5 reasons why remote-first businesses are more successful
Big talent pools to fish from. Good transport links for local, national and international meetings. Large office options for rapid expansion. Traditionally, ambitious start-ups and multi-national organisations alike have set up shop in major cities and industry hubs.
Things are changing.
This article is for anyone who’s looking for validation on setting up or switching to a remote-first working model.
It’s full of tips for business owners, team leaders, and anyone else looking into remote working, and how remote-first businesses can be more productive, do excellent work, make more money, and support people with side hustles, life commitments, and mental health considerations.
Not just another article on remote working
For many office workers in the UK, remote working or working from home is something we’ve been doing a lot more of since March 2020. As a result, there are thousands of articles about how to set yourself up to be a successful remote worker; like CIPD’s ‘Top 10 tips for working remotely’. This isn’t another one of those.
As a start-up small business (our founder, Harriette, brought us together as The Contented Agency in 2019) we face cash flow challenges, the uncertainty of whether or not to grow the permanent team when big projects land, and the question of whether a fully flexible, fully remote working model can really work.
It can. We are set to double our turnover this year, with our fully remote, diverse, global Contented team. Here are five reasons why remote-first, fully flexible working, works:
- Remote-first means your talent pool is global
Growing companies have often found they exhaust the commutable talent pool quickly. It’s why big cities breed ambitious start-ups, why young people flock to cities in search of work, and one reason why large organisations never leave. Remote-first working models mean companies can pick the best people, wherever they are in the world, as long as the time zones work and there’s provision for putting culture at the heart of business performance (the latter should be the case, no matter whether you’re remote-first or not).
- Remote-first means everyone feels equal
Being the only person dialling in to an in-person meeting feels rubbish. Regardless of how good the conferencing technology is, it’s hard to hear people, difficult to follow discussions, and almost impossible to contribute meaningfully. When everyone (or the majority) is dialling in, the playing field is instantly levelled, boosting confidence and making for efficient, productive, friendly meetings. Equally, when there’s a head office, anyone who isn’t based there can feel very much like a second-class employee. A ‘them’ and ‘us’ culture starts to emerge and cliques form. People work a lot better when they feel secure and valued.
- Remote-first means more time to be fully flexible
Without long commutes, or the pressures of being “on” from 9am to 5pm (or longer), workers can plan their time in the way that makes them happiest and most productive. Remote-first working requires advanced levels of communication, but when you’ve cracked this, you’ll see great things from people.
- Fully flexible working means happier teams
There’s no such thing as a work life balance. Instead, at Contented we talk about a work life mix. For workers not bound by shop opening hours, or shift patterns, for example, gone are the days of splitting work and life into three distinct parts of the day: 1) Before work 2) at work 3) After work. We’re always “on”. The internet saw to that. Instead of fighting it, it’s healthier to think of work and life as a mix or a blend. Doing this means everyone, from working mums and carers, to those of us with mental health issues, can switch gears depending on what each hour asks of you.
People can be happier knowing they’re able to work when they:
- feel most energised (for some people that’s early morning, others after lunch, others at night);
- can fetch Grandma’s shopping during the day;
- can be fully present on the school run, or when the kids are at home; or
- can work around a course, second job, or side hustle.
It’s no secret that fulfilled employees are more productive and loyal. In fact, a recent study by Oxford University’s Said Business School found that happy workers were 13% more productive than unhappy ones.
- Fully flexible working means more money to spend on fun and wellbeing
With far lower overheads on expensive offices, there’s more left over for making the most of face-to-face meet ups, and long-term, preventative employee wellbeing (rather than stepping in at the point when someone breaks down).
One of the Contented team recently signed up to weekly hypnotherapy sessions to find ways to cope following a break in. Others do yoga, or practice mindfulness and meditation using apps like Headspace and Calm.
Perhaps the most powerful measure of all, is simply Harriette, Contented’s founder, putting emphasis on wellbeing – she’s working on a dedicated policy as we speak. This ‘prevention over cure’ attitude genuinely leads to excellent work and open, honest relationships within teams and with clients.
Read the Contented values for further insight into our excellent work and why our client retention rate is at 100%.
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