The recent COVID 19 pandemic had many of us working remotely from home, thrusting us into unexpected circumstances that we may or may not have been prepared for, considering that there are many physical and technical factors to consider when making the decision to work from home.
As the Founder & CEO of Firstbase, Chris Herd knows this better than anyone. He discusses his business, a remote worker setup platform that helps companies supply and manage all the physical equipment remote workers need to do great work at home.
Firstbase takes care of absolutely everything for companies including chairs, desks, microphones, and hardware such as routers, even going so far as to ensure that everything works smoothly. Chris gives us the ins and outs of working remotely and how his business works.
What does working remotely mean?
Remote work allows individuals to work outside of an office environment, so instead of having to go to your regular office and work from your office desk or cubicle every day, you get to work from home or in some cases, wherever you want!
Why Remote Work is Inevitable
When we started Firstbase, we saw that the number of people working remotely was going to explode, and that was before COVID19. All our predictions would now have to be adjusted because the amount of people who will be working from home in the future is even higher than initially calculated.
Why is getting remote workers set up at home so complex?
The biggest hassle is managing the equipment, a company would have to purchase everything and then have it all set up and in working order. Issues will arise remotely, and when workers leave, it’s difficult to collect all the equipment. No company wants to have to manage these sort of issues.
Does remote work save costs?
In terms of cost-saving, remote work is about ten times more affordable to run than an office. The implication for companies is that if they have 1000 remote workers, and they redistribute those workers remotely, they’re going to save somewhere between $16 million and $40 million a year in commercial real estate cost. From that perspective, companies that don’t embrace remote work and become more resilient, aren’t going to be competitive in the next 5-6 years.
How does remote work affect productivity?
Office spaces went from the best place to work to becoming the worst place because everyone went open plan, making it increasingly difficult to concentrate. The general feedback is that remote workers are far more productive because they get the isolation they need to focus, something they just don’t get in an office.
What are the disadvantages of remote working?
A lot of people’s first reaction against remote work is the isolation and the loneliness that can potentially creep in if you’re not working in an office. You may also find that you lack a barrier between your work and your home life, and it comes with its own distractions, so it may be a little harder for some to focus at home.
On the flip side, you really have to ask yourself if it’s a good thing that your main social contact is happening in the workplace with people who are picked by your boss? Probably not right? Oftentimes it leads to shallow, superficial relationships and friendships without any real meaning.
Less hassle for companies
We know when one employee needs his laptop upgraded or when another needs a new chair for example, and we manage that in the backend without the company having to worry about it. We take care of the installation for companies, but it’s very much focused on the physical workspace and equipment.
We give customers generalisations as to what the best practices are for employees who work remotely, such as suggesting a high-quality webcam and a microphone, or the right type of furniture that’s ergonomically correct that’s regularity compliant so that workers aren’t going to get injured at home.
What’s the cost model like?
Rather than companies having a high upfront cost, they’ll pay a monthly subscription over whatever period of time they choose, making it more cost-efficient for the company.
Where does Firstbase operate?
We operate across the U.S and the U.K. with the plan to move to as many countries as possible. Our focus is mostly on large enterprises such as banks and credit agencies because it’s something they really struggle with.
The future of remote work
A lot of companies have been thrust into working remotely without actually being prepared for it or having the capacity for it. Working with a company like Firstbase is a great remote work strategy that lets workers be safer, more comfortable and more productive at home than they would be in an office.