What a year this has been! The challenges we've all faced at this point don't even need to be stated - they've been talked about nonstop for months. Large, medium, and small business have all felt the impacts of COVID-19 and the havoc it's caused in the workplace environment. Entire offices shut down and teams moved offsite. Orders and projects moved out, or cancelled entirely. Trying to learn how to manage teams entirely remotely. No ability to travel.
For many companies, not only have they been dealing with lost revenue, but also having to embrace working remotely as a matter of necessity. Needless to say, this has brought about many challenges for those not accustomed to it.
Managing a remote team can be difficult. To start, there has to be a certain level of trust - you can no longer simply swing by someone's desk to check in on them or have a discussion. There can also be a certain level of boredom or even depression that arises from the lack of in-person collaboration. These are all things that must be considered and dealt with in order to continue being successful.
But for all the challenges working remotely presents, the advantages are far greater. For one, teams and business that are flexible enough to allow remote work haven't seen so much as a blip in productivity since this all started. The systems and processes were already in place to allow for management from anywhere in the globe - and things kept right on keepin' on like a well-oiled machine. And that's not even considering the financial advantages. Remote-based teams require far less physical resources (building and building maintenance, workspaces to maintain, breakrooms to stock, etc). Even large companies that already had a remote work policy in place have been able weather this storm far better than anyone thought possible. The simple fact of the matter is, if you have a good team whom you trust - work location is irrelevant. The technology exists today to have all the full benefits of being in an office aside from direct, in-person discussion. And even still, as we continue to embrace the "Zoom culture," meeting someone in-person, virtually, will continue to become more and more normal.
Just yesterday I had a lengthy business discussion with a client via videoconferencing some 3,000 miles away. We shared a coffee and it felt as if he were sitting in the same room as me, directly across the table. This is possible from anywhere in the world - and the technology is now more reliable than it has ever been.
However, that is of course only one part of the equation. Having a phone call or videoconference is one thing, but getting down to the nuts and bolts of staying productive and generating tangible output is another. Accomplishing design and engineering work as part of a remote, distributed team has traditionally been a challenge. Connectivity issues, project management challenges - even the fundamental aspect of keeping people happy and connected as a team have all historically caused opposition to the concept of remote work for many businesses and industries.
That has all changed in recent years, and many companies are now forced to get on board - or get left behind. The fact of the matter is, as a result of the pandemic, remote work has been proven to be a viable option over the past few months. For many companies, it simply meant an expansion of their already-in-place work from home policies. For others, it meant an immediate adaptation to remote work, and for the most part business continued forward as usual after a short acclimation period. Bottom line, the tools are already in place and refined, businesses are flexible enough, and employees are skilled enough nowadays to work remotely and remain just as productive as if they were in the office.
So, is now the time to fully embrace a remote design team? The resounding answer is YES! Here at Trailride, we've been working in this manner globally for a number of years. The benefits for our business are huge - we aren't limited by geography and can instead seek to serve customers across the U.S. and the globe. The same can be said for your business - you can pursue talent and contracts regardless of location. The tools are in place now to make it a breeze.
Hopefully your business found itself in a good position at the start of the pandemic to shift to 100% remote work. If not, now is the time to look at those tools and seriously consider it. The business environment isn't likely to go back to "normal" anytime soon, if ever. As we look to the future here at Trailride, we see our niche of providing remote design services as essential going forward. We hope your business can prosper as well. If you have any questions about the concept of remote teams, please get in contact with us - we've got plenty of experience and would love to share our insights.