Learn from the remote work expe­ri­ences of GitHub, Crowd­Strike, Buffer and Zapi­er.

5 min read

Opin­ions expressed by Entre­pre­neur con­trib­u­tors are their own.

The buzz around remote work­ing is grow­ing (and here to stay), as com­pa­nies seek to gain a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage when it comes to hir­ing and retain­ing the best tal­ent. In this econ­o­my, hir­ing top-notch employ­ees has become increas­ing­ly more dif­fi­cult and job-seek­ers them­selves are more con­scious of their need to estab­lish a bet­ter work-life bal­ance.

Relat­ed: 17 Things You Need to Know About Remote Work

Yet even with that said, remote work­ing is not for every­body. So how can your com­pa­ny decide whether, and how, a remote work­force could be ben­e­fi­cial?

Companies that are making remote workforces work

One of the first exam­ples of a com­pa­ny doing the right thing when it comes to remote work­ing is GitHub. Github has over 60 per­cent of its work­force work­ing remote­ly, and this bal­ance has been a big suc­cess, the com­pa­ny’s senior prod­uct design­er, Joel Cal­i­fa, wrote in a blog post. The secret, he said, is find­ing the for­mu­la and bal­ance that work best for each work­force.

Cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful remote team requires a unique struc­ture and train­ing process that is best to imple­ment from the start. Your remote work­force can actu­al­ly improve your orga­ni­za­tion if you learn to rec­og­nize what remote work­ers can do for you that on-site teams can­not.

GitHub, for exam­ple, hires peo­ple who are out­come-focused and have high emo­tion­al intel­li­gence. These work­ers are more than hap­py to go out of their way to make thinks eas­i­er on one oth­er and take chances in order to get the job done.

One of the key char­ac­ter­is­tics of GitHub employ­ees is that they are more cog­nizant of their strengths and weak­ness­es, Cal­i­fa claimed.

If your com­pa­ny, too, has a remote team like this, you can build a col­lab­o­ra­tive team, with rela­tion­ships that focus less on who’s mak­ing deci­sions and more on being pro­duc­tive and effi­cient when it comes to work out­put. The key is iden­ti­fy­ing employ­ees who are col­lab­o­ra­tive, hum­ble and kind and can share respon­si­bil­i­ties and work togeth­er for the col­lec­tive good.

Relat­ed: The Secret to Retain­ing Pro­duc­tive Remote Work­ers Is Remem­ber­ing They Are Peo­ple

Joel Gas­coigne, founder of remote work­ing pio­neer, Buffer, would like­ly agree. In a blog post, Gas­coigne wrote that the the biggest ben­e­fit of remote work is the flex­i­ble sched­ule it allows. It’s the idea, he said, that your employ­ees can swap time spent com­mut­ing for walk­ing the dogs, or go for a run dur­ing the day or meet with friends and make doctor’s appoint­ments — with­out tak­ing time off.

These free­doms lead to hap­py employ­ees who are will­ing and able to work hard­er, as they are less stressed, Gas­coigne wrote. Tal­ent reten­tion is also a big plus, as there are many peo­ple in today’s work­force who wouldn’t stay in the role they are in because they want more trav­el in their lives, or require more flex­i­bil­i­ty for their  par­tic­u­lar lifestyle.

Remote work­ing offers this and more.

Zapi­er is yet anoth­er exam­ple of a com­pa­ny that has per­fect­ed the remote work­ing set-up. The com­pa­ny actu­al­ly issued what it calls the Uli­mate Guide for Remote Work to help oth­ers estab­lish a remote team or remote work­force.

The inter­est­ing part for most employ­ers and employ­ees (in my opin­ion) is how to build com­pa­ny cul­ture when you are not face-to-face. The biggest take­away here is that busi­ness lead­ers should estab­lish a cul­ture based on how they (as a com­pa­ny) work. So, estab­lish­ing work hours, set­ting up com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels and using online tools can all help build cul­ture.

Final­ly, tech secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny Crowd­Strike is a prime exam­ple of an orga­nizx­a­tion that has ful­ly embraced remote work­ing prac­tices. Named as a great place to work by For­tune, Crowd­Strike employs 800 peo­ple, of whom 400 work remote­ly.

Among the chal­lenges here for the com­pa­ny are devel­op­ing a con­sis­tent hir­ing frame­work to get the best tal­ent, regard­less of loca­tion; work­ing on fos­ter­ing the right cul­ture; mak­ing meet­ings bet­ter ;and focus­ing on account­abil­i­ty. The upshot is that Crowd­Strike can equip its staff with what they need wher­ev­er they’re based. 

How-to suggestions

A mod­ern and pro­gres­sive employ­er will always be open to let­ting employ­ees work remote­ly, espe­cial­ly for com­put­er-reliant jobs. Employ­ees like to feel val­ued and trust­ed, so hav­ing the emote work option can prompt loy­al­ty and improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. In sum­ma­ry:

When hir­ing a remote work­force, focus on find­ing the best tal­ent and espe­cial­ly look for peo­ple who have worked as free­lancers or with star­tups.

Give employ­ees free­dom — focus on results, bal­ance and sus­tained pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

Exper­i­ment, share and learn from oth­ers to devel­op your own remote work­ing cul­ture. That way, you can bet­ter iden­ti­fy the peo­ple you want to work in your com­pa­ny.

Encour­age peo­ple to work while they trav­el. Hav­ing peo­ple in dif­fer­ent time zones can actu­al­ly be ben­e­fi­cial for your busi­ness as work nev­er stops. You effec­tive­ly have a 24-hour work­place.

Clear­ly out­line the best prac­tices. Estab­lish clear goals, objec­tives and out­puts as well as open and inten­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions to fos­ter inclu­siv­i­ty and team­work.

Rec­og­nize that you can save a lot of mon­ey on office space and facil­i­ties, but also con­sid­er the costs asso­ci­at­ed with work­ing remote­ly, such as home inter­net fees, cowork­ing mem­ber­ships etc. The major­i­ty of remote work­ers cur­rent­ly pay for these them­selves, but as the indus­try evolves, employ­ers will have to think about how to sup­port their work­force with these costs.

Relat­ed: 6 Char­ac­ter­is­tics of Suc­cess­ful Remote Employ­ees

Uti­lize online tech to make work run smooth­ly. There are a num­ber of tools that remote teams need to uti­lize to be func­tion­al. These range from chat tools like Zoom for video-con­fer­enc­ing to Gmail and Google Sheets for shared email and spread­sheets. Oth­er tools to con­sid­er are Slack, Dis­course, Zen­e­fits, Mon­day, Drop­box, Drop­box Paper and Trel­lo. 

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