There’s growing evidence suggesting that having the option to work remotely is not only good for employee morale and productivity but also for the company’s bottom line. Since we have implemented this remote-working experiment at NONA, the feedback from within our ranks has been overwhelmingly positive.
Says one of our project managers: “I really think it’s a commitment to the team. Everyone is committed to each other and getting the job done. No one takes advantage of the system, and NONA’s encouragement of communication has really helped with its success.”
Also from one of our international developers: “A massive advantage for me has been the opportunity to see friends, family and spend more time with my partner. Being able to work remotely for extended periods has afforded me the best of both worlds, moving from Europe to SA and back, and following summer around the world. And what makes this work? The willingness to try, test, sometimes fail, and adapt, is the only way a shift in operations, such as this one, succeeds.”
Feedback from one of our local developers: “The personal positives of NONA’s remote-working policy is that you can be very flexible. I get to work in my pyjamas and I get to see my newborn son whenever I want, which helps me destress and think more clearly when I’m working. Every single person working remotely is disciplined to stick to their hours and get the job done without distractions from the buzz in the office. It provides us developers a workspace where you can think more clearly, which makes the quality of work that much better.”
What’s in it for NONA?
Obviously not all companies can function in this way, but the continuing development of collaborative technologies has certainly opened up new possibilities.
We’ve found the more we trust our staff, the happier they are, and importantly, they are in charge of creating an environment that encourages optimal performance. Also, the slog of the daily commute is no longer relevant, which has afforded employees more hours in the day to pursue hobbies and spend time with their loved ones.
The Best Talent
It’s enabled us to attract talented people who can work independently. When remote work is an option, it opens doors to talent globally, while at the same time mitigating any possible issues with working permits. Good developers are far and few, but the scope now is so much broader.
Fewer beating hearts in the office means fewer overheads and provisions. At NONA, we still have a few people in-office on a regular basis and our overheads haven’t reduced dramatically, but there is definitely room for saving.
How NONA is doing it
As one of our remote-working developers correctly pointed out, there are a few crucial considerations if this model is to work. Constant communication between project leaders is an absolute must; hiring the right trustworthy talent with the right attitude; and no micromanagement of projects.
We use JIRA for project management, Trello workboards, Slack chats and groups, and Google Hangouts calls, which make it easy for us to keep in touch on a frequent basis. Technologies like Github are naturally collaborative and make development and remote QA easier.
It’s great to have the option of working remotely but the office remains open to staff who want to come in and make use of whatever they need. We also provide free lunch to all in-office staff. As far as possible, the team gets together twice a week on what we call in-office days. This of course doesn’t apply to our staff who might be out of the country at any given time.
How has it worked for NONA?
Measured in terms of tasks completed during a sprint, we saw a stable output of tasks with similar workload allocations.
We distributed Google forms to all employees to gauge sentiment and satisfaction. Our team, who had the choice to respond anonymously, was overwhelmingly in favour of the policy and offered valuable insight into how we could improve the processes. These included suggestions of compulsory in-office days for those in the country and company-wide standups to keep everyone grounded in the NONA culture.
We are convinced now that going remote, (whether it be partial or complete) is the right way to go. While we have learned a huge amount from this process, we’ve still got a long way to go and will keep experimenting until we get it right.
If you would like to discuss what has worked for you, we’d love to hear from you.
Contact Co-Founder & CEO Mike Scott | Mike@nona.digital | 082 786 4692