Don’t Talk To Me About Remote Workers

There are certain phrases that will strike anger into the hearts of CTOs and technology hiring managers across the land and if you have any sense of self preservation, you’ll avoid them at all costs. Things like ‘it’s on the backlog’ and ‘an unexpected error has occurred’, are enough to change your managers mood, and more recently I’ve found the phrase ‘they want to work remotely’ can trigger a storm of curses that really are quite inventive it’s almost admirable.

And I get it…

Truly I do. Over the last few years as the rise of digital nomads and remote workers has risen, so too has the stereotype that they’re all lazy, gallivanting fools who are getting paid to ultimately lie on a beach. I would like to take this juncture to point out that if that was true, I would have ditched you all long ago to be one of those fools and also lie on a beach, but alas, that’s the thing about stereotypes, they rarely hold truth and are mostly formed by miseducation and a lack of conversation. So, in a bid to smash stereotypes (I’m a woman so this is in fact my area of expertise) and bring a little bit of conversation to your inbox on this afternoon, let’s talk.

Why now?

Nothing happens in isolation and the changing patterns of society, globalization and the digital revolution have changed the way we live and work. The business world is perhaps the final frontier, stubbornly clinging on to a nostalgic idea of yesteryear and a time when everyone wore suits, stayed in their jobs and the lines were less blurred. However, we travel more now, everything, thanks to the internet, is more accessible and we no longer need to be in physical buildings to stay connected. Not that I need to preach to professionals in the technology industry about the ways in which we stay connected – you guys made the tech in the first place.

Why does everyone hate it?

My experience tells me it stems from fear, as most hatreds do. An unsurety of what it actually is and how it works causes most hiring managers to dismiss remote workers before they’ve even looked at a CV, past work experience or taken a reference. They are fundamentally uninterested, and it means I watch some businesses that I love, miss out on the best talent around, because they’re afraid of what remote workers might mean to their organizations and productivity levels.

Which breaks my heart…

…because I’m all about growing businesses’ and scaling up, and so it seems unproductive that so many companies walk away from the very people that could actually do that for them.

But the truth is...

Freelancers and remote workers will create half of the workforce by 2020 which tells me it’s happening anyway. About 60% of candidates that I speak to want to work remotely and aren’t even interested in staying in one place, even if the salary is incredibly attractive.

We’re living in a new age and I want to see the technology industry lead that age.

After all, so many of the inventions that have brought us here are because of technology in the first place. We’re moving from time-based working to results only working, which means an increase in productivity, engagement and retention, even if those people are retained across four corners of the world. Remote working is happening and maybe this is my manifesto to embrace it, to take what we can from it and get ahead of the curve.

After all, it’s techs job to lead the way, always has been, always will be.