With many startups staying remote to attract more talent, thriving in the online work era requires custom-tailored strategic solutions, internal restructuring, and a clear vision for the future.
Despite billionaires like Elon Musk claiming that remote work is not an efficient way to run a business, experts insist that companies’ leniency towards remote work will not be declining. For instance, digital giants like Facebook expect 50% of their employees to work from home by 2030. However, with 70% of startups tempting talents with remote work option, successfully going fully remote requires more than figuring out digital processes.
Leon van der Laan, startup advisor and founder of startup advisory and business training company REMODE, believes getting industry insider’s know-how on how to adapt the internal processes to the remote environment might give startups a competitive edge when it comes to sourcing talents and expanding operations.
“We live in a new business landscape, and startups, like other businesses, need new guidelines not only to survive but also to thrive. Industry advisors can help them to transform into profitable sustainable businesses, resilient enough to withstand any economic downturn and deal with the remote working environment,” Mr. van der Laan said.
“When companies work on-site only, they are limited to local hires. However, when they transfer all operations online, the entire world becomes their talent pool. Given that Gen Z is becoming more prevalent in the workforce, companies need to take its point of view into consideration as well since the new generation employees do not understand the useless commuting and 9-5 attitude,” the advisor added. “Flexibility, work-life balance is what drives them and boosts professional engagement.”
Prioritizing strategy sets a clear remote vision
One of the key priorities for bolstering the growth of a remote company is collaborating with a remote work advisor to create a custom strategy, the startup advisor said. The strategy should combine theoretical advice and in-depth knowledge about the ins and outs of the startup.
“Professionally-designed strategy allows startups to eliminate wasteful decisions and processes that are the result of the lack of strategic planning. A consultant can help to focus on what is essential for the business, set a clear and strong direction, and build a lean executive framework around it,” Mr. van der Laan elaborated. “Having a clear remote work direction has been proven to boost profitability, at the same time incentivizing the team to push on, invest the time and expertise into processes, and pursue business goals.”
Restructured internal organization to spur remote growth
Mr. van der Laan consulted a recruitment startup which was severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The startup had five physical offices scattered around Europe, and when employees started leaving, the company operations stagnated. However, after implementing new remote processes, adjusting the leadership to fit the remote model, and rethinking the entire organizational structure, the startup closed down the physical offices and went fully remote. Now the company’s team has doubled, and the revenue has increased by 60%, while the employee satisfaction levels have been soaring for the past several years.
The startup advisor attributed the startup’s success to switching up internal processes and adapting the communication structures, leadership, and team management to the remote model. Similarly, other startups can benefit from restructuring internal organization, and, in turn, thrive in a remote environment.
That being said, going fully remote means tackling some of the related challenges: the loneliness of team members, the lack of goal alignment, and stagnation in internal communication.
“These issues are mainly a result of improper organizational structure that corresponds to the office-based rather than remote company model,” the startup advisor said. “Therefore, taking the time to think the company’s organization through and redesigning internal processes will yield more profit without sacrificing the talent or the team’s productivity.”