“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 another—half 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 neighborhood—we’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 employees—InsureSign 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.