Just like 2016 will be the year of the Linux desktop, it’ll also be the year of the remote worker.
Only one of those sentences is true. Sorry, Linux.
I’ve talked about my experiences with remote working before, but I’ve never put down the criteria that differentiates a company that has remote workers with a company that has a remote work culture. So here’s a quiz for you; tally your scores up, and we’ll talk about the results at the bottom.
3: this applies and in practice works 80% of the time or better
2: this applies contextually; and generally between 50-80% of the time
1: this applies less than half the time, if at all.
- Your office has the capability to host remote workers through video conferencing software or chat software.
- All policies regarding remote work, holidays, and ‘flex’ time are written down and accessible to all employees, even if they’re remote.
- Important information is disseminated in such a way that people who aren’t present won’t miss out: company persistent chat (like Slack or Hipchat), or email.
- Decision makers make an effort to wait to disseminate information until remote workers can video-conference in.
- Your office has persistent video conferencing software set up in your office; or your conference rooms contain a web cam and persistent video conferencing addresses (a dedicated Google Hangout)
- Remote workers are promoted or given raises at the same rate as in-office workers.
- You have a promotion plan in place for remote workers.
- You don’t ask remote workers to relocate to the main office.
- “Work/Life Balance” applies to everyone in your company, not just people you see day-to-day.
- Remote workers consistently say they feel “a part of” the company culture in feedback sessions.
- You have regular feedback sessions with all your employees, including your remote workers (1 on 1s, virtual coffee, etc).
- Meetings are always scheduled in advance. Impromptu meetings are rare.
- Remote workers know the hours of time per day they should be immediately available, and the hours they should be available within 15 minutes of contact.
- When there is a special event at the office, you also send something to your remote workers so they don’t feel left out (cake for the cake gods).
- If your remote workers came to you with an office culture issue; you’d take their issue seriously and work with them to resolve it, even if it meant changing company practices.
- “In office” employees consistently say they feel connected to remote workers; and there aren’t signs of a rift between the two groups
- At least once per month, remote workers pair program or work alongside their office counterparts on the same project together, at the same time (probably utilizing some sort of screen sharing software).
40+: You’re doing really well. Your remote culture is solid; and while there are things to work on, you’re in a good place.
25-39: You’ve got some work to do. Your remote workers may feel disconnected, or they may feel like they’re missing vital information. Your office workers may also feel disconnected from your remote staff. Take a step back and have honest conversations with all parties. Remote work may not be for you, or you may need to double down on it.
<25: You don’t actually have remote employees, right? If you do, they’re probably experiencing serious issues; and need your help to make them right. You may also have higher than standard turnover with your remote employees.
Special thanks to Brent Ozar (twitter, blog) for reviewing this post.