The new buzzword for 2020: working from home.
A lot of companies are making this seem like a big deal, even though the technology to work from home has existed for nearly 20 years now. Possibly longer, but I don’t want to focus on the era when it was very hard to get a high speed internet connection.
At Skystra, we’ve been working from home since the very beginning. In fact, I’d like to think we are somewhat ahead of the curve when it comes to working from home, how to do it, and can offer some advice we’ve picked up over the years.
How to work from home
The biggest realization is that you can be productive when at home. There’s a different environment, slightly different way of doing things, but you can do the same work you’d do in an office. Sometimes even more than you ever did in an office. You just need to adapt to your surroundings. By working from home, you have many advantages, and of course, some disadvantages too.
The biggest advantage our team mentions in meetings is the ability to change their work environment into anything they want. Covid-19 pandemic aside, our team was working from almost any imaginable environment. Home office, kitchen, back yard, deck, in a pool, at the beach, up in the mountains, remote cabins and even on wifi-equipped airplanes. All this to say, remote work let our team be themselves. Make your work environment work for you, instead of adapting to your work environment.
As long as you have a solid internet connection and power, you’ll be able to do your work.
Considerations when working from home
By far the feedback we’ve received most often from our team is the lack of social cohesiveness an office environment can offer. That’s totally normal, we’re all human beings and are used to having peers around us. People we share a routine with and can talk to about various topics or just learn from them by being around them. Working from home really does put this big issue on the back burner in favour of its decentralized advantages.
There is a workaround that we take advantage of. While we hire from all over the world, we try very hard to create “pockets” of team members in areas. That way we can organize small events, get togethers, working environments from shared office spaces, cafes, or other meetup areas.
We hold regular optional meetings, just to talk about things, as you would around the office, and to facilitate people meeting each other for the first time outside of work.
As with any business, we always look at data to make sure we’re on the right track or see where we can improve. Unlike most traditional companies, we don’t place quantitative metrics on individuals. We rely on team feedback, customer feedback and other company-wide goals and objectives.
We are moving things forward when projects are completed, customers are happy and the team is happy. So far in this new Work From Home era, our team is beating all projections in terms of efficiency and value ratings and even more importantly, our customers are even happier.
Team efficiency, when it comes to our customer service metrics improved by 6%. And customer happiness went up a whopping 2.4%, which is huge for us considering we’ve been sitting at around 95% for the last year.
The lesson we’ve learned is, hire the right people, give them the freedom to make their own choices in how they want to work, and your customers will be served amazingly well.
You can’t ask for more as a business.