If everyone works from home:
Can a startupper save by hiring remote developers?

COVID-19 appeared unexpectedly, unpredictably it will disappear.
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Even though the world is still shaking because of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote jobs have been gaining momentum for decades. The spreading of the internet, desktops, powerful smartphones, and all that stuff made it possible to cooperate through the thousand kilometers without a loss of efficiency. But how those globalization trends can save costs now, during the crisis? What should a young entrepreneur know about remote work not to struggle if relied on remote developers? Let’s go step-by-step.

What should employers understand
about the coronavirus?

Actually, we won’t say anything new about the COVID pandemic, only the most obvious and well-known things that relate to remote work. Thus, economies all over the world suffered because of the illness, but quarantine measures seem to be justified as human life is the highest value. No one knows when the world will return to ordinary life, and that is one of the most distracting aspects of this situation. The only thing people can do is to adjust their working process to the new reality.

The absence of reliable forecasts of when things will return to pre-pandemic order forces doesn’t wait but find solutions now. Of course, those who could switch to working from home are not the most suffered companies, but even they met numerous obstacles that should be overcome. However, let’s review the primary pros and cons of working from home for both startuppers and programmers before making conclusions.

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Benefits of Remote Working Business Model

Primary aspects of distance jobs:

  • Reduced office-related spendings
  • Ability to employ toilers from abroad, a wider pool of talents
  • Commuting absence as the core stress-factor
  • A better work-life balance for employees
  • Informal communication among workers
  • A rather specific psychological behaviour
Advantages of Staff Augmentation approach during the COVID-19

Learn more how Staff Augmentation Services save costs and give more flexibility in hiring and retaining Remote Developers during the COVID-19?

The Pros and Cons of working from home

Advantages of remote employment

To receive the results without a stressful impact of COVID-19, we took research called The 2020 State of Remote Work held by Buffer and AngelList at the beginning of this year. This report includes data and answers from approximately 3500 remote toilers, and the main benefits of work from home look like the following:

  • 32% of respondents prefer having a flexible schedule
  • 26% enjoy remote approach because of the ability to work from any location
  • 21% like to work from home as it doesn’t require commuting
  • 11% are happy to be closer to family and spend more time with them
  • 7% simply love the ability to work from home
  • 3% of respondents chose other reasons

How can a startupper benefit if using a distance working model?

However, a remote job approach has advantages also for entrepreneurs. Thus, companies that are ready to employ developers who work from a distance can rely on the following benefits:

  • Significantly reduced organisational spending (office space, perks, workstations, etc.)
  • Access to a wider pool of talents (especially actual for the IT sphere, where developers can be hired from any point of the globe)
  • Cheaper labour (following the previous item, a startupper can employ inexpensive programmers from abroad; insurance usually skipped in this case)
  • Easier cooperation of engineers from diverse countries, as almost all of them know the English language on the appropriate level by default.

These are the primary reasons to try a remote jobs approach as both startuppers and developers can benefit from such a cooperation.

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Disadvantages of remote employment

What should be taken into account by the owner?

To be fair enough, there are plenty of drawbacks if working from home or transitioning to such kind of cooperation. The most challenging aspect of the nowadays situation is the unexpected need to use remote work as not every employer is ready. In this case, the most obvious issues that a tenant can meet are:

  • The need to change corporate culture and relations inside the team
  • The necessity of making structural changes, which should be well planned
  • The new working process should be set (with the following adjustments)
  • Not the best cooperation between workers (due to the lack of eye contact or alike)
  • Limited control over employees and restricted ability to check their workload (time-tracking tools are sometimes ineffective even in the office)
  • Providing security changes to avoid leakage of info and data due to remote connections
  • Different struggles that will distract a toiler who stays at home (they will be discussed below)

Of course, all these aspects and the difficulty of their implementation depend on the particular case. Thus, some young entrepreneurs may have a small team that is using CRM even for in-office conversations, so switching to work from home may not affect the whole cooperation. Some businesses may have a person who is responsible for retention practices, so such an individual may adjust the corporate culture and organize something like online drinks to keep positive relations with the staff, which may reduce feelings like loneliness.

Drawbacks of distance jobs organisation in numbers

However, every startupper should take into consideration how the workers perceive remote jobs. According to the Buffer and AngelList report, the list of primary shortcomings for those who work from home look like the following:

  • 20% of respondents meet difficulties with collaboration and communication (due to lack of personal contact; different time zones will be stated below)
  • 20% feel loneliness (also due to lack of friendly discussions, which are present besides the work)
  • 18% cannot fully unplug (as boundaries between home and work are blurred)
  • 12% of interviewed stated distractions at home (don’t have an appropriate working space at home or alike)
  • 10% mentioned different time zone with teammates as a problem (they closely connected it to the first item, but have a definite and independent reason)
  • 7% cannot stay motivated (it seems to be a psychological trick of coming to the office that increases responsibility and alike)
  • 5% are not satisfied because of vacation time (although it can be taken at every moment if you have a laptop and internet connection, the feeling of full relaxation may not come)
  • 3% aren’t able to find an internet connection (reliable Wi-Fi in the appropriate place sometimes is unavailable)
  • 5% appealed to other reasons (maybe noisy neighbors or alike)

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We have 8+ years of experience in providing effective Remote Work Business Model, which becomes even more actual after the coronavirus pandemic.
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    Remote work business model

    Managing remote office: software, rules, and communication...

