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Working Remote: from experiment to trend | SignalWire

Working Remote: from experiment to trend

What we've learned from 15 years of experience in working from anywhere

By Abbi Minessale, Content Strategist

The world is complicated. It always has been. Our lives don’t fit into the classic 9-5 narrative and people are starting to catch on to the “work from anywhere” model in a big way. Some people want to prioritize family, others want to travel. Some communities are struck by natural disasters and entire towns are being quarantined because of outbreaks like Coronavirus. Some employees have to relocate unexpectedly and some just want to have the career of their dreams without leaving the town they love. Human beings are complicated and companies that value their employees are proven to see higher loyalty and productivity.

As pioneers in both the communications industry and in remote work, we love that this trend is picking up steam; it gives people freedom and right now it is keeping people safe. We’ve had over 15 years of experience with remote teams, starting with our open source project: FreeSWITCH. FreeSWITCH, which has millions of lines of engineering code, was created and maintained by an entirely remote team and in that time we’ve built up a strong and powerful community of people from all over the world. SignalWire itself is also completely “work from anywhere” with 50 team members spread out over 11 different countries and 15 different states. You can’t have remote work without remote communications, and we started SignalWire to allow people of all skills to have access to reliable communication tools we’ve been building for over a decade.

What makes working from home so attractive?

Flexibility. In the past it was common for new employment to require relocation but now, more and more people are settling down and don’t want to leave their homes. On the other side of the coin, younger generations in the workforce are inclined to spend more time traveling and exploring the world. Remote work lets the job fit around people and not the other way around, which increases morale and makes employees feel valued.

Remote work is good for companies too! Your company has a much higher chance of onboarding the top talent. According to a study done by Zapier, 74% of people are willing to quit their job to switch to somewhere remote and 24% of participants had already done so. Distributed teams also save money on office spaces, relocation, and long commutes; and while every employee is different, many people are more productive when they are allowed to work from home. There is less stress from commutes and they can eliminate things that distract them and tailor their space to the way they work best. No more unnecessary meetings or people hovering at your desk! John can’t keep turning the thermostat to 65 and Karen isn’t playing Taylor Swift so loudly in her headphones that you can just barely hear “Shake it Off” in the background as you’re trying to debug.

Not to mention, you can wear your pajamas. At work! Amazing.

No solution is perfect:

While some people are fully on board with distributed teams, many companies are still skeptical or only allow working from home a few days a week. As “work from anywhere” pioneers, we know full well that working from home has its kinks. Remote work is so productive, many employees actually have trouble unplugging from their work. It can also be difficult to collaborate with coworkers when you don’t see them face to face. Luckily, tools like the virtual offices we created and use at SignalWire mimic the same interactions you would have at the office. Everyone on our team works and communicates on video chat as well as our Slack channels. You can even see what team members are in which conference room so you can pop in at any time and always be in the loop! Every solution has its challenges, but the trend of remote work is undeniable and companies need to start planning for its impact now.

Do you work from home? We'd love to hear about your experience. Let us know on our community Slack channel!