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The Future of Work: Remote Year & Zoom
December 17, 2018 by Rena Gadimova

Amazon, Salesforce, Anthem, Wells Fargo, Toyota, and many other companies have remote employees, and analysts predict that more and more companies will shift towards remote workforces. According to WSJ, “While only 17% of Dell’s employees were formally authorized to work wherever they prefer, 58% were already working remotely at least one day a week.” This scenario is applicable to a significant amount of companies today.

“Remote work enables a whole new lifestyle, which people really gravitate towards,” said Greg Caplan, co-founder and CEO for Remote Year. Here are a few business and employee benefits of working remotely:

Business benefits:

  • Larger talent pool – geography doesn’t restrict your hiring
  • Lower turnover – businesses are able to retain talent by offering employees a remote work option even when other factors require they move
  • Reduced office expenses – hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved on rent, utilities, equipment, meals/perks, furniture, insurance, and office administrators

Employee benefits:

  • Increased productivity – some employees find an office environment distracting or they are more productive during “off hours” such as evenings or early mornings
  • Flexible schedule – employees love being their own boss rather than trying to fit into a 9 to 5 schedule
  • Avoiding commute – spending that extra hour or two a day working or having quality time with loved ones rather than driving is a major boost to quality of life

Technology and culture are two crucial components of a successful workplace. You need effective tools and bonding culture to succeed. Founded in 2015, Remote Year facilitates work and travel programs for global professionals interested in working remotely for 4 or 12 months in different cities around the world. Earlier this year, Remote Year hosted their second annual two-day Future of Work Summit 2018, where the first day was focused on technology that enables remote work and the second day was focused on creating remote culture. Remote Year believes that the future of work is about people embracing the concept that great work can be done from anywhere, and employees must feel empowered and inspired by their surroundings. Technologies, such as Zoom, make this a reality.

Remote Year Uses Zoom to Build and Reinforce Company Culture

“Remote Year’s culture is made possible by Zoom,” said Caplan.

Video is a standard operating procedure for Remote Year employees. “We have a culture, where we are having meetings all the time with the video turned on. It’s very rare that you are on a call where everyone isn’t actively participating and has video on, whether it’s a small meeting or a 100+ employees meeting. We live on Zoom,” said Caplan.

Working remotely means something different for everyone. Remote Year is an entirely distributed company, and one of their core values, work-life flexibility, empowers employees to embrace their own definition of what remote work means for them.  Another core value is a love of travel. With so many people on the road, they need to use Zoom to their advantage to build and sustain their remote culture. They hire people that share a common thread and then build remote culture through activities via Zoom.

Many Zoom meetings at Remote Year start with an ice-breaking activity, where team members are asked to share things like personal facts or stories from their daily lives. Even during one-on-ones, it’s not uncommon to open a meeting with the question, “Where are you in the world?”

Another activity the marketing team uses is called a User Guide, where each employee shares an individual deep-dive into how they work best, their pet peeves, or even their Zodiac signs. Getting to know each other on a personal level reinforces the culture and makes remote collaboration easier.

“We get all these intimate experiences over video calls that we’d never get if we were working in a traditional office setting. Someone’s mom will pop into a call to say hi, or we’ll see our coworkers’ babies or pets. Getting to know people in their unique or personal environment helps you develop those relationships further than you would in the office setting,” said Caplan.

Globe-Trotting Productivity on Zoom

It would be impractical to meet all the candidates that wanted to join the community in-person, yet they needed to communicate face-to-face to weed out scams and robots. Zoom, a reliable and universal human-proof platform, became part of the fabric of Remote Year.

Remote Year hosts all types of Zoom meetings regularly: 130-people All Hands, team meetings, and 1-1 meetings. Every All Hands meeting includes active participation and conversation in a Zoom Chat. Program Consultants use Zoom to reach out to prospective Remote Year participants all over the world. Human Resources uses Zoom to hire the best talent globally.

Quarterly Digital Offsite meetings start with an inspiration/personal development/storytelling session and wrap up with a fireside chat, where team members bring up topics of personal interest to promote engagement.

Video meetings are at the core of future of work. More and more companies are shifting from audio to video and more employees are spending their time outside of the office.

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