How the Remote Work Fantasy is Rapidly Becoming Reality
The internet is finally making good on its remote work promise, and then some.
If you’ve worked for an internet company, …or perhaps any company that requires a computer to get work done, this is probably a conversation you’ve encountered from time to time…
New friend: “What do you do for work?”
You: “I work for an internet company and we…”
New friend: “Oh, that’s cool. So that means you can work remotely from anywhere you want, right?… like sitting on a beach or something!” 🤗
Then you spend the next 20 minutes explaining why that’s not exactly the case and it’s not much different than working at any other company that sells widgets. Your company works out of an office, there are desks, a coffee machine, and everyone comes in around 9am.
For most, remote work actually looks like this…
You check your email after eating dinner and work extra hours from home because your boss is a vampire who doesn’t sleep and finds great joy in sending pointless mission-critical emails 24-hours a day, every… single… day. 😑
So why the disconnect? Give us our damn beach!! 🏖
Somewhere along the way we all invented this idea that because the internet provides a way for people to communicate easily across long distances, working together across long distances would be easy too.
Shock: working remotely is not easy.
To the rescue… the remote work dream is becoming reality.
So here’s the good news. Working remotely is finally a real thing.
📈 Between 2012 and 2016, the number of people working remotely four or five days a week rose from 24 percent to 31 percent.
📈 The percentage of American workers who have worked remotely has grown 4x since 1995.
Here at Droplr, we see companies with remotely working employees absolutely exploding. No other customer segment is growing as fast — not by a long-shot. While Droplr is a solution already tailor-made to make the activities of remote workers faster, more efficient, and more visual, it has become crystal-clear to us that remote work is the way of the future. 🔮
This trend is not only here to stay, it has only just begun.
Sure, some companies have been doing it for a long time, and we know plenty, but they kept it stealth — it made them appear less reputable than their competitors who had pictures of an impressive office reception on their About Us page.
Today, companies are now celebrating their fully-remote workforce and remote work policies. There are real advantages, both for employees and their companies.
- unlimited access to talent
- reduced overhead
- happy employees
- to live where they are happiest
- low/no commuting costs
- work-life balance
The short answer is that until now, the technological conditions for a company to succeed with a remote work policy didn’t truly exist. Sure, it’s been possible, but in a practical sense, it hasn’t been pretty. You created documents on your computer, attached them to emails, waited for a reply or talked about it on a call or chat. Then you made revisions and around and around you went. 🎡
That, or you simply didn’t bother to collaborate at all. That happens a lot, and that plain sucks.
We believe there are 2 primary technological advancements that have enabled the current secular shift toward remote workforces…
- The Cloud
Today, the cloud has changed everything about the way we work. Documents are created using applications that run in the cloud and in your browser, files are shared by giving your teammates a link, and collaboration happens in realtime using all sorts of communication apps such as Slack, Skype, and Facebook.
This is all part of a massive arms-race to leverage cloud computing to provide better tools to a modern workforce.
Live streaming between users, and the bandwidth needed to facilitate it, has made it possible to have realtime, on-demand discussions, not just between two people, but between entire teams. This has allowed chat software to go far beyond instant messaging and give rise to robust, visual, and functional conversations.
Streaming becomes indispensable to remote teammates who need both functional communication and personal communication to be good collaborators. We humans crave contact and that doesn’t exclude contact with our coffee-swilling co-workers.
What does it take to “go remote”?
Chances are, you may already be doing it…
Do you have more than one office? You’re remote.
Do you hire outside contractors? You’re remote.
Do you actually have conversations with your customers? Yup, you’re remote too.
Doing any one of those things well is a challenge, let alone running your whole company that way — the problems just get amplified.
As a company who has embraced remote work ourselves, here are a few questions we think you need to ask yourself before you make the leap:
- Does everyone know their role?
→ Duplicating effort is a death sentence for remote teams.
- Does your company have a clear mission that everyone knows and believes in?
→ When the VPs aren’t available, every employee needs to be empowered to make decisions on their own that are in the best interests of the company.
- Do you have a communication protocol?
→ It is critical to ensure that everyone is using the same chat, video, and phone software so staying in touch is second-nature.
- Do you have the right tools?
→ The tools your team uses to create and share the things they collaborate on can make working remote really hard or really easy. The right tools are the key to remote team success.
What’s next on the horizon for remote work?
We see a future where the majority of startups, in a variety of industries, have a remote workforce. The effect this will have on our rapidly evolving economy will be another staggering advancement of productivity which will further amplify how the internet impacts society for the better. The best people will be matched up with the right jobs, and companies will start up healthier and reach profitability faster.
At Droplr, we are both servicing remote teams and growing as one too. We’re uniquely positioned to see this trend as it develops, to identify the unique pain points, and to experiment on ourselves as a remote team. In our mission to make teams more productive by speeding up the process of capturing and sharing ideas, we aim to help the teams of tomorrow succeed in realizing their remote work dream.
Now, go find your beach. You’re going to need it. ☀️🕶
In our next story, we’ll share our insights on the unique behaviors of the successful remote teams and how to implement them yourself.
Have a remote team that needs better tools? Try Droplr for free.