As of May 16th 2020, countries around the world are fighting a mysterious virus that originated in China at November 2019. The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, some people benefited from it, others lost a lot because of it. I want to say to everyone who lost a close one because of this virus, i am sorry.
We will shed the light on the positive side of the COVID-19 crisis, which is remote teams. Tech companies were forced to go remote in a ultra-fast way in order to ensure survival and continuity. My guess is that the majority of these companies didn’t believe in remote teams at first, or had doubts about it. This all due to the fact that we got used to the idea, that we need to supervise the supply chain in order to be sure that’s going always to deliver, A principle inherited from the other industries that preceded the Technological revolution and digitization of everything.
We need a push like that to give it a go at a large scale. We humans tend to embrace our comfort zone, it is part of our instincts, that’s why pandemics and disasters were put in place. You would say, this guy is crazy, maybe, but think of it as a mechanism which was put in place in order to make us get back our there and use our same survival instincts to survive which in return will get us back to a comfort zone, and this would go and go. It is like a Sine curve.
Back to our subject, Remote teams have a lot Pros and Cons, maybe it’s too early to judge it, but we can already see the difference and as we know it’s not new. Some awesome companies have previously adopted it, and they are successfully using it to empower their business.
Pros and Cons
Remote teams will eventually eliminate the physical space and logistical requirements to setup a workplace. Teams will anywhere, this will eventually make it easy for a business owner to optimize space and minimize operational costs. It doesn’t just stop at space cost, it expands further to include, transportation fees if the company offers transport, hiring people responsible on the logistics of workplace and its requirements, utility bills…
People tend to be more productive when they work at a comfortable workplace, that’s why many companies are trying so hard to achieve that goal. Nothing better than working in Pajamas.
Working remotely, saves a lot of money for the employee, there is no need to pay for transportation fees, lunch, coffee… A lot of things that we used to get in order to work efficiently.
Working remotely seems to correlate well with flex time, as people tend to be more productive than others at different time slots. Going flex in space and time would only result in many benefits if done properly.
We developers need focus and quiet, physical space tends to be more distracting, co-workers tends to ask a lot of questions in the wrong time and people would rely less on themselves when they are around other peoples. As we isolate ourselves in our perfectly organized work environment which is close to bed and have the ability to work at night and wake up late. Nothing is better than that. As we feel happy about it, our productivity will just increase.
The only downside of this, is that we lose the social part of working in a workplace for example: having a coffee with you coworker, a lunch together, an after work, a team building… Sometimes we blame the failure of remote work to the fact that people cannot be managed remotely and must be supervised. In my humble opinion, if it failed, its because they’ve done it the wrong way, you can’t expect to succeed without sensitizing people and shifting the perspective towards a new milestone system which based on achievements of goals and targets rather than the hours and places you work in.
That’s why i consider hiring responsible people who believes in your vision. For my case, I’ve always been more productive when i work remotely and i can explain this by three things: When i am working remotely i am less solicited, i tend to be more focused and creative and finally i can use every second efficiently.
As a manager, i tend to encourage my team to work when they feel more comfortable and adapt to the exceptions. This would not only win them over but also shows how much you care about them which in return will just make them stand by your side at time of crisis, work hard and time becomes a current that drags us to the desired destination rather than a prison that grounds us.
I believe that we should always keep the balance between flex and limits, usual routines that encourages best practices are better held at specific times and cannot be skipped like daily stand ups and meetings… Therefore, every team will need to reach a consensus before going on a full flex mode.
I believe that we have a lot to learn about this topic, even Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter… are starting to see the bright picture of it.
Well my advice is simple as we continuously learn, keep improving and don’t wait to get back to the old model, just embrace it and go with it, because being flexible with your colleagues and team, will provide them with the essential energy that will make them very very productive. The more the employee is comfortable, the more he will be productive and less stressed. Just hire and keep responsible people.
This post was originally published on Medium.