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32 Remote Workers & Business Leaders Reveal What They’ve Changed Their Minds About Regarding Remote Work in the Past Year

Cristina Daroca January 8, 2021

With around 85% of employees in North America currently working remotely, we are currently in the midst of the largest work from home experiment. Considering that none of us could have ever envisioned this monumental change – let alone the impact it would have on work in general – it makes sense that we’ve had to reconsider our preconceptions about adopting a digital workplace.

Whether we’ve been forced to revisit our previous beliefs about the effects of remote work on employee productivity or how best to develop work from home policies, this time has given us all food for thought. It’s also given us the opportunity to develop and apply new understandings about remote work to foster greater productivity, accountability, engagement, and results at work.

To learn more about how opinions have changed regarding remote work over the past year, we reached out to a panel of remote workers and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:

“What have you changed your mind about in the last year when it comes to remote work?”

Meet Our Panel of Remote Workers & Business Leaders:

Maria Barlow

@MariaBarlowLaw

Maria Barlow is the owner and principal attorney of The Barlow Law Firm LLC, The Barlow Family, N.F.P, and several other businesses. She is a mother, lawyer, and entrepreneur.

“You could not have paid me last year to believe I would work remotely and have my staff work remotely…”

Full-time remote work has never been an option for my firm. We worked in the office, met clients in person, and went to in-person court. When COVID-19 hit, we closed our offices and started to work remotely.

It has been interesting because now we attend court remotely and even meet clients remotely. For the most part, we have been able to fully keep up with client needs and court remotely. However, we do still do some in-person days because some client files are too large to duplicate.

I believe remote work is here to stay. Our office is using a hybrid model (remote and in-person). There is no way I would have ever considered fully remote work or hybrid work last year.

Carla Diaz

@BroadbandSearch

Carla’s passion for data and technical chops led her to co-create Broadband Search. She believes the internet should be a human right and volunteers at her local animal shelter in her spare time.

“I have changed my mind about the management style I use…” 

There are different ways people like to manage their staff when it comes to remote work. You can either use a stricter management style by using something like remote employee monitoring software or ensuring employees work specific hours, or you can give employees more flexible hours and freedom.

I used to be the former kind of manager, but over the past year I started giving employees more freedom to juggle the challenges that came with the pandemic and life in general. This has resulted in some major improvements in the way teams operate. Rather than seeming overly strict, this management style shows employees that I trust them to get the job done. It allows them to choose when they can and can’t work so that they aren’t distracted, which in turn improves productivity.

Now more than ever, people are dealing with all sorts of challenges at home. With so many families being stuck at home all the time, there are distractions that might not usually be there. The pandemic has opened my eyes to the benefits a more flexible work schedule can provide businesses, so I will continue to keep using this business model and improving it – even after the pandemic is over.

Amara Ukaigwe

@BookLearnPass

Amara is the CEO at Book Learn Pass, a platform providing online driver training resources.

“Before the pandemic, I believed that working remotely would hurt our ability to deliver the projects we had planned for the rest of the year…”

After working remotely for the last six months, I can see this hasn’t been the case. Our team has become hyper-focused on ensuring all meetings have clear objectives and defined outcomes, and this has led to increased productivity from the team.

A lot more research and upfront thought now goes into any suggestions we make, and we’ve done a much better job at sticking to deadlines and eliminating project scope. Working remotely has made us more efficient as a team, not less, and this is something I didn’t predict at the start of the pandemic.

Stefanie Siclot

@growthrocket

Stefanie Siclot is the Lead Outreach Specialist at Growth Rocket.

“I used to not like the idea of working from home because I thought it would be harder for us to collaborate with each other…”

After all, when you want to tell someone something in the office, you can simply approach them. But when you’re working from home, you need to type it out, so the message is received much slower.

Since we’ve been working from home, I’ve realized that communicating isn’t a major problem as long as your colleagues are all mindful and responsible enough to reply in group chats.

In our case, all employees respond to queries via group chats and email. We even monitor each other more, as we have more meetings to track our progress compared to when we were all working in the office. So now I see that working remotely forces employees to take more responsibility for their given tasks and become more proactive about putting forward their queries to others.

