The benefits of running a distributed team
Companies decide to go remote for a number of reasons:
- To be able to tap into the global talent pool and hire the best specialists, regardless of their location.
On average, 40% of employers worldwide are struggling to fill the existing positions with qualified workers. Only 36% of them recruit outside their existing talent pool. — ManpowerGroup.
- To build a convenient working environment and, as a result, foster better employee productivity and loyalty.
91% of remote workers believe they “get more work done when working remotely”. — What Leaders Need To Know About Remote Workers. Furthermore, 76% of telecommuters are willing to work extra hours and feel more loyal to their company. — There’s No Place Like a Home Office.
- To optimize operation costs by running a virtual office instead of a physical one.
Going remote can help a company save on average $10,000 per employee per year on real estate expenses. For example, IBM was able to cut the costs by $50 million, while Sun Microsystems saved $68 million a year in real estate costs. — Advantages of Agile Work Strategies For Companies.
- To get a competitive edge as an employer by offering more workplace flexibility to the staff.
58% of human resource professionals state flexibility as the most effective way to attract and retain the best workers. — SHRM.org.
Here’s why teams at Zapier, Doist, and Toggl choose to hire developers remotely.
What was company’s main motivation when hiring remote developers?
“The idea of building a remote company wasn’t something we explicitly discussed at the start — it simply grew out of necessity.
One of the challenges, when you start out as a bootstrapped company with an unknown brand and little cash on hand, is access to talent. Amir, Doist’s founder and CEO, and I were working from Santiago, Chile, and at that time we weren’t familiar enough with the country to find the right people locally.
When Amir decided it was finally time to hire someone to help answer Doist’s support tickets, he struck gold with Doist’s first employee, David, on the global freelance platform Elance (now Upwork).
That first hire set us down the remote-first path. David was providing support out of Poland, and Roman was coding from Belarus. When Brenna was hired as Head of Marketing she never came to work from the office in Santiago even though she lived just 15 minutes away!”
“We at Toggl strongly believe that there are great people all over the world, and they can do and create awesome stuff wherever they are. The talent pool that opens up with remote work is just amazing, which offers great possibilities for creating amazing teams and awesome apps – and I think that especially goes for developers.
To add to that, being able to work remotely usually has an amazing impact on the person’s work-life balance, which allows them to create their own personal schedule that fits them the most, and which makes them most happy – in turn, that makes us happy :).
Of course, there’s also the economic aspect. Office costs can rack up pretty quickly, and when people work from home (or from wherever they like), those costs go down significantly.
Still, we do help out our teammates to set up their workplace at home or at a co-working space (and help them out with work equipment, such as laptops, phones and similar). That costs, but still, it’s significantly lower than running a full-on office for 80 people.
That said, we do have an office :). But since it’s based in Tallinn (and not in San Francisco which is basically a requirement these days) and since it’s slightly smaller than what we’d need to fit our whole crew, we do save up quite a bit of money there too.”
– Aleksandar Đokić, Toggl
“Well, we didn’t decide from the very beginning that we’re gonna be a remote company. It’s kind of ‘just happened’. We were already working remotely and using Slack, GitHub so all the work was done online anyways. We’d got to start there. We had to grow our team and we needed to hire people we trust.
The people we trusted were folks we went to school with and worked with previously. We had them in Chicago, we had other people in Missouri, and we wanted to hire them since we knew they were good.
We just thought that remote team software development was a reasonable option and a really effective way to get awesome people to comprise one team. It wasn’t like a grand plan, it was more emergent based on pressures of what we wanted. It just happened.” Read more about the hiring process and best practices for managing remote team used at Zapier in our interview with Bryan Helmig.
“We don’t have a central office anywhere, so hiring remote really is the only way we hire. There’s no special motivation for developers over any other team member at MeetEdgar! But, we chose to structure our company as a remote team because it just makes practical sense – our products and services live online, so we do, too!
We feel like this environment is great for our team, who gets to benefit from a harmonious life/work relationship (and save time and money on commuting… and work pants!) and great for the company, where we benefit from a wider hiring pool and not having to worry about maintaining a physical office.”
– Sarah Park, Operations Advocate at MeetEdgar
Part II. Where to find developers for a remote team?