The pandemic caused a lot of changes in the workplace. People are quitting their jobs left and right because they don’t want to return to the office. Why? They got a taste of the incredible benefits of remote work.
Long before Covid-19 turned the world upside down, we had been working remotely as a 100% virtual organisation. This way of organising our work is by design, and the reason is two-fold: it benefits the people working in Enuda, and it helps the clients.
Back in spring 2017, when we chose this organisational setup, remote or virtual work was still a curiosity – unlike today, when Covid-19 has forced many people to work remotely.
I had learned about the ideas of remote work and realised that, given the right circumstances, this could turn out to be a super exciting way of working.
Why a virtual organisation?
The first real encounter I had with the idea of building a 100% virtual or remote team was the 2010 TED talk by Jason Fried: “Why work doesn’t happen at work”:
“People can’t get their job done due to M&M’s”Jason Fried
No, he is not talking about the chocolate candies.
Instead, Jason Fried refers to “managers and meetings”, the two most important killers of any form of efficiency in the workplace.
His ideas resonated with my own experiences.
Also, there’s an oddity I have always wondered about: how come we expect young people to take responsibility for their education, organise their own time at university, prepare themselves for exams and own their failures and success stories, but we don’t trust them to manage anything the minute they start a regular job?
We surround people with control systems and “follow-up” meetings to the degree that different surveys show that you spend more than one-third of your time in the office on meetings. That is an absurd way of wasting people’s time.
Sure, we have meetings every week because we like to be aligned in our work, but also because we want to build an authentic connection with each other as much as possible. However, we always try to make sure every meeting has a valuable agenda, meant to enhance our work.
It takes a lot of patience, leadership, and trust to be able to run a virtual organisation, but the benefits everyone reaps are absolutely worth it.
Better and faster solutions
What we do in Enuda is difficult.
Working as an Ignition integrator involves thinking about complex problems, finding solutions, and building code. All of which are typically considered challenging and time-consuming. It requires time to focus, concentrate, and get really deep into the task at hand.
This type of necessary focus is called “Deep Work” by different scientists and is undoubtedly more and more required as we move further into the digital society.
“Deep Work” is, therefore, both valuable and necessary for solving complex problems. Hence, you shouldn’t kill or disturb it with endless “M&M’s”. Instead, it must be nurtured and praised.
The benefits are remarkable: the capability to do “Deep Work” allows for some brilliant solutions to complex and challenging problems, which in the end benefits our clients.
It enables us to find better and faster solutions simply because people can focus for longer streaks of time. In short: it is a highly effective way of building working software for our clients.
In parallel, survey upon survey has proven that team members are more satisfied working this way. I get that… Who likes to be interrupted by “M&Ms” anyway?
“From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to work from anywhere with only a laptop and an internet connection. In Enuda, I can do exactly that, and I couldn’t be happier.”Grisbel
Geography is not important anymore… Or is it?
This is another claim the supporters of the virtual or remote workplace make. They generally believe that the world has shrunk because of globalisation, and geography does not play a significant role anymore.
I agree, as long as we only talk about the technical side of things. Internet-based communication makes it irrelevant today from where I work.
But I dare to disagree when it comes to anything but technology.
Geography matters because culture matters. Geography matters because political systems matter. If we have learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s this: political systems matter and they are different. And geography matters because religion and various belief systems matter.
And precisely because geography matters in so many essential aspects of our lives, the remote organisation brings so much enrichment to our daily work. Every team member can have a different perspective, and that’s exactly what we want – people coming together with their similarities and differences to create the best solutions for our clients.
There’s nothing like getting to know people from different places and cultures intimately. That, I believe, is the actual value of the remote workplace.