Marta Rodriguez

@MartaManchester

Marta Rodriguez is the social media manager of Adria Solutions Ltd., a specialist IT, digital, and marketing recruitment consultancy in North West England. She has a background in fashion e-commerce, services, and marketing communications.

“I had never been a fan of working from home before…”

For me, socializing in the office was part of the job and, by far, the most enjoyable part of the day. However, in the last months while in lockdown, I joined a new company, Adria Solutions. I have only been to the office to collect my desktop; all of my induction and onboarding training was carried out online through video conference. We had daily catch-up meetings, now weekly, as I learned my job.

Though it felt challenging to organize my work at the beginning, remote working has shown me that I can plan in advance and focus on my job. It’s also shown me that I don’t need a manager to control and overlook my tasks to be able to motivate myself to do the hard bits of my job. I still enjoy having a quick chat about things other than work with my manager and my colleagues, but I’m using the opportunity to really focus on my work.

I work hard eight hours a day and, still, I sometimes find myself working longer hours simply because I’m enjoying it. I feel like I am over-motivated sometimes, but it really improves my mood to not have to commute to work and stress out about being on time in the morning. Now the hard part will be going back to the office when it’s safe to do so.

Edwin Rubio

@ItsVaporEmpire

Edwin Rubio is the VP of Sales at Vapor Empire, a Los Angeles based e-cigarette retailer. Edwin has experience in full-cycle marketing, project management, data analytics, and managing sales teams. He believes in building meaningful, long-lasting business relationships.

“I have changed my mind about productivity…”

Productivity has not faltered, but has actually improved in my team. They have shown me that with the freedom to work remotely and more independently, our production has not decreased as many believed would happen before being forced into the situation we’re currently in.

More questions and conversations are being had – whether it’s over our Slack channel, virtual meetings, or even just a quick phone call. The fact that you are not able to turn to your colleague and ask a simple question has prompted our team to think hard and not be afraid to start a discussion on the many avenues appropriated for remote work.

Businesses around the world are adapting and getting more comfortable with the process of working from home and the fact that this is going to be the new standard moving forward.

The money saved from office space can be recycled for other business needs and provide additional benefits to increase employee morale and satisfaction. The dramatic shift to working from home was understandably met with doubt in regards to productivity, but we have seen that there is no reason to be worried anymore.

Alicia Hough

@AnalystProduct

Alicia Hough is a Corporate Wellness Expert at The Product Analyst. As a specialist, she manages and develops programs that drive motivation and provide corporate businesses with tools to create awareness of employees and their well-being. She now shares her expertise with The Product Analyst, which is a site that focuses on providing insights about today’s most sought-after gadgets.

“When this work from home setup emerged, I thought it would be the worst thing that could happen to the working industry…”

However, looking at it now, I think less about the cons and more about the positives of this setup, especially in our personal lives. Now I get to spend more time with my kids and be physically present to attend to their needs, while still being able to fulfill my corporate responsibilities. This new work setup has made it more convenient for employees to fill in the roles they need to assume in their lives, such as being a responsible adult who works to earn a living and being a family man or woman. Nothing feels better than to be able to juggle these two responsibilities efficiently.

I think we live our lives thinking most of it should be spent earning, which leads to sacrificing moments and time with our families. But apparently, we can do it all at the same time without sacrificing too much of our time and missing out on special moments. This WFH thing has proved it is possible.

John Cho

John Cho is the founder of My Pet Child.

“My opinion on remote work has shifted significantly this year…”

What I thought was great in theory has been really challenging in practice, especially when it comes to accountability.

I think that there is a lot more formal checking in while working remotely that simply must happen to stay on top of what’s going on, whereas these check-ins were informal and didn’t feel like work at all when working in a traditional office. What was once doing a lap is now sending 20 emails or trying to coordinate a Zoom meeting.

Ashwin Sokke

@officialbuywow

Ashwin Sokke is the co-founder of WOW Skin Science, a beauty company that sells 100% vegan hair care and skincare, as well as face and body grooming essentials for your lifestyle. The company’s all-natural solutions are free of animal testing, parabens, and sulfates. Sokke co-founded the company with his brother and another brother duo in 2013 in India. They wanted to be the first Indian beauty/wellness brand to go truly global.

“Before the pandemic, I believed that the biggest challenge of a remote workplace is the limited ability to collaborate…”

Now I recognize that in-person collaboration is always superior, but with technology advancing rapidly, we have many tools that help us combat this issue. In the last few months, I have noticed my employees communicating and collaborating remotely without significant concerns.

Overall, my company has adjusted very smoothly to all the sudden changes that have occurred due to COVID-19. Some of the tools that help us with internal communication and collaboration are Slack, Telegram, Zoom, and Google Calendar/Meets.

Yaniv Masjedi

@YanivMasjedi

Yaniv Masjedi is the Chief Marketing Officer of Nextiva, a large telecommunications enterprise with over 1,000 employees.

“I changed my mind about the fact that remote work is doable for most companies…”

I once thought that remote work was only for some companies and that the main factor that determined the remote-worthiness of a company was its industry.

However, the pandemic has proved that many companies can work remotely. Companies can do remote work as long as they invest in the right tools to help their team embrace the remote working setup. If companies fail to invest in remote tools, transitioning to remote working is close to impossible.

Vipin Chahal

Vipin Chahal is the founder of Return Policy Guide. He has been an entrepreneur for the last seven years and has sold two businesses in that time. Vipin likes to strategize new means and ways to help his growth, both as an individual and as an entrepreneur. Besides being the CEO of a company, he loves to follow football and watch anime movies.

“I used to be a bit skeptical about allowing my employees to have the option to work from home…”

The sole reason behind this was that I heard all the talk about employee productivity declining and HR managers/project heads not being able to coordinate well enough on particular projects to meet deadlines as a consequence of remote work.

However, the advent of new technologies and various networking and collaboration tools has somewhat changed my mind. Now I think that with the right set of tools and employees, remote working is not a bad option, particularly at a time when we are still uncertain about the future of the pandemic.

Ravi Parikh

@Rover_Pass

Ravi Parikh is the CEO of RoverPass, the #1 provider of campground management software. RoverPass helps campground and RV park owners book, track, and interact with campers from all over the world.

“I have changed my mind about the necessity to have a central place for employees to meet…”

While we’ve always allowed our employees the freedom of travel, we had a home base for everyone to work from when they were in between trips.

Our office has always been a place where we could gather and confer, and having people from our own community has allowed us to work more closely together, attend the same events, and act on initiatives to support that community.

I started hiring remotely after the lockdown was announced, and our current employees are all working from the comfort of their homes or RVs. So I have learned that as long as everyone can coordinate schedules and use task tracking software appropriately, our productivity doesn’t suffer.

In general, I also think that most of our employees are just happier being able to work remotely – especially those who are spending their time working at various campsites and RV parks.

Brian Lim

@iheartraving

Brian is the CEO of iHeartRaves, a curator of all-over print clothing and world leader in festival fashion.

“Before quarantine, working from home on a regular basis wasn’t allowed, and the team was quite against it…”

This experience has shown that we can be very productive working from home. I am now very open to discussing being more flexible once we get back into the office.

One challenge of remote work is that it’s difficult to see team members’ facial expressions and body language. More communication has shifted from face-to-face to Slack, which has been a double-edged sword.

We try to do video calls more often to replicate the face-to-face experience. However, technical issues with internet speed, web conferencing, and home distractions that are impossible to remove, such as children, have caused some problems.

Jason Agouris

@jason_agouris

With prolific execution of vision and product development, Jason is an energetic leader who brings a vast knowledge of digital business experience. Well-rounded in business management, programming, and product positioning, he is the lead of platform product development for the software engineering team at iTristan Media and provides a means of checks and balances for the entire vision.

“The thing that I’ve changed my mind about is more of a surprising confirmation of something that I’ve always believed…”

That is, business culture first needs to embrace and cultivate remote-style operations before declaring itself remote-ready.

Of course, until COVID-19, I had no real method to prove or disprove this, besides our own company culture. We are a flex-remote company and have been for years, meaning that we have an office, but we’re not always there. Additionally, we have remote teams for time zone-shift needs, as well as other remote team members, simply because they’re a great fit and don’t live here.

It all works, but it wasn’t by accident. For us, there was constant attention to accountability, language, systems for real-time collaboration, chatting, phone calls, and meetings, versus project management, assignment-tracking, accountability, and everything information-exchange related.

This evolved over years. For this reason, I always suspected that companies that were forced by circumstance, and not by real motivation, to go remote would have a harder time building a cultural understanding, adoption, acceptance, and real productivity just by sending staff home with a laptop.

What was confirmed by the COVID-19 circumstances was that much of this did pan out when dealing with traditionally office-bound organizations. I found that these companies were clumsier and had a hard time keeping up without dropping the ball, as it were, when keeping their tasks going.

However, I’ll admit it was surprising that even with that clumsiness and obvious discomfort, there were fewer absolute disasters than I expected. In the end, relatively few companies fell apart and most managed, even with frayed nerves within their ranks.

William Taylor

@velvetjobs

William is the Career Development Manager at VelvetJobs, an employer branding, career path guidance, and job search facility.

“Going into remote work, I had thought that leaders needed to be strict and workers needed to show a lot of discipline in order to ensure they were efficient and reached their goals…”

But after a while, I realized that the best performing teams had empathic and motivating leaders who gave their teams flexibility and took the time to follow up and listen to their concerns.

Everybody handles remote work differently, so as a leader, you can’t just discipline your way through it. Instead, you need to be flexible and find individualized solutions for each person in your team. That’s how you manage remote teams!

The bottom line is that flexibility and empathy is the key to managing high performing remote teams.

Kim Chan

Kim Chan is a lawyer and the founder of DocPro.com, a legal tech platform offering free legal documents and resources for individuals, startups, and small businesses.

“Last year, we thought that employees were going to slack off when it came to remote working…”

Surprisingly, our employees are just as productive as before, if not more efficient, given the time saved from internal meetings and traveling.

We have taken the following measures in regards to remote work:

  1. Orientation – We found that the key is to provide employees with a clear written guide about how everything works, with a focus on what they are expected to do. We gave them some time to read up on it and actually tested the system first. We also walked through everything with them.
  2. Give feedback – We check the quality and efficiency of employee output to see how productive and efficient they are. We also provide them with constructive feedback to help improve their work and make sure to select the more capable interns to do more complex tasks.
  3. Set targets – We set certain realistic targets for employees to achieve each week. We are flexible about when they do their work, as long as they meet weekly targets.
  4. Team cohesion – As there is little face time when working remotely, it’s vital for each employee and their supervisor to speak daily to build rapport. This is the hardest part, as without welcome lunches or coffee breaks, it is difficult to have small chats with interns about non-work topics.
  5. Motivation – Employees who are self-motivated and proactive tend to perform better when working from home. To make our employees more motivated, we check with them if they would prefer to write blogs or prepare legal documents, and which areas of law they are interested in. Most people do a good job of doing things that they are interested in, so, for example, we would not want to have someone stuck doing documentation if they have zero interest in it.
  6. Flexibility – As we are a SaaS company, we are very flexible when it comes to work hours. Our employees don’t necessarily need to work 9 to 5. As long as they put in the hours and meet their targets within their deadlines, they can work whenever they feel most productive – whether that’s during the day or night.

Sanem Ahearn

@Colorescience

Sanem Ahearn is the Head of Marketing at Colorescience, a San Diego based makeup company made up of health forward formulas.

“When remote work started, I’ll be honest, I was worried that my team and myself wouldn’t be as productive…”

I thought we’d be distracted being in our homes where a lot of us didn’t have a dedicated office space. I pictured the moms on our team sitting on the bathroom floor hiding from their kids while taking calls.

To my surprise, it’s been the opposite. People have loved working remotely and, if anything, work harder than before. I think it has something to do with the fact that our work is now 20 seconds away instead of 20 minutes. We don’t see each other in person, but we use Zoom like crazy to get that much needed face-to-face time for meetings. Overall, it’s been a nice change.

Yi Ming Lai

@YiMing00268886

Yi Ming is a Pinterest VA based in Sydney, Australia. She also runs a side hustle blog at Insane Freedom.

“In the beginning, I always tried to do all the work by myself…”

My perspective at the time was that in order to keep my clients’ trust and maintain the quality of my work, I had to slave away to give them the best value.

However, just a year into running my growing business, I experienced a serious mental burnout. Around March of this year, I also started having severe back pain. All these incidents made me realize how I have always tried to work by myself, and not work for myself. Because of that, I started outsourcing more work, especially with tasks that I do not enjoy doing but need to be done.

My previous mindset of being unable to afford help was also holding me back. However, recent events prompted me to think about the sustainability of my business. In order to keep doing my best work, I realized that my mental and physical health should be my top priority. Without a happy and balanced me, my business would definitely deteriorate.

Due to the isolating nature of remote work, I also deal with loneliness on a daily basis. Recently, I have tried to create more human interactions by scheduling virtual and real-life hangouts with my fellow virtual assistant friends I met online. Getting out of my house as much as possible also gives me variety and the chance to talk to people, since I do not have any colleagues to talk to at work.

In short, my biggest change in perspective regarding remote work is to not work by myself, even though I do work for myself. Outsourcing work and getting help not only helped me to stay mentally healthy, but also allowed me to spend more time in my zone of genius. I enjoy my work much more nowadays because of outsourcing. Making sure that I find the time to work on my business instead of working in my business all the time has also made a difference.

Lastly, as a remote worker and entrepreneur, it is definitely very important to look after yourself first before anything else.

Michael Alexis

@michaelalexis

Michael Alexis is the CEO of TeamBuilding.

“We’ve always been a remote company, so it may seem at odds that now I’m starting to see more of the benefits of working together in-person at an office or other space…”  

For example, we have great ways of doing internal team building and engagement exercises. Yet, I still find myself saying things like “nothing quite replaces getting together in person.”

I don’t think this necessarily means you have to work out of an office, but if you are fully remote, then doing quarterly or even annual retreats to bring your people together can make a big difference. The relationships forged during that face-to-face time will carry throughout the year and help boost up everything else you do.

Tal Shelef

@condowizard

Tal Shelef is a Realtor and co-founder of Condo Wizard.

“Before the pandemic, I used to be adamant about the fact that people can only be truly and fully productive when working in the office…”

I believed that being at home provides a lot of distractions that would keep employees from doing their best work. However, as the situation progressed this past year and we’ve had to resort to remote work to ensure that our employees’ and clients’ health are prioritized, I began to change my mind about that belief.

My employees have proven to me that they can be as professional and productive as ever, even when working remotely. After giving it a try myself, I realized that as long as you keep focused on your tasks and maintain a professional mindset, you can be as productive in the comfort of your own home as you are in the office.

Dr. Tim Shu

@VETCBD

Dr. Tim Shu is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of VETCBD Hemp. Dr. Shu founded VETCBD so pets could safely benefit from the multiple therapeutic uses of cannabis. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with his knowledge of medical cannabis, Dr. Shu formulates VETCBD products to be safe and effective for use in animals.

“Remote working has reinforced, rather than changed my mind, about a few things…”

At VETCBD, we’ve embraced remote work since the inception of the company, so this isn’t anything new for us.

However, with the impacts of the global pandemic this year, it has reinforced the importance of collaboration. It has also reinforced the importance of utilizing the many tools we have at our disposal, such as video conferencing and leveraging multi-use communication platforms like Slack, to stay in touch with the team and to keep everyone engaged and tracking towards our shared company goals.

By being proactive about communication and having a willingness to embrace technology, remote work can certainly be a more regular way of working in the future for many industries. We’re proud to be ahead of the curve in that respect.

Joni Holderman

@thrive_resumes

As a professional resume writer, Joni Holderman combines her passions for writing and helping others achieve their goals via Thrive! Resumes.

“I’ve changed my mind about remote work being ideal for everyone – or being a great option 365 days per year…”

As an entrepreneur who has been working from home for more than 12 years, I assumed remote work was the wave of the future and ideal for everyone.

Now I realize that business is essentially a team sport. Most extroverts need a higher level of social interaction to be productive and avoid anxiety or depression. I also learned that even introverts need some face-to-face human interaction to stay emotionally healthy.

Sean Nguyen

Sean Nguyen is the Director of Internet Advisor.

“I’d always been convinced that anyone, any job, and any industry could function remotely…”

It’s just a superior approach because it benefits the employee in terms of comfort and the employer in terms of finances. Win-win! When does that ever happen? Almost never.

But I will concede that when you force everyone in the world to work from home for six months, it’s not really the ideal solution for everyone.

I’m not even talking about essential workers. Office workers sometimes need to work face-to-face, too. Team projects just cannot be done as effectively remotely, not to mention the creative ones. There’s just an energy you miss out on when you’re not in the same room with the people you brainstorm with. I can recognize the value of that. And that’s not even touching on the increase in suicide rates and depression in general.

Working in sweatpants was cool for a week. Any longer than that, and things start to plummet. I’d be happy if only people who really love remote working were allowed to stay this way, and everyone else could go back to normal.

Tina Nikolovska

Tina is the manager of TeamStage. She also relies on her degree in modern English and literature to write about the importance of project and team management in executing a successful strategy, top to bottom.

“I wish I had known better how to balance the need for meetings so that we didn’t end up having too many of them…”

At first, I thought that we would be able to substitute in-person meetings by having regular Zoom meetings. We’d organize all kinds of sessions, from work-related ones to informal coffees together.

Soon, the fatigue crept in, with more and more unproductive meetings. Some people stopped interacting and asked for meeting minutes after the meeting was over. So I changed my mind about the necessity of holding frequent meetings. We now have focused, short meetings where we expect everyone to come fully prepared, and the results are much better. Frequent check-ins are still a must, but we prefer Slack messages to video calls.

Keeping task flows clear and teams small also helps when it comes to navigating remote work. Smaller teams are more comfortable to follow and engage, and there is some serious work to be done to engage larger teams.

Sonya Schwartz

@SonyaSc21513798

Sonya Schwartz is the founder of Her Norm.

“I realized that HR or the recruitment team should take a firm approach when it comes to hiring in a remote working environment…”

For example, if your company just started hiring remote workers or has transitioned to remote work, HR should set the stages of the hiring processes in order to hire top talent.

Remember, you are not going to interview people face-to-face, so there will be a tendency for applicants to show you a clean slate. But needless to say, it is just a show to convince you to hire them.

You must conduct a background check in addition to the proper interview stages with the leaders of your company to help you decide and decipher who is and isn’t fit for the team.

 

CJ Xia

@BosterbioCo

CJ Xia is the VP of Marketing & Sales at Boster Biological Technology.

“Our organization’s management changed their mind about using communication and project management software…”

Since we started working remotely due to the pandemic, we have learned many key points that have helped.

We realized the importance of using communication software to connect employees remotely, so we allocated the funds to purchase such software. We also introduced some project management software, such as Zoho, Asana, and Airtable, which helped us to boost our employees’ performance.

Nina Krol

@zety_com

Nina Krol is the Outreach Manager at Zety.

“I used to think that remote work couldn’t really work in the long-term…”

But it wasn’t until I was muscled into telecommuting almost seven months ago that I changed my mind. This time covered two full quarters of my yearly work and helped me compare my productivity to the times when I worked from the office.

To my surprise, during both quarters, I was able to reach my work goals within just six to eight weeks – something that had never happened before. And although I sometimes feel isolated or long for random chats with my work peers, numbers don’t lie.

Remote work, although highly challenging, helps me deliver more in less time. I guess it’s the time I save on commuting and the ability to focus at home with no office distractions that help me be more productive every day. However, I’m not saying that this is going to work for just anyone. So look at your goals and the results in numbers, and you will get your answer.

Jon Hill

@TEnergists

Jonathan brings 25 years of hands-on operational experience in the upstream oil and gas industry to his role as Chairman & CEO of The Energists’ executive search and recruiting team. Prior to The Energists, Jonathan was VP Marketing & Technology at Schlumberger.

“I am beginning to question the value of video chats as a direct replacement for the traditional workplace meetings…”

Pre-COVID-19, we’d used video chat to bring remote workers in on primarily in-person meetings. But switching to all-remote meetings did not prepare us as well as I thought it would.

I think video meeting platforms are very helpful for remote collaboration and make it easier to have group conversations remotely than old-school teleconferencing. The larger the group becomes, though, the more you experience the same drawbacks. For example, people talking over each other, difficulty telling who wants to speak, mute/unmute confusion, etc. This adds its own new technical issues that inevitably waste time.

We have been adapting to this by limiting the size of groups involved in meetings and sticking to text-based forms of communication like email when information needs to be disseminated to a larger group.

Helen White

@houseofdotcom

Helen is the co-founder of houseof.

“At the start of lockdown, we decided to end our office lease and transition to remote working, which I was initially skeptical about…”

I wasn’t sure how effectively we could all work on an entirely remote basis. We have always

encouraged flexible working, but our office was part of our identity and brought us together as a team. We had also just moved into a new space the day before lockdown and were ready to paint it and make it a visionary houseof hub. We had grand plans for our office and for three months during lockdown, we held onto it and dreamt about going back one day.

However, reality hit when we realized we were in this for the long haul. We also all realized how accustomed we had become to working remotely. We consulted the team and started debating whether we all wanted to go back. It wasn’t about saving money and if one person had said they would prefer to work there – we would have kept it.

We have always said work where you work best, and in reality, we all work best remotely as we can eliminate distractions and focus on doing deep work. If we were honest with ourselves, many of us had been forcing ourselves into the office most days.

The hardest part of working remotely is the lack of comradery. We weren’t there to have check-ins and catch up on what was going on in each other’s lives. Often, when someone is underperforming in work, it can be due to external factors, and these were hard to identify. Now each week we ensure that we check-in, not for a generic manager-employee meeting, but for a chat and to connect with one another.

We feel our team has grown in confidence since working remotely, as problem-solving and independent working has been forced upon them. We have always been great at teamwork, and now we have a chance to refine our independent skills. As a team, we have launched more projects and recorded our highest ever performing months during the pandemic.

Although we will miss our houseof office, we feel our decision to move everyone to working remotely on a permanent basis has been a positive step forward for the business.

Jonathan Bass

@whomhome

Jonathan Bass is the Chief Executive Officer and owner of Whom Home and PTM Images, the leading manufacturer of home décor in North America.

“The biggest change of mind I’ve had regarding remote work has been the realization of the magnitude of benefits that come with moving towards a fully remote workplace…”

As of right now, I am planning on moving away from a traditional office environment. I will not be able to eliminate my office space as I have a lease agreement tying me to the space for a specific time. However, I am planning to offer both an office space and flexibility to work remotely to my employees and have them decide individually.

Most of my employees have expressed a desire to return to the office environment once it is safe to do so. With all this considered, I do see a lot of benefits of having a remote workplace, such as cutting commuting time as well as operating costs. Currently, I am choosing to remain flexible and am doing my best to understand all of my employees’ needs and preferences.

Mike Sadowski

@brand24

Mike Sadowski is the CEO and founder at Brand24.com, a Poland-based startup that specializes in online reputation management and mentions all over the Internet. He has been in business since 2011 with his brand, and right now they’re one of the most popular online monitoring tools.

“I used to be concerned about how remote work would impact performance…”

When the pandemic situation made it obligatory to switch to remote work, I was skeptical at first and thought that I would see a decrease in the overall performance of my business. But as I got better at managing the remote workflow of my employees, I started seeing improvements.

I think that the crucial switch in my head happened when I saw an increase in productivity and happiness among my team. Previously, I had thought that regular office hours were the way to go – and I’ve never been so wrong before. Now that I switched to remote work, I’m never going back, as the technology used to manage it all is getting better, more intuitive, and easier to use.

James Pearson

James Pearson is the CEO of eVenturing, one of the fastest-growing websites in the small business space.

“Initially, I had my doubts and hesitations about a remote work setup…”

I had heard that a couple of businesses had failed due to unproductive employees and a lack of strong work culture that comes with this kind of setup.

Getting rid of daily face-to-face interaction with your colleagues makes it tougher to cultivate a culture of camaraderie and teamwork among your employees. Losing that physical “human touch” makes it harder to extend opportunities for better collaboration and establish the relationships and networks that we all get from a traditional office setup.

However, as the pandemic pushed us to embrace remote work as the new normal, it allowed us to see the other side of the coin. It helped us to unlock an opportunity to see remote work from a different perspective. For example, remote work greatly reduces office politics. As we all know, this is an unavoidable work-related stress among employees. The gossiping, unnecessary tension and drama, and toxic competition that creeps in in a traditional setup are gone or minimized in a remote work setting.

This is because employees are highly driven to provide results and productivity in a remote work setting, which eliminates unnecessary habits and distractions that steal away their efficiency. I’m not saying that social isolation is good. But remote work has great advantages that we should not take for granted. It is still important to create a happy and thriving remote work setup that your team will surely appreciate.

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