Former Xerox Chairwoman and CEO Anne Mulcahy is widely quotes as having said: “Employees are a company’s greatest asset — they’re your competitive advantage.” At The Mad Botter, could not agree more. Yet, it’s also been proven true by study after study that happy engaged employees perform far better than the average worker. How do we make that work in an ever more competitive market for top (especially technical) talent? Again, we can turn to Mrs Mulcahy for guidance:
We’re living in a different world now in terms of employee needs, and companies have to offer alternative methods for getting the work done. Even under the most difficult circumstances you can have creative flexibility.
Today’s top talent, especially those in highly creative or technical disciplines, want as much flexibility as managers can possibly give them and with the competitiveness of hiring in that market, managers can hardly afford to dig their heels in on every request.
A common request employees have is partial or full remote work. We’ve had a ton of success by instituting a hybrid remote working policy. What that means is that we have our core team in our Florida office who come onsite two to three days per week depending on our workload and we have additional more specialized team members in the various parts of the US. The key here is flexibility — flexibility for the team and for management. In the event of a tight deadline or issue, management does have the ability to pull everyone into the office daily. This is an admittedly rare occurrence and we’re averaging three days per week. The other obvious advantage of this is that if we have a highly specialized role to fill we can hire beyond our local area.
Keeping a team in sync on a complex project is hard and having remote team members does add to the challenge. However, this is again a problem that our hybrid model is pretty well-suited to solve. From a tooling and process perspective, we operate as though we are mostly if not completely remote: our entire team communicates in Slack as our primary communications channel, we tie our build / automation tools into Slack to increase transparency throughout the team and all of our task and project management is done in the cloud. Even in cases where the onsite time might do some brainstorming or design work on our whiteboard, we always capture that work in Google Drive, so it can be easily shared with the full team and referred to later.
The final key in working with a hybrid remote team is automation. Simply put tasks that are dull and unpleasant are very like to be de-prioritized by team members; this effect seems more pronounced in remote team members. The solution we’ve found that solves this problem without micromanaging is to automate these tasks away as much as possible.
I hope you have found this look into how we practice a hybrid model of remote working helpful and if you have any questions, please reach out! Also, if you’re interested in learning what an AI powered bot can do for your business, try our free strategy session.