Like many businesses, March 2020 saw Juggle transition to remote working. It was supposed to be a temporary change, but with our office lease ending in June and the pandemic raging on, we opted to make it permanent.
This process wasn’t too complicated as Juggle is an extremely flexible business. But like all adjustments there were learnings, so here is how we made a success of it.
We became more organised
The office environment tends to smooth over inefficiencies. Something goes awry? Turn to your colleague and ask them if they’ve seen document X or heard from person Y. But remote doesn’t allow for this level of interaction. This meant we had to get our act together sharp-ish and implement new processes and adjust old ones. We looked at everything from increasing lines of communication to implementing new project planning software. Consequently, we’ve become a far better business at spotting issues early on — it’s by no means an accident that our onboarding became smoother in 2020, with new starters having greater clarity about how we work from day one.
We now screen for self-sufficiency
The Juggle team are a friendly and social bunch, but they relish going away, delivering their workload and striving for clearly established solo goals. Two new hires didn’t work out this year, partly because they struggled to thrive without in-person collaboration, rather than on individual work targeted toward specific results. Neither approach is right or wrong, but the latter is better suited to remote work and we now actively screen for this quality in interviews. Our recent whitepaper explored how the most autonomous workers are almost 50% more satisfied in their roles than the least, showing that self-sufficiency also has a positive impact downstream.
Everyone has a high level of flexibility and control
As a flexible working platform, autonomy is baked into Juggle’s ethos. Although we had an office before the pandemic, each staff member had minimal fixed time there each week. Remote working turns this freedom up a notch. Everyone is solely responsible for their own time management and working practises, but work still has to be delivered to the highest standard. Thankfully, everyone has stepped up to the plate and the business is thriving.
We have embraced technology
We’re a tech company so one would hope this wouldn’t be too difficult! However, any startup founder knows the risks of changing technology — such as issues integrating systems, or old software becoming under-utilised when shiny new platforms emerge. The average SME has 32 SaaS subscriptions (a lot!), which makes one wonder how many services might be dispensable.
However, during the pandemic, Juggle has streamlined our tech and used it to supercharge collaboration. We now operate with greater visibility and accountability, and have more deadlines in place; all are traits of high-performing environments.
It has unlocked budget
Rent in London is expensive (who knew?) and given the success of the remote working experiment in 2020, we have to conclude it is a partly unnecessary expense. For a business of over ten people, rent tallies to at least six figures per year, which can now be spent elsewhere: two or three additional heads, extra marketing and game-changing operating budget. It’s a no-brainer for a fast growth SME. That being said, the rise of shared and temporary office space will be inevitable, and we may look to use these services down the line.
Remote working does carry some risks. Extraverts can see their emotional energy reduced due to lack of human contact, whilst introverted types can sometimes get lost in their work. However, managed properly, it can be transformative for businesses of all kinds — and so I can’t wait to see Juggle go from strength to strength, mostly from home, throughout 2021.