When we consider the future of work, one of the biggest ideas on the table is around the possibilities and practicalities of flexible work. For employers, many factors such as the financial practicalities of offshoring labour, a global talent pool that may not be available locally, pivoting business needs, and even generational working preferences mean that many workplaces are looking into the potentials of work flexibility.
In the tech sector, for example, and within the startup sector in particular, having a partially remote workforce is not uncommon. Evergiving is a software as a service company for face-to-face fundraisers, and we were established from the outset to have an entirely remote workforce—we coordinate, collaborate, and solve real world problems as a globally dispersed team of 18 people. Evergiving employees have found that working remotely can mean more than just working from home; we make work part of our adventures.
Pierre Sauvignon is our product manager. Pierre designs many of the new pieces of functionality for our platform. In his role he is initially very collaborative when planning a new feature set, and then he can go away and build something elegant and functional. Recently, Pierre flew to Sri Lanka to go kite-surfing for a few weeks. Pierre’s day would start with a few hours of work from his beach hut, remotely connected via wi-fi, and end with a few hours of kite-surfing. His role is particularly suited to remote working, because he can work on a feature independently, and then deliver something as a package to be tested.
“Getting out of my usual bubble in my home office or at my co-working space has allowed me to take a fresh look at complex feature-sets that I was otherwise reluctant to start working on! Plus the people I meet in my travels have always offered valuable feedback when we ended up talking about each other’s work.” -Pierre Sauvignon, Product Manager
Christina Yip, the Support Manager for Evergiving, has a very different role, one that needs to be constantly engaged with customers, following up on conversations and seeing things through from initial customer contact to satisfactory conclusion. Christina recently combined a trip up the east coast of Australia on a cruise ship with work; she’d work everyday for several hours onboard, and spend the rest of the time with her family. When they finally docked in Hong Kong, Christina took the time to pitch the platform to potential customers. Christina found she could stay on top of customer support requests coming in from both regional customers global customers, and that the nature of her work didn’t really change despite the radically different environment.
“Customer service is not about location but understanding their needs. With the proper tools and attitude I can make sure my customers are getting the support and service they need wherever I am, even when on holidays with my family.” -Christina Yip, Support Manager
The obvious question is—can managers combine adventure and work? Although one of the fundamental truths of management is that it’s a very people oriented, hands-on sort of role, we think it can. Lisa Britt, our Head of Customer Support and direct line manager to seven people is about to embark on a year abroad, working from multiple destinations, working entirely remotely the whole time. Lisa believes that success will be predicated on our established work culture with work patterns that directly support remote working.
“Surprisingly remote management can be just as effective as traditional management, however you need the right people, processes and technology in place. We have a great team, and over the years we have refined our processes and technology to a point where the clear visibility of the team’s workload and performance as a whole makes oversight relatively easy.” -Lisa Britt, Head of Customer Support
Evergiving CEO James Goodridge has always supported remote working and encourages his staff to take work to new places.
“When you have the right people, with the right skills, and a team that already works remotely, why not let your staff do amazing things? If they are happy, motivated, and delivering beautiful work, everybody wins.” -James Goodridge, CEO
photo credit: Evergiving