    How to set the best remote working process in software development?

    Sometimes, startuppers consider work from home as an artificial or temporary obstacle that does not require any psychological and structural adjustments. If it happens a few times a month - it is not a case, indeed. However, if such a collaboration appeared as the necessary measure (COVID-19 is a too excellent example), an entrepreneur has to think a lot about the possible changes. In this case, we recommend the following:

    • Focus the attention of the workers on goals and benefits like flexibility, danger and commuting reduce, as COVID is only a reason. It will help developers to look at the situation from another angle, where advantages overcome limitations.
    • Review the frequency of communication from home. Thus, more calls and conversations will increase trust and a feeling of common work, which leads to better efficiency (even a new agenda can be introduced).
    • Take into account that clients, suppliers, and other related sides to the business will also meet new conditions. If everyone works from home and likes to sleep more in the morning, maybe it’s time to change a schedule and become a bit happier? Traffic jams are not distracting, at least now.
    • Collect feedback from the software engineers and other related specialists about working from home and changes you’ve already implemented. Implementation from bottom to top is often very useful.
    • Try to analyze the mood and behavior of the developers and how it changes. Even gatherings for silly games, virtual drinks, and other types of unusual talking can be a lifebuoy.
    • Be careful with implementing time-tracking tools, especially if did not have them during in-office work. They should be more of an analytical measure, but not a controlling one.
    • Don’t worry about implementing your ideas, even if they are not a widespread solution. An attentive startupper always knows better his programmers and other staff; often, they are hired having some specific soft skills.

    As one can see, remote work is a rather complicated method to deal with the organization’s needs, which has both positive and negative sides. Even though the advantages of working from home prevail over the drawbacks due to numerous reports and research, some startuppers still think it is better to rely on in-house teams.
    In such a tough situation, we should rethink our attitude to remote working. It’s not accidental that 95% of those who are working remotely, encourage others to try earning from home. All these facts, once more, confirm that remote jobs bring permanent benefits like fewer in-office spending and happier developers. It happened that we were focused on this type of cooperation before the pandemic. The coronavirus only enhanced the thought that distant employment has numerous benefits and can be used much more widely and frequently, especially in the IT domain.

    Customer relationship management and online communication

    CRM systems have already become an inevitable part of companies around the globe as help to accomplish all the tasks from a checklist of any business. They are mostly used for the automation of processes and gathering all the managing responsibilities in one place. From invoices to email campaigns, from team communication to its controlling, from statistical board to sales driver - CRMs are a multipurpose helper. The decision on which one to choose depends on various aspects, including price and possibilities, while the most popular systems are:

    • Jira
    • Asana
    • Trello
    • Basecamp
    • Zoho Projects
    • Teamwork Projects
    • Todoist
    • Wekan

    The firms that have already used one of the CRMs before the pandemic, undoubtedly, will faster switch to distant working as most of the processes have been processed digitally. If someone has never used any customer relationship management tool, it’s time to try at least.

    Monitoring services and time-tracking tools

    Almost all the mentioned above CRMs have inbuilt time-tracking tools. However, this element deserves special attention in work-from-home conditions as allows to control remote programmers or other workers better. Except for time tracking, such software can also make screenshots or record videos of the employee’s screen, keep keystroke logging, monitor the location of the toiler, and even measure productivity. Nevertheless, any business owner should be careful with providing time-tracking tools as every worker can turn from effective hardworking to satisfying parameters of the specific application. So, one can try such software but not think that it will fully replace a controlling function on distance.

    IT Staff Augmentation Benefits

    Building Remote team process in Orange Sputnik

    If working remotely, should a startupper hire from abroad?

    Why is it good to employ remote developers from other countries?

    As Orange Sputnik provides Staff Augmentation services for European businesses for more than nine years, we have plenty of experience to talk about the effectiveness and benefits of employing programmers at distance. Amid the mentioned above, we guarantee the following benefits of having remote developers:

    • twice reduced salary of the software developer with the same set of skills
    • the polished workflow that leads to effective remote collaboration (own CRM system with footprint scanners, managers that pursue productivity of the programmers but not interfere cooperation with the startupper)
    • a wider pool of talents to choose from
    • less additional spending (no need to buy a workstation and rent office space even when COVID-19 will be defeated)
    • no organizational distractions (we take care of payroll, taxes, insurance, and even retention practices)
    • almost absent organizational obstacles like time difference and language barrier
    • a few times faster process of hiring a coder due to experienced managers and a vast database
    • flexibility, as a startupper can employ a temporary programmer or suggest relocation after the situation stabilizes
    We cannot speak for all the providers, but all these items above are our cornerstone principles.

    Is it effective to hire remote developers from East Europe?

