COVID-19 and Remote Work, Can It Actually Work?
Apr 21, 2020 11:18:00 AM
Another week goes by as “Stay at Home” becomes our global motto. Cases continue to surge and no one can really say if and when things will return to the way they were. Despite the social impact of the crisis, many companies are scrambling to figure out how this will affect their business; how to get in front of the situation bycutting costs without sacrificing the quality of their produced work. One thing seems to be clear: in times of pandemic, necessity creates innovation.
While some industries are hesitant to work remotely, a crisis can change the rules. Although some may find the at-home shift to be difficult — whether it be due to lack of focus or missing in-person interaction —somechange can be for the better.
Could working remotely actually be beneficial? Even more productive in the long run? The IT industry’s long-standing history of working remotely can help guide the way.
Others are Still Delivering
Remote work is not new. If the coronavirus is showing us anything, it’s that flexibility and proactive decision making are vital assets (now more than ever).
For business owners based in the US (where remote work is used by some but not others), the move to a permanent partial or fully-virtual operation can be intimidating. But done the right way, remote setups can be an asset to certain enterprises.
Companies likeTonic3 have been implementing this methodology for +24 years. Remotely (and semi-remotely), we help our clients cut costs and maintain a quick-moving operation.
Our teams add agility and efficiency to the working process, with team members based in the US and in South America. Work flows faster, projects become more dynamic.
Making the Transition
Depending on the company’s structure and budget, you may hire an in-office team, or you may look to hire remotely. When it comes to the US job market, competitive rates and a shortage of the “right” candidate could pose potential roadblocks.
In addition to quality concerns, today’s tech leaders are finding it difficult to fill open positions due to high demand. Lower numbers of truly qualified engineers mixed with a wealth of new clients means high turnover.
Eventually, you may find it nearly impossible to maintain a consistent team of engineers. Not only is hiring remotely a good option, but it is also the reality for many US-based IT companies.
Working With a Remote Team: What to Consider
The idea of working with a remote team can seem overwhelming for companies that are used to having their software engineers in-house. When assembling your remote team, quality should not be put on the back burner — it is a must no matter who you engage with or their location.
That being said, there are two ways to source your team: nearshore and offshore. Your decision will be based on factors like language and culture; time zones and geographic proximity; and budget and work experience.
Finding the right fit is all about covering your “must-haves”. So yes, there is some research and appropriate questions looking for information that, if your vendor is not providing, you as a buyer should do.
While hiring offshore (South East Asia, Asia, Eastern Europe, India) could save your business money due to lower hourly rates, many times the language/cultural barriers and time differences eat up the savings and are known to frustrate your US employees (those 11 pm calls get old), ending up in higher overall cost and missing deadlines.
Nearshore, on the other hand, could be your solution. Hirees are often based in the same or similar time zones and the language/cultural barrier is not as great. Working hours remain the same and, while often these hourly rates are slightly higher, the overall completed project cost tends to be lower.
What To Do In This “New Normal Situation”? Blended Teams
As the short-term adjustments settle in over the next month, consider a midterm plan: working with blended teams. We know that managing all-remote teams works, but incorporating an entirely new system in the midst of a crisis may not be the easiest sell to your CEO.
Blended teams mean that part of the team is remotely based and part works in-house. If outsourcing to a company likeTonic3 for example, your company’s project manager will work directly with an in-house team located in the US.
Depending on your team’s needs (and of course, when the quarantine is over), we’ll send new team members to your offices or work directly out of our delivery center in Dallas. We then manage the remote team, helping your business cut costs and making the overall transition smoother.
We don’t know what the future holds. But we do know that change is here, and our only way through is to adapt. Change can be difficult. Change can also present moments for growth and opportunity. And as we endure the coronavirus together, we can work to innovate and better our current systems.
Working from home may just be a temporary solution for your team. It could also be the long-term implementation that changes your business.
Tonic3Tonic3 is a multi-national digital agency providing UX, VR/AR, and Software Development services with delivery centers in Dallas, TX and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Clients include Citi, McDonald's, Disney, Accenture, BMW, Danone, Banamex, Johnson & Johnson, and Sofitel.