Working remotely is challenging but it can be very advantageous as well. Not only for your team of developers but also for the company itself. In this article, we'll give you 7 reasons to keep your tech team in remote work… and explore the long-term advantages of doing it even when the pandemic is over.
You enter the office of your company for the first time in weeks and you notice how big it looks, now that it’s empty. There are no umbrellas in the bin, although it’s raining outside, and no coats on the hanger. You look around. The PlayStation is tidy under the television, in front of the sofa. You feel like sitting and play for a bit, but there’s no one to play it with, so you abandon the idea. The kitchen has never been so clean - there’s not a single dish or glass to wash - and the trash bins are empty. While you turn on your computer, dusting off the screen at the same time, you think this is all a bit sad.
This office used to be busy and lively, and now it’s just empty and dusty.”
And the saddest part is, your tech team seems to be ok with it. More than ok, they enjoy the remote work and even ask to keep doing it when it’s safe to go back to the office.
The era of the ping pong tables in the office is over. No, not just the ping pong tables. The office. It might be the end of the office era!”
Before you shed a tear - you’re alone in the office, so go ahead - let us just tell you that keeping remote work even when you're allowed to go back to the office doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
In this article we will show you why developers love remote work so much and why you should let them keep it - not only because it will make them happy and motivated, but also because it will be good for you, and for the company itself.
Developers can focus better if they’re home
The welcoming and colorful open-office of your company might be perceived as a happy and inspiring place for most people, but maybe as a bit too nosy and distractive for your team of programmers, and for the high levels of concentration that programming requires. Coding and working on complex algorithms becomes easier in a super quiet environment - like their own homes. Therefore, it is clear why 43% of the developers inquired by Digital Ocean in 2019 say that the ability to work remotely is a must-have when considering a job offer. This number is already impressive, but we can’t wait for a post-pandemic update - now that companies know better than ever how to conduct their work remotely, and so working from home became easier and more enjoyable.
They can choose where home is
Working remotely allows your tech employees to think:
If I could choose where to live regardless of my job, where would I go?”
While the costs of living in big cities, and especially housing, has become dramatically expensive, remote work allows people to move further from their workplace and so, reduce their costs of living, improve their life’s quality - by getting a bigger house in the suburbs rather than a small apartment in the city center - or even be closer to family. According to Upwork, between 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work, leading to migration rates in the USA to be 3 or 4 times higher than in previous years.
But this can be beneficial for employers too.
Because the cost of living is different, it makes sense that the salary expectations are also different. Search about the local pay rates and use it to negotiate your remote workers' salaries.
Autonomy increases motivation
If your developers have the choice to work from where they want, decide when they want to have their breaks, and let’s get wild here, choose their own work schedules according to when they feel more productive - remember that some developers prefer to code at night - they will naturally be more engaged and connected. And engagement leads to the desire of learning and doing better, which Daniel H Pink, the author of the book "Drive", calls mastery.
Autonomy, mastery and purpose are, according to this author, the three components of intrinsic motivation - the kind of motivation that has little to do with the salary at the end of the month and more with the work itself.
Do you want to keep your employees motivated while working remotely? Giving them autonomy is step number one!
Communication doesn’t have to be an issue
Tools like Slack, for written messages, Zoom for video calls and Basecamp to share files and company announcements allow you to communicate with your team with ease. Those are the ones we use at KWAN, but there are many more available.
But don’t fall into the temptation of overusing these apps to control your team. Constantly messaging your employees on Slack will quickly earn you the “The Micromanager” nickname.
Micromanagement damages trust and harms motivation.
The good news is our experienced COO and KWAN’s co-founder, Duarte Fernandes wrote a full article on Remote Lidership that will help you master your remote management skills.
Company culture will change… but the values don’t have to
Your company used to have a culture everyone was proud of. From the celebration of the small achievements, to the company events, where people really enjoyed spending time with each other. You also had your own department special moments: the weekly cake meetings to the department lunches. All gone with the beginning of the remote life.
Those had to change, but essential things, like your company values, don’t have to. And it's up to the CEO and Leaders of the company to make sure those are kept.
What is expected from people in terms of results should not change. Not tolerating toxic behaviours should not change.
Communication, and the way people relate can and will change, and that’s part of the culture. Embrace it, take the best out of it and encourage your employees to do the same.
