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Maximizing Efficiency with a Remote-First Model

In the last decade, remote work has become a staple in the modern workforce. The growth of the internet has particularly enabled this shift as it eliminates the need for physical presence in a single location. Remote work facilitates a variety of benefits in business operations, such as efficient communication with employees, cost reduction from office spaces, plus improved employee work-life balance through flexible work arrangements.

COVID-19 has prompted an enormous shift to remote work globally, leading to significant changes in business operations. However, the pandemic is not the only factor contributing to remote working. In this article, we will identify how businesses are attaining a remote-first model and maximizing efficiency.

Remote-first model after COVID-19

There is no reversing the massive shift towards remote work initiated by the COVID-19 outbreak. A study paper by Robert Half UK shows that most companies are committing to working from home as the new norm. According to a survey by Gartner, over 80% of business leaders plan to have most of their employees on remote working situations in 2021.

Here are some of the benefits of a remote-first model:

Increased productivity

Many business leaders have had the opinion that remote works decrease productivity, an argument that has been rightly challenged. Employees on remote working schedules tend to have fewer distractions, from office drama, unplanned meetings, employee chatter during office hours, and other issues that tend to reduce focus in the office. Business intelligence also supports this theory. In a two-year Stanford University productivity study, they discovered that remote workers accomplished 13.5% more work compared to their office colleagues.

Reduced business costs

Businesses have to pay rent, utility bills, and transport costs for each worker that commutes or has to work in a physical space. The savings on office space, rent, electricity, and utilities alone can be substantial in a remote-first model. The virtual nature of remote work means that businesses can get away with much lower costs than when running an office or space.

Flexibility, Independence and Employee Trust

By allowing remote work, businesses eliminate the need to micromanage employee schedules. They offer more flexibility for employees to do their work on their terms. With structured communication and collaboration tools, employees can easily work alongside each other, thus increasing efficiency.

Remote work offers freedom from commutes, which is invaluable to many employees. According to a Buffer Remote Work Report, over 98% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers.

Access to a Wider Talent Pool

When offices are unlocked to remote work, geography is no longer an obstacle for recruitment. When there are no office-based limitations, businesses can test their luck by recruiting the most suitable talent from anywhere in the world.

Companies can recruit workers with diverse backgrounds for a more comprehensive and encouraging work environment. Hiring a remote employee also means that business owners can increase employee inclusivity.

Lower carbon footprint

One of the benefits of remote work is the reduced carbon footprint of businesses. With fewer people commuting to work, the planet enjoys a break from greenhouse gas emissions that usually come from traditional working models. This is great news for the environment, and businesses get to demonstrate environmental responsibility, which passively affects their public relations by showing a strategy for sustainable working arrangements.

Challenges in a Remote-first model

Internet Connectivity

Businesses depending on remote work will have to invest in reliable, affordable and efficient internet connectivity for optimal productivity. The virtual nature of remote work means that employees rely only on a stable internet connection to work effectively. Businesses have to ensure that their virtual communication infrastructure is top-tier to facilitate effective work among employees.

Cybersecurity Threats

Working from home comes with cybersecurity threats since the home network of an employee is less secure than an office network. Companies need to beef up their cybersecurity to protect their employee’s data from hackers and other malicious attacks. This includes secure VPN connections for remote workers and mandatory safety protocols, cybersecurity training and backup measures.


When remote workers feel isolated and cut off from collaboration, business productivity becomes affected. This is especially problematic for creative fields like design or marketing that thrive on interaction and brainstorming. Businesses will have to set up appropriate infrastructure to encourage office-like interactions between employees. This could include virtual meetings, messaging apps, and video conferencing.

Management of Employees

Employees on remote working terms require proper management to ensure they don’t slack on their duties. Management roles should include setting realistic goals and expectations, constructive feedback, and regular meetings to discuss progress, and effective communication.

Effective Remote Work Management

A remote-first model requires appropriate management to ensure that employees stay productive and efficient. Businesses have to make a conscious effort in managing employees working from home. Here are several strategies to ensure maximum efficiency:

Keep Employees Accountable

Ensure that employees remain accountable for their work. Give role-appropriate deliverables with defined deadlines and follow up to ensure they are completed as needed. It’s important to not micromanage but instead provide tools and the necessary support to make sure employees can complete their work on time and adhere to company policies.

Set expectations

Businesses have to create realistic expectations for remote workers, including established company policies, work duties, deliverables, and realistic goals. This includes clear-cut communication channels and protocols that employees must follow. This expectation should include communication tools such as email, messaging apps, and video conferencing software.


