After years of controversial opinions on the topic and steady debates for the pros and cons, remote work is on the rise and appears to be here to stay. However, even within companies which fully accept remote work, there is often a degree of reluctance to bite the bullet and go fully remote. If established companies are on the fence, then where does that leave your average tech startup?
Frankly, the current reluctance to fully commit to remote work can be an insane boon to your startup. Not only have remote workers shown themselves to be more productive, engaged and cheaper than your average office worker, but by casting your net in the sea rather than the local pond, you stand a higher chance of landing a bigger fish.
Bad metaphors aside, read on if you want to see the quantifiable reasons you should think about taking the plunge and going fully remote.
Wider talent pool
Think about it; if you require your employees to be in-office, who are you actually advertising your job opening to? The answer is going to be locals or those willing to move for a new job, and (sadly) a position with a startup doesn’t always have the same draw or security that motivates many candidates to move location.
Instead, go for remote workers. Ask the entire world if they want to step up to the plate and work for you. True, you may have to be a little more patient for the perfect fit, and more rigorous in both your hiring and employee onboarding process, but the payoff can be insane.
If you require an office, your perfect fit who’s currently sitting at their desk in the Philippines, searching for your job won’t have any way of contacting you. You effectively neuter your startup’s ability by limiting the candidate pool.
The Taylor Review: What impact will it have on UK tech companies?
Startups, naturally, have smaller budgets and a smaller margin for error than larger companies, which can afford to take a risk or two. Every second counts in reaching a self-sustaining company goal, and in a world where time is money, why would you spend any more than necessary?
Going fully remote saves you pretty much any and all real estate costs, which you can then use to either buoy up the budget or even re-invest it in your team to make it even better. When the amount you stand to save per employee per year is enough to hire two extra VAs, it seems a little silly to not take advantage of this.
Whilst some employees are more productive in an office environment, the rising trend in remote working suggests a large proportion of the population are finding their productivity at home, or in libraries and coffee shops, rather than sitting at an office for a nine-to-five slog.
Now, please understand that this isn’t a dig at office workers; whether you’re at home or in a company building, productive workers will be productive and bad apples will show their true colours. However, having a fully remote setup allows you to take full advantage of your team’s potential. For example, almost everybody has a different time of day during which they are most productive. For me it happens to be the regular nine to five, but I can think of colleagues who work mornings and evenings or even in the dead of night, simply because that is the time when their head’s in the game.
Whilst this potential is unlocked through remote work, you should also be aware that this also requires you to be more flexible with your work hours. Not only will you be dealing with various time zones, but you will also need to factor in each employee’s productive work hours. Whilst it can make communication and collaboration a little more difficult, trust me when I say the productivity payoff is worth it.
Tech startups can have an incredibly tough time getting off the ground, so why cut your chance before you’ve even started working? By going fully remote you stand to save funding, have access to greater talent and unlock the full potential of your team, so don’t hang about!