What you need to know about remote work
You’ve probably heard about it before; workers have ditched the office in favor of coffee shops, co-working space, their home or a beach on the other side of the world. Although "fashionable," this way of working tends to become a real « way of living ». Of course, the tasks themselves are not different from those found in offices. Nevertheless, it is important to note that a new methodology is needed so that this situation does not become unmanageable. After having all been educated through the utopia of the sizeable personal office (with an enormous chair!), what pushes these companies and these workers to desert their offices?
What You Need to Know About Remote Work
Before going any further, I think it's important to note that this way of life is not recommended for everyone. Some people need a fixed workplace for whatever reason. The experience of a digital nomad (this is what they call themselves) is not a dream in itself, but a way of living. We all have a buddy who did not hold up when we were in high school - No, I'm not talking about the one who was doing too much and who ended up siding, I'm talking about « John », the one who became a true adventurer!
In most cases, this adventurer, after a lot of random jobs, wondered how he was going to organize his life around his passion, the trip, with a job in line with his skills. Reflection was fast enough finally, thanks to the internet, most tasks can be done anywhere, anytime. However, John is not the only one in this situation, most people and companies working on the web have discovered how easy it is to work online and adjusted their working practices to fit this new method. That's why!
Your routines and boundaries are critical.
When someone is well established in a classic professional situation, it is difficult not to fall into a limiting routine. The days go by and are all alike: wake up, shower, breakfast, public transportation, go to work, come home, dinner, to sleep. Of course, when you keep up with this place, it's hard to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits-this is the interest in remote work! On the employee side, there is the opportunity to flourish! The morning problem is not related to the clock but to how the day will unfold, to the meetings we will be part of, to the place where we will work (coffee, coworking space, at home?). It is possible to push our limits a little bit more each day without going to the moon and back a. The ideas come from lived experience and not from endless meetings. Of course, it is entirely possible to push them back into an office, but the benefits aren’t so well balanced.
You’ll need to become a time management pro.
When working remotely, the main issue is often related to time. Indeed, it is far less obvious to separate one's personal and professional life without working in an office (and yes, there are not only advantages). For a digital nomad, the day begins with the first sip of coffee and finishes when you turn on Netflix! Between the two, it's a little nil at first (and if you work for different clients, it's a different story). You have to find room for work, social and family life, and everything tends to mix. That's the first week! after all the complaints from your nearest and dearest, and your friends confiscate your phone, you are forced to change things! Then comes the time of activity planners (such as Timely), who allow all remotes workers to organize their days. The advantage of these tools is that they are designed for remote workers, they will enable us to effectively plan each of our tasks in a given time (there are even small alarms informing us that it is time to move on to another job) We also use tools such as Asana which stops us from forgetting anything. Even if communication is essential in the life of a digital nomad, we have less chance to meet a colleague by going to the coffee machine reminding us that we must return this file at 16:00!
Communication skills are entirely different when you’re remote.
For most people, it's easy to communicate in offices. 9-5 allows most people to meet each other at check-in times, meal times and coffee breaks. The particularity of remote communication is that it is not simultaneous. Although hyper-connected, it is not possible to point us to the office colleague to get answers or advance a project. It is therefore essential to clearly express all the critical information of a project from its launch (objectives, instructions, deadline) in a clear and concise manner. It is also essential to update everyone regularly, even if it does not seem necessary, to allow everyone to move in the same direction. We used to tease our less communicative colleagues by asking them "if they would pass us by without talking to us if they passed us in a hallway." For digital nomads, communication is a form of respect and also a guarantee of motivation.
Why do people work remotely?
For many reasons;)
More and more, companies are looking for remote people to develop their geographic presence, get the most qualified employees for some positions, the most motivated. Thanks to the internet, simply not being there in person no longer a barrier. It is now possible to live in the heart of the Italian Alps while working for a Swedish or Chinese company :) On the side of employees, people no longer dream of spending their days at work. They aspire more and more to flourish fully in their personal, professional or social life. The remote work is the perfect recipe to achieve this.
How remote work benefits employees
Of course, remote work gives some flexibility but requires some as well. Sometimes our employees are not available at the same times as us because of their geographical presence or just their organization. It is therefore essential to be flexible and able to adapt to all circumstances. Sometimes it will be necessary to schedule meetings early in the morning, or a little later in the evening. The freedom offered by these jobs also requires a form of adaptability. Just like in a traditional office, it's important to finish your daily tasks. Remote work will allow you to take an hour to take your son to the doctor, but will also require that you be available a little later to complete all your daily tasks.
Better health and wellness
All studies done on distance working shows that employees are healthier and happier. This is just because each remote worker now has the opportunity to adapt to this lifestyle. Some are morning guy, others evening one. By working remotely, you are able to adapt your working life to your body clock. Offices are also a stressful place for most people. Staying away from this unhealthy environment is, therefore, the most significant benefit to our health. Finally, the possibility of not having to choose between hobbies/passions and work allows remote employees to flourish even more. Musicians can adapt their days to rehearse when they want, a lunch with a long-time friend drags without it attracting the wrath of the hierarchy.
