The book “Remote” talks about a new method of building a working relationship.
With the development of new technologies, it became possible to work remotely. All fears that may arise from the owners of companies whose employees work at home are analyzed in detail. The advantages of such work are painted. What is very important, practical advice is given to managers who only want to implement remote workers and those who are already working on this method.
Jason Fried and David Hansson are successful founders of 37signals. The programs created by this company are used by more than 3 million people around the world. Friday and Hansson are authors of the bestselling book Getting Real. Their blog Signal vs. Noise is popular with more than 114,000 people.
This book is available as:
Learn How You Can Be Productive Outside the Office.
When you think about work, you most likely recall the office. Worker sitting at the table and typing on the keyboard. Conference room, afternoon meetings, discussion of ongoing projects. Whispering next to the boiler, a quick lunch in a paper bag.
Modern technology has completely changed our idea of work. There are new ways to exchange information. This means that being at work from 9 to 5 is no longer necessary.
More and more employees are working outside the office and are ready to talk about the advantages of such a working day organization.
Many companies have already begun to move to a more flexible work schedule. In this regard, both employers and workers will face difficulties associated with working from a distance. Although, of course, with the right approach and following a couple of simple rules, remote work brings great benefits.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
- How do employees manage to spend more time on YouTube than work?
- Why is it worth giving employees time off in good weather?
- Why does a company need to see employees only twice a year?
Let Employees Work at Home and Only the Best of Them Will Remain
Thanks to the latest technical developments, the number of people locked in office boxes has decreased. There was a choice to work at home or somewhere else, outside the office.
Both employers and employees highly value the ability to work remotely. Employers gained access to a huge database of talented people, now they can find the best candidate for a certain position.
If you agree to give work at home, you can get the most talented person on staff. It is no longer necessary to live in a metropolis.
Thanks to technology, you can work with a person who is in another part of the world. Create a free Skype account and conduct video conferences with employees, wherever they are.
But what to do with those who are already working for you? Should they also work at home? People often change jobs for personal reasons. Allow them to work remotely and they will remain on your team.
Even workaholics have a life outside of work. Family, friends or hobbies are sometimes the reason for moving to a new place.
Do not fire employees who choose to relocate. Just offer them the opportunity to work at home. In the end, it’s better to leave a trusted, trained employee than to look for a new one that you still have to learn.
The film production company Jellyvision had to switch to the job when one of the best employees decided to move to another state with his wife. The company did not want to lose him and offered the employee a job at home. After that, the remaining employees got this opportunity.
Work at home is an opportunity to be productive and live outside the office.
Remote Work Has a Beneficial Effect Not Only on Employees but Also on Their Standard of Living.
It allows you to build a working day in such a way as to complete all household chores and be productive. Employees themselves choose the daily routine so that they can do the work and spend time with the family.
For those who like floating charts, this is just perfect.
Office workers, for example, are tied to work schedules. In order to find a couple of hours and pick up the children, permission is required, rescheduling meetings and much more. And vice versa, at any moment you can stop doing work and do something else if you work remotely.
In addition, not everyone works equally efficiently. Someone is full of energy in the morning, and someone prefers to work in the evening. At home, you yourself choose the time when the most productive, without burdening yourself with traditional hours of work.
This is especially important if you are working on a creative project. Inspiration cannot be made to work by the clock, from the beginning of the working day! If you are developing a cure for cancer, then do not wait for the muse every day from 9 to 5.
And the last. With flexible work schedules, you can go to your dream whenever you want. Most people prefer to save their dreams until retirement because every day they have to go to the office and spend a lot of time there. They just have no time to follow their dreams.
Remote work, on the other hand, does not make you choose between a hobby and a career. For example, you do not have to wait if you want to travel the world. Take your laptop with you and work out your next adventure.
Improve Quality by Eliminating Office Noise
Not all employers agree to implement their work. Many people think that employees will simply become lazy. Think again! Office work is less productive than at home.
