This week we decided to do something a little different. Instead of interviewing a prominent remote work thought leader, we posed questions to our community of remote work, and yours truly (Matt from WWR HQ) attempted to answer them!
Hopefully this was valuable to our listeners! If it was, please do continue to ask questions via our inbox email@example.com and we’ll collect questions for our next AMA. If not, we’ll be back with a new guest for our next episode!
Matt H: 00:06 Hello everyone. My name is Matt Hollingsworth and welcome to another episode of the Remote Show where we discuss everything to do with a remote work with the people who know it best. Thanks so much for listening. The Remote Show is brought to you by, We Work Remotely, the largest community of remote workers in the world. With over 220,000 unique users per month, We Work Remotely is the most effective way to hire. This week, we thought we'd do something a little bit different and post some questions out to our community through Twitter, and Facebook, and LinkedIn, and Slack.
Matt H: 00:35 Through our emails, we posted what questions you would want to ask me. So I'm excited to answer those sort of questions. And thank you for everyone to everyone that wrote in. I'm really excited to get into these different questions. But before I do, I just wanted to talk a little bit about podcasting in general and sort of what I've learnt and what I'm excited about in the future and what you all would want to hear from me. I want to keep this really interesting and exciting for everybody and I want to keep people engaged. I think I've learned a lot and hopefully I've gotten better at podcasting as we've gone through. But this is my time to reflect and thank you all for being with me on this journey. I hope I've been able to shed some light through our interviews on best practices, things to think about when it comes to remote work.
Matt H: 01:22 Maybe you've had me on in the background when you're working remotely or had me on maybe when you're driving into wherever it is that you drive to these days. Most likely not in to work because you're hopefully avoiding that whole situation. So things that I've learnt, I tend to, well, I'm doing it now actually, tend to pause when I'm asking questions to people. So I wanted to sort of ask you the community, what you thought, whether things that I could change from the podcast and what you would want to hear from me. If you have anything that you would want to hear, any specific guests that you wanted me to talk to, maybe ask about or if there's a different direction of the show that you would want me to go into, less about maybe the specifics about remote work and less about the actual process of people and maybe into their journey more or whatever.
Matt H: 02:06 If there's something that you want me to do rather than what I'm doing now, then please do let me know and thanks again for everybody that writes in. I really appreciate it. I've heard some good things and heard some constructive criticism and feedback. So we love hearing that. I love hearing that and we want to make the show better. So please do write in if you have anything for me.
Matt H: 02:25 That being said, the first question, this is actually through our Slack group. So actually this is a good segue to. If you're not already part of our Slack group, I do recommend that you check it out. The links will be on our show notes to this episode as well as being on our main page through our community dropdown. So check that out if you haven't already. But it's a nice place to ask questions and to feel that there's a good community around the concept of remote work and really interesting people in there.
Matt H: 02:51 Great way to make connections, great way to meet other people, like minded people. It's just a nice place to be. We have over 2500 people, I believe, in there now. So it's growing and we think it's a really great thing. So we'll, like I said, make sure that we link to it and I do recommend you go check it out.
Matt H: 03:06 All right. That being said, I'll get into this. So the first question is from Slack they ask, do you believe in advocacy for remote work like remoteonly.org, or Jason Freed's and others general advocacy for remote orientation towards work? I'm a new remote worker and I think more people should have the opportunity to take advantage. I wonder what might happen if remote were more a default stance or one of the many options for companies. So I think that the question there is do I believe in advocacy for remote work? And the other question I think is what do I think would happen if that was the default stance for companies?
Matt H: 03:46 First and foremost, of course I do believe that advocacy for remote work is important. I think that it's one of those things that as with most things that if you believe in something and you want to see something change, then you have to do your part in advocating for it. I think it's important that companies have something that they stand for and something they're pushing for. So we obviously believe very much in the concept of remote work. I think that there's a lot of evidence to suggest that working remotely or having the option to work remotely is really important to people and leads to a lot of healthy behaviors and just general wellness when it comes to your daily life.
Matt H: 04:21 So that in itself I think is really important. We obviously do believe very much in advocacy. It's something we try to do through the main page of our platform as well as through the podcast and things that we're doing. So yes, we do believe that that's important. Something to note with that, it might seem that we're saying that just because our business is related to remote work. And part of course, that's the case. But we believe in rote work as much as anybody else does. Obviously even more so, I think it does for me. I know for our team, we are a remote team. We do have the luxury of being together every once in a while. I think most remote companies also share that. But it's not something that we just talk about. It's something that we really live and we really believe in.
