Productivity is among the top-of-mind issues many companies getting into remote work are considering, and there’s a lot of information out there about its benefits and its drawbacks. So we looked closely at some of the myths about remote productivity and found very interesting stuff to discuss. Enjoy!
By Scio Team
It’s very clear now that our way of looking at work has changed, and the future of this relationship is just starting to be clear now. One could argue that remote work was an inevitability, the natural next step in many industries (technology and software especially) that don’t really require people to be on-site to collaborate and work together well.
However, as we’ve been discussing through interviews with Scio’s Founder and CEO Luis Aburto, and Senior Project Manager Jesús Magaña, there are a lot of moving parts involved in a successful remote work model, and one of the big questions when this trend picked up steam in 2020 was “would productivity remain the same?”
The answer was yes, and it even increased in many cases, but why? What are the mechanisms behind good productivity when working remotely or from home, what myths and facts get involved with the new normal way to work, and how can we harness its advantages for a modern organization?
Myth #1: Productivity is the only measure of success.
One of the most interesting insights we got from our interview with Luis was that “the health of a team cannot be measured only in productivity terms”, referring to their emotional well-being and offering the appropriate support, watching out for signs of burnout, and he’s far from the only one to realize this.
Last year, Microsoft published a list of seven trends of remote work, and among them was the insight that “high productivity is masking an exhausted workforce”, which is important to understand why remote work is taking such a foothold, even beyond the pandemic. Workers today are finding out many advantages when working from their homes, and companies are seeing benefits allowing flexibility, because it generally results in a better life balance, and thus mental health.
Now, of course, productivity is important for any industry, and a software company needs to keep a close eye on the team’s progress to make sure a project is hitting its deadlines, but sometimes those requirements have an unrelated cost that can be alleviated with more freedom in the way we chose to work.
A hybrid model, where a collaborator only goes to the office a couple of days a week, or when they need the space for whatever reason (like meeting with clients or having Internet problems at home) works best, as it offers a way to keep up with the organization, while also leaving elbow room to attend your personal life.
Myth #2: Productivity happens continuously for everyone.
Around 75% of workers polled by Microsoft mentioned that flexibility in their work hours is one of the top things they are looking for in a new job, and that tracks with the upcoming “Gen Z” entering the workforce during a pandemic.
The explanation behind that is simple: for many people, focus and productivity happen in bursts, and they do not always synchronize with the traditional 9:00 to 5:00, five days a week work schedule. Working remotely gives options, and letting the collaborator choose what suits them best allows for a better application of skills and effort, which is in the best interest of any organization.
Companies like Twitter, which implemented a permanent remote model, or Microsoft, which is experimenting with plenty of options (like working at the office until 3:00 pm to avoid rush hour in traffic), are seeing the benefits of this philosophy, and letting a collaborator adapt according to their bursts and stretches of productivity lends well to an industry that needs creativity and focus as often as software development.
This goes back to achieving a better balance in daily life. Having the ability to adjust to the day depending on the type and volume of work to be done. Do you need to collaborate with others or just get in and get some detailed coding work done? Having more than one check-in/check-out time (like we enjoy at Scio), can make a difference to an individual’s productivity.
Myth #3: Productivity depends entirely on the person.
A big negative side-effect of moving away from in-person work at the office was the infrastructure needed to keep productivity moving along. From security measures to VPNs, and other reliable ways to connect to a company’s servers and have all the information you need at your disposal, it certainly resulted in slowdowns while many offices adjusted.
Companies like Scio, which are no strangers to these set-ups and have a lot of experience knowing what works and what doesn’t, know very well the value of selecting the right tools to keep everyone moving forward. In the case of a Nearshore company, for example, it also helps to build teams capable of adapting to the processes of the clients, so you have plenty of experience collaborating in all manners of ecosystems without issue.
What all this means is that there’s an incentive for the Management and IT departments of the world to be selective and careful about the tools they adopt for remote collaborators, which need to be comprehensive and reliable, but without interfering with the work itself.
Easily understandable CRMs that you can teach to someone over a Zoom call, ready access to databases and important files, effective training programs, clear and concise guidelines about Internet activity and cybersecurity, or applications that don’t impact productivity (or at least can be taken into account during a project) are a delicate balance to hit as more and more people choose to work off-site, but well thought off guarantees a successful adoption of remote work.
- Today, new employees and collaborators will prioritize flexibility, and that trend is only going up, so it’s best to start adapting ways to offer it.
- Flexibility results in better productivity, as it gives people the chance to work at their best productivity times.
- Choosing the right collaboration tools that doesn’t hinder productivity is going to increase in priority to maintain productivity and minimizing the impact of any measure implemented in an organization.
- As of now, a hybrid model is proving to work best, giving plenty of options to keep a cohesive team that also respects personal time.