Can Your Company Benefit From Hiring Remote Workers?
Learn from the remote work experiences of GitHub, CrowdStrike, Buffer and Zapier.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The buzz around remote working is growing (and here to stay), as companies seek to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and retaining the best talent. In this economy, hiring top-notch employees has become increasingly more difficult and job-seekers themselves are more conscious of their need to establish a better work-life balance.
Yet even with that said, remote working is not for everybody. So how can your company decide whether, and how, a remote workforce could be beneficial?
Companies that are making remote workforces work
One of the first examples of a company doing the right thing when it comes to remote working is GitHub. Github has over 60 percent of its workforce working remotely, and this balance has been a big success, the company’s senior product designer, Joel Califa, wrote in a blog post. The secret, he said, is finding the formula and balance that work best for each workforce.
Creating a successful remote team requires a unique structure and training process that is best to implement from the start. Your remote workforce can actually improve your organization if you learn to recognize what remote workers can do for you that on-site teams cannot.
GitHub, for example, hires people who are outcome-focused and have high emotional intelligence. These workers are more than happy to go out of their way to make thinks easier on one other and take chances in order to get the job done.
One of the key characteristics of GitHub employees is that they are more cognizant of their strengths and weaknesses, Califa claimed.
If your company, too, has a remote team like this, you can build a collaborative team, with relationships that focus less on who’s making decisions and more on being productive and efficient when it comes to work output. The key is identifying employees who are collaborative, humble and kind and can share responsibilities and work together for the collective good.
Joel Gascoigne, founder of remote working pioneer, Buffer, would likely agree. In a blog post, Gascoigne wrote that the the biggest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule it allows. It’s the idea, he said, that your employees can swap time spent commuting for walking the dogs, or go for a run during the day or meet with friends and make doctor’s appointments — without taking time off.
These freedoms lead to happy employees who are willing and able to work harder, as they are less stressed, Gascoigne wrote. Talent retention is also a big plus, as there are many people in today’s workforce who wouldn’t stay in the role they are in because they want more travel in their lives, or require more flexibility for their particular lifestyle.
Remote working offers this and more.
Zapier is yet another example of a company that has perfected the remote working set-up. The company actually issued what it calls the Ulimate Guide for Remote Work to help others establish a remote team or remote workforce.
The interesting part for most employers and employees (in my opinion) is how to build company culture when you are not face-to-face. The biggest takeaway here is that business leaders should establish a culture based on how they (as a company) work. So, establishing work hours, setting up communication channels and using online tools can all help build culture.
Finally, tech security company CrowdStrike is a prime example of an organizxation that has fully embraced remote working practices. Named as a great place to work by Fortune, CrowdStrike employs 800 people, of whom 400 work remotely.
Among the challenges here for the company are developing a consistent hiring framework to get the best talent, regardless of location; working on fostering the right culture; making meetings better ;and focusing on accountability. The upshot is that CrowdStrike can equip its staff with what they need wherever they’re based.
A modern and progressive employer will always be open to letting employees work remotely, especially for computer-reliant jobs. Employees like to feel valued and trusted, so having the emote work option can prompt loyalty and improve productivity. In summary:
When hiring a remote workforce, focus on finding the best talent and especially look for people who have worked as freelancers or with startups.
Give employees freedom — focus on results, balance and sustained productivity.
Experiment, share and learn from others to develop your own remote working culture. That way, you can better identify the people you want to work in your company.
Encourage people to work while they travel. Having people in different time zones can actually be beneficial for your business as work never stops. You effectively have a 24-hour workplace.
Clearly outline the best practices. Establish clear goals, objectives and outputs as well as open and intentional communications to foster inclusivity and teamwork.
Recognize that you can save a lot of money on office space and facilities, but also consider the costs associated with working remotely, such as home internet fees, coworking memberships etc. The majority of remote workers currently pay for these themselves, but as the industry evolves, employers will have to think about how to support their workforce with these costs.
Utilize online tech to make work run smoothly. There are a number of tools that remote teams need to utilize to be functional. These range from chat tools like Zoom for video-conferencing to Gmail and Google Sheets for shared email and spreadsheets. Other tools to consider are Slack, Discourse, Zenefits, Monday, Dropbox, Dropbox Paper and Trello.