Lessons we learned from going full remote
The coronavirus pandemic happened suddenly and changed our work habits in every possible way. The biggest alteration was going full remote and sending all our employees home. They couldn’t organize meetings in the conference room, eat lunch in the kitchen or drop by their colleagues’ office to say hi or discuss important subjects. What did we learn from this unusual situation?
Working remotely is something that either you love or hate. Some people appreciate the comfort of their own homes where they don’t have to wear uptight clothes and have no distractions from their fellow employees. Others hate working from home because of other family members interrupting them all the time. Also, sometimes a fridge, undone laundry, or a cat can be way more interesting than ticking off the to-do list.
But in times of epidemic, there was no choice whatsoever. Everyone had to work from home and make the best out of it. We had to adjust our daily operations to achieve the productivity we had in the office. Here’s a couple of conclusions we have now when our team is now allowed to work on-premises or from their own homes.
1. It is different from working with remote clients
We had some experience with remote work before Covid-19. First of all, we have more than one office in Poland — so our team is not in one place. Daily video calls were a part of our routine. Also, we cooperate with international clients and Polish companies from around the country. To be honest, most of our business operations are happening via digital channels.
Still, not having the usual squad available in the office means that you need to call or message EVERYONE. No ability to meet face-to-face means no product workshops or sales meetings unless they are video calls. And we all know sometimes it is better to meet up in person.
Nonetheless, we had to change our process to be safe and sound during the pandemic. That’s exactly what we did — and even though we feel the difference, we can tell it’s not impossible to work full remotely.
2. Good organization is the key
Everything can be done if your work is well-organized. Being in constant contact, having a couple of communication tools and reporting work progress regularly are the best ways to keep in touch with your co-workers and deliver excellent results.
This rule applies not only to fully remote times but to software development in general. We shared our experience on that matter in one of our blog posts on remote work. The iteo team already worked partially remote before the pandemic as the majority of our clients come from abroad. We had to work out rules and methods to be productive even when we couldn’t meet in person. Different time zones weren’t helpful either.
All that work done in a digital environment before the coronavirus helped us to get organized when we had to ditch the office and work from our homes. And we proved it could be just fine.
3. Working from home doesn’t mean less productivity
Yes, we know it’s sometimes tempting to walk around the house 20 times a day or to spend 30 minutes petting your dog or cat. Not to mention people who have kids and HAVE to pay attention to them almost constantly. You also might have a significant other that also works remotely and has a couple of video calls per day. So there are distractions and noise that can make peaceful work problematic.
Still, we didn’t observe any changes when it comes to delivering perfect results. Our teammates were available on Slack during work hours, they attended scheduled online meetings and they shared the results of their labor with leaders and clients. Apparently, there is a way to work from home despite the obstacles.
4. We live in privileged times and work in a privileged industry
As an IT company, we mentioned we already worked remotely with some of our clients and between offices we have in a couple of Polish cities. So we had experience and all communication means to keep in touch and push the projects further. The fact is that the majority of our work happens online, so we could just pack our computers and move within hours since the government issued their pandemic recommendations.
With internet connection almost everywhere and all the digital tools that allow video calls and file sharing, we can work from home as long as it’s needed and keep our operations as usual. In times of epidemic, our squad will stay safe and will be able to work no matter what.
5. We are different people when it comes to work
Some of us couldn’t wait to come back to the office — because of the reasons mentioned above. Some people need a visible border between work and home. Also, organizing meetings is easier when you have a dedicated room for it and you can talk with everyone face-to-face. Missing fellow employees was also a factor here.
Right now, when there is voluntary permission to come to the office, some of the iteo teammates gladly do just that. Others stayed at home and they don’t want to come back just yet. Partially because the COVID-19 is still out there and the pandemic is not over. But also because they feel much more comfortable when working from home.
We should all understand that each of us has a different style of work and they prefer various surroundings to make themselves productive. Going fully remote showed us that it is possible to work this way and that for some people it can be better.
Will we work fully remote forever? Probably not. We like to keep our teammates close to share the experience of software development. But we have to say, despite the whole pandemic that caused major public health anxiety, we learned a lot and we are prepared to tackle similar challenges in the future. Times are uncertain right now and our priority is to keep work continuity, so we can always thrive.
Contact us if you want to work with a company that has years of expertise in software development. We will walk you through the whole process to deliver excellent results and help you with your business. Let’s work together — no matter where you are located, we can offer comprehensive services in design, development, quality assurance and more.