Last, but not least, when you are evolving in a remote team you will never be judged for the time you’re staying at office or other irrelevant things - Yes, we believe that the guy who arrives first in the morning and leaves the office last, is NOT the most efficient guy in the team ! When you are working outside an office, you are evaluated on results, no matters how long you worked on your project !
Renewed passion for their job
Thanks to all these advantages, it goes without saying that the working relationship is changing for most digital nomads. In this context, work is no longer perceived as a constraint but as an integral part of our lives to connect with the passion of our job. The remotes are also more inspired and less distracted by the work environment, allowing them to focus and open up to the new horizon much more easily than any other employee
What’s the biggest benefit to working remotely ?
How remote work benefits employers
It may sound surreal, but remote work is not only good for employees, and far from it! Coming directly from the United States, remote work also offers exceptional business benefits.
Since the separation between work and personal life is less marked, remote employees tend not to count their hours because they work in a setting that suits them. As explained above, they are also free of any distractions which significantly improves their efficiency. Moreover, the remotes focus mainly on the results and objectives! The project and deployment validation phases are also much more efficient.
Do you have an idea of the cost of an office in the center of a big city? It is considerable! Thanks to remote employment, it is no longer necessary to spend tens of thousands of euros per month to be able to work its employees. These savings can improve the working conditions of employees at lower cost or deploy more expensive campaigns without endangering the survival of the company.
Remove geographic fences
Never easy to find the most relevant people in a geographic area. When you are stuck in an office, you can only recruit people from a certain distance, otherwise, people have to move there. Moving and leaving your life behind?! This commitment might be scary for some people and keep them from applying, even if it’s the ideal job.
As they said “think different’, the internet allows you to work with a super famous SEO expert in Malta (and he can keep his lifestyle with his wife without changing their habits), a top Influencer marketing manager somewhere in the north of Sweden between trees, an awesome customer experience crew member could live outside your country to take care of a new country… Doesn't that sound great?
A top Influencer marketing manager somewhere in the north of Sweden between trees
What are some common misconceptions about remote work?
No doubt you have heard about some of the stories, the misconceptions that workers slack off, miss tasks and unable to work as well. No one like change and therefore the idea that this isn't true and that remote work could be just what your workforce needs, could be tough to accept.
Remote workers have trouble communicating
Yeah, because we've become remote only because we do not like people and we prefer to be alone at home in the dark!
Joking aside, most (if not all) remotes of our company have a social life that fits them perfectly. During the selection period, we choose the most dynamic people to join our team to make sure that this way of life suits them and allow them to blossom fully, and this, on all points of view :) We also have the opportunity to go to co-working spaces to create professional relationships (with people not working with us) and/or join our friends for lunch - like everyone else At Ridestore, nobody likes to be alone, and we are all pleased to be in community!
Remote workers are “always-on.”
We are always connected because we do not have a life next to work!
If the remotes have chosen this way of life, it is because it allows them to adapt their use of time with their way of life. We did not wish to live like this to work nonstop :) When we hire someone, it's essential for us to know about their availability so that the workload is in line with those- this. Besides, the relationships with the people on the team are amicable. Even if the evening workers write us at any time, we are always very happy to answer them without feeling constrained by our work :)
Remote workers don’t actually work
Hell yeah, we're being paid for nothing as we're big wankers!
This is the funniest stereotype! We always imagine working in pajamas, next to a bowl of cereal with a dirty smell (yes because we do not shower!). Be sure; even if he is nomadic, an employee would quickly get a shock working remotely when he begins to slack off. We work at a different pace, but of course "different does not mean non-existent!
We have one thing to say: remote workers get shit done!
What’s the biggest struggle with working remotely ?
Of course, there are worries. However, they are less, here is an infographic about it:
Can remote workers really be a part of the Team?
Super question! Of course remotes workers have the same needs as all other employees and being part of a team is one of them! However, it is necessary for their company to put in place different tools to achieve this!
1. Use available technology
Thanks to the Internet, it is straightforward to communicate. Nevertheless, it is necessary to find the right tools, to make them adopt by the whole team and to make them live so that the team spirit is created. At Ridestore, we use Slack. We used to say that this is our digital office. One of our main issues has been getting everyone to adopt it and then encouraging people to use it in English so that no one feels abandoned. Being represented by different cultures, It was crucial for us.
2. Be thoughtful
Corporate culture is reflected (see our previous article here) as well as the creation of a remote worker team. Whether it's quarterly meetings, coffee machine meetings or discussion through our chat, we need to be consistent so that our employees find themselves in each of our actions and want to participate to the digital life of the company.
3. Create a collaborative culture
This is one of the critical points of a smooth running remote team. By encouraging people to help each other, the links between them will only increase tenfold. So it's important to make sure people get in touch, and in right conditions (and yes, it's easier to tell someone that something is wrong when you have already shared a good time with him). Mutual support and collaboration create these strong links that will allow the company to shine!
/David, onboard since July 2017 (With support from Max and Angelica)