Remote work is popular and as adoption spreads, it is clear this will be part of the future of work for many people. As this trend rises, remote teams will also face higher levels of scrutiny, with heavy focus on risks and failures. It’s becoming extremely important for companies to have a purpose of why they have decided to hire “outside the office,” whether that is locally, nationally, or globally, and ensure they have clear processes internally for how remote workers can be successful. At Modus, we have been operating as a remote company for almost 9 years. We have been recognized by the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies 5 years in a row, the Washington Business Journal list of Fastest Growing Companies in the Washington DC area two years in a row, and a top company for remote work by FlexJobs.
What Does Remote First Mean?
Whether you want to give your team the option to work from home, if you want to go all remote, or even accommodate a remote development team off or onshore – the only way to successfully do this is by going “Remote First”. What Remote First means is that your entire organization works AS IF THEY ARE REMOTE. This means – no impromptu meetings, no mission-critical watercooler talk, no walking over to someone’s desk to have an important chat about the project. Everyone needs to be conscious of people who are remote. By doing so, you enable people off site to be an ongoing part of the conversation and decision making processes.
Setting Up Your Whole Team for Success
You’ll also quickly find that it isn’t really that hard – that those conversations could just as easily happen on Zoom or Slack, and that you can still be social without leaving remote workers out of the loop. In addition, it allows meeting organizers to take the time and think about who is needed for the conversation. By no means does Remote First mean there will not be informal water cooler chat, conversations over coffee, or one on ones. As a Remote based company, many times people are also having the same interactions over Slack and Zoom. The goal is not to remove personal connections, it’s to ensure that critical decision making and information sharing is inclusive of needed team members, whether they are in an office or working from their desired location.
Remote Workers are Happy
There are a multitude of reasons why remote workforces are highly effective. Most remote employees are happy and do not want to go back to an office. Buffer has been a leader for quite a while in distributed teams, and their 2019 report exemplifies the drive and desire from the employee side. Remote work is not for everyone– and that’s ok. It is important that team members who choose to work from the office fully understand and support being part of a Remote First organization. When everyone is aligned and in agreement, it really isn’t important where people choose to work from.
Communicate the Right Way
That said, there are still many companies that do not feel the value is worth the risk. Many organizations still fail at integrating remote workers, or are so nervous about failure that they don’t even try. A Remote First organization that focuses their communication methods to accommodate remote, as well as local workers – are able to eliminate these risks and be productive. Having clear goals and accountability for your entire team will also help.
Team, project, and company success relies on the ability to have a strong team with fantastic communication skills and trust. In pt. 2 of our post, Transitioning Your Organization to a Remote First Workforce, we discuss some of the initial fears of transitioning to a remote workforce, including:
- Face-to-face provides so much value. How do you manage without?
- Does remote mean no “in person” meetings or events?
- Our team already has communication issues. How would remote potentially work for us?
- We have a great in-house team that we love. How do we handle and manage that?
- Why would we hire remotely rather than just hiring locally?
- How would a Company start with hiring remote team members?
- How do we assess if remote is successful for our organization?
These are all extremely valid concerns. We will share how Modus has successfully mitigated and worked through them internally and also how we have helped clients migrate to Remote First.
Transitioning and identifying as a Remote First company won’t be easy, but if your organization can take the time to plan and figure it out, it can definitely be worth it and provide value. Creating a network of people locally, regionally, nationally, or globally to learn from, personally and professionally, is extremely rewarding. If your organization is thinking of experimenting with remote work, Modus can help support your transition. Our team has the experience and breadth to help transform your organization and walk through each step with your team.