Matt H: 05:06 I think it's nice when those two things combine. We really do strongly believe in the idea of remote work and we love it. So yes. To answer question, yes we do. So the second part of that question is what do I think would happen if remote were a more default stance or one of the many options for companies? When it's the default stance, I think that it requires you to have things in place. It requires you to have thought about it and then you've obviously had experience with it. So when it's the norm, when it's the default, I think there's just more clarity around what's expected of you as a remote worker. Whereas I think that if you don't have that as the default and if it's just one of the many options of what you can do as remote worker, maybe it gets more complicated.
Matt H: 05:50 Maybe there's some people in the office and there's you at home and then there's a bit of a disconnect potentially because you just don't have the infrastructure around everybody working remotely. So I do think it's a different dynamic when there's the option of working remotely and everybody else being in the office, or a fully distributed team. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have the option of working remotely and everybody else in an office. I don't think it's a bad thing. I just think it's a different dynamic and maybe it's harder for people when there is an office and there's people that are going and doing both and working from the office and working from home. It's just different, especially when you're an early company and just starting out with the default setting being remote work. It just makes it easier for people to understand what's going on, knowing that everybody else is also working remotely, easier to understand what the expectations are.
Matt H: 06:36 I think as managers of people and people that are running companies, when everybody's remote, it is easier for everybody to be in a level playing field. I think that your employees wouldn't feel a disconnect and a level of separation between the other employees in the office. I hope that answers your question. Thank you for that, and appreciate it.
Matt H: 06:54 All right, so my second question here, and this is interesting. Since Matt always asks the questions, I'd love to hear his answer. If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be and why? That's a great question. So the difficulty with this question of course, is that there's one, you have to choose one, and I don't want to choose one. I'm the creator of this podcast. So I'll do what I want here. Here's what I'll do.
Matt H: 07:19 I'll give you one book and then I'll also riff a little bit in and give you some more books and why I chose those. So the first book that I'm going to choose here, and it's not a business book, I don't read a lot of fiction, but when I was younger I did. The book that I loved the most when I was young was a book called Shogun. It's by James Clavell. I read it when I was young, younger and traveling and it had a major effect on me. I just got so engaged in it. It's just one of those fiction books that stuck with me and it was for the longest time was considered my favorite book because it's just the one that came to mind the most. I loved it. Anyways, it's a huge book really. It's a journey.
Matt H: 07:57 So anyways, that's my book. I'll give you a Shogun. I will, however, give you some more books here because I'm going to cheat. The one that I read recently, actually that was a fiction book, it was called Of Human Bondage. It's not a sexual thing I promise. It's by Somerset Maugham, and it's a fantastic book. Really interesting. It's one of those things you just have to go read if you're interested in doing that. I would suggest going to read that. When it comes to business, I loved the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. I think the book, It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason DHH is a great one, especially pertinent to remote work and business in general position to 21st century. A really eyeopening and important book. Then my other one would be, if you're interested in investing and business in general, I think the Berkshire Hathaway Letter to Shareholders, which can be bought on Amazon or found for free on the Berkshire Hathaway website, is a super important, if anything else, just an education in business.
Matt H: 08:54 It's one of the few books that I think that, in itself, could save you a lot of time. There's a lot of crap out there and when it comes to investing and it comes to business. So this is written by of course a Warren Buffet. I just think that it's a great general education in business. And it's just well written too. So there you go. All right, so thank you for that question. It's always good to feel what it's like to be on the other side of that question because it's a difficult one and I often ask it.
Matt H: 09:21 All right. So the next question here is if you have great administrative skills and somewhat outdated technology skills in brackets, Windows, servers, what's the best way to obtain a remote job? Any particular places to look? So again, I'm biased here. Places to look would be, weworkremotely.com. So thank you for that question and that's where you should go to find remote jobs.
Matt H: 09:47 So I think the more important part of this question is what do you do if you don't have those skills that maybe translate into a remote job right away or if you have outdated skills? So that's a difficult question to answer. I would say that your outdated skills means that it's easier for you than it would be from somebody that's starting from scratch to go and get those skills that would allow you to work a remote job. I don't know what that would look like for you, obviously. I don't know enough about your other skills and things like organization and that sort of thing. So I would go and check out education platforms like Lambda School is a fantastic platform. It's a really interesting company in itself. Just to give you this sort of cliff notes here, they don't actually have an upfront fee for the service.
