Leading from Afar: The Advantages of Running a Remote Workforce
It’s safe to say that the world has changed more in the past year than it has over the past decade. In many ways, the pandemic accelerated every major business trend influencing the financial industry. From mergers and acquisitions, the expanded use of technology, and the normalization of remote work, it appears there is no looking back. The pre-pandemic model will become the subject of many stories about the proverbial “good old days” – if it hasn’t already.
The Future is Here
Last year’s public health crisis forced us to rethink what was possible. Where annual in-person reviews were the norm, video conferences have now become the preferred mode of communication for advisor/client meetings. Employees are splitting hours between home and the office, with 65% of Americans reporting they would take a pay cut to work remotely full time.
Remote work has dramatically changed the hiring landscape, as well. If an executive in New York can’t find the right local candidate, they can expand the search and even focus on states with higher unemployment rates to expedite the process and create a more diverse pool of applicants. Hiring becomes less expensive and filling a role much more efficient.
The flipside of this, of course, is that strict in-office policies could negatively affect recruitment. Employers who refuse to lean into the waves of change could miss out on top talent.
How Well Can Companies Adapt?
There is no shortage of debate surrounding this shift to remote work. Can a company of 100% remote workers be genuinely successful? Do virtual teams perform less optimally? Is working from home any less productive?
According to research from executive search firm Spencer Stuart published in March of 2020, more than 25% of virtual teams weren’t performing optimally, and 33% of teams rated their leaders as “less than effective.”
Here we are, though, over a year later, worlds wiser and more resilient than ever. I suspect these numbers from the early days of the pandemic reflected the growing pains associated with the seismic shift that occurred in the workplace as millions of American workers were forced to work from home. Of course, teams weren’t going to be performing at their optimal levels under that kind of duress. Suddenly, individuals who relied on in-person collaboration had to rethink and relearn standard operating procedures with no time to adjust.
As time went on, businesses learned to adapt. New post-pandemic era management positions have even emerged to handle the deluge of workers operating remotely. Remote-work czars, as they are sometimes called, are like human resources managers on steroids. Not only do they work to manage the tasks of remote teams, but they strive to keep staff engaged and connected while working from home. These positions prove that remote work is here to stay, and companies are constantly tweaking their work from home arrangements.
Company Advantages of the Remote Team
When done right, remote teams can have massive advantages for a company. From increased productivity to more engaged and invested employees, to quicker and more efficient team meetings, the benefits of remote work are plentiful.
- Remote Workers are More Productive: While it may sound counterintuitive to be more productive while working from home, several studies over the past few months have indicated that remote workers spend ten fewer minutes a day being unproductive, work one extra day a week, and are 47% more productive.
- Remote Meetings are More Effective: Meetings conducted over video software like Zoom are held to a specific time limit so employees can get back to working on the projects that will directly impact the business.
- Remote Work Allows Employers to Take on Top Talent: When employers aren’t geographically bound to a pool of candidates, they can choose the best person for the job regardless of their location.
- Remote Work Increases Chances for Networking: With flexibility working remotely, employees aren’t bound by the 9-5. Schedules can be arranged to accommodate networking events, lunches, or opportunities that otherwise might be missed.
At AssetBook, we began reaping the benefits of the remote work model before 2020. We’re one of the few companies who had the whole virtual work arrangement nailed down before the pandemic came along. Our employees collaborate from afar, and our leaders lead from a distance. We decided to move away from the in-office model to the remote model just a few short years before the pandemic, and our team has only become more robust as time has passed.
Running a successful company with a team that is 100% remote is possible. We know because we make it happen every day. Effective leadership remains the best indicator of long-term growth, and this was true long before the pandemic. We are successful because our team members are talented in their own right, but stronger together—no matter how near or far their virtual desks may be.
Marwa Zakharia is the CEO of AssetBook. She has extensive upper management experience, holding positions such as CEO, COO, VP, and providing guidance to companies in various industries as a business strategy consultant. Marwa has worked in the financial services industry and FinTech space for over 20 years, helping companies increase their market share and develop revenue growth processes. She is well-versed in human resources, operations, and overall strategic planning.
Marwa actively volunteers her time as an executive board member and volunteer to non-profit organizations whose causes she is passionate about supporting.
Connect with Marwa Zakharia on LinkedIn