Organizations must revamp policies before adopting a hybrid model of work.
The Future of Work

Don’t Forget To Do This Before Switching to Hybrid

Managers who adopt a hybrid schedule of work for their employees should follow these best practices to help workers avoid burnout and improve team performance.

Two studies recently shared insights on developing hybrid policies that blend remote and in-office work without burning out employees: organize regular team discussions to avoid employee burnout, offer flexible working hours to improve team performance, and train managers to ensure smooth operations. With over forty percent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, a thoughtful approach to hybrid work is critical for attracting and retaining talent. 

Key takeaways from the reports include:

$1 spent on the hybrid policy redesign program led to $1.68 in savings

Organizations that invested in a redesign program before going hybrid saw a healthy return on investment. They saw improved work-life balance and job satisfaction among employees and a drop in employee turnover costs. Voluntary employee exits decreased by 40 percent in these organizations. 

The talent landscape has shifted, and employee expectations have changed. Leaders must rethink employee engagement before adopting a hybrid setup. More than 66 percent of business leaders are redesigning spaces and policies for hybrid work. They are investing in technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds. 

Regular team discussions prevent overload and increase transparency

Structured discussions helped overloaded employees reduce engagements that did not require their inputs. They also helped increase efficiency by eliminating low-value work. Sixty-one percent of employees from organizations that did not conduct such discussions said they felt overburdened by work. Thus, leaders must urgently address digital exhaustion and work on solutions to reduce employee workloads.

Regular team discussions also set clear performance expectations. They helped hybrid employees overcome their fears of being judged based on their work hours instead of their contributions. They improved transparency by providing a clear picture of the hybrid workplace.

Flexible work hours lead to improved employee well-being and performance

The research revealed that hybrid setups worked best when employees were given control over their work instead of mandating specific hours for remote and in-office work. Organizations with flexible work cultures reported fewer work-life conflicts. The employees reported improved well-being and family time. 

Looking at these benefits, 63 percent of high-revenue growth companies have adopted the ‘productivity anywhere’ models that give employees the option of working remotely or on-site. Organizations that focused less on when, where, and how work happened saw optimum results and enabled employees to work in sustainable ways. 

Training managers is essential for ensuring seamless hybrid operations

Remote employees often feel disconnected from their in-office colleagues. Manager training should focus on building an inclusive work environment and give equal attention to all the team members irrespective of where they work. It is equally important to watch out for silos that may arise in the hybrid space. Managers must ensure that in-office and remote employees have access to the same resources and are equally involved in decision-making. They should encourage cross-team collaboration to strengthen the hybrid team. 

Additionally, they should encourage employees to share when they feel overwhelmed by work and allow them to unplug to focus on particular tasks or even recharge. 

Find the complete studies here and here.

Turing is an automated platform that helps organizations go hybrid. It enables companies to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills and who work in their time zone.
For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

By June 22, 2021
Worker juggling multiple tasks to show work from home productivity
The Future of Work

Remote Work Boosts Productivity & Innovation, Say Multiple Studies

Multiple reports show that work from home increased productivity and creativity in workers, and empowered them to be more innovative.

Several tech giants like Qualcomm, Lenovo, and Google have shared that remote work boosted productivity. A study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review revealed that remote work developed big-picture thinking in employees and made them more creative. Yet another found that empowered remote workers led to more innovation. 

Additional findings: 

Remote work spurs productivity and innovation

Qualcomm and Lenovo said they saw a rise in productivity after going remote. The former even added they filed more patents during the pandemic than ever before. 

A report published in MIT Sloan studied 1,000 remote innovation leaders across 17 countries to understand how innovations occurred. The analysis revealed that the companies with a radically progressive approach to remote work saw increased innovation, leading to better employee and customer outcomes. These companies, referred to as “stormers” in the report, were some of the best industry innovators. The report also revealed that the constraints of remote work led to more creativity among employees.

The other report showed that remote employees are more innovative because virtual communication, paired with the perception of being distant, activates the higher-construal thought process, also known as big-picture thinking. Thus, remote workers develop big-picture thinking because of virtual collaborations. 

The empowerment of remote employees promotes innovation

Ninety-four percent of stormers said replacing the command-and-control structure with a culture focused on customer-facing teams helped them perform better. It gave them more autonomy while serving customer needs. This approach transformed customer communication and provided a sense of purpose to employees. What’s more, it also increased customer loyalty by 62 percent for stormer organizations. 

