During the first couple of weeks in March 2020, we’ve seen some unprecedented and frightening changes around the world as a result of COVID-19. We’ve watched as events are canceled, travel becomes restricted, and towns (and even countries) go into lockdown.

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect the vulnerable, an increasing number of companies — including Google, Twitter, Shopify and more — are asking their employees to work from home. Here at PureRapid, we’re a largely remote company by nature, but even we have implemented steps to slow the spread of the virus by closing our meeting spaces and eliminating business travel.

When some people hear “remote team,” they immediately think of overseas workers. And unfortunately, there’s a negative stigma around outsourcing. In 2020 remote work has become mainstream within our industry. There’s absolutely no difference in the quality of work you receive from our remote agency compared to any of the “top 100” bricks and mortar digital agencies from the UK or US.

How do we know this? Since 2012, our team has provided white label agency services for other agencies needing help with their projects. When hiring an agency or freelancer, as long as you pay fairly and treat them as part of your team, you will get the same high quality and more often than not, a higher level of service and results.

The Pros for you as a client

  • Virtualising our workforce has a clear impact on the bottom line.
  • We don’t need to factor in the cost of office space, furniture, or equipment when invoicing.
  • We don’t call in sick. Our team members are a tight-knit team of freelance professionals, with backup resource pools.
  • You can hire teams/people as-needed on a project to project or a campaign to campaign basis.
  • If you’re based in a city with a higher-than-average cost of living, going remote gives you an equal talent for lower market price points.
  • By paying higher-than-standard rates, a remote agency model allows you to hire the best of the best. No one at the top of our industry would restrict themselves with the constraints of a salary or the inflexibility of a bricks and mortar agency model.
  • Cutting out commuting costs. We don’t have to pay for gas or public transport commuting, and we save hours each week resulting in increased productivity and a better work/wife balance.

The pros for you as a freelancer

  • Working in isolation can be miserable or joy. Either way, we offer coworking budgets to our team members that want it.
  • Are you working remotely on a GMT timeline? We sweeten the deal with subsidised gym memberships, coworking and coliving spaces with maid services in today’s most thriving digital nomad communities in and around South East Asia. Check out our current opportunities.

What about culture?

  • Some clients just care about getting the job done. Others, who are looking for a long-term relationship with their agency or provider, want to work with a tight-knit team.
  • Fortunately, creating a strong culture within a remote agency is completely doable. At PureRapid, we find ways to encourage non-work communication among your employees. 
  • Random Slack or Basecamp channels work well; however, you can take things one step further by hosting weekly “lunch and learns” (give everyone a gift card for a food delivery service and have a speaker or team member gives a presentation), running a mentorship program, or sponsoring a couple of employees to go to the same conference.

What about Communication?

We hire the most talented professionals from around the world. Every single team member’s first language in English or at least fluent in English with cultural experience aligned to our clients. Since 2012, our team members have successfully worked with clients spread across multiple time zones with the help of web apps like Zapier, Asana, and Loom to name a few.

We are optimised for maximum productivity

Shifting to a remote working environment can be more than just finding a space at the kitchen table, downloading a video conferencing program, or staying focused. It’s about allocating more time for productivity, cutting out time that was previously used to commute to your place of business, getting more rest, and increasing focus all while staying healthy and promoting a safer work environment.

Our team at PureRapid uses the following list of tools to manage our community, streamline our operations, manage passwords and security, prioritise tasks, and to communicate with customers.

1Password

1Password remembers them all for you. Save your passwords and log in to your sites and resources with a single click. It’s that simple. They have removed their 30-day trial period on 1Password Business so companies can start keeping their teams secure without getting finance involved.

Google Drive

Google Drive might be our team’s most-used productivity app. We move fast, and Google Drive lets us create, share, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations seamlessly.

Loom

Loom is beneficial for our team to train new members, deliver client reporting, auditing, and to communicate how to use different parts of our service, as well as for diagnosing any issues to notify our technical team members.

Skype

Our clients are located all over the world, from LA, USA – Perth, WA. We use Skype to have meetings with teammates and clients about projects that we’re working on together. Since we are so international, Skype is helpful for making calls to partners and prospective clients abroad.

Slack

We use slack and its many integrations to communicate internally, communicate with external vendors, and receive alerts about our service. We have channels dedicated to each team, with separate purposes, some for general news, for having some chats among colleagues, and some act as direct feeds from our service and customers. This keeps us all on the same page, no matter what country we work in.

Asana

Our project management tool. This is where we create checklists and templates for all of the work we do. Creating repeatable systems is essential for us to use over and over for different clients helping us to streamline our processes.

Zapier

This is the glue that connects our chosen web apps. We use it to create workflows that connect our productivity and communication apps, so they can work together. By automating tasks in the background, we can focus on the more important work.

Xero

Xero is an accounting software that aims to provide businesses a trouble-free financing experience. Setting up Xero is quick and easy, making it a great addition. Xero’s dashboard provides a quick snapshot of your business’ financial performance. You can make purchases on the platform, set up employee payroll, handle taxes, and more.

Many companies today begin as virtual teams, just like we did back in 2012. Remote work is in our DNA. Previous to that, our founders transitioned to a virtual model when they realised the benefits of evolving from the physical office and location dependency.

The Cons of Remote

It’s not for everyone. There are plenty of traditional models where remote is just not possible. Your leadership team has to think long and hard about how they’ll deal with the various challenges and unique situations that come with a dispersed staff model. But once you’ve figured out those challenges and started reaping the many benefits, you’ll probably find being remote is one of the best things you could ever do for your company.

Learning from Coronavirus

Due to the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, this will change how businesses work going forward. For a start, the working remotely model has less of a carbon footprint, we all need to do our bit and become less centered, to care more about our planet any fellow humans. During the outbreak period of the virus, and what looks likely to be the next couple of months at least, this is a giant social experiment when it comes to working from home for most. We all need to adapt, and the above list of tools will help businesses achieve exactly that.

We see a more flexible and productive work model for the masses moving forward. It’s really positive for people who are introverted and get the most work done by being in a quiet place and not having distractions. Also, it shouldn’t be detrimental to people who are collaborative and want to talk things through with people live with all these tools and tech at our fingertips.

It’s difficult to predict what the next few weeks will look like, but we need to work together to protect our teams, loved ones, and local communities. Reduce unnecessary travel — including travel to and from the office — and be empathetic to the challenges that remote work can bring to your teams and their families. Staying safe is a team effort.

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