Organisations are currently scrambling to work out the most effective ways of enabling their employees to work from home (WFH) and still be productive. It's clear that if companies have the right technology in place, there is no reason why staff can’t work as effectively (or even more effectively) from home as they can in the office.
Here are some expert tips about what you need to think about when designing your WFH experience for your staff.
Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, recently spoke about this on Sam Harris' podcast. Matt’s company, Automattic, has a distributed workforce of 1,200 people in 75 countries and has been effectively working this way since 2005.
In the podcast, Matt observes that there are five levels which illustrate an organisation’s readiness as an autonomous organisation, and how developed they are at giving staff the autonomy they need to be happy and satisfied with their work:
- Level One - employees can work from home now and again if they need to, but the general thinking is that people are more productive if they're in an actual office.
- Level Two – these are organisations that attempt to recreate the office environment online. Everything is assumed to be synchronous and staff must work set hours.
- Level Three - businesses that take advantage of the online medium utilising collaboration tools, and living by a philosophy of transparent communications.
- Level Four - moving to an asynchronous model where people can work their own hours and they're not required to be online at the same time. It doesn't matter when the work gets done, so long as it is.
- Level Five - this is truly making the most of the home office and using its advantages to become even more productive and efficient than in the usual office-based workspace. Employees have complete freedom and are also encouraged to incorporate health and wellness into their days - such as doing some form of exercise in between meetings - and bringing their ‘best selves’ to work. Organisations at this level are truly no longer focused on time spent at the desk but on the output.
With no idea how long the pandemic crisis will last, or how long organisations will have to work remotely, Level Five is a worthy aspiration, because productivity is not compromised and employees have the autonomy they need to remain happy and satisfied with their work.
Listen to the entire podcast episode here:
Continue to reap the benefits by making WFH permanent
Since the lockdown many have noticed and appreciated the lack of traffic on the roads, and the increased time spent with family. Distributed work is better for the world and society. Matt Mullenweg positions that if an organisation can have some or all its workers based at home, then they have a moral obligation to do so.
There are several benefits if more organisations supported this distributed workforce strategy:
- It’s better for the environment - working from home means less pollution and carbon emissions caused by the commute to work.
- It’s better for your employees – work from home can lead to better staff health and wellbeing. Staff get to spend more time with their families, they get to structure the day around their other activities.
- It could be better for your bottom line - the ability for staff to set their own schedules leads to improved motivation and therefore productivity. This coupled with the greatly decreased need for office space, desks, printers, chairs, coffee cups, coffee – can seriously impact your bottom line.
We have had to move swiftly into working from home, and it does take a distributed workforce time to adapt.
At Olympic we are currently working on our own strategy to move up the levels, so keep an eye on our blog to see how we’re doing!
WFH is not just about communications, it’s also about continuing to transact business. Our solutions empower distributed teams to do just that. Learn more about DX2, or Go or get in touch to find out how we can help get your teams working from home.