Future of Work: Remote vs Colocated (Part 1)

In the first of our series, we discuss the benefits of both forms of work

As a company grows, there comes a time to ask, “What’s the best way to scale our workforce and office space?” It used to be that companies would take root in one city and stay there, but with the rise of remote teams, there are now more ways than ever to grow your workforce. At BeyondHQ, we often get asked for our perspective on Remote vs Colocated, so we decided to start a blog series, the first of which, presents the merits of both forms of work. As a frame the conversation in terms of “and” instead of “or.”

Taking remote work to another level

Remote Work: Working From Anywhere, Anytime

Remote work, which simply means work done outside an office, showcases an individual’s abilities. Away from the distractions of daily gossip and the looming dread of a bumper-to-bumper commute, remote employees can concentrate solely on their work. Without being dragged into meetings throughout the day, remote employees don’t have to constantly switch tasks, which improves creative productivity. With a flexible schedule and the ability to work anywhere, many people love virtual employment so much they hope to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers.

Remote work can save companies money. Top talent can be hired without worry of relocation costs or finding more office space for the workforce. It’s also easier for companies to retain employees, even if they decide to move across the country.

White-boarding = instant feedback

Colocated Work: Many Minds Under One Roof

Colocated work — work done at the office — also has many upsides. Teams that can see each other in-person are often better at communicating. They benefit from instant feedback cycles and can hold impromptu meetings, which means they can more quickly smooth over misunderstandings and pick up the pace on quick deadlines. With everyone working in the same time zone, no one has to stay up until 2 a.m. for a conference call. In addition, employees don’t have to worry about persistent technical breakdowns, such as wifi outages and video call issues.

While many virtual workers feel lonely or left out, close proximity can foster bonds that turn coworkers into friends. Several major companies are reducing remote work after noticing how much more productive colocated teams are. After all, an efficient and bonded team usually helps improve the bottom-line.

How do you know what is best for your business?

With these differences, it’s tempting to think in terms of remote or colocated, but it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. Whether hiring a single pro off-site or letting everyone work from home once a week, more and more, companies are taking advantage of both.

There are several questions to reflect on when considering how to build your team. Does your office culture encourage working independently? Do you have communication strategies for virtual workers? What do you want your team to look like long-term? The list goes on. Nothing can replace the power of in-person communication, but technology is making it easier and easier to bridge distances.

Our team at BeyondHQ has a combination of remote and colocated workers. As a startup, we rely on quick feedback to be able to pivot swiftly, so we mostly work together onsite (with the occasional work-from-a-coffee-shop day). But, we also believe in finding great talent wherever it may be and have several remote folks.

With the proliferation of communication tools, it’s possible to grow your team via remote, colocated, or remote and colocated work. It’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons and being intentional about how your team grows. There are many questions to ask and decisions to make to get there, but when you do, your team, culture, and business will thrive.

About Us: BeyondHQ is your turnkey solution to opening a new office. We’re passionate about helping companies open the best remote offices that work for their company and culture, and bring over two decades of experience scaling remote teams and building offices at companies like Palantir, Rally Health (part of UnitedHealthcare NYSE: UNH), and New Relic (NYSE: NEWR). We are experts at workplace expansion strategy and execution; helping find the right location and space, managing the design and build out, enabling local resources, and more.

Helping companies strategize and optimize geographically distributed teams

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