Adapting to Remote Work
It’s finally happened. It only took a global pandemic, but remote work is not mainstream and really, for technology and knowledge workers is going to be the norm. So now, companies that were ‘anti-remote work’ are going to need to get up to speed.
Remote work is here to stay. Even after the pandemic is over, employees have gotten a taste of that remote life and won’t be willing to move to undesirable locations for a job anymore. But realize that remote working is not just a benefit for the employee, the employer gains some very tangible benefits as well, but you need to trust your employees more then anything else. If your hiring smart, trustworthy individuals then the work will get done. If your not, then the problem isn’t the employee, it’s your hiring practices.
I’ve been working remotely, full time, for over 8 years, and I wanted to share what I’ve learned so your company can jump into the remote working game and hire quality candidates.
- Your company doesn’t offer remote work? Well, they are at a disadvantage with every company that does. No longer can you lock your salary ranges to a small regional area. Your existing employees are going to be bombarded by remote work offers and will leave. You need to figure out and work with a payroll\benefits partner that can enable you to allow work from anywhere, it is 100% possible for even small shops to do this when you work with a National Payroll provider.
- Remote work isn’t a benefit or a luxury. You can’t pay less because you offer remote. You cannot pay less because you have “in office” goodies, like fresh fruit, gourmet coffee. You should tailor salary for those living in high cost areas, but realize that bay area salaries –15% are becoming the norm for developers working outside that area.
- Your culture needs to change. If 1 person on a team is remote, the entire team is remote. Everyone gets on Zoom, or Slack to work stuff out. Make sure you have a text communication system, like Slack, where you can have stream of conscious text conversations, and always result to having a video call if the text thread is taking longer then 5 minutes. Tools like Slack are ASYNCROUS only, never expect or demand real time interaction via them.
- Help pay for giving a safe and productive at-home office experience. Solid desks, good chairs, good keyboards and monitors. You are a GUEST in that persons home, you cannot demand a pristine work environment (no kids, interruptions, etc) you need to lean into remote work as not 8 hours straight, but working around the living environment.
- Don’t have a suitable office at home? You can rent an office for as little as $200 a month in most places. In my area you rent a single office in an “Executive” building for right around there. Make sure it’s coinvent and accessible. It’s a great way to ‘get out of the house’ a couple days a week as well. I used to recommend co-working spaces for this, but with the pandemic I can’t recommend anything but private offices anymore.
- Have events, social hours, send gifts (local or regional delicacies) and swag to your remote employees, make them feel valued and integral to the company. Send anonymous surveys’ out frequently and when the pandemic is over, look at getting the whole team\division\company together in person quarterly.
- Don’t install spyware, tracking apps, don’t require a camera on all the time. Monitor the output or deliverables, butts in seats for 8 hours a day mean nothing. Is the work getting done? Is the quality there? Then that’s all that should matter. You cannot micro-manage remote workers, if you do, they will leave.
Remote work is a boon for the employer and employee. As an employer you can spend less on buildings and amenities, and you get more work (remote employees work longer hours and more easily ‘hop’ on to address issues after hours). As an employee of a remote work company, you can live wherever you want, where the cost of living is lower, schools are better or closer to activities you like.
The clock is ticking, more and more full time, permanent remote jobs are becoming the norm and if you don’t adapt quickly you will loose out to companies paying more, have a thriving remote culture and lean into the possibilities and opportunities that a remote workforce enables.