Remote efficiency: Individuals vs. groups
Martin Fowler from Thought Works adds weight to the debate. He comments that individuals are more efficient in a co–located atmosphere, but remote teams usually prove to be more effective than co–located teams. It is strange and illogical; however, he explains the remote team can be hired, despite the geographical boundaries, which adds to the professionalism of the team.
Theoretically, if the group includes only local talents that are available, it is inefficient compared to the best workers that can be hired all over the country or even world. The only way for a local team to beat such a remote team is to be consolidated and united. However, the wider the geography, the easier it is to find a perfect team.
Zaarly is a company from Kansas City that works as an online marketplace for local businesses and helps clients reach their perfect local service. They practice remote work and have an emphasis, not on the duration of work or the time the person logged, but the quality of the result. But the company’s handbook states meetings are very important and real–life discussions create a team.
Zaarly is always ready to invest money in its workers, and they sponsor their plane tickets to underline the importance of face–to–face meetings. Their main idea is that the work can be done at home, but the real cooperation happens in the office, and it is very important to say a few words to each other once in a while to break the flow of emails.
There’s an art to working from home
David Tate, a remote software consultant who lives near Atlanta, is now working on a special guidebook for people who plan to work remotely. It is called ‘The Art of Working from Home’ and it helps to understand the unusual issues surrounding this type of work.
The list of such issues, according to Tate, includes: lack of socialization, reduction of cooperation, and so–called ‘invisibility’ to other workers and managers, which becomes an issue if the person seeks promotion.
Real–life discussions due to many factors make the conversation clearer and the message easier to transfer, while remote working and communication through an email merely can become a source of regular misunderstanding and lack of task comprehension.
Stack Exchange (the people behind Stack Overflow) lets their co–located developers be in their private offices. They try to avoid the flaws of both methods of work. They also direct their efforts on making the working atmosphere comfortable for their developers.
The new reality: Remote-first
Remote work is becoming more and more favored by both employers and employees. The new trend of remote work has even created a certain marketplace for employers looking for particularly remote employees. The amount of people who find open offices worse than remote jobs is getting bigger every day.
The norms of remote work have been established and can serve as a pattern for many startups that want to try remote work. Mixed office structure is also a good idea to make sure the advantages of co–location and no distraction are included.
The best work can be chosen individually for each company. The information above should inspire you on the decision that suits your company. The truth is unique for every company and is somewhere in the middle, so maybe, you can elaborate another combination of co-located and remote working types.
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