a man working from home with a child drawing at the same table

Embracing Remote Culture Part I: Understanding The Impact Of Remote Work

This isn’t news to anyone, but the world is changing. Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to improve the way they work to have a better impact on their overall lives. Not surprisingly, we’ve seen a rise in remote work as technology has evolved. But right now, it’s mostly innovative and cutting edge companies that support remote work, and it’s not yet become the “new normal.” This is expected when you evaluate the way people navigate change and consider a typical change management model. So how can more companies embrace leveraging their technology to fundamentally change the way people work and live their lives?

There are many benefits to embracing remote work, and I’ll outline five of them here. While you read this, I challenge you to rethink the way you view productivity and people management and consider the ways you can become a champion for the changing workforce and the future of work. Know that we here at GoCoach are here to help you in key areas such as change management, communication, and building trust: all of which make up the foundation of a successful remote culture.

Increase Employee Engagement

We’ve previously written about the benefit of increased employee engagement in your organization. It’s so impactful that we’re mentioning it again. Custom Insight defines Employee Engagement as, “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Highly engaged employees are the people who will continue to keep your company innovative, ahead of the competition, and a place your customers want to do business with.

 Remote cultures contribute to a highly engaged workforce because they focus on productivity over physical presence. We’ve all been in situations where we had to show up to work despite having a conflict at home, like a sick child or a family event. In those situations, we show up to be present, not productive. By giving your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, you give them options and the freedom to make the right decisions to get their work done as professionals and, frankly, as adults. When you give people this freedom and treat them with respect and trust, they will work hard to maintain that trust and freedom over time.

Improve Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

For years, big cities have been known as the places that have the jobs. But what happens when you can’t afford to live in a big city? Does that mean you don’t have the ability to do those jobs? What if you want more for your life than scraping by in an expensive city? What happens if you want to make your income go further by living in a less expensive area? Everyone should have this opportunity, and it’s possible through remote work.

Not sure if you know this, but GoCoach is a remote company. We’ve intentionally decided to build a company where our office space is wherever we want it to be, and our teammates have the flexibility to get their work done from anywhere. This means that we have a huge talent pool to hire from as we continue to grow. We’re not limited by the talent available in a given area, and we can focus on finding the right people with the right skills to do the jobs we need, rather than the best of what we have in a designated area. Our coaching happens remotely for the same reason. Coachees can choose the coach who is the best fit for them regardless of where they are in the world, rather than the best of what’s available to them in a small area. This has allowed us to build a coach community that truly represents our coachee community, and one that continues to evolve as we work with more coachees.

The future of work relies on diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. When more people have access to resources and opportunities, our companies will grow and thrive. By embracing a remote culture, you’re empowering the voices of a more diverse group of people who bring their own unique perspectives, skills, and experiences to your organization. You open up doors for people who are returning to work while caring for small children or elderly parents. You’re closer to having an employee community that reflects your diverse customer base. You enable people to bring their whole selves to work and create a culture of belonging. Most importantly, you create equity by giving your diverse employees equal opportunities to success and equal resources to get their jobs done.

Improve the Health of your Employees

We’ve all seen people come to work sick. And we’ve all come into the office when we’re not feeling well. Virus epidemics aside, it’s good business to keep our employees as healthy as possible at all times – not just in times of new virus outbreaks or the typical flu season. So, why are people coming to work sick? Because over the years we’ve glorified “showing up” over everything else. We’ve set the expectation that someone needs to be physically present in order to conduct meetings and navigate email and phone correspondence.

 When we shift the fixed image we have in our minds of “going to work,” we open up the doors for people to get their work done without getting people around them sick. (Hey, you can’t catch the flu from a video call!) We give people the opportunity to submit their work without missing their kid’s soccer game or quality time with their spouse. By embracing remote work, we’re actually investing in the physical and mental health of our employees. And this isn’t just a nice thing to do – it’s actually good for business too.

Reduce Overall Spend

Calling this out for those of you who aren’t yet convinced that embracing remote work is good for business. While it’s a human solution in an increasingly inhuman world, it’s also financially advantageous. Let’s start with office space – you don’t need a huge office in an expensive city to run your business anymore! We talked about the benefit of hiring talent from a larger talent pool as it applied to diversity and inclusion, but it’s important to also recognize that this impacts salaries and other employee-related costs as well. When you have healthier employees, your insurance premiums go down. And when your employees are engaged, they’re more productive and innovative, which leads to happier customers and increased company earnings.

Increase Transparency and Trust

In order for a remote culture to be successful, it’s important to build on a foundation of transparency and trust. Since remote work is measured not by time in the office, but in work produced, it forces employees to manage up and communicate progress on projects and other important updates. This is a great opportunity to leverage tools like Asana, Monday, Trello, Slack, Zoom, Hangouts, etc. so everyone has consistent visibility into what work is getting done, deadlines, blockers, and other important information critical to running the business.

When you reinforce behaviors related to communication, collaboration, project management, time management, and other related areas, you create a true culture of transparency and ultimately trust. This translates not just to your internal culture but to your external representation as well. Now more than ever, customers, investors, and others demand transparency and when your culture is naturally transparent and your employees know how to communicate and collaborate, you will be successful.

So, how do you do this at your company?

Check out the second part of our Embracing Remote Culture series: How to Build a Remote Culture Within Your Organization

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