So why did IBM, despite 19 straight quarters of decreasing sales, remove remote work privileges from the majority of their employees despite the cost savings it provides?
According to company execs, it’s because Big Blue’s focus is on finding innovative ways to weather the transformation to third-platform technologies like cloud, artificial intelligence and mobile. And when it comes to environments that lend themselves to creating the Next Big Thing, there still may not be anything to compare to an in-person, collaborative environment. Research shows that engagement levels from employees who work remotely 100 percent of the time are among the lowest of any group—tied only with those who don’t have to telecommute capabilities at all.
Because of technology, the world is moving to a ‘work from anywhere’ state of being, but it’s not necessarily the right way to go for everyone. You lose some of the human connection when your employees are all separated. Everyone should be able to be a part of that inside joke and not feel left out. Ideally, workers have a mix of in-office and remote work time. Giving employees telecommute privileges shows trust and can foster a feeling of being understood by employers, which is critical to creating a true team environment.
In the end, it all comes down to the kind of company culture employers wish to create. Company culture is essential to hiring, managing and keeping quality remote and in-office employees. Yes, it can be difficult to cultivate an in-office culture that spreads to remote employees, but we at Haven Chartered Accountants & Financial Advisers, with the help of our offshore staffing partner Deployed, have been able to accomplish this by making culture a priority.
Fortunately, digital advancements have made it easier to create a collaborative and inclusive work-remote culture. Through the use of remote-friendly components, such as Google Hangouts for meetings and dissemination of culture-building messages through other electronic means, our New Zealand in-house team has been able to maintain a close working relationship with our offshore team in the Philippines.
This close-knit culture that stretches across two continents was made possible thanks to Deployed’s business model which is very much aligned with Haven’s corporate values. Deployed employees get treated well, unlike in the sweatshop-like environments of other outsourcing providers and countries. It’s a respectful culture, which is exactly what we’re going for at Haven.
Building a great remote team takes dedication, effort and the right outsourcing partner like Deployed, but the benefits can be enormous for companies that get it right. In any case, I’d love to hear about your experiences of working with remote teams. What worked for you? What do you wish had been done better? Want to learn more about making offshore team work? Arrange a confidential call or meeting today and I’d be happy to discuss the matter with you further.