Dané Swart - Working remotely Flexi hours, remote working and company culture seems to be the topics on everybody’s lips nowadays. But what does this even mean? And, is this the way to go or not?

Let’s start with remote working.

Remote working simply means a distributed team, each member working from their home office.
With commuting out of the picture, employees saves time and money, meaning they can focus on their work for up to two hours more per day. This is especially advantageous to start-ups as every second counts for small businesses that’s just starting out.
Companies also save money on rent, office expenses and employee traveling costs.
With this being beneficial to both the company and the employees, remote working seems to be the future way to go, especially for those in the IT and technology industry.

But, how do teams keep in touch, ensure every member stays productive and deliver quality products?
There’s a whole range of tools companies can use to keep the communication going, the creative juices flowing and even the company culture alive.

A lot of companies working remotely rely on tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype for communication. Even our old friend, Mr. Email, is far from dead.

Slack is a fun IM platform, which allows users to set up different channels for different teams, chat privately with team members and even share Google Hangout links.

Zoom is very nifty for video conferencing and hosting webinars. Working remotely is no excuse for missing meetings!

Skype and Google Hangouts needs no introduction. These two platforms have been around the block quite a few times.

Working remotely surely means you can work when you want to. With the boss not there to peek over your shoulder every 30 minutes, clearing his throat and awkwardly raising his eyebrows every time you take to the water-cooler, you can actually concentrate on doing your job. This means flexible working hours.
According to a study done in Britain, flexible working hours resulted in 40% of employees to be less stressed. (LINK)
This resulted in better work quality and even more loyalty and respect towards their employer.
With more time to spend with your family and enjoying life, you can rest assured knowing you won’t only wake up every day to slowly die in front of your computer.

Now, let’s discuss company culture. What is it and why does it matter? In plain English the culture of the company simply refers to the personality of the company. This will include the type of working environment, the ethics, mission and values of the company. Without a company culture set in place, employees may feel like a resource instead of a human. Consumers my struggle to relate to the company and the branding may not represent the company’s values and core purpose.
A good company culture will ensure happy employees which will result in satisfied clients and then lead back to successful managers.

So, how does remote working, flexible working hours and company culture fit together? These three elements should be coordinated and managed properly to ensure a successful and fully functioning company.

With your team being remote company culture can be a bit challenging. Especially the bit where you want all of your members to not only be a part  of the team but also feel like it and act like it. Having regular sync ups over tools like Google Hangouts and Skype will help team members to not only communicate, but will help them to get to know each other. Periodic team building, get-togethers and workshops will also help employees to bond. With a set company culture in place, employees knows where the company is heading and will feel more secure and steady-going.

With commuting getting more expensive, grey cubicles definitely not being on fleek and start-ups popping up more frequently than ever, remote working will most definitely be the future for many more developers, bloggers, coders and maybe even some engineers.

I am proud to say that I am part of a team where the company culture is synonym to having fun and every project sends us on an adventure. A great company where working hours are relatively flexible. I am more than happy to talk to my teammates via the internet and when things get too lonely and I need some human interaction I enjoy going to our Worcester based office for a cup of great coffee and some smiling faces.