There are people everywhere in the office. You will be distracted – some have a break, others just chat, and half a day goes by.
In addition, your work is firmly connected with the work of colleagues. You will be distracted by questions that could wait. Colleagues will be distracting simply because you are sitting right here and “it’s just for a minute!”.
Of course, both at home and in some cafe there are a lot of distractions. But the difference is that you control it. Do not pay attention to non-urgent letters until you finish the work. There are no annoying colleagues around, and you can say to your spouse that for some time you are inaccessible.
When working at home, focusing is easier than in the office. Not to mention the fact that the quality of an employee’s work is easier to assess without breaking through the noise of office work.
Managers evaluate employees by additional factors: how often they leave for a break, how late they are, how they communicate with colleagues and all that sort of thing. When an employee works remotely, he is evaluated only by the work provided. Think about it: Is it important that someone starts work half an hour later, if everything is always done on time?
Meetings and time at the computer do not guarantee high performance. Give a chance to work remotely!
We have already listed the advantages that remote work gives. But if everything is so wonderful, why do many companies still do not want to work on this scheme?
The most popular objection is the lack of corporate culture. In fact, you are simply confusing corporate culture and a cohesive team.
Corporate culture – this does not mean to impose the same pace of life on employees and determine one time for lunch for everyone. It is determined by how you convey the values of the company to the employees.
Customer focus and long-term goals are part of the corporate culture. Frequent meetings are not necessary in order to realize and support it.
Another reason that many people don’t like remote work is the belief that innovative decisions are made only at meetings. Even so, companies still cannot implement the ideas that have already been adopted at such meetings.
If You Are Not Able to Introduce a New Idea Every Day, Why Meet Every Day?
Moreover, managers believe that the body in the chair will be productive no matter what. In other words, if you are not in the office, you are not productive. The manager, however, does not gain more control over the employee just because he is sitting in the office. Actually, it’s just self-deception and the habit of thinking that you are in control.
Think about it: 30% of JC Penney’s Internet traffic goes to YouTube videos. Is it productive? Never.
Many companies do not even want to try remote work. They lazily believe that it may be useful to others, but it will not be suitable for their company.
In fact, both large and small companies successfully apply the principle of remote work. Even those that we think are “too big” or “too old,” like AT&T, Aetna, Intel and the US government!
It is foolish to immediately give up remote work, give it a chance.
So, now you are convinced of its benefits and want to implement remote work in your company. On the following pages you will learn how to do this.
Do Not Rush and Gradually Introduce Remote Work
Sometimes companies claim that they have already invested heavily in the office in order to successfully implement remote work. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you have a small company or a multimillion-dollar monopoly. Remote work fits well in the schedule.
Working from a distance means only that employees are not required to sit at their office desk every day. But this does not mean that they never appear there.
Remote work does not make you choose between all or nothing. To get started, simply try inviting a few employees to work at home a couple of days a week. So you will see whether it is worth continuing the changes and what to pay special attention to. Then you can offer the rest of the workers to work at home longer.
Whatever you do, do not make hasty decisions. Do not judge by one employee about the whole system of remote work. One week at home will not show true results.
It will be better if the whole team works at home several days a week for several months. This way you will understand whether remote work is suitable for everyone, and how you and your employees feel about it.
Interestingly, your company probably already uses the principle of remote work, and you don’t even notice it. Very often, companies redirect various tasks to third companies, lawyers, accountants, advertisers, and so on. And this is much riskier than giving you the opportunity to work at home!
Since many companies already trust the work of professionals outside the office, it is not so difficult to let employees work at home.
Appreciate the Relationship Between Employees and Customers
Collaboration is essential for most projects. Designers communicate with programmers, managers try to find out the opinions of customers. How to build strong relationships in a team if employees work remotely?
One way or another, employees must communicate with each other. It is not necessary to be in the public access 24 hours a day, but at least some smooth communication between the office and the house must exist.