Matt H: 10:29 So what you do is you go and you get an education, you get a really good quality education. There's number of different things that you can do. You can do coding and you can do, I believe, they have a sales and marketing piece. I'm not sure what else they have out there, but it's really high quality education, online education, and you get certified for different things when you get out of the programs. Then what they do is they don't charge you anything up front, but they do charge you a certain percentage of your wages after you've got a job that's paying you, I believe, don't quote me on this, but I believe it's over 75,000 per year. Maybe it's less than that. I don't know exactly. But the concept is that they don't actually take any money from you unless you've got a high paying job.
Matt H: 11:07 So that's somewhere where you should look. I think it's a good question and I wish you the best of luck. Other things that you could check out if you're interested in just a basic understanding of coding or there's platforms like Free Code Camp out there. There's platforms like Skillshare, Coursera. I would check out our remote resources page on our website weworkremotely.com. There's an education piece in there. So if you're interested in potentially brushing up your skills on what you already have, what you're already comfortable with, then I'd check that out and see if there's anything that's interesting to you and go from there. I hope that helps.
Matt H: 11:40 Okay. The next question here, and it's through Slack again, I believe. This person says not a specific question, so feel free to dismiss. Of course, we won't dismiss it. I would love to hear you speak about the potential variances in remote work arrangements at an organizational, structural level. For example, what is the impact on our organizational culture in the following setups? So I'll tackle this first one. So fully distribute team with no-
Matt H: 12:03 ...set ups. So, I'll tackle this first one. Fully distributed team with no office is the first one, companies with an office but with many distributed employees, predominantly static companies where remote work has been written and negotiated by small percentage of the staff. Combinations of the above at varying company sizes. What is your take on different labels that are used in this space?
Matt H: 12:19 Labels like remote working, distributed team, digital nomads, slow mad, which I actually haven't heard before. Location independent and others. Okay, so what is the impact on organizational culture in the following setups?
Matt H: 12:32 Fully distributed team with no office. That's a broad question, but I think it's an important one. So, the fully distributed team with no office I think is what sort of we're, I want to say most comfortable with. But it comes up a lot, right? Just the idea that everybody's distributed, nobody's in a specific office.
Matt H: 12:49 It's really the true meaning of remote work. When it comes to organizational culture, I think that it's really important when you go into a company or when you're starting a company that those things are defined. So, what is it that remote work means to your company if you're fully distributed?
Matt H: 13:05 Things like expectations around being online. If `you have people that are working in different time zones, make sure that that's thought about and are willing to account for if somebody's outside of your time zone. But in terms of culture, I think it just needs to be the culture of trust. And from the companies that I've talked to and the CEOs and other managers that I've talked to in remote companies is the really key components of a fully distributed team are hiring appropriately, hiring well and then trusting your employees to do the job that you hired them for.
Matt H: 13:38 It requires you being a better manager and a better employee. It just requires you to be better in both cases. So, what I mean by that is if you're a manager in a office setting, I think it's easier for that manager to be able to understand if the company's employees are doing their job that they're supposed to be doing because you can literally see them, you have the opportunity to go and look over their shoulder if you need to.
Matt H: 13:59 Not that you should do that, but that's the idea is that you're around them enough so that you get the impression that they're doing their job. A manager in a remote team obviously doesn't have that, so you have to be deliberate in what you do in terms of setting expectations and checking in when you're supposed to check in and you can't be lazy with these sorts of things.
Matt H: 14:17 You need to be really clear. You need to be very specific and that's really important. You need to just be aware that these things need to be defined and you need to be really at the top of your game at all times.
Matt H: 14:31 So, in terms of organizational culture, I think that you need to have a culture of trust more than anything else because again, you need to know in the back of your mind that your employees are doing the job they're supposed to be doing, really is what it comes down to. So, that's kind of what I believe the organizational culture in a no-office team needs to be is one of trust and it's really hard to do.
Matt H: 14:52 I don't know what the right answer is in terms of being able to build that trust. I think it just becomes a matter of working together with somebody that you admire and then trust, I think, the way that I was put to me was just repeatable, doing what you say or doing what you said you were going to do. So, it just means following through, essentially following through and making sure that the things get done when they need to get done. That's all there is to it.
Matt H: 15:15 Okay. So, trust is obviously the big one with fully distributed teams and then the second one here is companies with an office but with many distributed employees. Yeah, that's a trickier one. I think companies with an office with many distributed employees, they need to be aware that there are differences and imbalances that can result from having some people in office and having some people outside of the office.
Matt H: 15:36 So, just knowing that there's people in an office that are being able to communicate outside of just work that might be getting to know each other and then those remote employees, you need to really make an effort to include those people in the conversation outside of just work, making sure that they're feeling involved and not isolated. That's on you as a manager to understand that and you to act on.
