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When does remote working make sense?

  • When does remote working make sense?

    Business owners in Australia continue to find innovative ways to do business with a distributed workforce.

     

    One of the most powerful objections to remote working and distributed workforces centres around productivity: ‘How will I know my staff are getting their work done effectively?’

    This is a fundamental question, probing at the heart of what it means to work: to achieve outcomes.

    It is completely feasible to envisage all kinds of problems when people don’t do their work. Team dynamics could suffer. Dollars spent on staff hours might be wasted. The capacity of the business or organisation to serve its clients or stakeholders could be severely compromised.

    With all of this potential risk, it is intriguing to think that some leaders prefer, rather than dislike, the distributed team option.

    For them, remote work and working as a distributed team makes complete sense.

    The proof, after all, is in the pudding. If these businesses exist because of their approach to distributed working, rather than in spite of it, that seems to be worth a look.

    Recently I spoke with a number of business leaders in Australia to discover their reasons for setting up their businesses for 100% remote and distributed working. Most of them had been working with a remote team for several years.

    Erik Bigalk, Founder of Smart Solutions, got sick of the commute. “At some point I thought ‘Well rather than spending 2 hours in a day in the car commuting, I would rather work from home’.” Erik believes that he and his team are far more productive by having the freedom to work to their own pattern and in environments that suit them.

    Frederic Chanut is the Managing Director of In Marketing we Trust. He started his business in Sydney, where it was expensive to find freelancers. Buying that labour in Sydney was simply out of budget.

    Frederic continues to work this way because his remote staff are able to do the job to a higher standard, not least because they love working remotely and tend to stay with the business longer than the norm.

    Deb Dutton is the Founder of Virtual Working Hub and her reasons for starting with a distributed team were similar: “I could see then the massive benefits of being able to grow my business and just pulling in those tools that I needed and the experts I needed and to be able to afford them, to afford to pay them without that full-on commitment of an employee,” Deb said. Deb manages her Australian business from her home office just outside Dubai.

    I also spoke with Julie Delaforce, the General Manager at Quiip, Australia’s leading community management team. Julie highlighted that distributed working presents significant advantages in their industry.

    Quiip has been able to attract some of the best talent available. With those staff based outside Australia and in timezones on the other side of the world, Quiip can provide 24/7 coverage for their clients. Quiip is an employee-focused business whose leaders are committed to distributed working because it works on both sides.

    As Chad Barnier, from Rialba Studio said, the introduction of cloud-based services and social media has made it completely possible for businesses to work full-time as a distributed team.

    The common theme amongst these businesses is that cost savings or cutting out the commute drove them to consider distributed working, while productivity and fantastic results now keep them working remotely.

    Dave Curtis from Dave Curtis Consulting has no doubt that distributed working is far and away a better way to deliver on his client’s expectations: “For me, it’s about efficiency it’s getting the job done, serving clients well, being good in what you’re doing and you can do that from anywhere and that’s the advantage.”

    For leaders with the question ‘How will I know my staff are working effectively?’ the answer could be that when high costs, long commutes or the need to access the best people drive them to consider distributed working, they’ll discover why it makes sense for so many leaders today.

    You can view these and upcoming videos in the series on YouTube.

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