Insights into Remote-First Companies: The What, The Benefits, and The How

Insights into Remote-First Companies: The What, The Benefits, and The How

The pandemic triggered an acceleration of the remote work trend, forcing companies to treat remote work as a “do or die mission.” Along the way, some companies transitioned to remote-first, giving the option for their employees to continue working remotely. Such companies are enjoying the unique perks of remote-first as we speak; the perks include “friends with budgets”, sustained and improved productivity, and greater work-life balance.

How is remote-first influencing business organizations?

Transitioning to remote-first is on the agenda for companies emerging from the pandemic; some employees will work from anywhere, while some will return to the office. The challenge here is to level the playing field so that in-office and remote workers can work better together. The most significant trait of a remote-first organization is “putting remote workers’ needs first.” Such a company makes policies to accommodate and facilitate remote work, doing major overhauls in the operations, hiring, and working processes. A remote-first company also treats remote workers and their on-site peers equally – ensuring impartial access to opportunities and decisions. As offices reopen, remote-first companies immersing in hybrid work models will continue to use the same communication and collaboration methods so that remote workers won’t fall short. 

Big names such as Facebook and Shopify have announced their readiness to transform into remote-first companies, allowing employees to work remotely on a long-term basis.  

What are the qualities of a remote-first company? 

1. Productivity trumps presenteeism. 

As a manager, you cannot measure productivity by monitoring how long your subordinates are online. Instead, you measure their performance by the results and achievements they generate in tasks and projects.  

2. Asynchronous communication is the norm. 

In a remote-first setting, asynchronous communication takes precedence. This is because all your colleagues are not available at the same place nor at the same time as they work across time zones, in hybrid teams, and within flexible work hours. 

3. Use contemporary collaboration and communication apps that are computer and smartphone friendly. 

It’s no revelation that remote-first companies use technology to collaborate and communicate and constantly upgrade to the latest collaboration tools and communication apps. Genashtim is a remote-first company that used Skype and Yahoo mail as its main collaboration and communication tools at the start of its operations. Gradually, the company started use MS Teams and Microsoft Outlook to communicate and collaborate among employees. The employees of Genashtim usually leave their WhatsApp/Viber/Telegram contact number in their MS Teams’ status update. This improvement to the latest communication tools with richer features and employee availability status on personal communication applications are the traits of a remote-first company. 

4. Meetings’ default is video conferencing 

Virtual meetings can be made more interpersonal when you turn on your camera – visibility does make a difference. It’s nice to see your colleagues and smiles are infectious! Video meetings are awesome because they not only bring hybrid teams together, but they also ensure that discussions and decisions are inclusive. Plus, meetings can be scheduled ahead of time – so people can prepare and plan their tasks cohesively.  

5. Comprehensive online collaboration keeps everyone in the loop. 

Remote-first companies prioritize across-the-board accessibilities and keep discussions and decisions in public so that everyone will be on the same page and understand what is going on. Asynchronous communication allows the creation of documents that can be saved and retrieved whenever needed. 

What’s in for remote-first companies? 

Companies have very good business advantages in becoming remote-first workplaces. Let’s take a look at some of them: 

Cost-effective: Let’s say an organization has 5,000 employees and it becomes remote-first. Only 20% of its employees are expected to work on-site at any given time. This means the company can reduce the costs in terms of office overhead. By reducing its physical footprint, the company also reduces its carbon footprint. 

Diverse and deeper talent recruitment: Since a physical office is no longer relevant for some companies, recruiters can hire from a much expansive pool of workers located at any corner of the globe. This is a critical advantage for companies with diversity and inclusive policies as well as in terms of attracting and retaining talents.  

Enhanced employee gratification: Employees who choose to work remotely clearly made the choice because they are reaping benefits. Commuting time and transportation costs will be reduced or eliminated. At the same time, employees enjoy better work-life balance. Breaks can be taken whenever one feels like it. In short, remote-first work settings improve quality of life. 

Improved employee productivity: This may sound paradoxical as remote work often has distractions, such as, a chaotic home or the inviting bed. However, with proper training, regulations, technologies, and resources, remote-first companies can mobilize their remote workforces into being at their productive best. Genashtim, a remote-first company provides Virtual Office Training to all its new recruits to familiarize them with remote work tools and the company’s remote work culture. 

Supports business continuity and long-term flexibility: As a company grows, it is a challenge to scale up while maintaining seamless and ongoing business operations. New staff recruitment, new hardware acquisition, and office space expansion, all these take time and increase a company’s operational costs. And then there are situations that are not within human control such as a humanitarian crisis like the Covid pandemic. Since remote-first companies have holistic remote work strategies and policies implemented, with the entailed supportive technology, they have an inherent advantage when responding to business continuity in disruptions.  

How to become a remote-first company?  

Transitioning to remote-first is a gradual process – several stages are involved in phasing in remote-first regulations and attributions.  

You can start to become remote-friendly by allowing intermittent remote work. Subsequently, you can acquire the necessary technologies, draft remote work policies, and prepare your existing employees/new recruits with training. Then, you may progress to the succeeding stages until you strike the perfect balance between remote and on-site work.  

The extent of you going remote depends on your business capacity, culture, and requirements. Find your footing by finding out what works best for your company in your initiatives for remote-first transformation!  

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