Why Remote Working Could Be The Future For Startups

If there’s been winner of Coronavirus, it’s remote working. 

Companies which already had robust remote working procedures were able to transition seamlessly into working under lockdown. Even companies which had stuck with the office seemed to make fairly painless transitions. 

As companies begin returning to the office, many startups are questioning whether to follow suit or stick with remote working long term. 

One thing is for sure, employees are very happy working from home.

According to a recent survey from Hubble, 69.8% of employees have a positive view of remote working. A further 23.2% have a neutral view and only 7% have a negative view.

The main reasons cited were no commute, financial savings and time with loves ones. Improved productivity followed closely and is something my team at Hired By Startups have definitely experienced.

It makes sense. For years we’ve been focusing on employee perks to improve happiness and wellbeing at work.

In reality, these perks do little in comparison to the benefits of being at home with your family or friends. 

So maybe we should scrap the whole idea of the office. Besides ‘keeping an eye on people’ perhaps they’re not really good for much. 

They’re full of distractions.

Have you ever walked into an office to see teams sitting wearing headphones while they work?

At first glance you might think it’s cool but it’s not. It’s really just a sign their office isn’t suited to focused uninterrupted work.

They’re expensive.

Rent, utilities, rates, the constant supply of food & drink for employees – it’s expensive! Imagine the calibre of talent you could hire if you repurposed that budget directly into salary.

Leasing takes ages.

If you’ve ever leased an office, rather than just renting flex-space you’ll know how arduous the process is.

You can easily spend months and thousands dealing with commercial agents and solicitors. If you think negotiating into a lease is frustrating, wait until you need more space and try and negotiate out of one!

They’re rarely fit for purpose.

The main thing everyone complains about in offices, particularly with startups, is lack of meeting rooms.

Employees come to the office for a meeting, only to have that meeting in a coffee shop nearby, crazy! 

They’re a bottle neck for growth.

I’ve seen startups which have tripled in size without moving offices.

You need more space but, unless you’re in flexi-space, you’re bound by a long office lease. These can be tough to negotiate out of and startups can end up paying for an old and new office simultaneously.

They’re not a catalyst for creativity.

Very few ‘eureka’ moments actually happen in the office. Creativity usually happens elsewhere and is then brought into the office to be discussed. 

You don’t need the office to work.

Most of us use Slack and Zoom for daily comms with colleagues. We collaborate using Google Docs or Sheets. Most startups use a VOIP based phone system which can run off a laptop and customer data is stored on a centralised CRM.

I don’t know of a single startup using a paper based filing system. You don’t need to physically be in the office to access the information you need. You don’t need to be there to see or speak with colleagues so why do we still insist on it?

It’s not all bad.

Offices are good for building culture. Bonds between people naturally form faster if you have them physically together. This is something you’ll need to assess if your startup is working remote long term.

Social interaction is important

In Hubble’s survey, 31.4% of respondents cited lack of social interaction as the primary negative factor of working remote.

As with culture, this is something which will need addressing as it’s vital to employees’ mental health & wellbeing.

Balance could be the answer

Overall, I think there’s a balance needed between ditching the office and ensuring employees feel truly part of a team.

One thing is for sure, it’ never been a more exciting time to be building a startup team. 

Remote working allows your startup to save a small fortune on an office and related costs. Repurposing that budget into salary could help attract a much higher calibre of talent than you could otherwise.

In this short series of posts, we’re going to be exploring different ways startups could scale their team on a mostly remote basis whist ensuring they’re building a social engaged, culturally inclusive team.

At Hired By Startups we’re a leading startup recruitment agency, specialising in helping post-Seed & Series A startups hire the best Sales, Marketing, Operations & Customer Experience talent. Find out more about how we can help your startup hire or get in touch.


About the author 

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Tom Ladds

Hi, I’m Tom – Founder & CEO at Hired By Startups. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Startup Recruiting