Work Your Way is our new blog series in which individuals give their honest answers about how they like to work when working remotely. From how to create and maintain a work culture when working remotely, to how they best like to work remotely, they share their insights and top tips.
Robert Collings, Finance Lead at Flux shares with us his thoughts on how to maintain their company culture whilst working remotely and the importance of a remote-friendly office. Flux is an award winning startup backed by leading London VC firms, PROFounders and Anthemis, that is working tirelessly to bring bricks and mortar shopping into the digital present.
What is the biggest advantage to the company of working remotely?
For me, I think the biggest advantage for a company is actually the advantages it brings to employees, such as reduced travel costs or more time to focus. That can make employees feel happier and/or more productive in their job, which naturally benefits the employer. My commute into the office is about 1hr 30 mins so that's an extra 3 hours a day that I can spend doing something to relax (sleeping, most likely!), which improves my productivity during office hours. Some companies might view it as the employee having more time to work, but I would always encourage people to spend the time doing something that helps relax or energise them.
Remote-Friendly or Remote-First?
Remote friendly. Particularly for the younger generation of workers, being in an office allows you to build amazing connections with coworkers who may become lifelong friends and help later in their career. That's not to say you can't build strong relationships in a fully remote scenario, but it's just easier in the office - you might talk to someone in a different team when you're in the office, but if you tried to do that remotely then it may feel a bit forced. There's also the background knowledge that you absorb when being in an office - hearing people answer questions and casually listening into conversations can help you pick up context which not only improves your own work, but also helps you understand the perspective of others.
That said, I'm not advocating the office on a full-time basis. Allowing people to chose when they work from home and when they commute in is the optimal mix in my opinion. It gives you the best of both worlds - the career benefits of being in an office with the convenience benefits of working from home.
How do you keep remote work visible?
It's much easier when teams are fully remote as there's less chance of a remote worker being forgotten about. But if you're going for the pick and mix approach, I'm a big fan of everyone having to call in from their desks when any one of the attendees is remote that day. It makes it easier on the remote person to get their points across when everyone is on an equal level.
How do you maintain and create a company culture when working remotely?
Like many companies, we've done a lot of things at Flux to maintain company culture when working remotely during COVID. These range from virtual hackathons to Flux Societies (where groups of common interests come together to partake in some kind of activity). Having in-person events where possible is great too - even if it's just 2 or 3 remote workers that happen to live close to each other. It's a good idea to designate someone to be responsible for these kind of events otherwise they can be overlooked if no one is actively managing them.
Where is your favourite place to work from when working remotely?
A shed in the garden - I find the separation between where I work and where I 'live' really valuable as it helps me to shift my mindset. I do like to move around occasionally though - sitting somewhere close to a fridge is the WFH equivalent to someone bringing cake into the office, so that's always a good but unhealthy idea. I really like the idea of going abroad and working remotely from there for a bit too, but I haven't been one of the lucky ones to time a holiday in between lockdowns unfortunately!
A big thank you to Robert for his honest answers and insights into Flux. Make sure you check out Flux.