The ease and speed with which you can now buy almost anything—really, anything—online is often taken for granted—not just food, but cars, homes, top-notch art, even a college education. In the past 30 years, we’ve grown to rely on the Internet in ways we could never imagine in the days of the dial-up. In just three decades, the scale, efficiency and effectiveness of virtual stores surpassed physical retail in presentation.
I think it’s the same with remote businesses (call them e-businesses) when they stack up against brick-and-mortar and brick-and-mortar businesses today. Between 2008 and 2018, remote work exploded 400 percent, resulting in nearly 4 million remote workers in the US. It is estimated that by 2030, 50 to 80 million of the world’s 255 million desktop jobs will be performed remotely most of the time.
A telecommuting dilemma is emerging. Any company that is less remote than its main competitor risks losing its most talented people to that business. Jeff Bezos said, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Today, your office is your competitor’s opportunity.
Recent surveys report this 40 percent of workers are considering leaving their jobs, and almost 75 percent of the millions who have already left their papers, they do not regret it. The Great Resignation does not happen because the workers do not want to work. It’s happening because workers are leaving companies that treat them poorly, pay them poorly, or hinder their quality of life because of a thinly veiled lack of trust. By some estimates, forcing employees back into the office could result in employers losing up to 39 percent of their workforce. When employees have the freedom and flexibility to organize work around life, rather than living around work, a new paradigm emerges.
In the face of this momentum, management that opts for hackneyed arguments and empty, wavering phrases over true organizational innovation will lose.
“We do our best work around the water cooler.”
Personally, the biggest progress I’ve seen around the water cooler was deciding what to eat for lunch. A study conducted on the main campus of a Fortune 500 company found that only 10 percent of all communications occurred between employees whose desks were more than 500 meters apart. This suggests that once companies span multiple floors, buildings or campuses, they have already lost much of the collaborative value of being together “in the office”.
“Our office culture is special.” “We are social animals, we need the social connection of the office.”
It is the office that has contributed to a disconnected world. Indeed, a Gartner poll of 5,000 workers found that remote and hybrid employees showed higher cultural satisfaction than on-site employees. Today, American workers commute almost 30 minutes anyway, on average, stealing time from hobbies and relationships outside of work. Does anyone, outside of company management, think that considering your co-workers your closest social relationships is a good thing?
And over the past 20 years, as businesses raced to become the equivalent of grown-up kids’ clubs and the commercial cost per square foot rose more than 50 percent in tech-centric cities, the office has grown into a distraction factory of epic proportions. A large amount of research has found that the open office leads to more stress and less productivity. The office has become the enemy of deep, focused work. There’s a reason people came in early and stayed late—it was the only time they had to do real work.
Ironically, in another strike against the “spontaneous collaboration” argument, a study of two Fortune 500 headquarters found that the transition from cubicles to an open office design actually reduced face-to-face interactions for 70 percent.
There’s another component to this that isn’t often discussed in Silicon Valley: A company’s remote and flexible work policies can tell you all you need to know about how serious it is about DE&I. Offices are great for certain demographics. For others, parents of young children or those with health problems or disabilities, to name just a few examples, make it almost impossible to access the best opportunities.
Maybe you’re a business leader patting yourself on the back for choosing to go hybrid, which is a constant stream of articles and news. company surveys in the course of the last three years reported that the majority of workers vol.
The problem? When workers say hybrid, they usually mean they want the flexibility to choose where and when to work, all the time. (In a sign of how jarring this concept is to entrenched expectations, Gartner refers to it as “radical flexibility.”) On average, it will be three days a week from home, two from somewhere else. Studies show that when employees have flexibility about where, when and how much they work, as opposed to the 40-hour standard in the office, there is a marked increase in high performance in the organization. But when many companies go hybrid, they often dictate what days and times their teams have to show up. Both sides use the same word, but it means very different things.
The combination of portable computing, excellent communication and collaboration software, and the Internet has given rise to new ways of working and living. Faced with this, companies that do not adapt will release talent to their competition, and companies that adopt remote work will replace those that do not. Probably not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it’s a movement that won’t go away. Just as e-commerce has decimated many brick-and-mortar stores, virtual businesses will crush brick-and-mortar businesses.
Remote startups have revolutionized how the modern workforce operates, reducing the cost of starting a business and allowing start-ups to access talent from all over the world. This globalization of talent has enabled new and innovative companies to thrive despite their limited resources. Ikaroa has been at the forefront of this movement, using its technology and platform to connect start-ups with the world’s best talent regardless of their physical location.
The advantages of remote startups are immense and their effect on the job market cannot be overstated. Remote startups offer access to highly-skilled talent from anywhere, often at wages lower than those available in major metropolitan areas. They have also opened up the possibility of exploring untapped markets, with many remote startups setting up international operations to capitalize on new customers and partnerships.
Startups that embrace remote work will be at a huge advantage in the battle for the best talent. With remote work becoming increasingly popular and accepted, those startups that are able to provide flexible working arrangements to potential employees will be in an excellent position to secure top talent. With the ability to source talent from around the world, these businesses can tap into rare skill sets and diverse cultural perspectives.
Ikaroa recognizes that having access to the best talent is a critical factor in a startup’s success. We have therefore developed a platform that makes it easy for companies to connect with and hire talented individuals, no matter their location. Thanks to our technology, startups can quickly find and hire the most qualified people for the job, allowing them to focus on growing their business.
Overall, companies that make the transition to remote work will have the most success in the battle for the best talent. With access to a global pool of skilled workers, startups can find the right people to fit their needs, at a fraction of the cost of hiring in a brick-and-mortar setting. Ikaroa provides comprehensive support to companies that go remote, enabling them to access the very best talent available, no matter where they are located.