Our Journey to a Remote Work Model
Introduction: When the Covid-19 lockdowns were imposed, our company encountered a significant challenge. Historically, we had a strong aversion to remote work, which led to concerns about the future of our business. However, as time passed, we found ourselves reassessing our position. This article delves into our experience as business owners and explores the rationale behind our decision to transition into a fully remote company.
Transformation of Our Workplace:
Even before 2020, the software development industry had embraced the concept of remote work. In contrast, we took pride in our strict policy against working from home, setting ourselves apart from competitors. Our commitment to maintaining a physical office presence was so stringent that employees were not permitted to work remotely, even during snowstorms.
Navigating the Post-Covid Landscape:
As the Covid-19 situation gradually improved, we introduced a more flexible approach by making office attendance optional for our employees. However, out of our workforce of 50 employees, only four individuals opted to come into the office once or twice a week. Consequently, we found ourselves with a spacious 6000 square foot office accommodating only a handful of employees.
Drawing on our experience as seasoned business owners, we adopted a cautious approach, deciding to observe the situation for a year before making any definitive choices regarding the future of our office. Closing the office without careful consideration, only to later realize a resurgence in the demand for in-person work, would have been a disastrous outcome.
A Shift in Perspective:
Over time, it became increasingly difficult to motivate employees, apart from the original four, to visit the office even once a month for a complimentary lunch. There appeared to be a fear among employees that we would implement a hybrid work model. This realization made our decision easier.
The evolving dynamics of the job market also influenced our resolution. During 2021–2022, there was a significant surge in developer salaries, while inflation impacted various expenses such as office groceries and insurance. Given these circumstances, the opportunity to eliminate an annual expense exceeding $200,000 and maintain pre-Covid profit margins became too compelling to overlook.
Factors Enabling the Transition:
Multiple factors played a role in our choice to become a fully remote company.
We had already identified and respectfully phased out individuals who were unable to work effectively from home.
We had established robust processes to monitor production, ensuring accountability and productivity.
60% of our management team and 50% of our employees resided outside our city. Even if we enforced office attendance, they would never be able to comply.
Financial, environmental, and quality of life considerations.
Dispelling Office Productivity Myths: Contrary to common belief, we firmly assert that working in an office does not inherently enhance productivity. This conviction is based on our firsthand experience and observations.
We encourage individuals who enjoy remote work and fear being compelled into an office environment to scrutinize the practices of company owners.
- Do they themselves work remotely?
- Are they bound by long-term leases they cannot terminate?
- These factors offer valuable insights into a company's remote work culture.
Conclusion: Our transition to a fully remote company
has been the result of careful consideration, financial prudence, and the changing landscape of the modern workforce. As business owners, we have come to recognize the advantages and viability of remote work. By sharing our journey, we aim to empower individuals who aspire to a remote work lifestyle and foster a deeper understanding of the evolving work landscape.