might feel left out, or they can be seen as expendable. Plus, the way information is shared could be different for the in-office employees and the "remoters". When the entire company is remote-first, these issues are irrelevant and everyone will work according to the same company SLAs and policies.
Will I hire freelancers or employees? When you hire remotely, you can find talent from all over the world — not just in your city. But some remote companies will choose to hire people in their home country for legal and financial reasons. Others will hire full-time "contractors" from anywhere in the world. Even though these "contractors" are technically freelancers, they will still be your full-time employees in reality. The main difference is that the employees will have to take care of their social benefits on their own.
Once you answer these questions and decide to go down the remote path, you need to invest time in creating a remote company culture and working processes.
Why do remote companies need a remote company culture?
There are many benefits to building a strong remote company culture:
Employee retention. Creating a remote culture will give your employees a better experience and make them feel cared about, which will increase their loyalty.
Brand identity. Developing company values gives all remote employees a shared mission and make them feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves.
Community and belonging. It's in our genes. We evolved to be part of a community. When the remote company culture is strong, people feel more connected to the company and to each other.
How do you build a remote work culture?
Whether you are transitioning your company from office-based to remote or you are starting a remote company from the first day of business, here are 7 tips to help you build a remote culture:
Encourage communication and transparency. Give your employees the feeling that they can all share their ideas and opinions in a safe environment.
Build team routines. Just like you have routines for a healthy and happy life, you should have routines for happy employees. Set weekly meetings to go over what everyone is working on. Use tools like I Done This for everyone to share what they accomplished that day.
Open a shared team calendar. Not only does a shared calendar help with transparency, it is also a logistical dream-come-true. Coordinating meetings, calls, and deadlines with dispersed teams is hard enough, so why not make it easier by having a shared calendar with the whole team? This way, everyone will know when their teammates are available. Tools like Google Calendar and Teamweek are great for this.
Invest in team collaboration and communication tools. Your teams communication will only be as good as the tools you use. There are a ton of technologies out there for team collaboration like Zoom, Slack, G Suite, Trello, etc.
Hire quality employees - Ask candidates about their preferred working style — do they enjoy working closely with others, or do they thrive when working independently. An applicant could seem like the perfect fit for the job on paper, but if they do not fit with your remote company culture, then they probably won't last long-term. You can check out this article that goes into more details about what qualities to look for in remote employees.
Show your employees you care about them. Provide them with perks like a gym membership, a books membership, training courses, etc. Offer a budget for employees to buy quality office equipment to get their work done. And don't use remote as an excuse to offer lower salaries or be less generous with vacation time. In fact, according to the Buffer report referenced above, 32% of remote workers get unlimited vacation, as remote workers tend to not take so many days off. The report shows that 43% of respondents ended up taking off between 2-3 weeks per year. A shocking 20% of respondents either took only 1 week per year or didn't take off any vacation at all.
7. Team-building activities. Just because your team is dispersed doesn't mean you can't have bonding time. Arrange virtual meetups or build a virtual community with your remote team. Some ideas to do this include:
Create an internal blog to share stories, ideas, and updates
Use an internal chat platform
Arrange virtual water cooler hangout sessions
Hold weekly town hall meetings and each time let another team member present something they are working on or something the team might find interesting
Arrange yearly or bi-yearly company retreats so everyone can meet in person
Start a book club
Do a daily guided meditation together
Do a monthly "show and tell"
Do you have any other ideas for creating an amazing remote company culture? Let us know in the comments!
Ready to build your remote culture and hire remote employees. Contact RemoteScouts today.