Effective communication is critical in a remote work environment. Since employees are working from different locations, clear communication channels and protocols are key components to ensuring work is seamless. Regular check-ins and updates are great ways to ensure that critical work is tracked, and workers understand expectations.


Collaboration is critical for employees. It’s important to identify a platform for collaboration and determine how each employee is to use it, considering that individuals require different modes of communication or different tools. This might include shared online workspaces, project management systems or Scrum boards.

Time Management

Employees must have time management skills while working remotely, including identifying priorities, delegating, and self-motivating. Managers can provide support by providing employees with tools like time-tracking apps, project management software and scheduling software.

Worker Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction and better work exchanges are essential to excellent work output. To ensure employee engagement, businesses must promote a culture of collaboration, communication, and feedback among employees. Providing diverse talents with various opportunities and encouraging employees to participate in out-of-work activities improves employee work satisfaction and brings a sense of belonging to the organization.

Work-Life Balance

Employees on remote work are prone to burnout since they do not have the typical schedule of an office employee. Industries with a remote-first model must prioritize work-life balance to optimize productivity. This might include providing resources for worker wellness and mental health alongside self-care, providing flexible schedules for work and recreational activities or team activities to improve collaboration.

Sustain Communication

One of the significant factors that businesses should consider when transitioning to remote work models is keeping communication channels active. Promoting the availability of a communication channel is necessary to ensure that employees feel comfortable communicating and foster mutually supporting professional environments.

Employing various communication channels, either through messaging apps or chat rooms, is perfect to maintain constant contact between employees.

At the same time, developing emotion-rich interactions through video conferences or video chats give additional depth for your workers, and bolster their sense of belonging. The in-person conversations can help increase team productivity by encouraging broader sharing of ideas.

Creating Effective Collaboration Procedures

It is easy for remote workers to lose touch with others in the organization when they work independently. To ensure that this does not happen, a business needs to concentrate on creating effective collaboration procedures.

Collaboration procedures that work well should be simple, easy-to-follow, and accessible for everyone. These should be considered when deciding on which collaboration software to procure.

Providing Adequate Support for Remote Workers

Non-office-based employees’ routines always come with unforeseen obstacles, and businesses need to equip and provide support in a couple of ways.

Firstly, construction of infrastructure, which will include software and hardware support to ensure that the worker’s home office is fully functional. Companies might also consider infrastructure audit services to evaluate and help optimize cybersecurity policies.

Secondly, management of communication channels and protocols that all workers within the organization must follow. This might include the creation of policies on information sharing, controlled communication channels, confidentiality, and mechanisms for addressing data breaches, classification and protection.

Onboarding and Training

When you are bringing new employees into your remote-first model, it is important to provide them with onboarding and training processes. It’s vital to provide employees with the resources to help them become fully acclimated to the prevailing work culture of the business.

In-house company-wide training can be conducted via video conferencing tools, while video tutorials or software short courses can train individuals on software, hardware, and infrastructure policies.

Develop a Crisis Management Plan

Remote-based platforms are not fool-proof even with adopted measures. Since working remotely may also come with unanticipated obstacles, companies need to develop a well-detailed management plan in the event of an emergency.

Business’s contingency plans will determine the quick detection of any anomaly or threat, and developing procedures to counter them with clarity on how to deploy effective responses. Every department and worker should understand their role, and the procedures to be followed to respond to crises effectively, and recover the normal business operations in a swift manner.

Data Analytics and Continuous Improvement

Monitoring data analytics can help businesses get valuable insights into their remote workers’ performance. This data will help in setting goals, identifying areas that require improvement, and help measure performance. Technologies such as digital analytics platforms can also help businesses measure and optimize their remote-first models continuously.


The creation of a remote-first model is essential for the survival and adaptability of businesses in the 21st century. It provides exciting opportunities for businesses to access a wider pool of talent worldwide and reduce operating costs.

However, a remote-first model offers challenges like cybersecurity threats, collaboration and communication challenges, and Internet connectivity issues.

Maximizing productivity in a remote-first model requires business owners to actively manage their employees through the creation of suitable policies and clear-cut communication channels. To ensure employee productivity and satisfaction, businesses must prioritize employee welfare by managing burnout, promoting work-life balance through flexible schedules.

Remote work is the future of modern-day workplaces, and business owners must focus on adopting the model to survive and thrive in the market. Continous improvement of communication infrastructure, cybersecurity policies, management positions and data analytics strategies must continue, and businesses should consistently adapt to the evolving technological landscape.

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