Now that businesses are opening back up, many have found that letting their employees work from home wasn’t a bad thing. Some employees can be even more productive at home than they are in the office. There are other employees that are exactly the opposite though. Going forward, business owners are looking at their remote workforce strategy and deciding that it might be time to change up a few policies. There are a few ways to approach this, and some things you should consider when you are making this decision.
As you may or may not know, briteCITY has been a completely distributed workforce for over a year now. Most of what we do is easily accomplished remotely, as we support clients who are not at the same office as us. We have found that being completely distributed, meaning all employees work remotely and there is not a central office to visit, works really well for briteCITY. When the pandemic hit, briteCITY didn’t need to change our remote strategy at all, since we were already there.
One advantage of a completely distributed workforce is the money you will save on office space. Many office building leases can come with astronomical rent. Without that expense every month, your company can be more profitable.
Some things to consider:
Does your business require a central location for collaboration or business operations? Some examples of this might be manufacturing companies that need a warehouse for storage and shipping, or businesses that offer a service onsite like massage therapy or a restaurant. Both of these scenarios would be extremely difficult to move to a completely distributed workforce.
Have your employees been working well remotely? If you are having issues with productivity among your staff, and have noticed a lot more things slipping through the cracks, you may not want your employees to be exclusively remote. Some employees thrive on interaction with others, and their work can suffer remote, other employees may have too many distractions at home, so they may need an office they can come to as well.
Do you have onsite line of business applications? Companies that have an application server onsite and require resources from that server, might have a difficult time moving employees to a completely distributed workforce. You would still need a place to keep the servers, and some connections to those resources could run really slowly when accessing it from a remote location. For example, local Quickbooks installations are notoriously difficult to manage when trying to access them remotely.
There are many organizations that can benefit from a partially distributed workforce. It is a little bit the best of both worlds. You still have an office where people can come in for meetings, collaboration, and interaction, but you also give some employees the choice to work from home the majority of the time. This may even save you some money as you can lease smaller office space, since the onsite staff is reduced dramatically.
Some things to consider:
Which jobs can be done remotely? Many jobs can be done easily from anywhere in the world these days. With cloud based line of business apps, some can even be done exclusively from a mobile device. However, there are still jobs that need to be onsite. As you look through each employee’s responsibilities and job description, ask yourself if this job can be accomplished offsite. If the answer is no, then you definitely need a partially distributed office and that position will be required to work onsite.
Can you determine which employees are being successful at home? As I mentioned previously, some employees can have a performance increase when allowed to work from home. Others may find working from home extremely difficult. It is important to involve the employees that could potentially work from anywhere what they think will be the best solution from them. You may be surprised to find out how many prefer coming into an office every day. For those employees that are not honest about their ability to work from home, productivity tracking software like ActivTrak can help you determine if they are actually working when they are on the clock.
What, if any, office visits will be mandatory? There is something to be said about being able to meet together as an entire team. Here at briteCITY we make sure to schedule a monthly dinner and a quarterly event to keep the team involved with each other. Company culture is extremely important, and can be lost in a completely distributed environment if you aren’t careful about it. Scheduling mandatory events or meetings can help keep the team working as a team.
Whether you implement a fully distributed workforce, a partially distributed one, or just bring everyone back in the office full time, it is extremely important to come up with a plan for the future. Who knows when the world will go into lockdown again, so make sure everyone is on board with your plan so you can pull the trigger at a moments notice. It’s better to be prepared to send everyone to work from home than to try and figure it out at the last minute.
If your business needs help implementing a strategy for a remote workforce, make sure to contact briteCITY today to help you get started.