Authored by: Amit Verma, Managing Partner, Codvo.ai
Are you Remote-ish or Remote-First Organization?
Most organizations that adopted Remote working in the post covid era are Remote-ish organizations because they have their headquarters in a metro city and have remote work options available for employees in multiple locations.
Remote-first is more than a work arrangement that enables people to work from home but outlines an organizational strategy that prioritizes remote work and sees it as a requirement rather than a benefit. It requires organizations to establish best practices that outline how remote workers, wherever they may be, may interact and have the same access to information as everyone else, and it is working for everyone. Usually, in the Remote-first strategy, the company’s entire operations are designed to meet needs and accomplish goals while operating remotely.
Why and Why-not of Remote-First
A remote-first strategy benefits large and small enterprises and allows them to access and hire talent pools anywhere in the world. Collaboration across different time zones is made possible by the ability for asynchronous communication and working styles. The remote-first strategy makes building diverse teams easy and can use their skills and experience to produce extraordinary results. It also improves employee value proposition (EVP) for small businesses, as they can compete with larger rivals using a remote-first value proposition.
On the other hand, a remote-first strategy also has some drawbacks. Employees in remote work may start feeling detached from the team and the employer. Lack of face-to-face engagement, increased hassles to work together on a project, and the inability to strike up a conversation to connect socially are some of the cons of working in a remote setting. Aside from feeling excluded and singled out, employees who are not connected emotionally will tend to be unsure of the company’s direction. Building a work culture is also challenging for businesses that take a remote-first approach.
How to Succeed at Remote-first and Best Practices
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a remote-first culture. Many businesses across different sectors are ahead of the curve, including Basecamp, Zapier, and Buffer. Codvo.ai is also a remote-first organization in the product engineering and technology sector.
More asynchronous updates and fewer meetings
Meetings have always been a hallmark of in-person work. However, with people spread out across many places and time zones, this strategy won’t work all the time. Remote-first businesses must change their emphasis from live, in-person talks to asynchronous communication, which calls for fewer meetings. However, just 38% of remote employees reported using an asynchronous-first approach. To make the most of asynchronous communication, establish a structure for your meetings and write thoughtfully. Synchronous communication should be made available to compensate for lost interactions held in conventional or remote-friendly businesses. Some of the means to achieve this include group events, virtual happy hours, and team video meetings. These planned, structured gatherings support a sense of community, inclusion, and cooperation by filling the gaps left by absences from in-person interactions.
Prioritize tools over talks
The era of brief interactions in the hallway, desk check-ins, and in-person meetings is over. But there would be a gap in our ability to interact with one another without these informal pathways. Here, tools play a big part. Whether through instant messages or video conferencing, technology allows us to interact meaningfully with each other from anywhere. These are the instruments that remote-first companies must have: tools for communication, software for video conferencing, and mature project management platforms.
Managers with cultural sensitivity
Managers play a crucial role in establishing company culture, upholding rules, and helping workers. They must understand how to lead in a remote-first environment. Tragically, a lot of businesses are failing on this front. Even though workers are putting in noticeably more hours, only 11% of managers are worried about employee burnout, according to a survey by Owl Labs. It indicates a glaring discrepancy between our existing working conditions and supervisors’ perceptions of the circumstances. However, it’s crucial to recognize that managers often experience burnout, and remote-first organizations should figure out ways to support managers.
A Culture of Liberty
We lack the convenience of face-to-face encounters in a remote location. Autonomy is crucial because of this. It means that people want to design a workplace where they are not dependent on others. For an independent remote-first culture, prioritize results over hours, and grow a culture of trust.
Consciously strive to Connect
Not everything in a remote-first culture is easy. The fact that 24% of remote workers say they struggle with loneliness suggests a loss of connection that employees tackle. Since connection doesn’t occur naturally in a remote-first environment, this issue is particularly acute. The chance to swing by and chat with management or to have a casual encounter with coworkers is not there in the remote-first culture. Instead, HR leaders must actively foster these interpersonal interactions. Use chatbots, create a buddy system, pay for business vacations, and participate in team-building activities: these are a few illustrations.
Remote-first businesses have a variety of strategies to help their staff. First, give remote workers the tools and resources they require to be successful while working from home offices. The companies prioritizing remote workers should pay for their desks, displays, cables, internet, supply, and other expenses. Secondly, it’s more typical for remote workers to have higher levels of stress, anxiety, unpredictability, and isolation. It demonstrates your concern for each person when you set up the infrastructure and resources necessary to help them solve those issues when they arise. Remote-first businesses can spend money on stress-relieving mental health services and arrange wellness programs that reward good conduct.
The absence of face time that interpersonal connections naturally benefit from in-person situations needs to be addressed by businesses. Companies must offer real chances for relationship development in a remote-first environment to ensure that teams feel connected. Birthday shout-outs, giving a task outside work, discussing the results in a virtual meeting, and sending care items to all staff members are a few examples. People can get to know one another and share experiences at work through moments like these.
Since the introduction of covid, businesses have significantly changed to becoming remote-first. Companies are increasingly making the remote-first culture a permanent notion. Communication is the most critical component in a remote-first organization and is also an area where most efforts are needed.