Remote Now or Remote Forever?
You work remotely, but are you a remote company? This is the question thousands of companies around the world have been grappling with for the past few months.
My question to all of them is—why wouldn’t you go remote forever?
Following announcements from some of the world’s tech unicorns like Facebook, Twitter, and Square about their intentions to stay remote even after COVID, many smaller companies have begun to seriously consider the benefits of a remote policy—and frankly, those benefits aren’t hard to see.
For example, let’s look at the simple act of not having to go into an office every day. It’s estimated that the average employee saves $4000 a year by simply not needing to commute or eat out of the house. This figure doesn’t even account for the value of the time saved commuting, the added productivity of working in a comfortable environment, or the money saved on hair, beauty products, and clothes (seriously, these three are likely bigger than you ever realized).
However, it’s not just about improving the quality of life for employees, there are clear financial benefits for the employers too. Although it might be counterintuitive to the old guard, remote employees are on average more productive, work longer hours, and are more likely to stay at their company. Did I mention you get to drop that ridiculous office lease in downtown, Manhattan?
Despite the clear evidence that remote work can improve employee satisfaction AND be a net positive on the bottom line, companies remain resistant to change—and I get it. Change is really hard, especially when it directly challenges what you have worked so hard to build.
With companies largely unprepared to convert their workforces as quickly as COVID came on, productivity and overall employment took a dip. Much like the majority of governments around the world—companies didn’t have a realistic plan for a pandemic because, well, we all suck at planning for worst-case scenarios.
Most “newly remote” companies I know have been doggy paddling to keep their heads above water, trying to keep the ship afloat until this situation passes. It’s sink or swim and unfortunately, a lot of companies are slowly sinking.
This has led some friends of mine to question remote work in general. “It may work for others, but it’s simply not working for my company," they say.
I call B.S.
The reason that the overwhelming majority of these companies are struggling is because they are working remotely, but they're not remote companies. They transitioned overnight and totally overlooked the process of setting up the remote infrastructure that every distributed company needs.
Like everything, it takes some time and expertise to change the way people live, work, and think. Companies like the one I co-founded, Sprawl Consulting, are joining the fray to help guide companies through the transition to remote work. We work with new or experienced remote teams to build a culture where employees are happy, productive, and loyal—and companies are more profitable than ever.
The truth is, the remote revolution was already underway when COVID hit. You might not have known what Zoom was, or how to motivate yourself to shower when not leaving the house, or how to hold yourself accountable without a manager hovering over your shoulder, but a lot of people were already living this way and a lot of companies were thriving remotely.
Remote work has grown more than 90% in the last 10 years with a handful of companies like Buffer, Zapier, and Automattic stepping up to lead the way into the future of work. Numerous studies have espoused the value of remote work and thought leaders have continually preached about the potential benefits from environmental sustainability to long term improvements in health and wellness.
The point is, Remote work has arrived and it’s not a passing fad or trend.
A lot of companies are at a crucial crossroads, making a decision about remote work that will impact their success and ability to compete for years to come. CEO’s must decide to lean forward into the future of work or be left behind in their antiquated corner offices.
As the saying goes, adapt or die.
If you’re ready to adapt, Sprawl Consulting is here to assist. You can schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help take your remote business to the next level.