Does the phenomenon of work-from-home make sense for your business? Nobody wants to go back to a maze of cubicles, nor should your team be asked to. Jollity has been working remotely long before it was mainstream, which is why I’m excited to use that hindsight to share these – 7 to be exact – insights with you!
Rather than wandering through the endless void, trying to overcome each potential objection business owners might have to underpin their reluctance in this transition, I’ll focus on established advantages we’ve enjoyed over the years. Naturally, it was an edge for us to be a remote website design, development, hosting, support, and copywriting agency from the beginning, but this adaptation can be made by most companies (especially startups) with relative ease, as long as you do it right.
Take note, leaders. I’m talking to YOU! The only effective way to break free from tradition at your organization is to start with team buy-in. Starting from the top and rolling the decision down (after making it yourself) without your team’s input will get you nowhere. Instead of keeping it hush-hush until it's all ironed out (or so you think, but if you do it without your team, you’ll be wrong) is a recipe for disaster. No ifs, ands, or buts. TALK with your team. See what they like about remote work. See if they want to commit to the organizational change needed to make this work.
Jollity has partnered with, hired, developed, and promoted proficient teammates for many years, to quickly arrive at the realization that unrestricted access to information allows people to perform their roles with unimpeded productivity. Trust, after all, is the mortar that holds the bricks of business together – especially when you don’t have a brick-and-mortar to conduct business in. Besides, neither you nor I have any national secrets to guard in our cloud folders and emails!
Ok, you SHOULD wear pants, come on, but they don’t have to be dress pants! Your employees will never again have to dig through the racks at TJ Maxx on payday, to avoid the feeling they’re wearing a uniform.
We all know that feeling like we’re trapped in a Groundhog Day loop. Suits and blouses aren’t cheap, but luckily thanks to the format of webcam meetings, swapping out a shirt or tie works wonders – plus, you’ll automatically become the best-dressed professional in your “office,” aka kitchen, living room, etc.). Another win we can all relate to is not feeling the need to get dressed up for glamour shots every day. Those little video boxes nested in Zoom calls aren’t 4K resolution… so a quick run-through with a comb is the equivalent of waving a magic makeover wand! Oh, another redeeming aspect here is if you worked out the night before but skipped the shower, all I’m saying is who would know if you failed the sniff test every once in a while?
If you’re ever stuck in that uneasy “limbo” between not quite feeling your best but not quite rushing to the ER, take a mulligan! By extending this unique option to your employees, they’ll feel less confined, like a robot always expected to flawlessly execute their assignments without fail. We’re all human, sometimes we have bad hair days externally, but we still have the motivation to be present, diligent, and dependable internally. There are times when we’re just not ready for the webcam spotlight.
While a vital part of remote work is fostering the policy of “always on” webcams, mulligans are an amazing method to provide breathing space to your staff. Be aware, however, that leading by example is central to this expectation becoming the company culture. At the end of the day, we all slice a golf ball into the sandpit or water. Mulligans humanize your company, smooth out the edges, and inspire caring cohesive support, and understanding between everyone. Employee confidence goes up when they know they can take another swing without a penalty.
One of, if not THE, biggest concerns of going remote, is fearing a cataclysm of communication. Whether we’re talking top-down communication from leadership about an important policy update, an urgent all-points-bulletin, or casual small talk between colleagues, communication DOES NOT have to suffer (even if your workforce is divided between separate continents).
Utilizing stable and proven group messaging platforms, like Slack (our method for chatting at Jollity), perfectly bridges the gap. In fact, I’d argue having a real-time chat solution saves time, and offers more clarity. With the right software, you can collaborate, share files, send voice messages, and even hop on instant “huddles” with screen share capabilities from any device.
Again, communication isn’t all business, business, business… There’s a time to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries, tell jokes, and even share uplifting stories of life’s precious moments. We’ve recently had a couple of babies born amongst Jollity families, myself included! Ultimately, there’s no reason why professional or personal communication has to regress.
There’s a large body of well-established research about average commuting time and distance, with detailed state-by-state data. The common theme repeatedly revealed is a standard 20-30-minute commute. This translates into approximately 15-20 miles, maximum, for a majority of workers (although there are outliers). Now, imagine if you expanded your available talent pool from the nearby suburbs directly surrounding your office, and you threw a net across the entire world! With a remote company, you exponentially expand your hiring harvest. This has, during my time as an Agency owner, been the single biggest contributor toward identifying and recruiting the BEST specialists in their fields of expertise. Going from a tiny blue radius search around the red maps pin of your office, to instantaneously having the entire world as your oyster, is a quantum leap in the quality of new hires that are ready to take your business to the next level.