The report also revealed that entrusting remote employees with customer relationships led to innovation. Ninety-one percent of stormer workforces said they enjoyed the recognition their work received through this approach. It motivated them to innovate further. As a result, 96 percent of stormers prioritized self-empowerment over leadership.

Remote work demands intelligent technology, connectivity, and consistency

Qualcomm and Lenovo shared that connectivity and high-quality technology are crucial to support the shift to remote work. They said that having access to the correct devices and connectivity led to greater output. 

Meanwhile, 84 percent of innovators said they could maintain their work-life balance and prevent burnout by sticking to a consistent schedule. They also shared that establishing transparent communication systems within teams was essential for maintaining this balance. In addition to this, virtual lunch breaks engaged remote employees in casual conversation that helped build bonds across teams.

Brainwriting,  bias elimination, and minimal production blockers can maximize virtual productivity

  • Reduce production blockers: Production blockers can hamper creative thinking. Frequent conversations with the team, for example, can act as a production blocker for an employee. Setting aside time for individual work away from the shared screen can help in limiting such blocks and increasing productivity. 
  • Practice brainwriting: Encourage employees to write down their ideas and discuss them together. Brainwriting fixes the flaws of brainstorming by eliminating self-censorship and promoting honest criticism. Virtual communication is ideal for brainwriting because participants can contribute to a shared document without group influence. 
  • Amplify individual input through virtual platforms: Virtual platforms allow only one person to talk at a time. Thus, they make it easier for less vocal participants to share their views. Most importantly, they serve as records of information, allowing organizations to go over previously discussed ideas.
  • Eliminate bias and encourage diverse interactions: People evaluate ideas from colleagues more harshly than those from outsiders. Anonymity helps in evaluating ideas without prejudice. Similarly, conversations between different team members bring diverse perspectives and stimulate creativity. 

Read the complete reports here and here.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

By June 18, 2021
us government employee works remotely
The Future of Work

The US Government Plans for Remote Work Policies

Increased job satisfaction, better employee retention, and ample successful federal telework models have made the US government decide to go remote permanently.

Increased job satisfaction among federal workers, better recruitment and employee retention, and ample successful federal telework models have caused the Biden administration to plan for a permanent transition to flexible work

Pre-pandemic, 23 percent of government employees worked remotely for at least one day per week. During COVID-19, the number rose to 74 percent. Now, senior government officials have revealed they plan to allow individual federal agencies to define flexible work options according to the department’s aims, employee needs, and manager preferences. 

Here’s a breakdown of why: 

Remote work increased job satisfaction among federal workers

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey showed that government employees working remotely for at least three days a week reported a higher engagement score (76) than those working in an office (62.5). 

Eighty-two percent of federal employees eligible for remote work also reported they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their organization’s telework program. Only 5 percent said they were dissatisfied, and 12 percent were neutral.

A similar survey conducted by the National Treasury Employees Union found that 92 percent of workers had a successful experience with telework, with 66 percent even claiming they were more productive while working remotely. 

Employers win, too: federal agencies can recruit and retain the best talent by going remote

Recruiting the best talent is a top priority for the federal government. However, government officials have revealed that a lack of flexible work options has previously cost them the best candidates. “Candidates want to live in a location where you don’t pay half your salary in property taxes or lose most of your money trying to buy a house,” said Trent Fraizer, executive director for campaigns & academic engagement for Homeland Security and CISA.

Frazier worries that a lack of competitiveness in hiring will burden federal agencies in the long run, given the tough competition they face from the private sector. Top firms like Google, Twitter, Lenovo, etc., are opting for all-remote or hybrid work options, and others are following suit.

Economics and personnel experts also point to the benefits of having a larger talent pool while hiring remotely. They believe in hiring the best person for the role nationally, not locally. 

Agencies build on success with remote work

Several federal agencies have implemented successful remote work models–and plan to continue following them post-pandemic. They include: 

  • Department of Defense (DOD)

The Department of Defense made remote work functional despite ample digital security and privacy concerns—even launching a virtual work environment in 2020 to enable WFH.  The agency is now scaling the project, dubbed DOD 365, to include a whole suite of collaboration tools with added security layers.

  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA has already declared that it will allow remote work for up to four days a week, along with expanded usage of virtual and remote duty stations and more flexible schedules. 

  • NASA 

Despite existing remote work arrangements, NASA had to scale to mass telework rapidly at the onset of the pandemic. However, the agency quickly managed to overcome the pitfalls of remote work, and at one point, had 90 percent of its workforce working remotely. 

  • General Services Administration (GSA) 

A majority of the GSA’s workforce has been working remotely for the past five years—which made transitioning to all-remote relatively easy for the team. 

Boundaryless work is popular with both federal employees and agency leadership. Past successes with federal telework programs have further shown that remote work is here to stay. 

Organizations looking to build remote teams of talented engineers can, with Turing, hire Silicon Valley caliber software developers across 100+ skills.  

By June 17, 2021
An artificial nose to showcase artificial intelligence companies developing a sense of smell
Tech Talk

Artificial Intelligence Is Developing a Sense of Smell

A crucial question Covid patients face: How to regain their sense of smell? Artificial intelligence companies may soon help with that.

It hasn’t been long since engineers enabled machines to see and make decisions based on their observations. Now, they can smell too. A Grenoble-based startup is making use of artificial intelligence combined with digital olfaction to mimic the human sense of smell and help customers convert odor data into actionable information. 

Digital Olfaction – How it Works

The human nose uses the odor molecules released by inorganic and organic objects to enable the sense of smell. The odor evaporates when the energy in objects increases, helping inhale and absorb them through the nasal cavity. 

Digital olfaction works in a similar fashion. First, it captures odor signatures using biosensors and then uses software solutions to analyze the given odor data and display the results. Artificial intelligence helps interpret the signatures and classify them based on a database of previously collected smells. 

In a recent interview, the company CEO said that in terms of performance and its ability to recognize different smells, digital olfaction is close to the way human noses work.

Practical Uses of Digital Olfaction

Odor analytics can help companies: 

  • Engineer the ideal “new car” smell for the automotive industry
  • Catch food spoilage in consumer appliances
  • Approve or reject raw material supply
  • Lower R&D time for new beverages and foods
  • Create health sensors and personal care devices that use odors to detect possible issues and alert users

One possible use of this technology is to assist in developing devices that help COVID-19 patients recover their sense of smell.

Read more about this technology here

By June 16, 2021
Akshay Thakor, Turing SVP of Operations
Turing News

Postmates VP Akshay Thakor Joins Turing as SVP of Operations

In his new role at Turing, Akshay will lead the global operations team and all activities related to the Turing developer community.

Akshay Thakor has joined Turing as SVP Operations. Most recently, Akshay was VP of Business Operations at Postmates, where he was instrumental in building the infrastructure and community that fueled Postmates’ growth and ultimate acquisition by Uber. 

In his new role at Turing, Akshay will lead our global operations team and all activities related to our developer community of more than 400,000 international software engineers. 

By way of introduction, we recently interviewed Akshay about his new role and the reasons he joined Turing. 

Turing: Hi Akshay. I’d like to start by asking you what attracted you to Turing?

Akshay: The first thing to attract me to Turing is our core mission and the vision we are trying to achieve. The idea of helping talented developers worldwide and matching them with amazing job opportunities across Silicon Valley is very purposeful and empowering. Across the globe, you have software developers who are looking to find ways to step up in their careers. Giving them opportunities to work on important projects, to earn more, to choose their own path can be very significant. We can have a positive impact on the lives of very talented people.

The other key attraction for me at Turing was the opportunity to solve a real pain point — hiring strong software developers in Silicon Valley is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. And hiring them at scale is an even bigger challenge. I believe Turing is solving this problem in an elegant and unique manner by using AI and machine learning to build an intelligent talent cloud. They are essentially re-inventing the traditional IT services and staffing industry and building an AWS for Talent!

Lastly, I was impressed by the Turing executive team – a set of amazing and passionate folks who are experts in their domain. It’s a diverse group with different backgrounds who each bring a unique perspective and unique values. That’s the secret sauce when you figure out a company you want to work with or an idea you want to scale.

Turing: At Postmates, you were able to change an entire market or maybe even create one. That seems to tie in nicely with how you see Turing evolving. So how do you think that experience will carry over to what you will be doing here at Turing?

Akshay: Yes, you are spot on about Postmates creating markets as we were the first food delivery app in the US when we launched in 2011. We were able to innovate and create many firsts in the market; something I am extremely proud of. That experience was instrumental in developing my approach to thinking about every problem from a customer’s perspective. The ability to identify and acknowledge problems, figuring out creative solutions that address those pain points, and then launching solutions that scale effectively is what I am really good at.

And that skill translates perfectly at Turing. It will allow me to build our developer platform as we scale it globally. Today, the solutions that worked for hiring software engineers 20 years ago are redundant and have neither seen any innovation nor are they adapting to the changing landscape of remote work. And that’s why we, at Turing, are re-imagining those problems and their solutions. We need those solutions to be innovative and operate at scale for our customers as well as developers. This is where I can bring a lot of value and create one of the most impactful companies of the next decade. I am looking forward to working with the entire Turing team and creating something huge and impactful, something we will look back and be extremely proud of.  

