HR professionals are an integral part of every organization. Business owners need HR professionals to manage employees within an organization and handle the human value. But what happens if there is no human value to handle..physically?
Well, we are talking about remote working, which means the chance for an employee to work wherever he wants, as long as the internet connection works. It is becoming a thing, and some companies are already trying it out.
A company culture is important because it builds employees’ health, happiness, engagement, and satisfaction. It extends beyond the way people interact with each other, with customers, suppliers, and beyond their physical presence in the office.
For a team that works remotely, building a cohesive culture can be hard, especially because you have not the advantage to see everyone and be in the same room with your colleagues, do team-building activities, having a chat about the future of the company in front of a coffee. But companies that work remotely build the culture in pretty much the same way, it is just the execution that changes.
Best practices around the world
Which companies are already doing it?
Reedsy, the self-publishing marketplace, is working only on a remote basis. In his co-founder opinion, working all together means having more issues and problems to share and handle. Living all together in the same open space, he thinks, creates more competition, more distractions, and more expectations. At Reedsy they just focus on results, and how much time people spend sitting in front of the laptop on the chair does not actually matter. This kind of company is a global talent pool, and the fact that they can pick their talents from anywhere in the world helps them competing with giants.
InVision does it as well. It is front runner and thought leader, not just in the world of design and creativity but in the world of remote work and the future of work as well. Their existence as a remote team has been intentional since the very first day. Their aim is to bring on the best and the brightest regardless of where they’re living. They encourage employees to get together often, whether that’s a result of some personal traveling, a conference all members of a department or team are attending, or otherwise. Ah, by the way InVision is Netflix’s product designer.
Did you know the company behind WordPress.com, Automattic, closed its offices because no one ever showed up? Exactly, the company gave the option of working remotely, and the result was that nobody went to the spaces anymore.
Also Buffer has a huge resource on best practices for remote workers. Their blog constantly shares useful productivity tips, advices and thoughts on the future of work. As a remote team they have to be aligned and always be on the same page. They keep their organization by having structure: structure is synonym for creativity, in their opinion.
Should HR promote remote working or not?
While Automattic embraces remote working, other companies are totally distant from it. Few years ago, Marissa Mayer, then the CEO of Yahoo, ended the company telecommuting policy, telling employees in a memo from HR that they needed to be working side-by-side in order to be more productive and for the best of the company.
Technology has enabled flexible working now more than ever, but it’s up to businesses to ensure they make the most of it to increase the rewards. In Germany, 38% of employees often work flexibly and 32% working flexibly sometimes. But this does not mean it is an option for everybody. Working remotely opens the doors to global talent pool, but it is not everybody’s future, and it should only follow a great organizing skill.
Asking people to show up everyday at 9 seems outdated in the digital era, and remote working is now more doable than ever. It is possible, people can do it in a great way, but it does not happen from one day to the other. Great remote work is never an accident, it’s a product of the organization and the employee working at it and making it better. Teams have to be organized, structured, have a good communication. If their communication styles don’t mesh with their team properly, expectations aren’t communicated well, hand-offs are missed.
Remote working is a future option, not a future obligation. It is an hard skill that needs to be mastered, and a company can choose to go for it or not, to bring talents inside their workforce in every possible way. What’s for sure, is that great work can happen anywhere. What matters is the environment, the culture, the company vibe, and to feel comfortable wherever you are, which can be in front of an office desk, a beautiful beach bar, or anywhere else in the world.