Bonus: It’s a great idea to get everyone at your organization together for Team Catch Ups, with some regularity. We host these at least 2x monthly at Jollity, and make it a point to integrate fun games. Some of our recent games that can be played in real-time with fun leaderboards and trending topics were Trivia Maker, and Psych for iOS and Android (everyone can join the party with cross-platform compatibility).
This one is so simple, yet so overlooked. I separated this advantage from #6 below because this deserved its own highlight. When you hire professionals, they’re as intent on getting their projects done on time, as you are. A huge diamond in the rough that so often gets discounted, is how a less rigid structure actually yields higher-quality results. It might seem like an implausible dream, but it has been confirmed countless times over.
As long as you have a robust tool for task tracking, updates, and collaboration – there’s no reason to fret over someone not coming through the finish line on time. As a side note, many ‘due dates’ are arbitrary anyways, unless they relate to explicit delivery deadlines or promises made to clients, hiccups and hurdles can and will happen along the not-so-linear project path. By giving your staff the latitude to manage their own progress benchmarks, it’s exceedingly rare that they’ll misuse that leniency.
“I love having all of my work, time, progress, and movements micromanaged!” said NO ONE EVER. This list would be woefully incomplete without mentioning this elephant in the room. From your perspective as a business owner or entrepreneur, the largest leap of logic might seem to revolve around this perceived loss of control. The irrefutable reality, according to landmark published studies from PubMed to enlightening editorials on LinkedIn, is that micromanagement actually SUPPRESSES all metrics of performance! It’s nice having those reputable citations to bolster this declaration, but honestly, I feel so strongly here that I don’t need the National Institute of Health or the Harvard Business Review to recertify my long-term findings.
Looking over someone’s shoulder, scrutinizing their decision-making, or compulsively demanding status updates has only been shown to be quasi-effective in the VERY short term (e.g., theatrical performances, or open heart surgery); but conclusively ends in a demoralized anxious employee that distrusts their own creative instincts. You’re diligent about your hiring practices, so the first instinct you should trust is your own, to let your team perform independently. It’s much harder for them to get any assignment done when they’re bent over in exhaustion from the weight of someone’s thumb pressing down on their back!
Hourly tracking is a tried-and-failed method to qualify or quantify productivity. When you become resolute about going remote, you must also be resolute about leaving the archaic “that’s how it’s always been done” thought process in a dusty grave where it belongs. While 40 hours per week is a decent watermark to shoot for, when needed, there’s simply no hard-and-fast measurement of a “week well done.” Some professionals who have mastered their craft can churn out flawless deliverables for clients in 3 hours, which would take someone else equally up-to-the-task and industrious – albeit not as seasoned – double that amount of time. The best way to gauge progress is through RESULTS.
NOTE: According to a hefty and swiftly expanding repository of research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and many other worldwide data aggregating analysts, America is already below that subjective 40-hour false perception, at 34. In fact, some of the most innovative, wealthy, and pioneering nations on Earth have established weekly work expectations as low as 26 hours per week (e.g., Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Austria, France, and much more work LESS than 30 hours each week). Oh, and guess which country was at the very TOP of the productivity index, for the entire world? It was the nation that worked the LEAST amount of time, Germany, according to the OWiD’s worldwide study.
While Jollity does use a fantastic hourly tracking system company-wide, known as EverHour, we only request time data be inputted for budget forecasting to clients, and to keep our hourly rates congruent with billables. I can’t say it any more emphatically than this: If you’re hiring people you HAVE to micromanage, you’re hiring the WRONG people!
This one’s easy! The cost of a building, maintenance, ongoing lease revisions, and negotiations, depreciation tables, cyclical (ever-increasing) utility bills, network monitoring IT departments, human resources, and 100 other expenses of a physical location will wreak havoc on your bottom line. By forgoing all that noise and nurturing a decentralized network of all-star experts working from their own creative spaces, revenue is instantly boosted.
This is the archetype of addition by subtraction (and what you’re subtracting – let's face it – is an inflated, expensive, recurring expense all to provide a place no one wants to battle traffic to get to every morning)!
While I’ve covered the Top 7 reasons why working from home has given a meteoric rise to Jollity’s success, the important takeaway is how it can work for your company.
I could’ve titled this article “70 reasons (or even 700 reasons) why remote work, works!” I’m not minimizing the footwork that will be involved in turning a corner into the 21st century, but I am encouraging you to take an earnest inventory of any remaining reasons keeping you from doing so. At Jollity, we want everyone to experience how a team of pros can make greatness happen daily through shared effort. Remember, you can lock arms with each other from anywhere in the world, through the partnership of participation, to form an alliance that thrives no matter what walls or distances are in between!
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