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Remote First vs Remote Friendly Organizations 


Remote Teams

Remote First vs Remote Friendly Organizations 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, much has changed, and organizations are turning to remote work models. According to statistics, 97% of employees want to work remotely at least once.

July 19, 2022
min read
July 19, 2022
8 min read
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Remote First vs Remote Friendly Organizations 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, much has changed, and organizations are turning to remote work models. According to statistics, 97% of employees want to work remotely at least once. Additionally, a survey of 800 employers showed that worker productivity has been the same or higher since employees shifted to working from home. Thanks to advancing technology for making it possible!

Organizations are adopting one of these strategies, i.e., a remote-friendly or remote-first approach. These two approaches seem similar; therefore, it’s good for employers, hiring managers, and other top decision-makers to understand their differences. Consequently, they can easily decide what approach best suits their company and employees.  

This post will help you explore the distinctions between remote-friendly and remote-first companies.

What is a Remote-Friendly Organization? 

Remote-friendly companies allow employees to work in the office and sometimes remotely (1 to 4 days a week). The number of days employees work remotely depends on an organization’s schedule and nature of work. More importantly, management takes place from headquarters, and not all employees may be allowed to work remotely. 

Typically, a remote-friendly company uses a hybrid approach towards remote work, i.e., employees work from both offices and remotely (from home or anywhere). 

Examples of remote-friendly companies include Hubspot, Amazon, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Salesforce, and Zoom.

What is a Remote-First Organization? 

Remote-first companies or organizations allow employees to work remotely (from home or anywhere). It’s also possible that employees of remote-first companies don’t work in similar time zones since their talents are sourced from different parts of the world. Additionally, they rarely have a physical office because all work is successfully executed remotely.  

In brief, remote-first companies have properly designed workflows, workforces, and standard operations procedures. Also, such companies are “fully remote.” 

Some of the leading remote-first companies started entirely as remote companies. However, some companies that have existed for a long time are now pivoting to a remote-first work structure. 

Examples of remote-first companies include Uscreen, Buffer, Zapier, Slack, GitLab, Help Scout, Basecamp, and Skillshare.

Statistics show that about 16% of companies globally are 100% remote. 

Remote-first vs. Remote-friendly Companies: What’s the Difference? 

The significant difference between remote-first and remote-friendly companies is the work structure (the degree to which remote work is embedded in a company culture). One allows employees to work remotely, while the other enables employees to work remotely (partly) and in the office. Other notable differences are based on their characteristics, as outlined in the table below. 

Difference Remote-friendly Remote-first
Attitude Remote work is perceived as an add-on or a privilege/ perk. Remote work is highly encouraged and fully incorporated on all levels.
Communication Synchronous communication is the most commonly used form of communication. Additionally, asynchronous communication is partially practiced. Asynchronous communication is the most commonly used type of communication (communication takes place at each employee’s convenience).
Set-up On-site work is the default setting of remote-friendly companies, but employees can work remotely a few days a week or a month. Remote work is the default setting for remote-first companies. Remote work is a way of life.
Management Most of the management, including meetings, occurs in the headquarters and during office hours. Management takes place remotely across various time zones. Also, in-person meetings are limited because video calls are the go-to method for meetings.
Employee Location Employees must be within specified locations near the headquarters or where they can easily access the offices. Employees/ remote teams are globally distributed.
Measuring Productivity Measuring productivity may be based on the number of office hours of employees. Measuring productivity is based on the results and output of employees.
Hiring & Employment Requirements Remote-friendly companies hire employees in specific locations near headquarters. Potential employees may have to relocate. Additionally, remote-friendly organizations value potential employees with solid organizational, adaptability, and communication skills. Remote-first companies hire talent that suits their company culture of any geographical location. Potential employees should be independent with exceptional time management and communication skills.

What are the Benefits of Being a Remote-friendly Company? 

Below are the benefits of being a remote-friendly company or organization:

1. Enhanced direct communication 

Remote-friendly companies allow team leaders and employees to communicate directly with each other because they’re in the same office. Additionally, there is more personal interaction and regular check-ins with your staff. 

2. Better work-life balance 

Employees of remote-friendly companies enjoy a better work-life balance because they work in an office and remotely. Employees get to experience both the aspects of in-office and remote work. 

3. More in-office productivity 

Depending on the nature of work, employees of remote-friendly organizations can achieve more productivity in the office than those working remotely. It’s most applicable where employees have access to specialized facilities, systems, or tools in the office. 

4. More accountability 

Employees of remote-friendly companies work with coworkers and managers on the same floor; thus, they tend to develop better accountability than their counterparts whose work is entirely remote. 

Often, distributed teams of remote-first companies need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined, which may sometimes be affected. 

What are the Benefits of Being a Remote-first Company? 

Even remote-first companies have a positive side to things and enjoy several benefits, as outlined below: 

1. Access to a variety of talents 

Remote-first companies don’t limit themselves to where they hire; thus, they have a better talent pool globally. They attract great talents from everywhere, regardless of their locations. 

Check out these guides on how to hire and pay remote employees in Africa

2. Minimized cost 

Remote-first companies' operations take place remotely; therefore, they easily cut down on costs, including real estate and utility bills. 

3. More efficient work processes 

Remote-first organizations have streamlined workflow processes and tools that allow their distributed teams to work efficiently. 

4. Reduced environmental impact

Employees don’t have to commute to work daily; thus, it reduces a company’s carbon footprint. Additionally, not commuting to work saves time for the employees. 

5. Improved quality of life and better productivity 

A remote-first approach allows employees more flexibility to get work done at their best. It also allows them to work around family responsibilities and personal lives. Consequently, it increases happiness and job satisfaction. According to a CNBC survey, remote workers have a Workforce Happiness Index score of 75% out of 100. Additionally, statistics show that fully remote employees are more productive and engaged than their on-site counterparts. 

Should Your Company be Remote-friendly or Remote-first? 

The work landscape is changing, and the future of work is remote. Now that you understand the critical differences between remote-first and remote-friendly companies, you can choose what approach suits you. 

If your organization still uses a conventional work approach, you may adopt a remote-friendly strategy (a hybrid remote work). It’s also suitable for a new company. However, you must have office space, equipment, IT security, and a support team. 

On the other hand, a new company may opt to adopt a remote-first approach from the start. Taking this route requires a remote-first company culture, well-defined work processes, tools, and employees with a remote-work mindset. Established organizations already using a remote-friendly approach may transition to a remote-first strategy and adjust their work policies accordingly. 

In brief, remote-friendly is for companies that want to build a team with good rapport and offer the benefits of remote work to their employees. Conversely, a remote-first strategy is best for a company that aims to build strong distributed teams and wants operations at a minimal cost. 

Both of these approaches are excellent and can be successful. However, your selection should be based on your company’s goals, culture, and the nature of the work. 

Let Workpay help you successfully manage your remote team in Africa

The success of remote work and your employees' productivity requires you to manage your team properly. Having reliable partners is equally important. 

Workpay is your ideal partner in hiring and paying remote employees in over 50 African countries. It provides compliance, payroll, and Employer of Record (EOR) solutions. You don’t have to worry about accessing top talents in Africa. 

Check out Workpay solutions here

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Workpay is a HR and Payroll software company that offers time & attendance, payroll, human resource, leave, expenses and remote teams solutions to businesses across Africa.

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