The pandemic has shifted how we interact with work. The confines of our professional environments have expanded past the office cubicle, with the lines of employment and home blurring as remote working was forced upon us.
For some employees, this change has finally provided some semblance of recovering the work-life balance they’ve needed. Less commuting has been a godsend for a majority, whilst others enjoy the opportunity to work abroad in Barcelona or New York. For some businesses, the chance to cut down on office costs and time-wasting meetings has meant remote working has proved it’s benefits.
But for others, it’s been a monumental challenge. Home distractions have lured employees from their computers, whilst some businesses are lumbered with long lease contracts on an office they’re not using. Each may not work for everyone, so you need flexibility.
Settling on a work environment approach is a decision every business will have to make and remote-first or remote-friendly are two possible options.
There is a subtle yet important distinction between the two, with each having its benefits.
Remote first places remote working as the key, central approach to how you do business. Unless an in-person building is essential, businesses that adopt this approach have decided that this approach genuinely progresses both the organisation and its employees. Remote-first is not just a cost-saving exercise, nor a gimmick, but one that will level up the business.
“Remote-first cultures make remote work feel natural and normal. It’s not an experiment, it’s not a perk, it’s not an afterthought. It is a fully-formed, legitimate work model; the equal (if not superior) of traditional office models.” – Mathias Mikkelsen, Founder and CEO of Memory.
Being remote-friendly is a 'best of both worlds’ approach. It provides flexibility when it comes to employees work environment.
Whilst the business maintains a central office or HQ, it does not mean people have to be there every day. Giving this option is a fantastic perk for businesses, with the pros far outweighing the cons. Ultimately, it provides a route for employees to find their ideal work-life balance and peak productivity, which benefit the business in the long term.
"A remote-friendly company is a business with a physical office that has above average flexible policies in terms of where and/or when people can do their work". - Toggl
The benefits of remote working and each approach have enticed some of the major global companies to implement them. With the level of research and qualification that goes into these types of decisions at the highest level of business, you’ll find that such leadership will soon filter down to businesses of all sizes.
It’s a decision where you must consider all your business requirements, as it's personal to you. Some options will not work for some businesses, so weigh it up. If going full remote isn’t possible or feasible, then the ‘best of both worlds’ remote-friendly approach provides something for everyone, no matter the business.
Deciding between a remote-first and remote-friendly approach to your business will have far-reaching implications, so it’s not a decision that should be made lightly.
But the precedent has been set by the worlds biggest companies and one which others will inevitably follow. From a business perspective, it provides the opportunity for employees to discover their perfect peak productivity, whereas, for staff, it’s the chance to find a work-life balance that has previously alluded them.
Whichever remote working approach you take, it’s here to stay, so now is the time to be an early adopter, instead of a lazy latecomer to the party.
For teams who are exploring the potential that remote working has, we encourage you to check out our Employers page, where we go into great detail about how your business can thrive through a Landthere remote working package.
With evidence mounting that remote working can actually improve productivity, and with businesses realising that they no longer need to hold on to expensive city centre real estate office space, it looks like the remote working revolution is here to stay.
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The digital revolution is perfect for facilitating digital nomads, and more and more businesses are facilitating employees working abroad, and evaluating what this means for them in terms of policies and procedures.