Over the past few months, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies. During the conversations with these companies we’ve learned an important fact: while all of them want to increase remote work, most fail to consider all options and setup the right communication principles.
If they failed to take all of the necessary steps to find the right remote work model, this could’ve ended up costing them. Costing them a lot.
We’re living in a post-pandemic world where remote work isn’t a luxury anymore. It’s practically necessary. Check this out: a recent Gartner survey found that 82% of company leaders plan to let team members continue to work remotely after the pandemic is over.
So it's up to company leaders like you to successfully transition to the best remote work model for your company and team members.
Your company wants to stay competitive. And you want to keep everyone satisfied. Basically, you want to go hybrid/remote. But you don’t know where to start. To make the transition easier, let’s look at four distinct types of hybrid/remote work models your team should follow.
1. Fully Remote / Fully Distributed: Remote-First Necessary
When you’re running a fully remote company, you have just one option for work location: remote. And this particular model is the first one you probably think of when you hear the words “remote work.” 100% of team members spend 100% of their time working from a location of their choice, usually their own home.
Now, fully remote work models aren’t anything new. Companies like InVision, Automattic, and more have embraced remote-only work for years. These companies have benefited from the ability to easily adapt to change and support team members working from their homes, with minimal disruption even in the middle of a global pandemic.
To spice things up, companies typically find ways to be extremely close virtually through frequent interactions (for example, a virtual office!) and still make sure to meet up in person a few times per year for company-wide offsites.
Practical Tips for Fully Remote Offices
Fully remote companies need to be intentional about staying connected.
For example, remote teams should document all project data so all team members can access a single "source of truth" for all project information. That ensures everyone has the right information, and it can help avoid communication breakdowns.
These teams should also consider using a virtual office platform to enable real-time interactions, create productive coworking groups, and establish a cadence of fun events and happy hours
2. Hybrid-Remote: Remote-First Necessary
In hybrid-remote companies, a portion of the team is fully remote, and another portion works in the office. A remote-first approach enables optimal collaboration, especially in the right virtual setting, and should be the model for any company where some or all of the team members do not work physically together.
The remote-first model ensures that all corporate processes and communication channels work equally well for remote and on-premise team members. That gives teams more flexibility to work in the best way without frustrating technology limitations.
Plus, a remote-first model can provide flexibility like splitting up the work week with a few days remote and a few days in person. These benefits can increase your company's competitiveness in attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent beyond your geographical location.
While startups and small-to-medium companies have operated with hybrid models for years, large corporations face steep challenges and complex transitions. Still, the long-term benefits of implementing a fully remote work model far outweigh the challenges.
As a result, we believe most companies will follow the hybrid model in the future and need to devise a clear strategy to do so.
Practical Tips for Hybrid-Remote Offices
Hybrid-remote teams face unique challenges having some of their team members in the office and some remote. That makes it difficult to ensure all team members feel connected to the team. For example, on-site colleagues often find it easier to engage with their peers in person, while remote team members feel forgotten and out of the loop.
That's why being remote-first is so important for hybrid teams. Prioritizing remote communication and collaboration ensures that everyone is included and informed, even if they are not physically present.
To implement a remote-first approach with hybrid teams, consider setting up virtual coworking spaces so team members can work "together" throughout the day, organically swap ideas, ask questions, or chat--without excluding anyone.
3. Decentralized: Remote-First Optional
A decentralized company has team members distributed across multiple locations. Most companies with over 300 team members are decentralized. Depending on the level of collaboration needed across locations, decentralized companies may need to follow remote working principles to facilitate communication and collaboration across teams.
If locations are relatively siloed and independent, a fully-remote work model may not be necessary for every company right away.
Instead, most decentralized companies are currently looking to blend the old with the new, creating flexible workspaces that enable a more dispersed workforce. They're creating optionality.
In a recent example, Amazon, a company notorious for maintaining optionality but rarely supporting remote work, indicated that they may change their tune. Amazon recently offered team members working in the Seattle headquarters more choices of where to work.
However, decentralized corporations that have not yet transitioned to remote work principles are losing out on solid communication, increased collaboration, and productivity. As time goes on and remote work becomes standard across industries, these companies will need to transition to a remote-first approach to continue to attract and retain talent.
Practical Tips for Decentralized Offices
In some decentralized companies, each location operates fairly independently from one another. However, there is some level of collaboration among locations more often than not. As a result, a remote-first approach should be taken whenever colleagues collaborate without a shared physical location.
For example, a decentralized company may have a US office and an EMEA office, each with its marketing team. As they represent one brand, the teams need to work together to convey global messages. However, they also work independently to localize marketing campaigns for their specific region.
In this example, adopting remote-first principles helps both marketing teams stay aligned and collaborate on overarching strategy and projects while maintaining autonomy over localized activities.
4. Centralized: Remote-First Optional
Some corporations have the luxury of having one office and do not need to consider remote-first working principles unless they allow team members to work from home occasionally.
Most corporations realize that now is not the time to take a strong stance against remote work. That doesn't mean they're not against it; it just means they're not announcing their position.
As we slowly find our new normal, many corporations will require their team members to return to the office, leaning on the old tropes of "increased collaboration" and "stronger culture."
We expect this to be short-lived.
The longer these companies hold out on building a culture that supports remote work, the more difficult it will be for them to make the transition in the future when they find themselves struggling to compete with remote-friendly leaders.
Practical Tips for Centralized Offices
We get it. Massive change is hard, but ultimately, every company will need to leap remote work to stay competitive in the future. However, getting started doesn't mean you have to jump in headfirst. A gradual transition will be more effective than a sudden change that your company is unprepared to make.
This transition will look different for every company; it's important to start somewhere. For example, you could start by ensuring 100% of communications for certain projects are held on Slack and can be accessed asynchronously, or set up a virtual office for people to connect without organizing meetings and interacting across departments.
For More Information About Remote Work
Gone is the traditional in-office job. Instead, remote work is in full swing, so choosing a remote work model that works for your company is important. That means implementing the right strategies and technologies to maintain effective communication and collaboration--and keep your team members engaged.
You’re not sure how to implement one of these hybrid/remote working models in your company? Why not give Kosy a try? Kosy is a virtual office that makes working remote seamless by allowing your teammates to feel at home and engaged, no matter where they are.
If you're interested in having a fully decked out virtual office, you need to give Kosy a try.