Remote work became the norm in 2020, but if you’re still trying to figure it out you aren’t the only one. Remote work can be challenging for a number of reasons, especially in cases where your team is spread across different time zones, but we believe that many of the challenges of remote work are just opportunities in disguise.
Travel Time Conversions
Most remote employees work from home, which means that they save a lot of time compared to those that have to travel to and from work. This extra time can be used in a number of ways, but our recommendation is to convert those extra hours into upskilling, which will benefit both the employee and the company.
The average person in Lagos, Nigeria spends 30 hours per week in traffic, or 1560 annually, compared to just 128 hours of traffic that the average person in Los Angeles spends per year. This has huge implications for both productivity and mental health for Lagosians, so designers in Africa can invest their time savings into upskilling, but some may choose to invest it into their own physical and mental well-being; however, according to Oxford, happy workers are 13% more productive, so the physical and mental health of an employee can directly affect the company that they work for in terms of productivity.
Another time advantage for companies with a global workforce is to increase the amount of hours each day that a company is operational and productive. Companies like Boeing do this with morning, afternoon, and night shifts, but the same effect can be accomplished by leveraging different time zones. For example, if a company’s workforce is based on the West Coast of the US and it outsources work to the West Coast of Africa, the company could easily be productive for 16 hours of the day with companies working local hours (however, many designers prefer to work at night and can work hours that overlap with their US-based clients).
This means that on a Wednesday someone in the US could review work done in Africa, send revisions, and by the time they wake up on Thursday the work is already done.
Creative workers don’t always thrive on a 9-5 schedule, but remote designers working in Africa on a US schedule may be able to work during their preferred time of day. According to a piece from VICE with Brent Hasler, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, “the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with ability to concentrate, begins to falter as sleep drive increases at the end of the day. For some, this clears the way for more flexible thinking—and potentially, creativity.”
“With less of that top-down control and ‘cognitive inhibition,’ the brain might be freed up for more divergent thinking, allowing one to make new associations between different concepts more easily.” Hasler also noted that there is a “peak in positive mood during the second half of the day” which can combine with this effect to allow for more creative thinking.
But despite the time advantages from working globally and remotely, some companies are still hesitant to hire remote employees because of issues such as sourcing, vetting, compliance, and taxes; however, with the help of intermediaries these issues can be easily resolved. Meaningful Gigs is a simple way to alleviate many of the pain points of hiring remote, diverse, and skilled talent, as well as take advantage of the opportunities that remote work has to offer. Please check out this article on how easy it is to hire skilled, remote, and diverse talent.