Matt H: 15:57 Without that, I think you end up isolating to people that are not working in the office with you. So, just being aware of that and being comfortable with the fact that you need to step in and make sure that everybody's included in the same way. But I would say, the most difficult one I think is the companies with an office part with many distributed employees. It's a very difficult dynamic to get right and I don't think that there's any companies that would say they've completely figured that one out. So, good luck with that one.
Matt H: 16:23 Okay. The next one here is predominantly static companies where remote work has been negotiated by a small percentage of the staff. I don't know actually of any companies. I haven't come across any companies that have done that successfully or even know of any companies that do that. So, you have to be again, aware of the imbalances that can result from some people being in office and some people not being in an office.
Matt H: 16:45 So, how you deal with that and making sure that everybody's included is a key piece there as well. But yeah, I haven't heard of that to be honest with you. Maybe it's just a certain part of the team that's working from the office. If the engineers, to use the example... The sales and marketing staff are in the office and yeah, I don't know. That's a tough one. I don't know about that one. The reason I don't know is because I've never heard of that, but anyways, if you have any thoughts there, if you have any experience with that, please write in and then we can maybe add that into the conversation once this podcast is released.
Matt H: 17:15 Okay. Combinations of the above at varying company sizes. What is your take on different labels that are used in the space? Labels like remote working, distributed team, digital nomads, slow mad, location independent and others. I'm going to tackle the labels part first because it's interesting to me. So, it is interesting that there's lots of different labels for remote work and the ones that we sort of go by, I think remote work and distributed team can be used interchangeably.
Matt H: 17:40 I do that. I don't know if that's right, but that's just what I do. Remote working to me and distributed teams to me are pretty much the same. Distributed might have more of a connotation of having some people in an office and some people not in an office. I don't know to be honest. So, those two are in my mind, interchangeable.
Matt H: 17:57 Digital nomad. So digital nomad is one that I think is interesting. There is this sort of culture around digital nomad, the idea that you can kind of pick up and just go somewhere if you want to while you're working and not be tied to one specific place. So, be able to pick up and move every couple of weeks, go traveling, go see the world work at the same time.
Matt H: 18:15 It sounds totally ideal to me in my limited experience with this, but I think it's kind of a difficult one because... And maybe this is just a bias and this is just me, but I would not be able to do that. I don't think that I would be as productive as I should be knowing that I was going to just get up and move every couple of weeks or every week or even every month.
Matt H: 18:37 I would need to have some level of consistency and routine in order to feel productive, in order to feel like I was getting in the zone like I needed to. So I think the digital nomad culture and community that's out there is a really great one. I think if you can do that, then that's wonderful. If you can see the world, if you can experience other cultures and work remotely at the same time, then that's fantastic. I just think it's a difficult thing that not a lot of companies now that I know are really open to you doing that, to be honest with you.
Matt H: 19:05 I think a lot of companies are a little bit wary of somebody that's that mobile, so to make sure that they either... If you're changing time zones all the time and you need to have some level of connectivity with your job. So, just being clear that you are living this lifestyle and making sure that they're okay with that and making sure you're getting your work done. I think that's kind of the main thing, but I myself wouldn't be able to do that.
Matt H: 19:27 It's just too transitory for me, if that's a word. Not stable enough. I have a specific routine that if I get out of when I'm working, I become not very productive. So anyways, I think the majority of remote work as a phenomenon will come out of more consistent remote work in the sense that nobody's really moving very much. I think remote work isn't necessarily digital nomadism. I think it's just not coming into an office and I think some level of consistent location-based work is important.
Matt H: 19:55 But that's just my take and I'm happy to talk with whoever about that because I'm curious if somebody else has a different experience, but let me know.
Matt H: 20:04 Location independent. Again, same sort of idea. I haven't really heard anything to suggest that that's different than remote work and distributed team. Yeah, I don't think that's really different. I think it just means they don't care. Maybe they just don't care where you work and as long as you're getting work done, then that's the idea.
Matt H: 20:21 So I think generally speaking with labels, it's the same thing. I think that digital nomad is the one real outlier here in the sense that you're being mobile all the time. But really what it comes down to is just getting your work done and I think most companies care about that and that only. Anyways, I like the remote working, but not everybody else does. So that's kind of my take on it.