    Amid the variety of destinations for seeking software programmers, Eastern Europe is the place for special attention. Economic development in those countries is a bit lower compared to Europe, NA or Australia, which requires lower salaries for the same work in programming. At the same time, the level of English is suitable for perfect working communication, while the mentality is very similar to the most developed countries. The behavioural element is the essential aspect of cooperation, which doesn’t make Asia and Africa the best places for hiring a developer. European entrepreneurs can additionally feel all the comfort of working with Ukraine or neighbouring countries due to the almost absent time gap.

    The average salary of remote programmers

    There are no doubts that financial factor is vital for small businesses, and the possibility to work with remote staff is a great bonus for technological enterprises. Software engineers are one of the most prepared for working from home and startuppers have to understand the benefits of such a cooperation. The graph below shows the average payroll of the developers across Europe and confirms the claim that Eastern Europe is the place to look at if hiring software coders.

    Wages of remote developers in Europe

    Wages of remote developers in Europe

    How startups use remote work business model?

    In the interviews with entrepreneurs, we usually discuss the hottest topics like the effectiveness of remote work business model during the coronavirus or where to hire the cheapest programmers…

    Future of remote work

    Trends and future of work remote working...

    Why do we believe in remote work in future?

    As one can see, remote work is a rather complicated method to deal with the organisation’s needs, which has both positive and negative sides. Even though the advantages of work from home prevail the drawbacks due to numerous reports and researches, some startuppers still think it is better to rely on the in-house teams.
    In such a tough situation, the attitude to remote working should be rethought. It’s not accidentally that 95% of those who are working remotely, encourage others to try earning from home. All these facts, once more confirm that remote jobs bring permanent benefits like fewer in-office spendings and happier developers. It happened that we were focused on this type of cooperation before the pandemic. The coronavirus only enhanced the thought that distant employment has numerous benefits and can be used much more widely and frequently, especially in IT.

    Remote work best practices, a checklist of getting software programmers

    There are no doubts that Staff Augmentation is the best way to hire remote developers from abroad. During our journey of cooperation with startuppers and entrepreneurs across all over the world, we defined the most reasonable arguments of trying and using this method:

    • All the intellectual property belongs to the entrepreneur, independently of the period of cooperation
    • Most of the distracting details (payroll, dismiss, retention practices, office facilities and cosy conditions) are ours
    • One can easily try this way of distant collaboration without any losses due to its client-oriented specifics
    • Ability to find the best fit from the wide talent pool and safe time on the hiring process

    In fact, Staff Augmentation combined the best sides of outsourcing, outstaffing, and freelancing as the clearest remote practices, and that is why it is an excellent way to accelerate your business. Even though COVID-19 is fully a negative phenomenon, IT startups and small businesses received a unique possibility to test a new way of cooperation. It’s a pure win-win situation, don’t afraid to try it.

    Dispelling myths and highlighting trends
    about remote work

    What can the numbers from previous passages say, prove, or dispel? What conclusions have an employer made watching those results? Let’s group them in the following order:

    1. Remote jobs are a stably growing trend in all domains and industries and not only in IT sector, which brings positive changes for both tenants and workers. That is the conclusion of UK researchers Felstead and Henseke, which is only confirmed by the numbers from Owl Labs report 2019. The last article showed that adding the ability to work from home will make about 80% of workers happier. At the same time, 71% of remote workers are happy compared to only 55% fully satisfied in-office toilers. So, switching to this kind of cooperation contains many positive aspects, just look attentively.
    2. Three reasons only cause almost 80% of all benefits of remote jobs: Flexible schedule, ability to work from various locations, and commuting absences are the top-3 to pay attention at first. Relying on these facts, a startupper can adjust even an already existing working process, providing additional days from home or a flexible in-office schedule. As one can see, it is easy to become a better leader.
    3. Only 30% (20% collaboration + 10% time zones) of remote employees stated organizational difficulties as the core drawback. It means that 70% of the successful working from home is not related to technical difficulties that the employer should organize. So, a startupper should not be worried that cooperation from a distance is an adverse phenomenon that cannot be fixed.
    4. About 45% (20% loneliness + 18% unplugging + 7% motivation) of respondents meet psychological barriers, which should be taken into consideration by the business owners. Fortunately, most of these issues can be overcome without investments, as those who are responsible for the retention practices in-office now can switch their forces to increase the satisfaction of remote developers. So, it’s time to focus and think about psychological balance concerning employees satisfaction, COVID-19 only facilitated this process.
    5. COVID-19 will boost remote jobs in every sphere, as both many tenants and toilers just did not know how beneficial such an approach to work can be. Probably, it’s more an assumption, but here in Orange Sputnik, we know how startuppers sometimes react to the possibility of hiring a remote developer. Many young entrepreneurs think that eye contact and handshaking are the keys to productivity, responsibility, and quality. It’s true, but only to some extent. There are plenty of other aspects that influence the happiness of the worker and employer, and distance is not the first enemy of the best cooperation and relevant results. After all, the cornerstones of success are desired and tryhard, but not a place where a workstation and a team lead are located.

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