Is this the start of the remote working revolution?
Four tech leaders share their thoughts on remote working in 2020
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At the end of March when offices began to close and people were forced to work from home, we posed the question ‘Is this the start of the remote working revolution?’. In the blog, we asked experts from Miro, GitLab and Klaus to comment on remote working and what they thought the future holds for working environments.
Two months later, when it’s said we’re to be emerging from the worst of COVID-19 cities are beginning to return to ‘normal’. But with forced international experimentation around virtual workforces, companies are challenged to re-define what should be their new normal when it comes to working environments.
We connect again with the experts who comment on the effects of COVID and the future of working environments. We also highlight remote work statistics from a survey with over 550+ participants. From this, we aim to give a view of the future state of remote working in 2020 and sentiments surrounding post-pandemic working environments.
You’ve seen Zoom shares skyrocket during lockdown and Slack announce a new partnership with Amazon. While many sectors are facing an economic downturn, remote collaboration tools and technologies are at the forefront of investor interest.
Since our first article ‘Is this the remote working revolution’, online collaboration tool Miro has seen significant growth with support queue’s quadrupling in volume since the outbreak. The post-corona world looks promising for Miro and other remote collaboration tools as adoption continues to rise following lockdown laws easing.
“We’ve seen 6x growth in new teams joining our platform, compared to pre-COVID times. We’ve also observed differences in how teams are using our product to collaborate, including more large-group collaboration sessions, more video chatting, and more simultaneous collaboration (where multiple people are working on a board at the same time).
Internally, we’re also changing how we meet and collaborate. We’re creating more spaces for employees to connect in a human way, including Zoom break-out sessions, interactive ice-breakers on a Miro board, and more frequent standup and retrospectives. It’s clear that our platform is even more relevant now and for the future, as the world adjusts to inevitable new working norms.”
In a Linkedin poll, we asked our audience to comment on their preferences in working environments when returning to work. The simple survey included over 550 predominantly tech, marketing and sales professionals.
The results show a clear mindset shift following the remote working trial throughout lockdown with 84% of participants preferring to incorporate remote working into their normal working week following lockdown restrictions. View the results below.
When COVID-19 hit, Google search volumes for ‘remote work’ and ‘working from home’ skyrocketed. We turned to thought-leaders for advice on how they manage their teams from a distance. With over 1,100 employees, GitLab is widely considered the world’s largest and most successful all-remote company. Notoriously transparent about their working model, businesses flocked to their content channels for advice.
“GitLab’s all-remote structure has enabled us to operate with minimal challenges in terms of access and workflows. By enabling our team to operate from anywhere — decoupling geography from the results that we drive — GitLab is more resilient to global crises from an operational standpoint. Through new measures such as Family & Friends Day, we are actively supporting team members facing new variables, from having children at home to managing additional family duties during lockdown.
GitLab has seen a significant uptick in attention for content and guidance around our all-remote work model during the COVID-19 pandemic. As millions are thrust into a forced work-from-home scenario, we’ve shared our foundational Remote Playbook while advising hundreds of leaders, founders, and scholars.”
With updated perspectives on working structure, Klaus reaffirms the need for companies to adapt to the feedback of their teams both during lockdown and the months post-COVID-19. During a time so many have found challenging, flexible working hours, adaptability and human connection have been among the priorities of employees, especially those with families.
“The biggest change for Klaus has been encouraging the team to take advantage of flexibility in work hours during lockdown. We have always operated remote-first, so our processes were set up for an office-free reality. In my case, I ended up adjusting my working hours around the kids: before they wake up, during afternoon screen time, and after they are in bed. Others adjusted to start working earlier to do “shift changes” with their partners. We made it very clear for everyone that family and mental health come first.
Regular 1:1s were crucial to figure out team needs and then act on them, as were weekly all-hands meetings that included some social chatter to check in with each other. We created a #COVID slack channel which combined both memes and factual information. It was important to give people an outlet to talk about what was happening and express how they felt whether that be through humour or practical information.”
‘Uncertainty’ was one of the most widely used words throughout lockdown and for good reason. Now that we’ve navigated our way through what is said to be the worst part of the pandemic, we are able to see more clearly how our working worlds have been affected.
It is important for companies to take onboard team feedback from the last months and assess whether the remote working model (or parts of) could become the new standard.