Turing: You make it sound very exciting! Tell us a bit about your specific responsibilities. What areas will you be driving into?

Akshay: My core responsibilities will be focused on two areas. First is to manage and lead global operations across Turing. A business of our scale is a combination of tech plus operations and I want to ensure that both work hand-in-hand as we scale our company. We are a remote-first company and will continue to build a global team, especially across LatAm, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

My second and most important area of focus is to build, grow and lead our global developer platform. I am responsible for creating and driving a holistic approach to our developer ecosystem while building a thriving, engaging community. Key questions for me are — how do they think about Turing? How do we make Turing the best place for a developer to work at? How do we engage with them such that they become our strongest advocate? How do we ensure they have a WOW experience on our platform and become our evangelists?

We believe the Turing platform is very empowering to developers. It gives them the ability to grow their careers on their own terms, to work on the projects they love. And it’s a very sustainable way for developers to work without having to continuously look for their next job. 

I’m responsible for ensuring Turing continues to grow and scale its developer ecosystem so we can continue to meet our customers’ needs, while also engaging our developers so as to make them feel valued and proud to be a part of the Turing community.

Turing: As you think about your first year here at Turing, what are a couple of things you hope to accomplish?

Akshay: That’s a great question. The first thing I want to accomplish is to examine all of our existing systems and make sure we have the right processes in place to set us up for success as we continue to scale. For fast scaling startups, the Japanese concept of Kaizen – continuous improvement – is very critical. We always need to push ourselves to be better, hire the right people and set up scalable processes. That will be an important area of focus for me in the first year. 

In parallel, my goal will be to set up a mid-to-long-term vision for my teams and ensure that we can see a path for us to get to it. The key questions for me are — How do we articulate a vision that motivates and drives our team? What foundations do we need to build to achieve that vision? How can we accelerate the process and get there faster? How can we make sure our customers and our developers have the most amazing experience? What are the building blocks we need to achieve our longer-term vision?

These are important questions that a business leader needs to constantly think about. We need to listen to our customers, to our developers, and understand their needs. It is really important to be connected to your customers and obsessively focusing on customer service.

Turing: What do you see as some of the big opportunities for Turing over the next few years. 

Akshay: Turing’s ability to scale and grow our global developer community is one of our most impactful and meaningful propositions. There are exceptionally talented people across the globe, but there aren’t enough opportunities for them. We empower them to build their own career paths and give them the freedom to work across top companies. What we need to realize is the impact this has on local communities and how it allows talented developers to uplevel their economic situation. They are able to earn more and work with some of the best companies across the world while working from their home and local geography. Imagine this at a vast global scale and the positive impact it can create. Imagine as we expand our business to providing training, internships, and skill enhancement programs to a diverse set of age groups. Imagine how empowering it can be from a social, cultural, and economic perspective. That is the mission for Turing, and it’s our biggest opportunity.

Another area that I deeply value is our core technical platform — our AI-driven talent cloud — that is not only unique but also critical for us to scale. We are a tech-first company, and what we are building is innovative. Our intelligent vetting and matching algorithm uses a blend of data science and machine learning; something that hasn’t been done before at our scale within our industry. And we use it to find an ideal match between our customers and developers. Over time, as we continue to invest in our technology, it will be our biggest differentiator and will create a plethora of opportunities for us. 

Turing: One final question. One of Turing’s values is continuous learning. So we ask every new team member, what is the one course you would like to teach and how would you go about teaching it?

Akshay: A very interesting question. There are two answers to this — one is a work-related course and the other is a fun, personal course. For the first one, I would like to teach a course on effective communication. I believe it is an important skill that is immensely valuable but not a strong point for a lot of folks, especially young professionals. I have been fortunate to learn a lot from my past experience as a consultant to Fortune 500 CXOs and at Postmates. The course would focus on how to be an effective storyteller so that you create empathy with your audience, align with your stakeholders, and provide clarity to your team. 

As part of my personal hobby, I am passionate about Japanese comic art, Manga, and its televised adaptation, Anime. They have some amazing stories, brilliant artwork and are extremely popular across the globe, especially in the US. I would love to teach a course on the history of anime in the US and how it got popular across some genres. I believe that would be a unique and fun course for people to learn more about this global phenomenon.

Turing: I’m sure you’ll have a lot of interest in both courses. Thank you Akshay, and welcome to Turing. 

By June 15, 2021
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