For some random strange reason I had a lot of links this week about remote working websites. I know it’s a very real topic for our craft. But I still see a lot of companies that have hard time coping with the concept.
On one hand, there is a shortage of technically skilled staff. The growth of the tech industry and especially the online services is way too fast for the education system to catch up. It’s been like that for pretty much 20 years now. And there is an unbalanced repartition between where the growing companies are and where the growing population of techies are. So it would only make sense that either relocation would be much easier or remote working much more widespread, no? Well, no. Relocation is bound to laws that are not driven by the only technical area. And remoting is dependent on a cultural and also legal shift.
Because working with remote staff, many of us know what it means. First it involves a level of trust in the staff that is unprecedented. The same level of trust you need to invest when working with a contractor, actually. Then the old-fashioned control and command system in place with traditional management systems gets totally inefficient.
More even, to be efficient with a remote team means adopting a work organization and tools that are specifically thought for this setup. From what I can experience, it’s either one or the other. When half the staff works in an office locally it’s not easy (yet not impossible) to be efficient with another half remote.
Some stuff will be likely to happen locally with old ways of oral communication and meetings with sparse note-taking. That will put the remote staff in the dark of some parts of the internal process. It may create a double-speed kind of organization, there is the ones that are full speed and the ones that are just, well, not in the core. Oh it’s still possible to make it work. It’s just harder.
Or maybe it’s like the web and the mobile. Slowly companies need to become remote-first and then eventually also work on local office-based scale. But there are still various barriers for having a real remote-friendly world anyways. The legal status is not clear,m for example, money transfers between countries, compliances with social coverage conventions, no international law seems to cover international employment with individuals.
From what I can understand, remote working from a distant country is still a hack, legally speaking. Companies need to find tricks. Luckily, hacking is something we are not bad at. But still. I wonder when it’s going to change, and see a legal ground for a really normal remote working context.