KWAN’s co-founder and COO, Duarte Fernandes, answers:
Culture can, and most probably will change! Core Values should remain. What are the guiding principles that clarify how your core values are lived? Write them down and make sure everyone knows them and agrees."
Freedom to hire from everywhere
Hiring from abroad means you don’t have to limit yourself to the local human resources. Which seem to be scarcer every time you need to hire for your tech team. Also, because you’re hiring a developer that will be working remotely, he or she won’t need a VISA. Well, at least for now.
You just started to think about it and you already feel tired. It brings up so many questions and concerns.
You can search which countries are likely for you to find abundant and cheaper talent, but how can you access the quality?
How about the cultural differences? How can you make sure you’re hiring the right developer for your team? We just wrote an article about that, check it out!
Also, you’re ok with your employee being located in a different timezone. But maybe just a 1 or 2 hours difference. More than that will result in very late night calls. Because of a password.
Or maybe not…
Embrace asynchronous communication
At the first glance, real-time communication (or synchronous communication), through text messages or video calls, seems to be the best way to manage remote work. You don’t have face to face meetings with your employees, but at least you can message them anytime you need and get an answer in just a few minutes.
More than 10 minutes to answer, and you start getting nervous thinking your employee might be taking a nap instead of working. Or maybe it’s your employee who gets anxious thinking you thought he was taking a nap. While your employee was actually super focused programming and ignored your message. Cause you know, that’s what the job demands.
While you are still waiting for the answer to that message, it’s been 15 minutes now, let us tell you why privilege synchronous communication is not as awesome as you think.
It leads to incessant interruptions
Consider how many Slack groups your employees are on vs how much focus and concentration it requires to write code. It’s not hard to imagine that they sometimes feel like shutting down the notifications for a while, right? But then you’re gonna think they’re taking a nap. 😒
It prioritizes being connected rather than being productive
If you don’t have any results to show and you haven’t been replying on Slack… then, what were you doing?”
You might not say it out loud but it’s a thought in your head.
Maybe your employee was researching. Maybe he was trying something that didn’t work and then he dropped it (but he certainly learned something from the experience). Maybe he spent some time helping a colleague.
Either way, by distrusting your employee you’re telling him that it’s preferable to be connected over being productive. Because even if he doesn’t have great work to share with you, you can trust him because he’s answering your messages in less than 2 minutes. So it’s ok. Not!
It leads to poor discussions and not so great solutions
We already concluded you enjoy fast replies to your text messages. So you can feel secure about the productivity of your tech team. Even if you can’t see them from your desk.
Your employees know that, so they don’t think much before replying, whenever you ask their opinion on a subject. They don’t go search for data to support their point of view, or if they do, they are not very careful about their sources. It would be embarrassing to take half an hour to answer you just to provide a complete and grounded opinion.
If only it was ok to take a day or two to think about the topic, and then answer…
Let us present you with the concept of asynchronous communication, which means communicating (and moving projects forward) without the need for everyone involved to be present when the message is sent.
No pressure. No distractions. No same timezone required.
Some of your employees are working from the other side of the world? Give them a challenge before you go to bed and wake up with a solution in your inbox.
Partner-up with the right IT consultant company
Having an IT consultant company working with you, such as KWAN, means you don’t have to worry about the quality of the candidates, the cultural differences or any recruitment constraints.
Making sure to find the developer with the right knowledge and experience but also with the right cultural fit, will be the mission of our team of recruiters - to whom we warmly call KWAN Ambassadors.
Moreover, by outsourcing one of our developers, you won’t even have to worry about the timezones, as Portugal has the same timezone as the UK, and just one hour less than central Europe countries. Plus, Portugal has excellent relationships with South American countries, such as Brazil, whose programmers will happily move to Portugal to work for you. And because you are outsourcing, taking care of VISA issues will be up to us.
We have other partnership models, such as the Permanent Placement, in which we help you find, select and hire the best developers straight away to your tech team, and the Management Services, in which we build you up a tailored tech team with a Technical Program Manager that will guide the developers throughout the whole project, in order to deliver specific solutions for your IT challenges.
So you can focus on what matters most: your business!
Worried about how much investment this requires? Find out through our Tech Team Simulator.
Now, are you ready to ramp-up your tech team with some high-quality tech talent? Getting in touch with us is the first step!