9 Reasons San Francisco Founders Need to Go Remote

For millions of employees and employers around the world, the mental image conjured by the phrase “the workplace” is changing. Large offices that were once filled with hundreds of cubicles are shrinking, and there are fewer workers in the office – and yet, these businesses are becoming even more productive and lucrative. How does this happen?

In 2017, FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics published a joint report on telecommuting in the US. They found that nearly four million US employees – 2.9% of the US workforce – worked from home at least half the time. That’s more than double the number of employees who worked from home ten years before. Since 2017, the number of remote workers has grown, and people are moving out of the office at ever-increasing rates.

This is good for everyone. Employers spend less money on salaries and rent while seeing an increase in workers’ productivity, and employees working remotely can enjoy flexible schedules, less stress, more happiness, and better health than their counterparts in cubicles. The benefits to remote work don’t stop there. Here are nine reasons you need to consider hiring remote workers:

Spend Less on Salaries

Some of the best places to establish your tech company’s headquarters are also some of the most expensive areas when it comes to paying your employees. Fred Wilson sums the problem up in an article on AVC.com:

The tight technical labor markets in the bay area, NYC, and a number of other regions in the US are making it hard to scale software businesses without burning massive amounts of cash.

The salaries you’ll be expected to pay in these areas are so high that for some companies, the cost can be prohibitive.

Hiring remote workers is an effective solution to this problem. Hiring employees in locations with a lower cost of living means that you can pay them a competitive salary while saving yourself money. Everyone wins. This is something that you’ll likely need to do at some point in your company’s future, so earlier is better when it comes to learning how to operate a remote engineering location successfully.

Increase Workers’ Happiness

There are a multitude of ways in which working from home makes a healthy work-life balance easier to maintain. Eliminating commutes can save a significant amount of time, and the ability to arrange the workday to suit an individual’s needs is extremely valuable to many workers. Remote work allows employees to spend more time with family, work during their most productive hours, take breaks when needed, and waste less time on commutes and in-office distractions. Happy employees are effective employees.

Access a Larger Talent Pool

If your business is centered around one location – especially an extremely competitive location like San Francisco – you’re going to run into some limitations with regards to who you’ll be able to hire. For starters, many of the best engineers in the area will already be working for companies with pockets too deep for you to compete with. If you hire remote workers, you’ll find that you have access to more experienced and more talented workers from all over the world. Opening your business to applications from other locations could also help you attract better talent – according to one survey conducted by AfterCollege, 68% of millennials are more likely to be interested in working for a company if they have the option to work remotely.

Reduce Rent Cost

The more employees you have working in an office, the more office space you need, and the more you end up spending on rent. Hiring remote workers or moving your current employees to remote positions will allow you to move to a smaller office space and save money. If you can move all of your employees out of the office, your savings could be huge.

Improve Workers’ Health

Studies show that not only are remote workers happier, they’re also healthier. This is partially because working from home eliminates the need to commute. Commuting has been correlated with higher blood pressure and a more negative mood in the office. The longer the commute, the stronger the negative effects will be. That’s not the only issue with in-office work, though – general stress in the workplace also has a negative effect on workers’ health. Surveys show that 82% of remote workers experience less stress than office workers. Another survey conducted by FlexJobs showed that 77% of workers would be able to live a healthier lifestyle working remotely, 86% would be less stressed, and 45% would have a much-improved quality of life.

Increase Productivity

Working in a cubicle in a conventional office puts a lot of pressure on employees. With constant oversight, many employees end up working in order to be seen working rather than working to get results, or they may also be distracted by coworkers. On top of that, the 9-5 schedule doesn’t work equally well for everyone – some people are more productive in the evenings, or may prefer to arrange their workdays differently. Also, your workers will be less likely to take sick days, for two reasons: first, they won’t be exposed to germs from other workers in the office, so they’ll be less likely to get sick. Second, if they do get sick, they’ll be less likely to need time off since working from home in pajamas is much less taxing than driving to the office to get to work.

One of the major advantages of remote work is that you can evaluate workers based solely on their results. This allows your workers the freedom to structure their days in the way that makes them the most productive and comfortable. According to statistics compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, remote workers are roughly 35-40% more productive than office workers, on average. Apply that to a whole team, and it can make a very significant difference.

Reduce Costs for Employees

The cost of a daily commute isn’t just a hassle and a health risk – it’s also expensive. Surveys suggest that eliminating commutes by working from home can save a worker around $5,000 per year. No wonder remote work is such an attractive option! Just be sure that when you have employees working remotely, you don’t push the costs of a home office off onto your employees. They should be reimbursed for the electricity, gas, phone bills, and equipment that they are using for work.

Reduce Turnover

Once you’ve gathered a team of skilled, knowledgeable workers, you’ll want to keep them. Allowing your team to work remotely may help you do that. Remote workers are usually happier and healthier than their office-bound counterparts, and as a result are more as retention rates for remote workers are 10% higher than for on-site workers.

This is likely because the relationship between an employer and a remote worker is more conducive to building goodwill. Office workers may be stressed by the lack of privacy, or feel like employers are looking over their shoulders to make sure that they’re still hard at work. If the same employee is working from home, the employee-employer relationship is based on results and trust rather than appearances. As a result, remote workers are likely to be more loyal toward their employers.

Become a 247 Company

Remote workers’ schedules may vary from day to day, and they’re much more flexible than in-office workers, but most people still sleep during the night. However, if you hire remote workers from all around the world, you can have much faster turnaround times on projects. You can write out the specs on a new feature of your product, assign it to a team on the other side of the world, and (hopefully) have the work finished and ready for review by the time you wake up the next day.

Remote work is becoming not just a sought-after job perk, but also a standard in many skilled-labor industries. A survey conducted by Owl Labs showed that 16% of global companies now exclusively employ remote workers, and a Forbes article published in 2018 claims that 50% of the US workforce will soon be remote. With all the benefits that remote work offers to employers and employees alike, it’s easy to see why.

Conclusion

The transition to becoming a remote-friendly company is one that requires a huge cultural shift, but it’s worth it! Check out the other resources on our site to learn how you can become a remote company as well.