At Motus, we focus on enabling the mobile workforce. This philosophy stretches from our end users to our own employees. Just look at our cultural pillars. With the WorkSmart pillar, we provide our team members the tools, flexibility and resources to get their work done in the way that makes the most sense for them. Prior to COVID-19, 18% of our team members did not live close to one of Motus’ four offices and worked remotely 100% of the time. Of the team members who did live close to a Motus office, more than half split time between a home office and the Motus office. We made sure all team members had the infrastructure and tools to work effectively, regardless of their location.
Our team began actively following the evolving COVID-19 situation in January. In February, we told our team members to be prepared to make the switch to 100% remote working if community spread became a risk in the United States. The health and safety of our team members is always our top priority, so this was an easy decision to make. Because our team was already enabled to work from home, the transition to a fully remote workforce in early March was relatively seamless. Our leadership team established weekly all-company meetings to share business updates. Individual departments established standing social hours over video chat, and our rock star team members kept operations running smoothly.
As it became clear it would not be safe to return to an office environment for quite some time, the leadership team began to think about what remote working would look like in the longer term. Not just through a pre-COVID vaccine period, but also what the future of work would look like in a post-COVID world.
First, our team reached out to the rest of the company with a survey. We asked everyone what their thoughts were on working from home and what level of interest they had in continued remote work. Once we compiled those results, we held interviews with team members that already worked remotely. Through these case studies we received good insight on how each individual made working remotely work.
Then we set up a number of focus groups. In these, we asked a co-workers for their thoughts on how their work lives had changed and whether they saw the move as a benefit. Following an overwhelmingly positive response to remote work, we decided to continue with our Work Anywhere initiative by making it a pillar of our company. That initiative consists of several different opportunities.
In the near term, this was the most important reason for making the Work Anywhere decision. Our team members range in age, location and disposition. Even as states and cities around the nation see drops in new cases, exposure increases greatly in public spaces. Enabling our team members to work from anywhere means they can continue working without fear of exposure at their place of employment.
More and more, the workforce is looking for opportunities to work in ways that break from the traditional office setting. Dress codes and cubicles don’t appeal to everyone, and they shouldn’t have to. Bringing comfort to the process of work can result in boosts in productivity and employee satisfaction. Our company is uniquely positioned, from work enablement and security perspectives, to make that a reality.
Of course, how an individual works and how their team works can be different things. And those must overlap at several points. Enabling team members to connect via video chat and, when comfortable, in person, keeps them in tune with their coworkers and engaged in their mutual goals. Helping team members find their own balance is equally important. Whether they start the day earlier or stay on later, block meetings one day each week or take a midday exercise break, team members should feel comfortable communicating and doing them.
The benefit of employee flexibility also extends to future team members. In the hiring process, the ability to work remotely opens the talent pool to people beyond our previous physical locations. That means hiring people across the country, even the world, and enabling those people to work where they’d prefer.
Removing the cost of office real-estate from the budget is another opportunity. An opportunity for Motus to reinvest in what’s important to our team members. And our culture remains as important to us as it does to them. They may no longer have the water cooler conversations they enjoyed in the office. But we hope to give team members social interaction that connects them in meaningful, purposeful ways. Perhaps that’s meeting at a catered, company-sponsored monthly group social at any number of nearby event spaces in a safer future.
Teams no longer have conference rooms to book for quarterly reviews and team-building exercises. But they can take a week-long company sponsored group bonding session at a location of their choosing. These, and several other options, are only a few of the ways the company can reinvest previous expenses to benefit and celebrate its work force.
Employees might find remote work challenging. The lack of day to day connection with their coworkers in a shared space may give them pause. Distractions in the home may make work life more difficult. Separating work and personal may prove challenging. These are all risks of a work anywhere company. But each of these can be answered with initiatives that help employees. For example, our team built intentional plans for addressing challenges that might arise.
Managers that know their employees are having a difficult time transitioning from traditional office setting aren’t helpless. They can work with them to build plans to keep them on track and prioritized. That connection can be supplemented with pop-up co-working spaces in various locations. Companies can also supply their employees with the necessary material to bolster the “office” in home office, making distractions easier to overcome.
How has your company performed during the pandemic? Have you maintained unexpectedly high productivity? Are your employees enjoying working remotely? Not every company can feasibly shift to a Work Anywhere option. But, for those that can, consider your employees’ safety and happiness. If their output is sustained, or even improved by, remote work, think about how the move away from physical space can further benefit your company.