Remote working scale. What level is your firm at?


Businesses across the globe are still adapting to new ways of working in light of COVID-19. Forced to evolve quickly and transition business operations, processes and teams to remote work. The future of work may have just changed forever.

So, how are you doing? How do you gage how well you’re working remotely?

Sitting on the scale

You’ve spent time and resource transitioning. You’re all set-up and settling into your new routine and workplace. You’re adapting, but it can be difficult to effectively measure how you and your team are really doing, especially if you’re new to remote working.

So, we’ve pulled together our own remote working scale to help you figure out where your firm fits and how you can level-up if need be.

Level 1 – Deliberate Deterrents

Level 2 – Tool Transitioners

Level 3 – Active Adapters

Level 4 – Positive Preachers

Level 5 – Native Ninjas

#1 Deliberate Deterrents

Number one on the scale are firms who are essentially ignoring the need for change. We call them deliberate deterrents. They’ll do everything they can to avoid having to adapt their ways of working, even at times like this. Tech has never been something they’ve especially relied on- so why should they now?

Phone tick. PC tick. That’s all they think they need. Putting off projects and tasks until they’re back in the office. Head high in the clouds (or deep in the sand) thinking that this will all be over tomorrow and they won’t have to invest the time to make change happen.

If this sounds familiar, you need a reality check. The future of work is changing around you. Your competitors, suppliers, partners and customers understand the need to change. So whilst you’re stood still, they’re adopting new ways of working. Ways you won’t be familiar with when things finally do go back to normal. If you don’t change you could find it difficult to pick up where you left off because, in this reality, everybody’s already two steps ahead.

State: remote-unfriendly

#2 Tool Transitioners

Level two. These teams are embracing new tools now that they’re having to work remotely. They’ve got the tools but haven’t done the process transformation piece. So, they’ve not changed their office-working habits.

These are the businesses that are having several video conference calls with 7+ people when it could have been 2 – possibly thinking “I really don’t need to be here right now”. Spending even more time responding to emails, IM notifications and phone calls more than 30 times a day, as if every piece of communication needs an urgent reply. Interruption after interruption.

Credit: Skype, YouTube

These are the desk prisoners that are scared it’ll get picked up that they’ve taken more than 10 minutes to reply to an email. In some cases, senior management are focusing on applying tracking software to staff devices, rather than looking at better ways of working remotely.

So, it seems like it’s a lack of trust with staff, whereas it’s actually a problem with the process that’s the issue. They’ll likely go back to the way they worked before, but use the tech they’ve experimented with as a novelty every now and then.

Most firms will be sitting on the fence here, the ones that take the leap to level three are thinking more holistically about how technology can improve the way they work in the long-term.

State: remote-tolerable

#3 Active Adapters

Making active steps to change the ways you work. That’s your level three.

This zoom meeting should be an email. We need to break this meeting out into smaller groups to help us achieve more. These guys are taking this opportunity to think about the way tech can transform the future of their workplace.

They’re using tools that enable a collaborative approach to tasks within meetings, so it’s never just an update and everyone invited is essential to the project deliverables. Think Google docs. This way everyone involved in the meeting has involvement and actions to complete and an understanding of tasks involved across the firm.

They’re thinking about investing more in tech to improve processes and quality of work. They won’t be firing too many emails, they’ll be using IM and phone calls for instant clarifications. Emails their new snail mail.

Still learning, but actively adapting with the vision of moving towards level four.

State: remote-friendly

#4 Positive Preachers

For these guys, tech is already at the heart of their business.

They’re in tune with business operations, having a real-time view of where everything is without having to catch-up with each employee individually. Whether it’s an IM, phone call, email or assigning tasks – they already know which channels to use to prioritise workload. The tools work for them. They’re hot on embracing automation to help streamline processes and save time.

There’s a lot of trust here, there aren’t many check-ins. Working hours are usually flexible, whether you’re an early-riser or night-owl. This freedom has led to an increase of productivity for many teams. With some remote teams reporting a 35-40% increase.

This leaves so much time for large chunks of uninterrupted creative thinking that can be applied to tasks. So teams are able to think of multiple solutions to problems, innovate and experiment more. Devoting time test initiatives and agree which will deliver the best outcome and running with that.

And thus, asynchronous communication is born here. Encouraging this deep work helps preserve focus and stimulates innovation. No unnecessary interruptions. They rely on the tech to update each other on team progress.

State: remote-working

#5 Native Ninjas

Built to be remote. Teams like Zapier, HelpScout, Monzo and Buffer – many remote from the get-go.

These businesses live, breathe and practice remote 24-7. They are the companies undisrupted by the pandemic, offering out their own supportive blogs, guides and tutorials on setting up remote teams.

They embrace remote-first. It’s a mindset not a way of working.

State: remote-first

Final thought

The future of work may have just fundamentally changed forever. Companies across every industry around the world are coping with how to achieve ‘business as usual’ while working from home.

At present, remote working is the norm for so many across the world. So, it’s now more important than ever that firms are open-minded to tech and understand the value it can deliver to process and operations.

Thinking of taking your firm to the next level? Reach out for ways to level-up.

Get in touch to hear more about how Eligible can help your firm in 2023.

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