That’s all the rage in the corporate world for the last half of March 2020. The world is on fire, Clients are leaving deals midway, some even cancelled signed contracts, the daily wage labour all around the globe are struggling to bring food on the table for their family.
Times are tough. How can business and startups survive this?
Investors: Any startup that gets started during the next few months is disproportionately likely to succeed. Success depends most of all on determination, and imagine how determined you have to be to start a startup in the middle of a global pandemic.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) April 1, 2020
Startups which survived to 2008 Recession were not the strongest or biggest, but the ones who adopted Fast. How many startups will survive this
One of the most fundamental changes in businesses and startups who will survive this era of uncertainty will be the ones who will shift to work from home.
The Basic Problem
While working from an office is what we all are most used to, but it is not the most efficient. With working in an office is you’re just not in control.
Distributed Workforce, working from home, coffee shops, airports or anywhere in between.
Take Automattic, the company responsible for amazing web products like WordPress, and the inspiration for this article. They have over 800 people, working from all over the globe. As long as the teammates can find good Wi-Fi, they can collaborate online,
Learning from Automattic
When approached consciously, the distributed workforce can be the most effective way to build a company. it has a lot of advantage, and one of the biggest advantages is the ability to hire from anywhere.
Talent and intelligence are equally distributed throughout the world. But the opportunity is not.
-Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic
Limited Hiring Pool
Companies with traditional workplaces have the limitation of hiring from limited geographic areas. Hoe ever for a distributed company, you have the flexibility to hire people based on the talent you are looking for. Geography is no longer a limitation for a distributed company.
Give People Autonomy
Companies with vision and mission to serve the global audience, it adds tremendous value when you have a teammate working around the world.
- make your schedule
Some people are night owls, some people are early risers and some people just like to eat lunch with their family,
You fix certain hours of the day to work while accommodating all the activities you value in your life.
The Choose of Happiness
Working distributed requires WiFi Connection and a good laptop. As Technology is getting better and better, everyone in your company has the freedom to choose where they want to work from. Be it a Coffee Shop in the middle of Madrid or a quiet table in co-working space in your city. Whatever makes you happy.
And that exactly what distributed workforce is giving to the people. When your staff is happy with the work they are doing and where they are doing, they tend to work harder with you and help you reach your company mission.
A technology company is an ideal petri dish to test how effective a distributed workforce can be.
Relevant Read: Productive Sales Team Work From Home
How to Get Started
Let’s say you are a company and you have a workspace where people walk in every day, sit in front of the screen and start working. Here are a few things you’ll have to set up before you start transitioning into a distributed team
Leaving a trail of thought process and work steps in an important step for a team distributed.
It is easier to make a decision when you are in an office because everyone is aware of what’s happening in the company. While in a distributed workforce, this gets challenging. Start by making it a habit to document everything. This means everything such as where you are currently and what everyone was thinking about before, during and after a decision was made.
This allows others to pick up where you left off. And in the true sense, your company will be working 24/7. IT keeps your organisation organised and an additional benefit of documentation would help for people leaving and people joining.
It allows people in different time zones to interact, it’s also great to think about as an organization evolves, people leaving and people joining.
Practice and make it a habit to document all the communication online. As it allows new people to get on the tasks quickly and allows them to get their work done quickly.
There are lots of tools out there to simplify communication, Video apps, messaging platforms, team management apps amongst many others.
Try out different things and see what works. at the end of the day, what we want is productivity and delivery of tasks.
In a regular workspace, people work from a single place for most of the year and take a vacation for a few days. In a distributed workforce team, Automattic has found the opposite to be productive.
They come together for short, intense bursts every year where they do a grand meet-up with the entire company for about a week.
The objective of this annual activity is to get to know each other. When they get back to their distributed workspace after the week of interactivity, they a mich better understanding and emotional connection with the people they work with.
When they work together the rest of the year, they can bring together that understanding and empathy.
BYO Work Environment
One of the coolest perks to employes working distributed at Automattic is the stipend they get for the workspace.
Some people choose to spend the extra money on a piece of new furniture like Desk and Chair, or a new computer. Those who choose to work from outside use the money to rent out desk to a co-working space, or buy a cup of coffee so they don’t get kicked out of the coffee shop.
Companies try to make the employes more and more comfortable with the decision of the workplace they choose to work from. Only when they are comfortable with their choices they are dedicated to completing their tasks at work
Today, there are just a few companies that are distributed first.
In a decade or two, Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic predict over 90 per cent of companies will be distributed. With the current sudden pandemic the world is facing, this seems to be a highly possible outcome.
Over the past few weeks, a lot of companies have witnessed a dramatic shift in workplace habits and exploited the possibility of distributed workplace working out.
The sudden increase in the stock price of company Zoom is evident of this.
Going forward from this epidemic there will be two types of companies who will evolve to be a distributed company and those who fail to cope with this economic crash.
Moving on, learning from the Q1 of 2020, future entrepreneurs will consider tapping into the global distributed workforce while starting a new company.