7 Remote Working Lessons to take from these Tech Giants

10 mins

The temperatures are dropping, the restrictions are rising and the question of “workin...

The temperatures are dropping, the restrictions are rising and the question of “working from home” is once again at the forefront of many business owners’ minds. It is clear that this virus is not going away any time soon, and if companies want to maintain smooth business continuity then a remote working plan is essential. In March 2020 many businesses were thrown into a remote working set-up with little or infrastructure to support, whereas now over half a year on there have been some big lessons learned that have allowed us to prepare for this eventuality again. As an IT and Digital recruiter we have seen first hand how our technical clients have adapted to remote working, and it is no surprise that the Tech Giants are the ones pioneering this trend and setting an example for the best approach to remote working! We looked at companies including Facebook, Twitter, Box, Shopify, and Front to share their top remote working lessons!

7 remote working lessons from tech companies in 2020

Embrace remote working for the right reasons

For many companies adopting remote working setups has been a 2020 necessity, but not something that they would normally encourage their employees to do. Many business owners like to have their employees where they can see them, in order to track productivity and maintain control from a management point of view. But when an employee has all of the tools to do their job from anywhere in the world that has electricity and an internet connection why not embrace remote working more? This is something that Twitter have pledged to do, allowing a portion of their workforce to have the option to work from home forever! You might not be in the market to follow in Twitter’s footsteps completely, but in the current climate where we know remote working is likely to be on the cards at some point it’s time to look at this in a positive way, and not as an obstacle for management. Trust your people, maintain communication, ask your employees for feedback and track productivity – there has never been a better time to explore how remote working could work longer term for your business!

Expand your tech talent pool

Tech digital is often one of the most competitive and challenging markets to recruit in, and as a leading IT recruiter we would certainly know just so hard it can be! Companies are often constrained by talent pools within a commutable distance to their office and given that many tech companies are headquartered in close proximity to one another (e.g. Silicon Valley in San Francisco) this creates even more competition for candidates. Facebook is another tech giant recognising the positive effects of remote working, with Mark Zuckerberg noting:

“Right now, everyone is pretty much working remotely, but we’re still just constraining our hiring to people who live around an office which isn’t open. So we’re going to start remote hiring” 
Mark Zuckerberg

Instead of limiting your hiring capabilities to a single location, that is often highly competitive to hire within, why not expand that talent pool nationwide (or even globally) and find talented people who can join you remotely! LinkedIn’s talent insights tool offers some eye opening statistics if you are open to on-boarding talent further from your offices, noting hiring demand across different regions from low to very high based upon the number of professionals compared to jobs in those areas. For example London scores as very high for the demand for software engineers, whereas Greater Coventry is currently ranking as low demand. This could indicate that Coventry would be a good location to target if you were going to market to attract remote software engineers for your tech team! If you’d like to explore hiring insights for a remote vacancy in your team please get in touch today!

Contribute to creating a better home office

Even when a company has the tools and technologies in place to embrace remote working, the fact is that many employees are not prepared to work from home 100% of the time. Spending the odd day working from your sofa or kitchen table is fine, but it’s unlikely to be as productive or comfortable as the office when doing this every day. Shopify and Twitter both announced that they would give their newly remote employees / teleworkers a $1,000 stipend to set up their home offices! While this may be a costly option to consider, you may choose to look at loaning equipment that you already have in the office to your remote teams, so that they can create their own home office during the times they are working remotely. This could be extended screens to allow for optimum productivity at home, a comfy and supportive desk chair, headset for hands free communication or even something as simple as office stationery!

Virtual meetings to maintain connection

Whether it’s a company-wide presentation, a board meeting or a department catch up, the move to remote working does put a slight spanner in the works when it comes to the face to face meeting, but if lockdown has taught us anything it is that anyone can use technologies like Zoom / Microsoft Teams to stay connected! Box CEO Aaron Levie has committed to having their 2,000 employees “work from anywhere” until the end of 2020 and has also stated that the staff’s weekly all-hands meetings would remain “fully virtual” in the future too. A zoom call or a Microsoft Teams meeting allows better inclusion for team members who are working remotely, and you still have the capabilities to share your screen, conduct presentations and share notes with your colleagues too. If you haven’t adopted this approach already why not give it a try for your next team catch up!

Technology for collaborating and project management

Just as products like zoom are great for maintaining those all-important face to face connections, there are loads of technologies and products that can assist with collaboration and project management when your tech teams go remote! Tools like Monday.com have loads of functionality to support remote teams – check out this video to learn more. If your team is small and you are looking for a free to use tool for project management and collaboration then check out Trello – it’s a simple way to keep track of your shared workflow when working remotely! For business communication you may want to explore Slack or Microsoft Teams, and there are also the standard tech focused tools like GitHub, Visual Studio Code and Jira that are useful for remote development teams too. 

Check-in and support your employees

While reports suggest that many employees favour a remote working set-up (flexible work arrangements ranked 3rd in the most important EVP’s for UK software engineers) it’s important to recognise that this way of working does not suit everyone. For some it can lead to a lack of motivation, feelings of isolation, low mood, and disengagement from their employer. In the office it’s easier (but often still challenging) to spot the signs of this nature, so when moving to remote working it’s extremely important to have regular checks on your employees, and offer your support in other ways such as online mindfulness sessions or confidential HR catch ups where employees can share their thoughts and concerns in a safe environment. Make sure your people know exactly what support you can offer and the correct channels for communicating their concerns, as the last thing you want is to find your employees feeling stressed and unsure which way to turn in their new remote set-up.

Adapting your culture for remote working

Tech giants are renowned for their market leading company cultures, so it has been interesting to see how this has shifted in the move to remote working! Tech company Front recently shared insights into how they keep their company culture alive when remote working, many of which includes some remote switches from what they had in place in their physical offices. For example they offer a culture incentive called “Lunch for 5”, where they use a randomizer that selects 5 people from across the company each week to get a stipend and go out to lunch together. The goal is to encourage cross-functional bonding with people their employees might not work with day-to-day. They have kept this going through the remote work set-up, but instead people can order delivery and hop on a Zoom call to eat and chat! Take a look at all of the ways they are keeping their culture alive remotely here.

These are just a few of the lessons we have taken from the tech giants when it comes to remote working – if you are in need of further advice to help support your tech team’s transition to remote working, or if you’d like to explore making a brand new remote hire we can help! Contact us today at info@senitor.com / call us on 0800 980 9535.


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