Since OMNIA was founded in 2009, understanding the advantages of a remote workforce has been at the core of the company. To begin with, employees where in Switzerland, Denmark and Cyprus, then came New York and California in the U.S., then London and Luxembourg.
THE OMNIA PHILOSOPHY
The philosophy of the remote workforce at OMNIA stems from an understanding by Mette and Daniel Hansen, the founders of OMNIA, that we get the best employees by letting them work from where they have their base. So, rather than looking for employees in a specific geographical area, in OMNIA’s case in the central part of Switzerland, and settle for the best candidates in that area, Mette and Daniel can search for the most qualified candidates possible, and then they let new employees work from where they prefer to work.
Further to the argument of a remote workforce is that we believe that our employees knows best when it comes to their preferred working place. Whether it is from their home, an office space shared with freelancers or a camping site on Iceland, as our Graphic Designer did while travelling around Iceland for three months, focus is on getting the job done – not where your computer is.
Generally, we do not believe that a company can only be run from one address, where all employees have struggled to arrive on time after a hectic morning with the kids and through morning traffic in snow, rain or heatwave, or that productivity is higher in an open office where you spend most of the day trying not to be disturbed.
Monday morning video conferencing at OMNIA
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
But with employees spread across the globe, how do companies ensure information sharing and team spirit? How do we reach the full potential of this model where high productivity and mental health is the goal?
As a company that has a remote workforce at its core, it is very important to do what is necessary for it to work for all employees. The most important factor is ensuring smooth communication with and among your employees. One way of doing this is by having weekly status calls with video (very important!), both with all employees at once and in teams. Furthermore, as the employer, you must provide the necessary communication and project management tools to ensure easy and professional communication among all employees.
It is also vital that your employees have the necessary setup for having a home office or working in an office space if that is preferred. Remember, that the right place for productivity and creativity is individual from employee to employee.
Finally, company events a couple of times a year must be prioritised by the management team giving colleagues a chance to meet face to face. As with any other company, it is important to give employees an opportunity to get together on a more informal scene, but for a company with a remote workforce it is crucial, as your employees might never meet in real life
FOCUS ON THE ADVANTAGES
So, what are the benefits of a remote workforce for OMNIA? Obviously, there is a risk of employees getting out of touch with goals and performance of the company – it requires a strong management team to keep up with this aspect. Also, as employee, you have to make a bigger effort getting to know your colleagues when you are not having coffee breaks and lunch together every day. Again, this is why communication is above all to get the advantages of a remote workforce.
According to Forbes, there are several advantages of having a remote workforce. Besides expanding the talent pool as mentioned above, it improves productivity due to less distractions at the workplace. Also, health conditions both physically, some factors being getting well faster rather than forcing yourself to work when being sick, and mentally, e.g. due to the lack of a stressful commute, are relevant factors. Generally, people working from home feel much less stressed.
At OMNIA, we focus on the advantages of a remote workforce. We believe that we get the best of the best by not having any geographical boundaries when searching for candidates. Without geographical boundaries, we also get a more diverse workforce, which brings different points of views and creativity.
From the employees’ point of view, they get what most workers are hungry for: Flexibility. Most of us needs flexibility to get closer to that infamous work/life balance - or just balance, as most of us do consider our jobs to be part of our lives, too. As humans and not just employees, there is a great fulfilment in being able to find that balance. If your employer focuses on the tasks you complete and the creativity you bring to the table rather than on you being at the office from 9-5, you are closer to finding that balance. And let us not forget that the flexibility goes both ways – the employer is more likely to have an employee that is available at odd hours if needed.
At OMNIA, we believe we have found a way that works very well for us and our employees, and we are clearly following a trend: According to Forbes, 25% of all employed Americans work from home, and in 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be remote mainly because most of us are able to do our jobs using technological devices.