Remote work is an innovation in and of itself — in merely a couple of decades, professionals from all over the world have gained an opportunity to be location-independent. This has changed the work landscape completely — our society had to adapt to a new work paradigm that discarded the old “If you work here, you must live here” approach.
Nowadays, however, remote work is not exclusive to a small number of IT professionals anymore — it is going mainstream, becoming an important part of countless companies’ mindset and culture. Transitioning to remote work is a serious undertaking — but a number of innovations can help to drive this process forward in your company. In this article, we will examine the factors that currently enhance remote work and make it evolve into the new norm.
New work philosophies: Agile & DevOps
As the app development process becomes more and more complex, IT companies start to wonder: “Is it possible to develop software faster and with fewer errors?” The answer to this question has been found recently in the form of DevOps, which is a system of software development practices that incorporates both software development and IT operations.
Agile, on the other hand, manages more abstract work concepts — its main idea is the “Respond to change” philosophy. With well-known principles like “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”, “Working software over comprehensive documentation”, “Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”, and “Responding to change over following a plan”, it suggests that every IT project operates similar to how water flows: naturally, reactively, easily, and quickly.
Both DevOps and Agile have to do with the organisation of work processes, so how does remote work fit into this? The thing is, their positive effects are particularly evident in remote teams. Let’s take DevOps: its main idea lies in the collaboration between developers and operations people. In an office environment, ensuring easy collaboration between them may be tricky: as teams are usually divided placed in different office locations, the physical space between them can get in the way. In some cases, development and operations teams are located in different buildings or even cities — so they are forced to combine distributed and non-distributed workflows, which may cause discomfort in some members.
Remote developers, however, are fully accustomed to this workstyle — every person they interact with is part of their “virtual team”, only a Slack message/Skype call away. Therefore, it is much easier for them to adopt a collaborative workflow between several teams. Working in an Agile manner is trivial as well — remote workers are adept at responding fast.
Improved financial benefits
Indeed, money is not everything — but ignoring the financial aspect is an oversight we cannot afford. The self-evident benefits of remote work (work flexibility, for instance) are always in the spotlight of various articles, but the financial benefits deserve our attention as well — after all, they can convince the company to finally go remote.
Interestingly enough, both the employer and the employee have the opportunity to save money. The company, for instance, can cut costs associated with renting traditional offices — these typically include rent, bills, insurance, utilities, equipment, and more. An analytics agency Global Workplace Analytics theorised that this sum would be significant — and as revealed in their recent study, companies indeed can save up to $11,000 per employee annually.
These resources, therefore, can be reinvested to serve more meaningful purposes: foster the company culture. Instead of buying another brand new coffee machine and using it as a selling point to attract young web developers, you can organise your remote company in a way that improves engagement, professionalism, and loyalty:
Hold company get-togethers regularly: This will allow team members to get to know each other a bit better. Our company’s latest meetup involved horse riding — what will your professionals prefer?
Encourage the employees to learn more: Provide access to courses, meetups, and conferences they may be interested in — their presence will be the company’s advertisement by itself, plus they will be able to brush up on their skill set.
Show appreciation via gifts: In the end, the professional’s salary is not the only aspect that keeps them engaged — they also desire to be acknowledged, respected, and appreciated. Combined with the previous tips, this recommendation can make your employees realise that work relationships are not limited to a cynical “my money in exchange for your time” interpretation.
As a remote company ourselves, we at Soshace easily notice the positive effects of fostering company culture. In addition to the three tips we have outlined above, we also strive to gather feedback from our team members and analyse whether everyone shares the same vision. Of course, this is the beauty of a small company — as the number of employees grows, it may be harder and harder to actually broadcast your feedback and make it heard.
Remote workers also have a similar saving opportunity: the study estimates that they can save more than $7,000 annually. In their case, the main saving points have to do with a commute, food and drinks, childcare, and location (i.e. preferring to live in cities with a lower cost of living).
The latest advancements in the fintech sphere have introduced a plethora of great personal finance software that can help remote workers capitalise on their saving opportunities:
- Mint can be used for passive tracking of bills and expenses.
- You Need a Budget excels at helping the user create a strict budget and follow it.
- Personal Capital tracks investments and eliminates unnecessary costs associated with them.
- Mvelopes is similar to You Need a Budget, albeit with a focus on concrete and clear financial goals.
- Lastly, Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel can offer a fully personalised budgeting experience.
All in all, more and more companies are feeling optimistic about remote work — this is evidenced by Gallup’s study, revealing that the number of US remote companies is growing.
Remote work is still a novelty in some businesses — and it is definitely not a silver bullet. It is merely another way of approaching work — and this new approach might be just the right one for your company, so we encourage you to give it a try.
Denis Kryukov, author, Soshace