While the world was in the throes of a pandemic, the Chief Executive Officer of Signeasy, Sunil Patro, was summoned to the digital soapbox to debate the transition to remote work. GitLab, a firm that has been a significant thought leader on the topic ever since the first few moments of COVID-19, had Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, as his host (and long before).
The two had their discussion for the GitLab in-house podcast via video call, which was an appropriate medium given the circumstances of the conversation. Patro explained that remote labour has always been a part of Signeasy’s business model. The company has headquarters in four different cities (Dallas, Bangalore, Chandigarh, and [city in Ukraine]), and its contractors are located all over the world, including in Canada. Patro, the man behind the Signeasy empire, is currently stationed in Mexico City, expanding the company’s reach across yet another nation.
Up until 2017, he and the majority of other staff did their work remotely from India. After that, he moved his family to Mexico City after accepting a position in the United States where he was responsible for expanding the company’s sales, customers success, and partnership teams.
Patro had, more or less accidently, made a very shrewd business decision by distancing himself from HQ. One of the best practises for firms migrating to a more remote structure is to have the leadership team go first. Patro had made this decision by separating himself from HQ. According to Murph, the difficulty in adopting remote-first practises seems to increase in proportion to the degree to which the leadership team is physically tethered to the office.
Let’s jump ahead to the present day. Signeasy has shifted its strategy from being remote-friendly to remote-first in light of the fact that everyone in the world is now working from home. Signeasy was born for this: having collaborated across borders since the beginning, all of its employees were armed with the required tools for a successful transfer. In contrast, several businesses were thrown for a significant loop when their teams suddenly became separated.
If you put some thought into it, you’ll be ready for anything.
How exactly did the business evolve into the sophisticated Swiss watch manufacturer that it is today? Patro stated that “a couple of years ago, we started making a few years ago, we started making a really serious effort to put together a corporate guide.” This guide lays out important frameworks for diverse styles of internal communication, basic leadership ideas and values, distinct styles of cooperation, and standard operating procedures for how to manage different teams (sales, customer success, etc.).
“Every single piece of information was written down. “As a result, we began incorporating it into our process for onboarding new workers and developed a training programme for those who were already on staff,” he stated. That way, nobody would ever feel like they were missing out on anything even if they did become completely isolated. And when COVID-19 struck, that is precisely what took place — all without any prior warning at all.
Murph says that a lot of people have the misconception that writing things down will just slow them down and make them less productive. However, if you take a look at how Patro’s foresight saved the organisation numerous difficulties, it is quite evident that recording standards actually helps workers become more productive over the long term.
If you start by plugging any gaps in your knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to handle the oncoming deluge.
Maintaining the satisfaction of one’s workforce from afar Patro was overjoyed to inform that the Signeasy staff is thriving, in contrast to other businesses, who are obviously having difficulty adjusting to these sudden developments. Already, the foundation for future achievements was laid, and now that foundation is beginning to bear fruit.
He stated that the majority of our staff members are experiencing a significant uptick in happiness as a direct result of regaining some of their personal time. “There is less time spent commuting, which in turn results in less stress and fewer distractions.”
When employees are not required to adhere to a strict nine-to-five work schedule, they are better able to concentrate on their work and increase their level of productivity. Indirect benefits include a heightened focus on performing work that actually matters, as well as the ability for employees to schedule their hours around the time zones of customers and partners. These are also positive developments.
Patro believes that the company will have even more freedom in the future now that Signeasy has polished both the preparation and the execution. Patro believes that “we are going to become more remote-friendly,” or at the very least, that “people will be given the choice.” “If you are considering working from home, let’s have a conversation about the support you will require. Do we require better equipment, better arrangements for people who work from home, or better product specifications?
If you go into it with that mindset, there is no way you will fail.
Do you want your business to have a more decentralised presence? Start here.
The transition from having all employees located in the office to having them all work remotely is a major change that some businesses just cannot accept. In circumstances like these, Patro recommends adopting an approach that is more nuanced and balanced. He stated that “even if [companies] don’t want to go entirely remote, they can investigate the idea of hybrid” (even if they don’t want to go fully remote). “When I say remote, I don’t mean in a separate city or country – it means creating greater work-from-home flexibility,” the remote worker explained.
For instance, some workers might want to spend four to six hours in the office on a particular day, and then complete the early or last couple of hours of their shift at home so that they can avoid rush hour traffic. It’s possible that they wish to start working even earlier than usual because the meeting time for their hobby club is 5:00 p.m. There will also be members of the team who take pleasure in the social aspects of being at the office; those individuals might not want to spend more than a few hours per week working remotely, if any at all.
Patro stated that the decision was left up to the individual teams and corporations. There is no better way to demonstrate to your staff members how much you cherish them than by playing to their respective talents.
He also mentioned that several employees started exploring new professional skill sets, which he attributed to the fact that the Signeasy team is getting their work done more quickly than ever before. They were finally in a position to ask themselves, “How can I contribute more?” since they had the time and drive to do so. Perhaps a member of the customer support team has a passion for graphic design. It’s possible that one of the people in accounting uses social media. If the founders want a team that is devoted to them and empowered to make decisions, they should foster these latent abilities and interests.
Last but not least, management will have a tremendous opportunity to figure out which components of the corporate culture are successful and which are not when employees are geographically separated. Is there still trust among employees now that they are permitted to make their own decisions? Accountability? If companies are able to learn the proper lessons from the recent move to remote work, they will position themselves for years and years of continued success in the future. There is an old proverb that advises people to never waste a crisis.