Whether we like it or not, there is going to be a before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses' around the world are being forced to adapt to Working from Home approach to provide services/products to keep afloat and protect our society. It has its challenges to make it right. Here in Swagup, our development team has been 100% remote for quite some time now, and we feel very comfortable with it.
My point in this article is to lay out some key benefits and why I think there is no way back.
When you work remote you stay very focused on your tasks; you don't have distractions (if you isolate yourself from day to day living part of the house). You don't use the time to set up your desk in the morning, and you don't have to bring your food to the fridge every day, etc. You are just ready to work, and you stay focused for as long as you are in front of your computer. There is no chit-chat around your desk that you jump into that conversion and spend a couple of minutes on that, forcing you to lose focus and the amount of time to re-engage on what you were doing.
If the managers learn how to do it right, you are more productive. Common mistakes i see from the management team, multiple meetings the same day to track productivity, asking/calling useless questions only to check if you are online or paying attention to the Slack channel, daily reports to measure the work from the day before. You don't need to do that, if you do it, you will be wasting everyone else's time. Developers are used to work with the Scrum methodology and can be utilized on any project (not only software), with the right planning/goals, etc. You need to ask three simple questions every morning on a quick 15 min standup:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What are you going to do today?
- Do you have any impediment/blocker to do your job?
Scrum promotes self-organizing teams/environments and people taking ownership of their tasks. If a team member is not following these basic rules or is not committed to work in this environment, well... you should probably know at this point what to do.
More time for your family and yourself
You don't need to wake up 1-2 hours earlier only to make it on time to get to work. You can now use that time to work out a little bit or sleep more (as I do). Even though my commute used to be 30 min, it was still time-consuming without considering those unexpected traffic jams.
You don't need fancy clothes, shoes to change every day (even though I have only wear SwagUp t-shirts for a very long time, one of the benefits of working for a swag company, lol). I used to have two cars at home, for my wife and me. She had an accident like 3-4 months ago, and the car was a total loss (she is fine, just minor injuries that were solved with some therapy). I was thinking to get a new car right after it happened, but I wanted to wait to get better pricing. After a couple of weeks, I just realized that I didn't need a car, I only use it to go to the grocery store that is 20 min away walking. When I need to go somewhere further, I call an Uber. Without a car I don't need insurance for it, I don't need to put gas on it, I don't need to repair/service it. So, for me, it was a significant monthly savings, that I now can spend on my favorite toys, gadgets, etc.
Businesses are going to realize that they don't need a big office, big utility bills, they don't need to buy/maintain furniture, etc.
We work with companies with no offices that manage over 100 remote employees. These companies organize annual events at Hotels or even out of the country, to make it more exciting. The company pays for everything (+1 included), and it's the way for them to have a personal interaction with each other. Still, in a whole different environment, it is a paid vacation that everyone enjoys and keeps talking about and waiting all year long for it.
So as a final note. It's a win-win for the company and the employee, now that everyone is being forced to try it, there is no way back after people realize the benefits for both sides.