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How Building A Remote Team Could Help Your Startup

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by Startacus Admin

building a remote team
By Lucy Elkin, founder of myworkhive.com, a social venture bringing great remote jobs to a wider audience

For many early-stage startups, an office is an expense you just can’t afford. Around 70% of UK businesses start from home. Yet as your team starts to grow, most organisations outgrow working around the kitchen table or in a coffee shop. That used mean taking on an office lease, bringing significant extra overheads. The rapid growth in coworking spaces in recent years has brought more options, with many startups preferring the flexibility and community they offer. There is another choice, however – and that it is to ditch the office entirely, and go fully remote.

A number of companies, such as Buffer and 10up, have chosen to build distributed teams, allowing staff to live and work wherever they like, anywhere in the world. For example, the social media company Buffer has a truly global, remote team, with staff in many different time zones. As the Buffer career’s page puts it: “You will work in the place that makes you happy, that inspires you daily.”

So, why go remote? Here are just some of the reasons you might want to wait before signing that office lease.

Going remote helps you find – and keep – great people

When you hire remotely, you’re not just hiring within the pool of job seekers who happen to live within commuting distance. That can make it much easier to find the person who is just the right fit for your team. Offering people the option to work wherever they like – which is regarded by many as real perk – can also help you to attract people with in-demand skills, such as developers. It can also be a great way to attract more diverse applicants, particularly if you combine it with flexible or part-time hours. As remote and other forms of flexible working are valued by staff, it can help reduce staff turnover too.

building a remote team

Keep your costs down

For many organisations, office space is one of their largest costs after salaries. Building a remote team obviously means that you can avoid most of this, putting your resources into people, rather than buildings. It’s also much more flexible; you don’t need to worry about whether your office can accommodate everyone, as your team can expand without needing to tie yourself to expensive rental contracts. And if you need to shrink your team (it happens), you’re not left with costly, empty desks.

Hiring people based outside of major cities can also sometimes mean that you can offer slightly lower salaries and still attract the people you need – although of course that will depend on the skills you are looking for.

Build a happy and productive team

Research by the UK Office for National Statistics shows that commuters reported higher anxiety and less happiness than those who worked from home. People with commutes of more than one hour each way were worst affected. Working remotely helps reduce stress and improve work-life balance. As a result, well-managed remote teams can be highly motivated and productive.

Offer round-the-clock service

Having to deal with multiple time-zones is sometimes seen as a negative of remote teams, but Buffer points out that, as a company with a strong customer focus, having customer support staff who are awake and online around the globe means they can offer a better service.  

building a remote team

Avoid down-time

Another plus is that remote teams are pretty resilient when faced with events such as traffic accidents, bad winter weather and strikes – all of which can seriously disrupt travel to the office. If your team already has the tools to work where they are, such events won’t cause you any down-time. And your staff won’t need to take time off to manage minor events such as deliveries and doctor’s appointments, meaning less disruption for your team.

Build your institutional memory

When you work remotely as a team, a lot more is captured in text and video form, through Slack channels, project briefs, recorded video meetings and so on. It may not seem important when you are just getting started, but this automatic archive can be a real resource as your company grows, letting you track the progress of projects, and see how key decisions were made.

building a remote team

Cut your carbon footprint

In the UK, we spend about 22 million hours per day just commuting to work. Around one quarter of all our car journeys are the result of commuting, generating significant carbon emissions, as well as other forms of pollution and traffic congestion.If you want to boost your green credentials, helping your staff to cut out the commute is a quick way to take cars off the roads.

Recently launched, myworkhive is a specialist job board for remote jobs – as well as a social venture on a mission to bring flexible myworkhivework to those who need it most. If you’re hiring, visit the site to see how you can list your remote vacancies for free, and for more resources for remote teams. Or find us on Twitter and Facebook to talk all things remote.


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Published on: 18th September 2017

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