Exploring the Challenges and Rewards of Hybrid Digital Work

Andrea Jiménez Zárate
Jan 17, 2023

At Riimu Solutions, out of the twelve members on our team, nine are of different nationalities. This diversity has allowed us to adapt to various changes, including working remotely from multiple locations worldwide. We have a hybrid working model, allowing our team to work from the office, home, or somewhere else when it fits the project and schedules. We usually work in Finland, but sometimes we work from places like Skopje, Hanoi, or Thessaloniki. 

Hiep Nguyen, one of our colleagues, frequently travels back to his home country Vietnam and works remotely for extended periods of time.

Even though Hiep has the flexibility of working from home with some other benefits, including better work/life balance and a lot of independence, there are also many challenges he has to face. e.g., the communication within the team management, sometimes the schedules for meetings do not match, or he has to either wake up early to catch up on a client meeting or stay up late. 

When working from home, we do multiple tasks at the same time. Hiep is an employee, parent, and spouse trying to balance his family time. Therefore, it is difficult for him to maintain a hybrid work rhythm from one continent to another. And despite that, he is a successful developer. 

How do we accommodate remote working at Riimu?

At Riimu, we’re all about boosting productivity, lifting spirits, and keeping our team members satisfied. We hold meetings online at the most convenient times for everyone to make that happen. Our team members can share their availability well in advance so that we can schedule calls around those hours. We also have regular check-ins every two weeks to catch up on projects, share feedback, and brainstorm ways to improve. Even though we’re only sometimes working together in the same physical space, we make sure to keep the lines of communication open and the team spirit alive.

Our employees should have the freedom to work when and where they are most productive. We value results above all else and are not concerned with the specific hours or location of the work being done.

Erik Lumme, one of our colleagues, has shared some of the challenges he faces while working remotely:

  • Time zone differences can be a big obstacle. For instance, you may have to work on a project where the stakeholders finish their day when it’s early in the morning for you or vice versa.
  • The risk of missing out on important information is a real concern. If only some people are working remotely, you may miss out on news that would have benefited you.
  • Remote work can also lead to added latency, meaning it can take longer to receive responses, even when working in the same time zone.

“The best thing about working from home is the flexibility in working time that it gives me. As a father of a 1-year-old, I don’t have to stress when bringing him to daycare, and I see him as soon as he comes home. I have more time to spend with my family, and I can run errands in the middle of the day, as long as the work gets done, and I’m generally available throughout the workday”.

— Erik Lumme

Despite some of the challenges when working remotely, such as distractions at home, timing issues, technical difficulties, and communication breakdowns, Roberto Russo, our senior software developer, values the independence it offers and the ability to spend more time with his family.

What are some benefits of working from different locations/countries?

Working from home has led to better employee retention and reduced sick absences. But, perhaps most importantly, employees are happier when they can achieve a healthy work-life balance, resulting in increased productivity. 

In conclusion, to be a successful digital hybrid employee, it’s essential to manage your schedule effectively, communicate well with your team, manager, and clients, and be a dedicated worker with clear priorities.