The debate on how and, importantly, where teams work post-pandemic has been re-entering the global conversation. While this is not a brand new approach, remote-first began receiving a lot more attention because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many businesses within the travel sector to adapt their operations and accommodate most or all of their staff working from home.
Most recently, the issue has focused on how important it is for cities and their regeneration to attract back workers as well as the benefits of face-to-face when it comes to collaboration. But companies cannot and have not been ignoring the benefits of remote working to their companies’ productivity and workforce’s wellbeing. Hybrid seems to be the obvious answer.
But for global SME tech companies, such as HolidayPirates, a travel deals platform with a global reach, hybrid is not so simple. The company operates in ten markets and have talent across regions. The team represents 41 different nations, and they have friends and family scattered across the world.
HolidayPirates adopted a ‘remote-first’ policy back in September 2020. Similarly to other tech-focused companies, using digital solutions was already part of the company’s DNA at HolidayPirates and digital nomadism was already in place for many of their functions pre-pandemic. The new policy has only improved the company’s operational framework.
Remote-first employees often report boosts in their overall wellbeing and productivity at work. Reducing or eliminating commuting time and transportation costs is a good example of how why an increasing number of travel professionals appreciate being able to work flexibly around their lives. An internal survey conducted by HolidayPirates found that 100% of the team said that they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the new unlimited remote work policy with 78% saying that their quality of life had improved and the same proportion reporting that they couldn’t imagine working in the office full time again. Ninety-eight per cent said that remote working was either very important or important to them in the future. David Armstrong, CEO at HolidayPirates, highlights that remote working has not compromised productivity or quality of work from their employees.
Despite the successful roll out of the remote-first policy, HolidayPirates have kept their headquarter premises in Berlin. “Back in September when the offices re-opened, we all really enjoyed meeting up and people were genuinely happy to see their colleagues in-person again,” explains David. These sentiments mean that companies with the remote-first approach may benefit from transforming their offices into ‘collective spaces’, such as meeting rooms, co-working spaces, silent rooms and chill-out rooms. A good option is a ‘desk booking tool’ system to allow those who wish to reserve a space to come in and work on site.
Whether this approach is sustainable, we will have to wait and see. Using HolidayPirates as an example shows that remote-first can be the gold standard for travel SMEs moving forward. Without this operational framework, distributed companies simply have offices with isolated employees working invisibly from home. And with the technology available for companies to use, there has never been a better time to offer employees a more flexible approach to working, now and into the ‘new normal’.