Remote Friendly vs. Remote First Productivity Management

The 2020s have seen a rise in businesses and workers who want remote work. Remote work offers a number of benefits for both organizations and individual workers, including more flexibility for work hours and access to more talent. However, when it comes to productivity, it can become a bigger struggle for the human resources department and staff management. 

Productivity is a huge priority for any business. And every business should consider its approach to remote work and how that approach might impact productivity. 

The two main options for organizations are remote friendly work and remote first. Here’s the comparison between the two types so you can determine which is better for your business:

Remote Friendly vs. Remote First Workforces

What are Remote Friendly Offices?

Remote friendly refers to an organizational strategy where an organization allows employees to work remotely as long as the capability is available. 

Remote friendly offices will have workers who come to a centralized office location, but it will also allow for remote workers. 

This means that the organization can hire completely remote workers but also provide flexibility to the employees who go into a centralized location, allowing them to also work from home. 

Benefits of Remote Friendly

Remote friendly gives organizations more flexibility in work hours. With remote friendly, employees can essentially choose to work at home if they need to. Having a distributed team can lead to a better work-life balance and more employee engagement.

Working remotely can be a great relief for the office worker with long commute times, during poor commute conditions like inclement weather, and can minimize the amount of missed days due to illness or maternity leave. 

When you allow your workers the option to work from home, you are likely to have a less stressed-out workforce, greater efficiency, and employees taking fewer days off. 

Downsides of Remote Friendly

Remote friendly can be challenging for management because it often requires two sets of operations for employee and productivity management. Unless the entire organization prioritizes the remote first approach for operations, a remote friendly business is likely to have two sets of operations (one at the centralized location and one remote), complicating current operations unnecessarily. 

Businesses can set up the remote first approach for those workers who come into a centralized office, but if the business is not doing this from the start, then this requires a reworking of operations and processes. Some businesses are simply not prepared for this transition, which can be problematic, time-consuming, and costly. 

Your remote team may find that there is less synchronous communication between remote workers since they aren’t able to collaborate as much in person. Similarly, some remote team members might use this to their advantage to not work as hard or efficiently for your company. 

As we know, working remotely does have productivity benefits as well. However, it is not realistic to expect each and every remote worker to work harder when away from the office. 

Having any type of remote option can weaken security by increasing the number of access points to your business. 

What is a Remote First Workforce?

Comparatively, a remote first workforce is a workforce that primarily or exclusively works remotely. This means that few workers, if any, are required to come into a centralized office space and the team consists of almost all remote team members. 

Remote first does not always describe a work setup or arrangement, it can also refer to a set of best practices around remote work. For example, you can still be remote-first if you still have an office or want to offer hybrid workstations. This would mean that operationally, your organization is structured with remote being a major priority. 

This would include things like:

  • The ability to access files through the cloud and from any location
  • Online synchronization for improved working cohesiveness
  • Access to online communication systems, available anywhere
  • Video conferencing, like Microsoft Teams, already set up on computers
  • Faster virtual collaboration
  • Employees and contractors issued work-from-home computers for advanced security

Benefits of Remote-First

Remote first comes with a number of benefits. One of the biggest benefits is access to a premium talent pool. Businesses aren’t forced to rely on workers within a particular geographical location or compute time. This means you can reach out to a greater talent pool to accelerate your business. And some remote employees only seek out a remote job, so this can be the only way to access certain types of talent. 

Remote first offers workers a lot of flexibility; a remote workforce has more control over their work set up, often their hours, and sometimes the technology they use. This can show increased performance gains as employees are more comfortable in their working environment. 

Most notably, working remotely saves companies a lot of money. Without the overhead of physical office space, a remote first company can improve its bottom line and allow it to expand its offerings, profits, and employee benefits. 

Downsides of Remote-First

Sometimes running a remote company has its downsides. As with anything, remote-first can limit the organization to remote-only technology. While remote only technology is still extremely advanced and of a high caliber, this could be limiting if you prefer technology available for infrastructures. 

Remote first companies need to have solid remote policies in place for time tracking each team member, remote management, decision making, and more. Without these policies, the remote working environment can be challenging and productivity numbers might drop. There are also security challenges associated with remote only environments.

Adopting a remote tool, like a productivity tracking software and project management system, is the best way to improve remote productivity, remote security, and establish a baseline remote work policy. 

Which is Better for Productivity Management: Remote Friendly or Remote First?

When it comes to choosing a working style for productivity, the choice really depends on how the organization is set up. When done right, both setups work for managerial styles so long as managers are prepared and/or experienced with each. 

A remote friendly company that uses the remote-first approach will find processes functioning far more smoothly and there won’t be as many redundancies. And with the option to come into a physical office, businesses may find that they make up for some of the lack of cohesiveness and collaboration that comes with online work. 

Remote first is great for companies who want to eliminate a lot of the overhead with running a business. This makes sense for online businesses and when set up correctly, management is no problem. 

Managers who oversee completely remote workspaces must be prepared for this, though. Since there is no office space to meet at, managers should consider regular 1:1 meetings online about productivity, to review productivity metrics, performance gains and losses, and goals. 

Employee monitoring software for remote work environments is critical in this regard. This software can be remotely installed and monitored from a single console so that remote managers can quickly and easily see who is working and who is not. 

Remote Employee Monitoring Software for Improved Productivity and Metrics

Employee monitoring software is necessary for managing remote teams and can create a positive remote work culture. Luckily, this software works for remote friendly and remote first work styles. 

Even if the employees use their own company, companies can still use employee monitoring to ensure that their employees and contractors are working. 

With this tracking software, managers can see:

  • Attendance tracking and timesheet tracking
  • Hours worked
  • User behavior analytics
  • Real hours worked for projects, tasks, and clients vs. internal tasks
  • Wasted hours
  • Budget estimates
  • Communications for security threat detection
  • Application logs 
  • Websites visited

Moreover, managers can use this data to properly monitor employee productivity and to set accurate goals for workplace performance.

When we talk about doing remote workspaces right, employee monitoring software is key to that. Without this software, remote productivity management is just not possible. Even if you say you are doing remote productivity management (without the software), managers really have no idea what work is actually getting done, the actual time it takes to complete this work, and more. 

Use employee monitoring software from SoftActivity for your remote environment. Whether you operate a remote friendly office or want to do remote-first, SoftActivity can improve your remote culture and productivity by giving you real insights into hours worked and real productivity metrics. 

See today how SoftActivity can improve your bottom line!

By SoftActivity Team.

April 25th, 2022