“Freedom day!” trumpets the press, as restrictions lift in England.
This seems to be the start of the world reopening and the start of that much-heralded “new normal”.
And for office workers hybrid working is on the horizon, a best of both worlds solution that retains the benefits of working from home and mitigates the downsides of not being in an office.
But just because hybrid is the most talked about solution, doesn’t mean it’s the only one.
At Desana, we’ve taken the decision to grow remote-first and here’s why.
We feel that it’s more equal
As we’ve written about in the past, hybrid working has the potential to lead to bias. Long story short, if some people are in the office more than others they are the ones building up their networks and - as a result - the ones that are more likely to be promoted.
Those choosing to work remotely are also more likely to be those people without caring responsibilities (very often women) or disabilities, perpetuating existing inequalities.
This inequality of experience is even more likely to be the case when some members of the team are working remotely and some are in the same office. Those at a distance are more likely to feel excluded and to believe that their colleagues are discussing them behind their backs.
By building a team that is intentionally remote, we ensure that everyone has the same experience.
In addition, it means that we are able to recruit from a much wider pool of candidates. Not only is this great for us as it means we’re able to recruit the best people for the job (not just the ones who live a commutable distance from the office), it also means that we’re opening the doors to people who might not otherwise be able to apply.
It facilitates flexibility - something that we’re all about
As the world opens up, there’s going to be many people making up for lost time (and making the most of new found flexibility) by combining travel and work. No longer is this a dream restricted to a small group of digital nomads, visible to the rest of us only through Instagram pictures of yoga on a beach in Bali.
Now that employees have shown they can work remotely, why not allow them to enjoy that Work From Anywhere lifestyle?
For us, we believe that allowing people to work remotely gives them way more freedom. Instead of using up holiday allowance, you can work while you are away, giving yourself extra time on a long weekend trip, allowing you to visit family abroad for weeks at a time or even permanently relocating to another country.
But it’s not just about being able to sip piña coladas under a palm tree while fielding customer service enquiries. Allowing people to work from anywhere gives them more flexibility to fit their work around their lives, from caring responsibilities to hobbies. We believe that flexible working is one of the most important benefits a company can offer and by making remote working the default we bake in flexibility from the start.
Our team can experience our own product
As a company that gives access to a network of flexible workspaces, we’re big fans of the idea that you can pick a space to work in that’s most convenient to you - whether that’s somewhere near home or near to whatever post-work activity you are up to.
Not having a central office allows us to make the most of our network of spaces and everyone is allowed to use the network to book space as and when they need to.
It means we can experience our own service but - perhaps more importantly - it also gives individuals choice and flexibility.
Some people like to use the Desana network every day, and some just when they are working alongside colleagues. Some people have favourite spaces they go back to all the time, and some like to check out as much of the network as possible.
In a way, we’re Desana-first. Since our team is now scattered across London, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and Stockholm it also means that when colleagues meet up to work together you have people from different departments working alongside each other in a very serendipitous way. An account manager, a software engineer and an operations lead walk into a coworking space...
Growing a remote team isn’t something we’d recommend to all organisations and it’s something that we’re sure will evolve and change as we grow. But for now it feels like a fine solution as the world starts to open up a little bit more.
If you like the idea of going Desana-first or giving your access to workspace where they need it, get in touch.