Written by Leo Smeets
Working remotely is here to stay! The Covid pandemic gave it an enormous boost (“every disadvantage has an advantage” – Johan Cruyff, Famous Dutch Soccer player).
While working remotely has a lot of benefits (increased productivity, improved work-life balance, decreased running costs, lower staff turnover, staff sourcing globally), it is not all rosy.
There are downsides to working remotely:
Different Time Zones
It is a challenge to coordinate meeting schedules for projects with project team members spread around the globe. We have experienced a particularly tough example of this, where the client project team had members in the US, Europe, India and China.
Studies show that 60% of remote workers feel less connected to their colleagues.
In a traditional working environment, it is easy to drop by a colleague’s desk for a quick chat at the office.
What does working remotely at Akceso Advisors looks like?
Akceso Advisors has, since its inception over 11 years ago, been operating as a virtual company where all of the staff work remotely. It is safe to say that working remotely is in our DNA.
It would not succeed without continuous effort from everyone to keep working remotely beneficial. Key themes are
- (over) communicate,
- include everyone,
- maintain motivation,
- recognize and share accomplishments of the team and individuals,
- focus on priorities,
- gather and use feedback from team members via one-on-one catch-up opportunities, and
- invest in teambuilding.
Akceso Advisors makes sure the IT hardware and software does not hinder efficient remote working. Standards for equipment like headsets, laptops and Wi-Fi specs are defined, implemented and regularly monitored. We have used a variety of collaboration tools over the years, constantly refining our approach. Monthly sessions – so called Community Calls – give the team members a forum for sharing personal matters. WhatsApp is used to communicate between the whole staff on business but definitely also on individual private events/experiences. Also using WhatsApp helps us keep the Akceso ‘emeritus community’ (former colleagues and retirees) involved in the Akceso world
Every quarter the technical staff has an operational 2-day meeting, with the whole team coming together every 6 months for several days. These bi-annual Imagine Days as they are called are a balanced combination of workshops, social and cultural events (from classical piano concert in Krakow – Poland to abseiling in Visegrad – Hungary, from arrow archery in Larnaca – Cyprus to a Deep Purple concert in Cluj – Romania). Every second Imagine Days the partners of team members are invited to join the social and cultural events. The Imagine Days are held in a new location every time.
Does working remotely work at Akceso Advisors?
Yes, it does!
As noted above, it takes continuous effort to make it work and keep it working. The staff turnover is very low. The output delivered by the team to our clients is constantly highly appreciated and rated as very beneficial. This would not be accomplished with an poorly functioning (remote) team. The team members value the flexibility regarding the physical working location as well as the working hours. For Akceso Advisors, working remotely definitely works. The key is that the company was set up from the start to accommodate working remotely. Ever since then, the Founder and CEO has invested ongoing effort and time to make it work.
What does it bring to the clients of Akceso Advisors?
It brings a lot!
Working remotely as a company, Akceso Advisors can do the best for the clients no matter where their team members reside; sometimes our projects span over 8 time zones. Attracting new highly skilled staff is not limited to the physical boundaries regarding commuting time to the office. Serving international clients with project team members from different cultures works better with a company that also employing people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Some final words
Working remotely does not necessarily work for everyone and all types of companies. Not everyone likes to meet their colleagues only occasionally. Not everyone is disciplined enough to push themselves to start working on your laptop without the presence of colleagues and/ or their manager with their piercing eyes!!
For Akceso Advisors it works!
Photos: Akceso, https://www.canva.com/
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