The working hours of employees should overlap at least a little. Wherever they are, determine the hour when everyone gets together and discuss urgent matters together.
At 37signals, they work together on one project 4 hours a day. So, half a day, employees work when and where they want, and spend the rest, discussing different topics with the whole team.
Post company information online and share it with all employees. Of course, secret materials should not be laid out, but without them, communication between employees will become more effective. At 37signals, they came up with a public calendar, and everyone knows when an employee will appear on the spot.
It is very important that customers can find you and your employees. Not everyone likes to deal with remote workers. It is understandable: to earn trust is much more difficult if you cannot shake hands, invite to your office and personally show the result achieved.
Explain the essence of remote work honestly and clearly. Treat your customers with great attention and allow them to take part in projects anywhere in the world. Only in this way will they see with their own eyes the fruits of their investments.
Behind Each Letter is a Living Person. Value Personal Relationships
Over time, colleagues can become close friends or good friends. But what if employees do not see each other?
No one can work 24/7 without communication, especially remote workers. We all sometimes need to unwind, and best of all, when employees relax together. So you can maintain team spirit at altitude.
Of course, if you work at home, then at any time you can just walk along the street. But try to make employees better recognize each other.
37signals, for example, created an online chat for remote employees. There they communicate during breaks, as if sitting in a cafeteria or office.
Moreover, both remote workers and employers must monitor the development of personal relationships. When you sit at the table, you see smiles and gestures. Without this, it is very easy to misunderstand each other. So bad relationships arise.
Remote workers should be twice as careful with the choice of words. The manager’s job is to provide a positive attitude and cultivate a friendly atmosphere.
And the last thing: understand that technology cannot always completely replace live communication. Be sure to come up with some way to meet in person.
A large number of programs are designed specifically so that people can communicate online. But we still need to understand that a living person is hiding behind a nickname on the network. In order to build a trusting, positive relationship, you sometimes need to see each other, not necessarily every week or month, but you need to.
At 37signals, we invite employees to meetings twice a year, even if there isn’t much to discuss. But employees feel like a team and perceive the company as a whole.
Sometimes Remote Workers Take on Too Much and Burn Out
The working day of a remote employee is very different from normal due to the flexible schedule. Do not forget about it.
Novice workers risk losing their jobs. And, although many will say that working at home, you will not do as much as you do in the office, it is often the opposite. Remote workers take on too much.
Nobody limits them, there is no schedule. There is a feeling that today you can do a little more, tomorrow a little more, but in the end there is no power left.
Try your best not to encourage this behavior. You cannot say that a person processes it because he is not in the office.
To avoid overwork, offer remote workers an extra day off. So they enjoy the good weather and do not take on too many tasks. You, after all, need happy and productive employees. They do not have to spend all their time in their home office. Training, meeting new people and other entertainment will be forgotten if the employee does not have enough communication that was in the office.
Responsibility for the attitude of employees lies with managers. They should promote a healthy and interesting lifestyle. Remote 37signals employees receive a free gym membership and money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The company also takes care of the hobbies of its employees. For example, tickets and trips are partially paid.
At some point, remote workers may seem second-rate if there are few in the state. Yes, they do not affect the daily development of the office but should feel involved. Help them and answer questions, or send the manager to work remotely so that he understands how others feel.
The Final Words
Thanks to modern technology, both employees and employers benefit from remote work. Employees at home do not exert such influence on the office as other employees. The task of the manager is to reconsider his attitude to remote employees and maintain a positive attitude in the team so that everyone can be productive.
Test the remote work mode before finally switching to it. It will be better if the whole team works at home several days a week, and the rest of the time in the old way, in the office. Such a test can last a couple of months. By the end of the period, you will understand whether remote work is suitable for everyone, and how you and your employees feel about it.
Why You Should Read “Remote”?
- To resolve the issue with employees;
- To try to work remotely;
- To organize your workday.
This book is available as: