As CEO at Incognito Worldwide, a subsidiary of Inicia Incorporated, I’ve been working remotely since 2000. So when COVID19 hit the USA and companies were scrambling, we’d been prepared for years. Here are some tips.
There is no doubt that working remotely vs. in-office working both have their benefits and drawbacks. For twenty years I had to work from a central location during my time in the logistics business. Coordinating freight transportation around the country on behalf of clients we needed centralized information and spur-of-the-moment adjustments. And, we were managing 250,000 SF of warehousing at the same time. So we had to be there. Our team benefitted from being in the same place and able to communicate at a moment’s notice. At the same time, being indoors with fluorescent lighting drained me.
When I began to build software and marketing teams and offer services to clients, we had to re-think our approach. My business partner Mario and I had established our technology team in Buenos Aires Argentina. But then while in India for a project, I also developed a website development and marketing team in Bangalore. And even in Bangalore, the core team spent most of our time working out of a cafe, even though we had leased a 5,000 SF office.
Because we worked remotely, you might envision that we were always in jeans and tee shirts. And while we were quite often, it doesn’t mean we never put on a jacket and attended business functions. We did.
It took years of trial and error to create a purely online company that could accommodate clients around the world while operating from multiple locations. We knew early on that communication and management technology would be a core foundation we needed to develop.
So our shortlist of platform tools would have to include:
Working remotely allowed us to each enjoy a flexible schedule. The office is mentally better for some while being free to sit where ever one chooses was better for others. Some days I’d work from a cafe; other days from the beach. Flexibility also meant that people could work around their daily lives, rather than living around their work lives.
Our India team would take a company working vacation every year to Goa, India, where we’d work three hours a day, and then enjoy free time the rest of the day (see left).
During COVID19 many companies were ‘forced’ to adopt a remote workplace. There are mental health implications that may affect some. Working remotely can be less social, as you don’t get to start your day with colleagues. No going out to lunch, or taking a coffee break together and catching up on personal lives. Still, while in Cancun, Mexico, I’ve met a few foreigners that I’ve since established friendships. I suspect those friendships will last long after COVID19 is gone.
However, be aware that embracing remote working also means defining schedules, setting goals and priorities. You’re no longer together to communicate new thoughts, questions, or suggestions. So you need to hone a structured pipeline to manage work and ideas.
If you’d like to re-tool your company to be more effective as a remote-based company, we can help. Reach out and let’s discuss. We assist with steering you to the best-of-bread online tools and can assist in the setup and deployment.