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The case for remote workers: How and why to let your employees work from home

Remote workers

“Remote workers.” “Working from home.” “Digital nomads.”

No matter what you call it, it’s everywhere: a growing trend, in companies big and small, of staff working from off-site locations.

InsureSign, the e-signature software ranked No. 1 for usability, was an early adopter of remote-working policies. Throughout its seven-year history, Joe Floyd (InsureSign’s founder and CEO) has always had employees working from home.

We asked Joe a few questions about his experience with the practice: how InsureSign manages remote workers, tips for making it work best, and how you can lean on modern tools to make it work for you.

 

Tell us about InsureSign’s remote work culture.

Joe: You know, just about all of our employees work remotely at some time or anotherhalf are remote all the time.

Some of our team works out of our main office in Charleston, but even many of them will work remotely 1-2 days a week, either from home or a local coffee shop. It offers a nice change of pace or even just lets them skip their commutes from time to time.

How long have you had a remote work policy in place?

Joe: We’ve really always been that way. Even our first two employees were remote. It’s baked into our culture, and we’ve been used to it since the very beginning.

How has this policy been good for InsureSign? What are the major benefits to employers?

Joe: It helps us find the ideal person for that job, rather than confining our search to a certain geographical area or requiring someone to relocate. There were a few things we liked to do in person when we were first building the software; it was helpful to have people sitting around the same whiteboard at that point, but since then, it hasn’t been as important.

I do think a work-from-home option increases employee satisfaction, because they know they have some flexibility. And it can boost productivity, too. Some people work best early in the day, but like to take a break in the middle of the day and work late.

Remote work goes hand in hand with the mentality of just getting the job done. Some people are more productive that way than they would be if they were forced to show up early and punch a timecard.

Also, remote work decreases our overhead. Since we don’t have to foot the bill for the rent and utilities it would require to have all of these people in the same room at the same time, we can allocate those funds somewhere else. We compensate by providing our team with the equipment they need to work productively from home.

Any tips for managing remote workers, or for getting remote workers to work well together?

Joe: Having a regular schedule of meetings (and finding the right combination of one-on-ones and team meetings) makes a big difference.

And people are quick to just go for audio calls, but video calls are often much better. It can be kind of a pain, but the face-time is worth it in the end.

If at all possible, plan or encourage your team to get together in person when you can. People travel for plenty of reasons, so we encourage our staff to grab lunch together if they’re in someone’s neighborhoodwe’ll pay for it. Or maybe the whole group can travel to a central location once a year for a team gathering.

Or, if there’s a regular sales or customer event that you can send a few of your team members to, that’s a good use of resources. You don’t need to be together all the time to get that sense of cohesiveness, but connecting face-to-face when possible helps.

How does technology factor into InsureSign’s work-from-home policy?

Joe: We use a lot of tools. Slack, for example. There are more and more things out there that make it simple and effective to have people working from home.

I first started working remotely 19 years ago, well before we launched InsureSign. It was frustrating at times. The internet wasn’t as good as it is now, and neither were the communication tools, so I frequently had to go into the office anyway.

That’s not the case now. There are plenty of digital tools available that can make remote work not just doable, but highly productive.

Do you have any caveats or words of caution for employers to keep in mind as they explore a remote work policy?

Joe: I would say one thing: if you’re going to do it, you have to jump in. If you’ve got an office and you’re hiring a bunch of people to work remotely, you need to expand the practice to the rest of the office. Lean in and create a remote work culture. Get everyone on the same page. If remote workers are using digital tools or communications channels, you have to have everyone using them.
 
How are your customers using InsureSign to make remote work easier?

Joe: A lot of our customers use it to onboard remote employees, or to roll out new benefits or programs to existing employeesInsureSign can help with HR in that way, ensuring management has legally-compliant signatures from everyone, no matter where they’re based.

Also, our workflow makes it easy for people in different places to get paperwork signed and approved. If you have multiple signers and approvers who need to touch a document before it’s finalized, InsureSign makes it easy for them to manage that process seamlessly from wherever they are. It’s an excellent tool for getting work done when you have people from the same organization in different places.

Whatever your work-from-home policy is, one thing is for sure: InsureSign’s seamless, easy-to-use interface makes securing signatures from remote customers and coworkers super simple.

Try InsureSign risk-free for 14 days and start getting your documents e-signed in minutes… from wherever your customers are.

Women in tech: How one woman left her teaching job to become a rock-star developer for InsureSign

Women make up more than half the workforce, but less than 20% of U.S. tech jobs. It’s clear that American companies still have a lot of work to do when it comes to closing the gender gap in the tech industry.

That’s why women in tech like Amanda Schuff, a Front-End/UI Developer at InsureSign, have such compelling stories to tell. (InsureSign is a simple and secure e-signing software based in Charleston, S.C., with tens of thousands of users.)

Read on to learn more about how Amanda made the jump to a development job… and how it’s going, a year and a half later.

Q: What’s your role on InsureSign’s development team?
Amanda: I’m a front-end developer. My role is anything having to do with the user experience or the user interface. I make sure the program is intuitive, that it functions well and that it’s easy to use.

 

Q: You didn’t start your career in tech, did you? Tell us about your career before InsureSign.
Amanda: Before I started with working with InsureSign, I was an elementary art teacher. I did that for three years.

Q: Interesting! What was it that compelled you to make that shift?
Amanda:
I’ve always had a passion for it. I was always just the “tech person” in my family — I had a knack for it, and had the interest. I didn’t really have a mentor, though. A lot of people in tech have someone guiding them along the way. That wasn’t really the case for me, so when I went to college (the first in my family), I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I was a teacher for three years and got burned out really fast. I was exploring other options, like getting a master’s or another undergraduate degree, and that’s when I heard about the development boot camp I ended up doing.

Q: And now you’ve been with InsureSign for a year and a half. What originally drew you to InsureSign?

Amanda: Joe [InsureSign founder Joe Floyd] and Kris [InsureSign’s lead developer Kris Gholson] were really trying to build something from the ground up. Insuresign had a desktop application that it wanted to move onto the web, and that’s something I focused on in my boot camp.

InsureSign ticked all of my “must-have” boxes: it’s a small company and very employee-focused. I loved the idea of building something from scratch — making something really good and making it quickly. Because we’re a small team, we’re able to do a lot.

Q: What do you like about working here now? What’s unique about InsureSign?

Amanda: To me, the environment and the culture are really great. I came from the education sector, where everything is very traditional and clearly defined in terms of what you can or shouldn’t do. Tech isn’t like that, and InsureSign, in particular, is laidback and flexible.

We have fun and the small team environment is wonderful. We have a great application that we’ve been able to bootstrap together, and we have great relationships with each other. Plus, Joe is the best manager I’ve ever had. He lets us have a lot of input.

Q: Any tips for women looking to make the jump into tech, especially those currently in other fields?

Amanda: Don’t be afraid or intimidated! You’re already a working professional in your own right. Those skills will easily translate over to anything you want to do, tech or otherwise. It’s never too late to start over or start fresh!

Take Amanda Schuff’s application, InsureSign, for a test drive. Claim your risk-free 14-day trial here.