5 Biggest Benefits to Remote Work (and How We “Crush” Collaboration)
“What I wouldn’t give to lay around in my pajamas all day while jotting a few random notes into my laptop!”
This is the myth of remote work. People think that just because they don’t have to spend all their time in an office that they can goof off all day long.
Are they right? Does restricting remote work make a more productive, efficient company?
For everyone who loves to work in an office, definitely get a job with these companies. For the rest of us who don’t need to spend two hours chatting at the water cooler – we’ll take the remote work options, thanks.
There are many advantages to remote work for both the company and the individual. It’s important to explain a bit about each one. At Virtira, we know that not only is remote work and virtual collaboration a useful tool, we understand that for us it’s the best way of doing business. It allows us to hire the best people, give them flexible hours and let them live exactly where they want. Our customers love it because they can access our fully engaged team and know that we have the skills and the talent to go the extra mile. We’ve been growing since “Day One” and it’s certainly not because we’re slackers!
- Hiring the best people:
Have you ever tried to fill a key position and not been able to find suitable candidates? The reason is that your net was not wide enough. By allowing your team to work remotely, you’re not limiting your search to those people in the immediate area of your office. The best people in your area already have jobs! Broadcasting your positions over the whole world will attract those with the best skills for the position, regardless of their geographical location.
- Better work/life balance:
How many people arehappy spending five days a week in a sterile office with bad lighting, worse coffee and Alison from Accounting who is constantly asking you to sign birthday cards? There’s also no cold and flu season in a home office! Remote work allows the worker to be in complete control of their environment, their time and their location. One can tailor their day to suit their own natural rhythms. Some people attack the day from the moment that they wake up. Others are night owls who don’t get on track until much later. There are those who love to hammer out all their tasks in one, unbroken burst of energy. Many others prefer to spread out their work, taking longer breaks to run errands or to go for a hike in the middle of the day. The point is that if self-discipline is maintained, there is a schedule for everybody to love.
- No commuting:
Is there anything more frustrating than being stuck in traffic, stressed out that you’re going to be late for work and at the same time harming the over-taxed environment?You’re also exposing yourself to dangerous pollutants: the levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside cars was found to be twice as high as previously thought. Not good. An average commute of 30 minutes means five hours wasted in an average week. That is time that could be spent with your spouse, your kids, or doing something you enjoy. Most remote workers can eat better because they aren’t limited to food courts and cafeterias. Exercise becomes more of a routine when working from home because it becomes part of one’s workday plan.
- It’s easier to focus:
Lots of workplaces today are tearing down their office walls, creating huge open-concept spaces. What could be more distracting? Constant interruptions for mundane greetings, water-cooler chit-chat and unnecessary speeches prevent most office workers from getting themselves into a good flow. Without that flow, many promising ideas never reach the surface and opportunities for growth and insight are lost. All those annoyances force people to multi-task, which is never good. When a remote worker needs to focus, they can do it quickly, in an environment that suits their work-style best.
- Remote work helps companies start-up faster:
When a new company is getting started, money is usually very tight. Eliminating big costs like office space, furniture and a computer system allows a new company to focus on their employees and the services they can provide to their clients. As a result, start-ups don’t have to worry about a big monthly overhead, greatly increasing their chances of succeeding.
We have done our best at Virtira to avoid the downfalls that many in business have attributed to remote work and collaboration. Here are some of the tools we use to keep the train rolling:Now, to be fair, there are some potential pitfalls to the remote-work life. You need to have people who have good self-discipline; people who can motivate themselves to complete their work effectively and on-time. Those who are born procrastinators must either get with the program or get back into a more structured workplace.
- Cisco Teams:
Being separated by thousands of kilometers doesn’t mean that we can’t be working together on the same things. With Cisco Teams, our main collaboration and messaging platform, we can work simultaneously on projects, just like people would who work in the same office space. All our apps are integrated to fully enable our use of team workspaces for conversations, sharing and staying connected. Time-sensitive items can be worked on around-the-clock if needed with many people contributing in different time zones.
- Webex virtual meetings:
We use Cisco Webex for all our meetings. It’s a breeze to install and simple to get familiar with. Whether it’s a one-on-one chat or a 10-person boardroom talk, Webex lets us all contribute vocally, with visuals or with real-time messaging. Files and drawings are all there in the space wherever we message and meet. Some critics of remote collaboration suggest that this form of meeting discourages open conversation and brainstorming. We strongly disagree! We find that by allowing different modes of adding comments and notes during meetings, people are much less inhibited about offering thoughts, ideas and radical proposals. Some people are shy in person but that goes away in a virtual meeting. People really get engaged and involved in a big way.
One of our key productivity tools is Smartsheet. It lets us plan, track, automate and report all our work. It’s got an intuitive interface that lets us quickly configure and improve our work processes across time zones. Setting it up to send our team automated reminders, notifications and status reports keeps us all on point.
- Time Zone Converters:
Think it’s impossible to coordinate people in many different time zones? These tools assist our staff in calculating the best times for meetings and chats. It also shows people how to be conscientious of the time in other teammates’ zones.
- Virtual Water Cooler:
What’s an office without a place to hang out and catch up on things? Every two weeks we let our hair down at Project Dashboard meetings. It’s a great chance to collaborate, share and learn from each other. We discuss not just what projects everyone is working on but also news, random topics and stories that we’re eager to talk about. These meetings are a key component of our methodology and they allow us to know each other’s personalities, bringing us closer together.
We think we have the best of both worlds. Employees can interact with each other like they are in the same room, while at the same time enjoying the benefits of working from home. Projects are easily shared, and open collaboration is achieved without all the cost and inconvenience that comes with a traditional office.
At Virtira, working collaboratively from different locations is how we do business. That’s how we get the people we want and keep them, too. It’s like seeing a flower that you love- if you pluck it from where you found it the bloom will soon wither and die, but keep it where you discovered it and that flower will thrive.
We empower our staff to perform to the absolute best of their abilities and they consistently respond with outstanding innovations and attention to detail. It’s the way we like it and we wouldn’t have it any other way.