Remote First: Optimizing the workplace culture for a superb team
Dynamic workplace practices have finally merged with the fast-tracking technology that seemed to previously outpace the demand. The quick and necessary pivot to the new norm, forced by the global pandemic, has been facilitated by crucial tech systems that were ready and set. Many companies have awakened to a whole new world of remote work, global outsourcing, worldwide talent pools, agile workflow, asynchronous communication, open real-time communication channels, and so much more!
All the amazing perks of remote work have been adapted through streamlined and integrated systems that harness technology for remote interconnectivity. This has resulted in flourishing best workplace practices termed as remote first and remote friendly.
Remote Friendly and Remote First
Before we start to look at how to do remote first, we need to look at these two terms in more detail. Is your workplace remote first or remote friendly? What’s the difference, and why does it matter?
What is remote friendly?
A remote friendly workplace provides the option of remote working, when necessary, while having onsite work as the preferred route. The work practices are therefore adapted conventionally, to be performed at the office.
What is remote first?
Remote first doesn’t exclude the need of an onsite office, but it configures the workflow to be done remotely by default. This ensures that no member of the team, including the 100% remote workers, feels like an afterthought. This is ideal for working remotely, but the team members also have the option of going into the office if they prefer. If need arises for any in person interactions or trainings, an onsite location or office is available.
To sum it up, below are the major differences between remote-friendly and remote-first:
Remote First vs Remote Friendly
- Remote work mode is planned as the default work mode
- Async communication processes
- Virtual offsite onboarding
- Communication on open channels e.g. Slack
- Deliverables are priority and not hours input
- On-site is the default work mode
- Sync communication main means of communication
- In-person onboarding
- Communication mainly through closed channels e.g. office network, on-site meetings
- Hours of input or office attendance is prioritized in addition to the deliverables
Why Should Organizations and Team Members be Mindful of These Set-Ups?
Remote-first and remote-friendly are up and coming work cultures tapping into technology and global interconnectivity. These set ups allow a company to build teams to operate off the site and from anywhere in the world; from hiring to onboarding, to capacity-building to communication, to payroll and everything in between.
In doing this, companies are discovering the rich value and ease of having work done from anywhere in the globe.
However, there has been a realization that remote friendly practice comes with unique challenges. There is a demarcation of being on site versus off site. The two sets of workers may fail to be on the same page, since remote workers may inevitably find themselves excluded from communications and updates that happen in the office by default. Remote team members may find they are missing out from this exclusivity affecting effective collaboration in the team.
First or Friendly: Which Is Better?
Many companies are making the necessary changes with the new disruptive transformations for a remote culture globally. According to a PWC report, these changes moving us to the new norm are here to stay. With this in mind, work places need to find and implement the optimal best practices tailor made for what works best for their workers, clients, and the company.
It is important to explore the various ways competitors and other companies are implementing to see what works and what does not. It may take some time to completely adjust to a perfect best fit for your company’s vision.
It’s worth mentioning that the friendliest experience in the remote culture is not remote friendly, but remote first. As the name implies, remote first, puts remote center and front in their decision making on how the work flow is carried out. So, in the event that remote is the only way to get the work done, then there is no scrambling up for solutions; the systems are set for the tasks.
How to Make the Change
Now, if you are an organization looking to transition into remote work, you might want to take a look at these 3 points to consider before making the change:
- Integrated tools: Communication Channels
Transitioning from the conventional office mode to the remote mode may not be as easy as it sounds. The work process need to be integrated, centralized, and streamlined in a way that keeps the team’s work flow harmonized and synchronized in close semblance to the onsite way of doing things.
To do this however, may mean adapting to new ways of hiring, communication, training, teambuilding, time-logs, and payrolls, while maintaining and improving the output. RemotePass is leading the pack in creating ease of transition in the aforementioned areas.
Communication channels integrated in the work systems create seamless exchanges that can be done either asynchronously, or in real-time, when employees need timely help from management or from each other. This augments flow of information and feedback loops that eliminate disenfranchisement. In turn, there is an increase in efficiency, productivity, autonomy, and optimizes the delivery of key objectives. The following benefits can be realized in remote communication:
- Communication methods, whether asynchronous or real-time, can be adapted to bring flexibility and convenience to reconcile the differences in time zones. The workplace can implement time zone tools such as timeanddate.com for this purpose. Members are able to meet from anywhere, and if not able to, recordings can be archived in a centralized accessible area for reference. Rotating meeting times can also be considered to accommodate the global team members and hence foster fairness.
- When need arises, integrated real-time and on-demand channels for timely collaboration and urgent matters can be superlatively useful.
- A workplace where management and team members have built a culture of ease of accessibility and availability in remote communication can find several key areas are greatly enhanced: trust, transparency, retention, work quality, efficiency of goals, among others. Consequently, potential frustrations rife in remote work modes can be significantly minimized.
- Knowledge base
A central knowledge base of easily searchable information is important for equitable onboarding, communication, and team updating. Building an accessible database makes provisions for ease of reference in troubleshooting and seamless compliance with the best work practices This not only saves time, but also communicates equal value to every team member, without feelings of being left out. The knowledge base ought to have room for periodic current revisions and amendments.
The centralized knowledge base communicates:
- Workplace policies and vision
- Best work practices
- Work flow guidelines and project management
- Trouble-shooting instructions
- How-to technical instructions
- Career scaling options and much more.
- Robust documentation
A paperless trail of documentation provides open transparency of work tasks and work flow for team members. There’s clear understanding of expectations, goals, deliverables, attention areas, which in turn strengthens coordination and collaboration of the independently remote working members. Documentation is useful in creating clarity in some of the following areas:
- Forecasts, projections, and expectations of team members
- Objectives and key results (OKRs) in tasks
- Product and project roadmaps
- Key risk indicators in product or output
In a Nutshell
Now that you are almost ready for the big switch, let’s review some of the top key features of a remote-first organization:
Perks of remote first
- Increased flexibility that may lead to increased satisfaction and productivity
- Opportunity to hire from a wider pool of talent from around the global
- Ability to supersede barriers of distance and time zones in workplace
- Variety of international diversity in skill, competence, know-how that can synergistically serve the team
- Able to tap into local talent rich with local experience. Provides cultural and language sensitivity catering to different bases for greater market reach
Challenges of remote first
- Coordinating the multiple time zones between different worker, and syncopating with all the deliverables takes great time and additional tools.
- Workflow and activities with every team and team members require more effort of constant reminders, checks, and feedback loops
- May not have as much control of things as when having in-person interaction
- Calls for more accountability checks and documentation to ensure compliance of task completion
Progressive work places are embracing the value for remote working, and are shifting accordingly with the changing times, to effectively manage their team members out of absolute necessity. When remote work is well implemented and tailored to the company’s vision, amazing benefits can be realized. The increased flexibility can promote morale in employees, which can in turn increase productivity, employee loyalty, retention, and consequently hitting greater objective key results (OKRs) in the output.
It is equally important to build the right team with compatible members through proper hiring processes, onboarding and communications. RemotePass offers great customizable tools, and a platform to integrate and streamline the above, and all the critical parts of running a remote workplace with beautiful ease in one place. It provides relevant solutions for remote work such as global hiring, managing payroll, and much more. Be part of the progressive remote first workplace and try RemotePass today!
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