For those working in a desk-based role, there may be no going back to the office in a post-pandemic world.
According to a 2021 study by McKinsey Global Institute, 20 to 25 percent of workers in advanced economies and about 10 percent in emerging economies could work from home three to five days a week, mainly in the computer-based office work arena.
At Moodle, around 90% of our team members work remotely on a full time basis. Even prior to 2019, a significant proportion of our workforce worked remotely – it was an important part of our commitment to attracting and retaining the best talent, regardless of where they lived. Because of this, we had already established ways to collaborate effectively online, and build a strong culture, well before the pandemic hit. For our office based teams, even if working from the office was the default, we had flexible working arrangements that allowed people to work from anywhere, whether it was on an ad hoc basis, set days or even for a longer period of time.
When traditional offices started reopening in 2020, we decided to give our formerly office based team members the ability to continue working remotely on a full time basis if they preferred to – an opportunity that almost everyone was in favour of. A year and a half later, we’ve managed to further strengthen our remote working culture based on openness, communication, collaboration, diversity of thought and trust. And, even though having a globally distributed workforce has its challenges, it’s been clear to us that remote work is beneficial for our team members and for Moodle as a whole.
So, what do these advantages and challenges look like at Moodle?
Benefits of remote work
- A remote work environment, or at a minimum a hybrid work environment, is something employees now expect from their employers, after old assumptions about remote work have been shattered through the pandemic. By default, our team members all work remotely, with opportunities in our Perth and Barcelona locations to work from a small office. This kind of flexibility is a huge part of our EVP (Employee Value Proposition), and one of the benefits our team members most enjoy.
- Our teams thrive with flexible working hours that enable us to weave our personal lives in and around our work lives. True flexibility keeps us motivated, enables us to have more time for ourselves, our families, friends and hobbies, whilst allowing us to focus on our role responsibilities during the work hours that make sense for each individual.
- We’re continuing to broaden our talent pool. We have the ability to attract candidates from all around the world and diversify our range of talent, backgrounds and views of the world.
- We’re enabling and encouraging global mobility. Giving our current team the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world for periods of time is a fantastic retention tool and makes our team member engagement that much stronger.
- Not commuting to work means we use our time more efficiently. We are no longer stuck in traffic or on public transport, we’re having a relaxed start and end to the day, and a more productive use of time when we are online.
- For many, working from home enables us to have a healthier lifestyle. From having more time to fit exercise into our daily routine, to making our own food instead of ordering out daily, to being less exposed to common illnesses that spread easily in office environments, there’s definitely a benefit to our health!
Challenges of remote working, and how we address them
- Onboarding new team members remotely requires a very structured and consistent process, to ensure that the employee learns all about their new responsibilities, but also how their role fits in the organisation and getting to know other team members. It’s difficult to manage this with a distributed, remote team, so at Moodle we use onboarding courses in our workplace LMS to help newcomers find their feet in their new job.
- Ensuring everyone is equipped with the resources and information they need to perform their best. To deal with this, all our team members have regular check-ins with their manager and teammates and we use Moodle courses and forums for knowledge sharing and updates.
- With team members working remotely, ensuring we are providing a safe workplace is also a challenge, as we don’t have control over their environment. To solve this problem, we have incorporated a remote work health and safety evaluation as well as a remote work agreement into a Moodle course for all team members to complete.
- Maintaining the company culture and ensuring everyone feels like part of the Moodle team is critical to us. To help with that, we have our ‘Culture Champions,’ a diverse group of team members from across the organisation who drive initiatives that support the continuous improvement of the company culture. And because openness is one of our core values, we strive to keep internal communication transparent and two-way by using our LMS Forums, where everyone can participate, share projects and discuss initiatives company-wide.
- Avoiding the sense of isolation. Most of us have been there: working from home can feel very lonely at times. To help our teams feel more connected to each other at a social level, we have a series of (optional!) channels in our chat tool that revolve around different topics and occasions. And, for newcomers, we have a buddy system so that everyone has someone who takes care of them and introduces them to others online, to help them build their first connections.
It’s not always easy, but we’re told time and again how fantastic our approach to remote work, distributed work, and flexibility is for our team members. We’re proud of how our teams have adapted and continue to evolve in this new world of work. And for Moodle? It’s here to stay.
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