A Remote First Company

The era of the “Great Resignation,” or “Great Reshuffle.”

These past couple of years have earned these odd names – a period of changing priorities and new opposites has mixed things up when it comes to the working world. And about time we say!

We firmly threw our hat into the ring of remote-first policies pre Covid. But now it’s all so much easier. The nasty time and events that Covid brought has given the world a refocus on what is important from both sides of the employer and employee fence. The new rules of engagement are now clear!

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Yes, employees certainly benefit from a remote first mindset from their employer, but as employers we also enjoy the practicalities of reduced operating costs and frankly an altered mindset where everyone is happier – this is about trust and trust is where it starts. More than the simple convenience of remote work, for us it is more about underlining the point that we don’t need to be in a physical office to make things happen and to be a powerful company.

For our team, and for myself, flexible work gives us all the autonomy to create our own schedules – which in turn we know benefits our physical and mental health. We’ve had enough time over the past two years to know this and the difference is real. Statistics from the Flexjobs survey tells me that found that 80% of respondents said they’d be more loyal to their employer if they provided flexible working arrangements, and 52% said they’d already tried to negotiate flexible work with their current employer.

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For us it’s a comfort knowing it’s where we started – it’s not something you need to negotiate at all. 64% of jobseekers seek work-life balance as a top priority when picking a new job, and with remote working a core part of this need, we are relieved we were always ahead of that game.

Although our business requires a set of very particular skills, ensuring our team is getting what they want is crucial. It’s a good feeling when you know your teams need for remote working is a given. Employees are more likely to be happier when they have more control over their work hours. One of our team members told me;
“I don’t stress out about running errands or running to the shops in between meetings. But also if the BT man needs to fix something or I need to go to the dentist and I know the trust is there. And frankly in an office setting I think we all naturally feel more anxious about arranging all that life stuff.”

Working is just a part of our lives, and we love knowing the team understand this is clear in our minds. Happy employees drive better business growth, but also frankly drive us all to work harder somehow – it is a strange and wonderfully changing dynamic. Having spent most of my career tied to the confines of a desk, commuting and a slave to office culture, I’ve loved the fact we all had this obviously logical working practice placed firming where it needed to be – an assumed and accepted way of working.

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Remote Working Boosts Our Teams Productivity

Flexible work helps attract top talent, but it also makes us more productive. This is proven in the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of respondents said that flexible working hours helped them achieve more productivity. Remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month or 16.8 more days every year. Also 30% of those surveyed said that less or no time commuting allowed them to be more productive and saves them money on commuting.

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We have stated to some of the team to not overdo it though – sometimes it can be hard to walk away when you’re at home. But defined spaces and hours need to be in our minds to carefully monitor that balance. We need to be sure the pendulum doesn’t swing the other way with some of our people – a lovely problem to have but also remote working needs to be kept in check.

Without a doubt, flexibility is one of the most important perks teams want. We get this but the priority is surely also that recent events tell us life needs balance – we all got caught up in the drive to succeed and Covid had us all thinking. So for me and for Spike it’s certainly about encouraging a more enthusiastic, energetic team with better physical and mental health.
The stats says it all; 40% fewer quality defects, 41% lower absenteeism and 21% higher profitability. We can all be happier and grow the company – it’s a win, win!

To all those who are pushing employees back to the office – stop and take time to ask yourself why. I had some friends who were told it was ‘not optional’ in the midst of the pandemic early months to return to the office, with no real reason as to why they ‘had’ to physically be in the office to be productive. Many of those employees have since resigned. Yep I witnessed the ‘Great Resignation’ and that reshuffling, and the subsequent rethink around how key remote working would work in large less agile businesses. The workforce voted with their feet and won.

Everything in balance we say, and since our teams are why we are all able to deliver what we do, let’s do what they want (well I’m pretty sure business owners and leadership teams globally also blooming love it). So for us the office will be the place we all go when we want that human interaction – when we are having a social or just need that irreplaceable face to face meeting. We have designed our world to all our needs and this is how it is going to stay.