Today, after a working session, I went to watch the sunset at the beach here in Brazil. Reflecting on the day, while watching the sea made me think about the endless remote work possibilities that we have either from home…or anywhere in the world.
I remembered my corporate days (a lifetime ago) and how much time I would spend in offices. The fact that I needed to be in the same place everyday restricted me in terms of relocating, traveling, and in my daily routine. Boy, how much all that has changed! Since then I started exploring remote work while running a consulting business. And it is not just me. The whole idea that, in order to work, you have to go to a specific place is no longer valid. I can work from home or while traveling, my ‘home office’ is where I open my laptop.
More and more companies start to understand remote work and realize they actually don’t need an office at all. Among these companies who consists of remote teams, are some of today’s most successful. How exactly is that possible? How could it be that these companies, where people don’t work side by side and maybe never even have met face to face, seem to have found the key to success? Why might they be more successful than companies where people are interacting personally?
Who are these remote companies? Why are they more successful?
Both remote companies and remote work positions are on the rise. According to research, the number of remote workers has increased globally on an average of 20%.
More and more companies are removing offices and working with a globally distributed team, like Auttomatic and Buffer, to name a couple.
In my opinion, there are a number of reasons these remote companies might be more successful than traditional companies. So what is their competitive edge?
1. Freedom and Autonomy
First of all, they can offer something millennials want and expect from their employers.
More and more people want the freedom to travel, work from home, or have a remote job. They want to say goodbye to the days of sitting in a company office, wearing a suit and attending meetings that often are not all too beneficial.
Besides having the freedom of remote work, to live and travel anywhere, these companies also offer a culture with high levels of autonomy. There is no micro-management or control over how people are executing their tasks. This autonomy gets highly valued by professionals! They become top employers and therefore can attract the best talents out there.
They rank high on the list of top companies and can have their pick, while other companies are struggling to find good people.
2. Access to ‘top talents’
Companies aren’t limiting themselves when offering the option to take on remote work. They actually open up their talent pool to those living outside of commuter proximity. In return, this increases the opportunity to attain highly skilled talent.
Not only can they have the pick out the best talents by giving up on their office, they instantly get access to the best talents from all over the world.
Changing your company culture
Besides opening up a bigger market for recruiting, I think there is another factor that is crucial. Having no office requires changing your culture drastically. Looking at company cultures of the businesses that have no offices seem to have some things in common. Here are a few of them I think are the most important.
3. Strong vision
Practice what you preach. The founders of these companies have a specific vision on company culture and how it relates to their success. They have deliberately cultivated a culture that will bring them the most success.
Do you need help developing your company’s vision on culture and organization, or how to translate it to actual organizational design? We can help: apply for a discovery call where we will give you advice!
4. Start-up culture
It can be beneficial to set traditions aside when it comes to company culture. Startups are not being restricted by ‘how things were always done’ and this gives them more possibilities. It is always easier to start with a clean slate but if your company is more mature remember change is never impossible.
5. Results driven and transparency
If you only have remote work employees, you are managing results, not time or hours. People need to deliver. Many of these companies have very transparent goals in place, for example in 3-month cycles. The more clear the goals are and what needs to be achieved, the more fulfillment employees get. Not to mention this will also help increase the probability for long-term success rates.
6. High trust
One of the most important explanations is that companies who rely on home offices and remote work often have a different paradigm: They trust their employees.
They believe that their employees actually want to deliver the best results for the company and will put in the work as necessary. High trust is one of the most important conditions, it determines the management style, motivates the employees and creates a company culture that will help you to become more successful.
7. Innovative solutions
These companies are stars in thinking ‘out of the box.’ They actively search for solutions to new challenges that arise for them, and let OLD solutions go. Instead of calling everybody back to the office if something is not working (like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer did), they start looking for the root of the problem and put new solutions in place.
The combination of being able to attract top talents, who work with high levels of engagement and responsibility, and in the right culture, seems to be key for more success.
And of course, if you don’t have an office, you save a ton of money that you could use for Talent Development…or for that annual inclusive company retreat where you fly everybody in!
What if you had a remote team?
What if you wouldn’t have an office at all? Where would you be reading this article?