Business

6 Reasons Employers Should Embrace Remote Working

Working remotely can improve productivity and company loyalty.

This originally appeared on Quora. Answered by Dennis Zdonov.

What do GitHub, Wordpress, Trello, Linux, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many of the hottest blockchain and open-source projects all have in common? They’ve been built and maintained, in large part, by distributed teams — with many team members contributing from all over the world.

remote work working remotely work from home Working remotely provides employees with a lot more flexibility. Getty

Despite the success and widespread adoption of these products, there’s still an open (or at times more subconscious) bias amongst many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley against distributed teams. Maybe it exists out of fear that capable talent exists in places other than the Bay Area. Or maybe it exists out of addiction — to the catered free lunches, nap pods, and office happy hours.

Unfortunately, office culture today is broken. So is the traditional 9–5.

Lunch with a movie at 12 p.m., yoga at 3 p.m., acai bowls at 4 p.m., happy hour drinks at 5 p.m. How is anyone at the office supposed to get any work done? No wonder the average full-time employee costs Bay Area companies $25K per year just in office and perks expenses.

My co-founder Alex and I have ran distributed teams for over a decade and have seen that besides the obvious cost advantages, there are a variety of organizational and cultural benefits to having a distributed team. Here are a few of the most impactful.

1: You’re able to hire better talent.

Despite what some traditionalists might claim, the best talent will never be siloed in a single zip code.

Why limit yourself like that?

 

Running a distributed team allows you to remove those boundaries and simply make hiring great people easier. No longer will you have to convince potential employees to relocate or change their commute in order to join their company. All that matters is their talent and cultural fit.

2: Bias toward action & results instead of face time.

Running distributed teams forces you to reorient your expectations to focus entirely on results.

You don’t care as much about how the work gets done — whether an employee fixes a bug at night or on their couch — so long as it gets done on time and is of a certain caliber.

This, ultimately, is a good thing, because what matters at any company are results — the value you’re able to provide customers, the products you release for the public.

What doesn’t matter is the appearance of productivity. Yet that’s what many CEOs prioritize. That’s why Marissa Meyer banned remote work at Yahoo — she thought it would naturally increase productivity.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

3: Your employees develop increased autonomy.

Although it may seem like a handicap, when your employees can’t immediately access you or their managers when completing a project or task, in the long run, it benefits them, since it encourages them to work more independently. In time, they turn into self-driven, decision-making machines who own their specific verticals — which is exactly what you need as an early-stage startup, always seeking exponential growth.

remote working working remote work from home Getty

What, exactly, do you not want as the founder of a growing startup? Employees who need to be micromanaged. And that, unfortunately, is one thing centralized offices unintentionally encourage.

4: You run more efficient meetings.

In-person meetings almost always drag on longer than they should, often because participants are more interested in creating the illusion of productivity than achieving actual progress.

Many in-person meetings are entirely unnecessary. Whatever’s achieved during them could have been accomplished in half the time over email.

Distributed teams, on the other hand, conduct fewer of these unnecessary meetings. Why? Because the explicit goal of a given meeting is always to achieve something specific — face time and the desire to impress aren’t concerns. Sure, this may make remote meetings less enjoyable — but they’re far more efficient.

5: Your employees experience less burnout.

The day-to-day demands of working for a centrally-located company — like commuting to work every day, and feeling pressured to abide by a strict schedule — wear on employees over time.

Employees who work remotely, on the other hand, enjoy much more flexibility in so far as how they structure their days and how they maintain their personal work environments. If employees like working late at night as opposed to early in the morning, they’re free to do that. This makes the inherent grind of growing a startup more manageable, so during the harder times — when, say, the company’s lost a critical customer and everyone’s working overtime to make up for it — it’s easier to maintain a positive attitude. This is true of lower-level employees and for founders.

Ultimately, that guaranteed comfort goes a long way toward preventing burnout — something that should be a priority of every founder, no matter what kind of company you run.

6: You become less concerned with politics and corporate B.S.

Finally, in centralized offices, employees over time become consumed in social politics. It’s almost inevitable. They push and shove to be seen by leadership as the most valuable on staff. Grudges and cliques form, which affects performance.

Distributed companies, meanwhile, are inherently less susceptible to this, simply because there is no water cooler to gossip around. Results remain more important than perception, so that’s what employees focus on instead.

Work Remotely But at the end of the day, what truly matters for growing startups is consistent, quality results. Getty Images

There are definitely some times when collaborating in person is beneficial.

For one thing, it helps build trust and camaraderie. It brings people together. But at the end of the day, what truly matters for growing startups is consistent, quality results. What matters is productivity. And distributed teams prove time and time again to deliver that more seamlessly than centralized teams do.

If you’re building a company today and thinking about how you want to structure your people, consider ditching the in-office perks in favor of going distributed. It’s likely a more efficient way to achieve your ultimate goals.

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