PRontheGO: Startups and Business Owners on the advantages of running a Remote-First company.
We asked startups and business owners about the advantages of running a remote-first company. What are the advantages of running a remote-first team? What are the best tactics for communicating with remote workers who work from all over the world? Why would you personally prefer a remote-first workplace? Here are their answers:
Paul Ronto is the CMO at RunRepeat, the world’s largest shoe review site which is 100% remote. RunRepeat has about 56 full-time employees currently along with a handful of part-time and freelance employees all of which are remote.
I think there are tons of advantages to a remote company.
• Easier to source top tier talent since you are not held back by only being able to hire locally. This is especially important for companies not located in big cities.
• Overhead is significantly lower. There are no expensive office spaces to rent or furnish, no building utilities to pay for, and limited technology you need to invest in. You can require employees to have their own computer, or pay partially for tech needs, but still, it’s less than outfitting a full office. Also, you can keep salaries low by hiring from markets where the cost of living is lower. You can do this in the US, or hiring internationally.
• 24-hour work cycles. If you hire internationally you can continue to produce almost around the clock which is a great plus of remote work. But even if you just hire domestically you can spread out across the time zones, or allow employees to work when they want, naturally, some will work at night, some during the day, allowing your teams to operate over a larger portion of the day, which has its perks for sure.
• Remote workers tend to be more efficient, there is no water cooler, no office distractions, no commute, so typically remote workers can accomplish more in a day than their in-office counterparts.
Communicating can be a challenge with your team spread out all over the world, but simple tools can ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
• Slack is crucial for real-time communicating with remote teams. It’s easy to set up 1–1 chats as well as groups/team channels. Also allows you to quickly call and have video or voice meetings/chats when typing is too cumbersome. Lastly, if you click on another users name in a chat, it will pull up a mini user profile that tells you that user’s local time. This is really helpful when you are trying to figure out what time it is in Denmark and if you should chat/call that team member.
• Google Hangouts makes team meetings simple. Everyone can be in the same “room” for staff meetings or group discussions. You can easily share your screen, insert chat comments while people are talking and it’s free. It works around the world and is pretty crucial for remote teams.
• Trello is another great tool, especially for remote teams. This is a project management tool that allows you to assign tasks to the team and check on their status in real time. People can collaborate in Trello and leave comments for one another, so the workflow is streamlined especially with different members working on projects in chunks from vastly different time zones.
I prefer a remote-first workplace for sure. I think you can really find unique and talented team members that would otherwise be impossible to find in 99% of towns across the world. Plus I am 100% anti-commuting unless it can be done on a bike or public transport. Driving a car to and from the office over long distances just kills productivity, encourages employee turnover, and harms the planet. I would say there are some challenges to remote-first for sure, but for the most part, I think remote is the way to go.
Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, a fully remote social media management business, advises start ups to join the annual Running Remote conference which takes place in Bali in 2019 to learn more about how to run a remote team:
A former Uber driver, Brett Helling now is the CEO of Ridester — a ridesharing information company the website of which is visited by over 1.5 million unique visitors/month and has been featured/mentioned in NYT, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, etc.
Brett (who also runs GigWorker.com) shares his insights:
Both Ridester and Gigworker are all-remote companies and all our team members are millennials and Gen Z working from multiple countries. There are many advantages of having a remote and dispersed team:
- You have access to a vast talent pool. Sometimes people that are the best fit for your company are based in another location. However, being a remote team we are not restricted by geographical locations. We can hire the best talents from literally anywhere in the world.
- Another advantage of having a remote team is flexibility. Our employees are not bound by a 9–5 office drill. They have the freedom to set their own schedule and work in their preferred times. This flexibility allows them to have a better work-life balance which means happier and more satisfied employees.
- Everyone is working from their homes so you don’t have to set up a big office. This reduces your costs and you have more budget to spend on other things.
- The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is better productivity. Since no time is wasted in commuting to and from office and in indulging in office gossips, employees can focus solely on their work and give better results.
Having a remote team also comes with a set of challenges. The biggest one being the communication between team members and different departments. Here is how we tackle them:
- For day-to-day communication and managing our daily projects, we use Slack and Trello. We can easily collaborate on projects, quickly share files, and have group discussions about project issues and to chitchat about other matters. Using these tools, we can keep track of each other’s progress and stay on the same page.
- We also have regular online meetings via Zoom, usually twice a month, to discuss our projects and other business matters. This strengthens our communication and improves collaboration between various team members. These meetings ensure that we all stay on the same page and also stay connected with each other.
I believe that by having a distributed team, I am able to build and then leverage the talents of each individual, some who may be located in areas where they would typically be underutilized. For instance, the Jointer and Element Zero teams span across the globe, something we have been able to benefit from given the comprehensive perspective of each member. By extending the team globally, we all benefit. And it means that my team are deeply passionate about what they do; they have come to the project not for the convenience of location, they have come to our project because this is what they love to do; we don’t need to physically be in the same place to have that type of passion in common. Why should you turn down an amazing and talented candidate just because they live on another continent?
Being an entrepreneur, and engaging in the Silicon Valley culture in my own backyard has helped me tremendously. As an Israeli immigrant, I immersed myself into the American culture, learning to speak and write in English, with my passion being the driving force. Nothing makes me more excited than being on our weekly video calls and seeing our team, comprised of international talent, collaborate together.
I prefer a remote-first workplace because I LOVE what I do, and believe that people should work as much as they like on the stuff they love. I believe in needs-based innovation, and by building a diverse, cross-cultural team comprised of international talent, we consistently collaborate. Working with a remote-first teams allows me to have consistent dialogue and offers me the ability to engage in collaboration with my team. Ideas and great things are not only generated during 9–5 hours. I’ve had some of my best calls with colleagues at 11 pm when an idea strikes. We believe in the saying, “strike while the iron is hot!” Shouldn’t everyone be doing this? The benefits are truly endless.
PRontheGO.com — The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks.