COVID-19 spread has forced most of the companies into shifting gears to work-from-home. Due to the corona-scare, working from home is no longer a choice, but a necessity. This has got CEOs of million-dollar companies thinking about the future of the workplace. This easily could have been one of those times when these decision makers are asked questions like – what about our work and lives today will feel ridiculous after ten years? What about the future will feel obvious in retrospect?
Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to pre-empt and predict the trends. We already are, in a way conducting a large-scale work-from-home experiment. Working remotely is not a completely new concept. A lot of professionals, even UX design studios have been embracing the change. Though the transition into working remotely may have been sudden, it is not necessarily a bad practice. Working remotely might become the preferred choice of employees in the near future.
A 2015 study from Stanford University in California found that productivity among employees at a company went up by 13% when they worked from home. In 2017, Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom, in a TED Talk, went so far as to call work-from-home potentially as innovative as the driverless car.
How organizations respond in these times, will define their growth trajectory. Working remotely can prove to be a boon for most organizations. Companies have very little to lose – and much to gain by allowing employees to work remotely. Here are a few game-changing pointers that make the case –
- Higher productivity, due to fewer breaks and more comfortable work environments.
- Remote work completely surpasses the location constraints in hiring good talent.
- A more distributed workforce that’s increasingly remote with more diversity in the team.
The myths around Remote UX
Let’s take a look at three major myths –
1. Remote UX cannot be done.
Working remotely is a challenge for any profession. Though, it can be even more challenging for UX professionals. As a UX professional’s work isn’t a bound-to-desk-kind. They need to be in proximity to the users. This is a popular notion. Though it is a myth.
2. User research, stakeholder interviews cannot be done remotely.
Remote work in no way obstructs the research. In fact, not reporting to an office encourages UX professionals to run studies in a broader range of locations. The research can also be delegated to the resources nearby the location selected for the research. The same logic applies to user testing, field studies, focus groups, etc.
3. Collaboration for ideation workshops can only happen in-person.
It is always a plus point to be in the same room to have a common context. Although with the advanced tools, like video conferencing, overcoming these obstacles is feasible. These tools enable the participants to assess body language cues and the responses to result in productive meetings.
There still are certain loopholes and areas where lack of co-located teams create communication and collaboration inconsistencies. To overcome this, efforts from both employee as well as the company can be taken. Trust and responsibility are the major elements that need to be established from an employee’s behalf with the management teams. And the managers should deploy extra team-bonding efforts to keep everyone on the same page. Choosing the right structure, one that fits well with your team is important.
Yet, we say it can be done. Using digital collaboration and communication tools and managing your remote structure well can soften the difficulties. If managed well, it can only bring advantages to the workflow and uninterrupted focus time of the employees. If working remotely, becomes the new norm, Remote UX can too.
In our next blog from this series, we will tell how Remote UX can be done. We will discuss the success mantra of a successful Remote UX team, derived from our own experience of working with clients remotely.