With start-ups no longer needing to be physically located in Silicon Valley to be successful, start-up founders are exploring other workplace structures, including a remote workforce. Will remote be the future of start-ups?
As we navigate the workplace upheaval caused by the global pandemic, start-up founders, employees and investors alike find themselves asking questions about what the workforce of the future will look like.
Not long ago, it was believed the fastest track to start-up success was to raise funds, lease space in Silicon Valley, and then hire the very best local talent.
But that's not necessarily the situation anymore.
In fact, as more and more people are working remotely, fewer start-ups are heeding the siren call to move to the Bay Area. In fact, there’s a growing “tech exodus” from San Francisco as start-ups and tech companies of all sizes explore alternatives, along with their employees.
So San Francisco may well not be the start-up capital of the world anymore, but where does that actually leave start-ups?
Many organizations are asking themselves if they actually need to settle in one location at all.
As technology enhances our ability to better communicate when working remotely, physically having employees in one central location becomes less important.
This shift opens up huge possibilities for start-ups to thrive. They no longer need to have a physical corporate headquarters and office space, and also aren't limited to hiring the best local talent pool, but instead hiring from the best GLOBAL talent ocean. This allows them access to millions of talented workers they may not have considered previously.
Hiring trends are shifting and employing remote workers does have its benefits and drawbacks, especially for growing start-ups.
Pros of Hiring Remote Workers
There are a lot of pros for start-ups to hire remote workers. For starters, start-ups will be able to reduce overhead costs such as office space, utilities, and in-office perks, with that investment redirected into employees and developing the business. A remote workforce also helps when start-ups are trying to quickly scale, as they can rapidly increase headcount without having to increase real estate.
Start-ups will be able hire the best of the best talent available globally, and not be limited to working with a local talent pool, enhancing their business outcomes and hopefully building the business quicker.
Finally, numerous research projects have shown remote workers are actually more productive than in-office. Working async can also lead to a remote team that’s “always working” across multiple time zones.
Cons of Hiring Remote Workers
That’s not to say hiring remote workers doesn’t come with its own unique set of challenges.
Depending on the experience of a remote worker, start-ups and employees may struggle to communicate effectively—particularly if either was accustomed to in-office communication or want "to keep an eye on their workers".
While many reports do suggest remote workers are more productive at home when compared to in-office, other at-home responsibilities can sometimes creep in to a work day and become priorities for remote workers. While some startups believe that productivity monitoring can be the
Proof of Concept
Long before the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies already operated a fully remote workforce, recognizing the benefits that remote workers bring.
Aurea Software, the company behind the popular productivity and teamwork tool, Jive, was an early adopter of remote work. Their entire global team of nearly 2,000 people operates in a fully-remote work model. And they're constantly hiring new remote workers including software engineers, which proves the model works.
Automattic—the company behind the popular content management system WordPress—employs remote workers from 96+ countries all over the world. Their focus is on the work employees produce, rather than just hours clocked.
InVision has 700+ employees and just a suite for it's physical address. Invision’s Chief People Officer explains working 100% remote gives them "an edge over the competition." With no geographical restrictions on hiring, the company can bring in talent from all over the world. Additionally, InVision says it saves many millions in overheads every year by not renting a physical space.
gt.school is an educational start-up that focuses on serving gifted and talented (GT) kids. As a remote-first company, gt.school hires teachers, coaches, and other talented remote workers from all over the world. Find out the types of remote roles gt.school offers here.
Project planning and time tracking company Toggl also employs a team of remote workers from 40+ countries around the globe. They proudly proclaim: "We hire globally, you work locally."
By putting their employees' mental health and lifestyle ahead of profits at all costs, Toggl has cultivated a place where top talent thrives. You can get an idea of all the places their remote team works in their remote staff workspace gallery.
Of course, we wouldn't be able to preach the power of remote work for start-ups if we weren't practicing it ourselves. At Crossover, our team of over 1,700 employees is fully-remote. Not only that, but we believe 100% in the power of unbiased remote hiring in order to build the best possible remote teams.
Is Remote The Future of Your Start-up?
If you think moving 100% remote is the future of your start-up, here are some things to keep in mind:
Global Talent Pool is Competitive
Along with a much larger talent pool comes increased global competition. Make sure you’re prepared to pay remote workers well and even offer additional perks where needed.
In fact, if you want to tap into the top 1% of remote workers, you'll be expected to pay the best possible rates. Start-ups should be able to invest more in their workers by reducing physical office space.
Not All Remote Workers are Equally Capable
The inability to meet personally with a potential employee means you’ll need to be extra vigilant when hiring. Ensure your remote employees not only have all the hard and soft skills needed to complete the job, but that they have dedicated workspace and bandwidth to work for you full-time.
For some companies, productivity monitoring software is another way of ensuring your remote workers are who they say they are (ie not getting someone else to do their work), or are not moonlighting in two jobs at the same time.
How to Crossover
If you need assistance to find the best remote workers possible, we can help. At Crossover, we connect the top 1% of global talent with leading companies for remote work careers. With nearly 8 billion people in the world today, this 1% equates to nearly 80 million people. Imagine your start-up having access to an additional 80 million leading candidates to help quickly scale!
To ensure candidates are the best of the best, our comprehensive application process thoroughly vets every remote worker we recruit. This includes a cognitive aptitude test, English proficiency test, and real-world skills test, along with a final face to face interview. It's really difficult for candidates to get all of their badges, and this ensures we send our clients the best possible remote talent. Learn more about our process here.
Indeed, we believe the future of start-ups will be found in remote teams.