Thanks to the influx of startups hiring remotely, there can be no denying that the option of remote work is here to stay. Many professionals from the older generations may be surprised by this news. They may have thought working remotely was another passing fad – here one minute, gone the next – some crazy scheme thought up by irrational millennials who wanted more out of life. Like the idea that restaurants need to serve food to patrons on everything except a plate (an idea that, unfortunately, makes who eat out look like – as The Guardian put it – “infantilized idiots.”) And while some ideas definitely have an expiration date, companies hiring remote workers continue to gain traction.
There have certainly been some high profile companies that have gone the opposite way of remote work. For example, Marissa Mayer’s infamous removal of Yahoo’s “Work from Home” policy. However, you can’t google “remote work” without the first five hits being job sites offering the various remote positions available in their data banks. And even Mayers remarked to Fortune editor Adam Lashinsky that, “I don’t know that it’s necessarily the right stance for industry or the world at large.” It would seem the world at large is embracing hiring remotely.
The Medium recently trumpeted of more than 600 startups hiring remotely, which they’ve gathered in a comprehensive yet slightly confusing Google Doc. And that was back in January. Our own article 10 Telecommuting Trends a Remote Manager Should Know called the demise of telecommuting “greatly exaggerated.” So with apologies to Ms. Mayer, we have to differ on the idea that it’s “the end of [hiring remotely] as we know it.”
Companies Hiring Remotely
In our previous article 5 Reasons Why Remote Work Will Be the Biggest Hiring Trend This Year, we cite companies such as Xerox, Dell and Aetna (to name just a few of the Fortune 500s) that have already embraced remote work. In it, we state, “There’s probably not one single thing that can further help boost the increase in remote workforces than having the credibility of giant corporations backing the remote trend.” With the giants behind it, startups no longer have to take a leap of faith that remote work can work from them. Aside from the obvious benefits of savings in real estate, global access to professional talent and elimination of employee commutes, startups also have the advantage of technology. Talented employees are responding more and have a higher productivity rate when they are in an environment of their choosing. Far from a fad, Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs called hiring remotely, “a very professional and viable option and it’s not going anywhere.”
WordPress’ Automattic seems to have gotten the memo. According to HRDIVE, the company went 100% remote and has never looked back. Automattic spokesperson Mark Armstrong is quoted in Business Insider as stating the company had every intention of eventually being completely remote. HRDIVE also cites American Express with saving almost $15 million in real estate thanks to hiring remotely. In 2013, it was projected that by 2020 1 out of every 3 workers hired would be working remotely, or about 33%. Today’s estimates show it will more likely be 1 out of 2 workers, almost 50% of the workforce.
Working Remotely For Startups
I recently took it upon myself to read over the World Economic Forum to gather what they had to say on the subject of remote hiring. While I found the majority of the information grim and dreary, they made an interesting note on the state of telecommuting, calling it “one of the biggest drivers of the transformation of business models in many industries.” Startups may not have the advantage of being able to offer excellent perk packages and high salaries to coveted workers; however, they can and do offer a remote future. While the big leagues have to redesign their company layout to accommodate a larger pool of remote possibilities, startups can begin with remote hiring in mind. CIO notes that a lot of startups are offering flexible hours (39 percent) and remote work (28 percent). And it is not without merit. From our article Is Working from Home a Perk?, 80-90% of the US workforce said, “they’d like to be able to work remotely, at least part-time.” Last year the NY Times reported on a survey done by Gallup concerning remote working opportunities. In it, the agency reported that they, “consistently [have] found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.”
Startups who want to attract the major players to their teams understand the appeal of hiring remotely, especially startups in the tech world, where there are major benefits to hiring remote employees. To find out more about the benefits of remote recruitment for developer work, check out our developer article here.
The Future of Hiring Remotely For Startups
Recently, the state of Vermont jumped on the remote work bandwagon in a significant way. In June, Governor Phil Scott signed a bill promising that the first 100 people who moved to Vermont with a full-time, remote, out-of-state position by January 1st, 2019 will receive a whopping $10,000. The article cites the shrinking population as the reason, stating they are trying to attract younger residents who will then be paying state income tax on their out-of-state jobs.
Vermont may see the appeal of increasing numbers of tax-paying citizens, but startups realize the real investment comes in remote hiring. Real estate savings aside, startups who hire remotely can pick from the cream of the crop on a global scale. The 100% remote work company Zapier CFO, Jenny Bloom, recently remarked on the advantages of worldwide talent pools. “With a typical office, you have a 50-mile radius before potential hires need to relocate. With remote work, there are no boundaries.” If that wasn’t enough, hiring remotely also provides huge advantages to employees, including better work-life balance, higher productivity rating, and better health. From our article Digital Natives And Old-School Leaders-Embracing Digital Change, we found that “the way companies tackle those matters can prove crucial for their progress. It is essential that they approach those issues with a crisp strategic focus. Identifying and assembling a balanced team of digital natives and digital-ready leaders is the path to embracing digital transformation.” The road to success for up-and-coming startups is a digital one. Gone are the days when businesses relied on the talent located in the perimeter of a brick and mortar building. Remote work is on the rise and startups know it all too well. In the wise words of Doc Brown, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”.
If you’re a startup looking to make your mark in the world, gather your remote team with us here.