Matt H: 20:43 Okay. Next question. Coming through Twitter, I believe. It was released on Twitter that I am not a Harry Potter fan, which is true to a certain extent. I don't not like Harry Potter. Want to make that very clear. I know there's a lot of Harry Potter fans out there, fanatics. I will say the reason that I didn't like Harry Potter is because I had some people in my family that were big Harry Potter nuts and maybe it was just my way of pushing back on that, that I just didn't get into it.
Matt H: 21:14 So, I like Harry Potter. It's not that I don't see the appeal of it, I just didn't get into on myself. So, I hope that answers that question. It's not like I don't like Harry Potter. I've actually seen the movies. I think they're great, but I never got into it to the extent that a lot of other people did because I had other people in my life that were very, very extreme into it and I said I don't want to be a part of it. I don't know if that's... I'm probably missing out on that.
Matt H: 21:42 Okay. Next question here. How did you get your start in the remote working world? That's a good question. So, I was working at a bank and not enjoying it very much. Not to say that the bank itself... Well, the people at the bank that I worked with were great. I had a really good experience with a lot of those people and I'm still friends with them to this day, but it just wasn't for me and that's a whole different rabbit hole in itself.
Matt H: 22:05 But I was looking for something different and I decided to leave the bank. I had a conversation with the owner of Tiny, Andrew, who was a mutual friend and I pretty told him that I would... This was a number of years ago. Pretty much said I was willing to help out in any way I can with the organizations that he was running and there was room yet in this business and I loved the idea of working remotely and originally it was to do research to see what other opportunities were out there.
Matt H: 22:34 If I remember this rightly, I offered to work for free because I just wanted to be a part of what he was doing and he didn't actually take me up on that offer, thankfully. But I think it showed how serious I was with it and he was kind enough to take me on and put me to work and I am still working and I still love it. So, I have him to thank for that and I think it's a good lesson maybe.
Matt H: 22:57 I don't mean to sound preachy here. I'm not as experienced as many other people and I don't want to sound like I feel that I am, but I think it's good practice anyways and this is something that I heard from Charlie Munger, who always says that when you're young, young-ish, I suppose, that you should work for somebody that you admire and find that person and work for them.
Matt H: 23:21 So, find a way to work for them and then be helpful. So, that's what I did and I think that's a good lesson for others who are not happy with what they're doing is find somebody that you really admire and then figure out a way that you can help them and I think that's a pretty decent rule. It worked for me and to know that not everybody's in a position to be able to do that, but I think there's no harm in asking. So, that's my lesson there is there's no harm in asking.
Matt H: 23:47 The person could either say no or they don't answer you, but at least you gave it a shot and who knows? You might get something out of it. So, yeah, that's how I got my start and been doing it for a few years now and the team has grown. We've grown as a business and we've brought in more people to help us.
Matt H: 24:03 The team has grown. We've grown as a business, and we've brought in more people to help us. I'm really excited. I'm excited to do this podcast. I'm excited to be talking to you, and I feel very lucky so I don't take that for granted, and I appreciate you guys listening to me, so thank you very much.
Matt H: 24:17 How do you deal with loneliness of working remotely? That's a good question. I ask this question a lot, and the reason I ask it is because I don't have a very good answer. I think it's the one real structural issue of remote work. I think everybody, whether you're a introvert like I am, and I am definitely on that side of the spectrum when it comes to just personality traits, I think you just have to be intentional with the way that you spend your time. You just have to know that everybody needs to have some level of human interaction. So I try to work from either in a coffee shop usually every couple of days, but it sometimes doesn't work out like that. I try to do video calls when possible, although sometimes the Wi-Fi connection at my house doesn't allow for that, but I just think that it means that you have to go out and find those interactions rather than let them come to you. I think in most cases, our work, in general, prior to the remote work phenomenon, was that those interactions came to you. I think working remotely means that you just have to be aware that you do need this no matter if you think that you're an introvert to the nth degree. I think that you need to understand, and that's something that everybody needs is human interaction.
Matt H: 25:31 So go out, join a club if you need to. Go work from a coffee shop if you need to. People do Toastmasters, go volunteer. Just be a part of something else that you're talking to people. Honestly, I think the other thing, too, is I think that conversation, in general, is something that needs to be practiced. It's a skill that can actually degrade if you don't use it. Maybe this is wrong, and I ought to know what I'm talking about, but I've found for myself that if I don't have conversations with people and actual conversations, you lose, I lose the ability to have a regular give and take conversation if I don't do it a lot. So it's practice, and I think it's important. So just be aware of that, especially if you're working remotely for the first time or if you're just looking for a remote job. Just know that you need to do that or else you'll find yourself out of practice, which can be a bit awkward. I hope that helps.
Matt H: 26:22 What's your favorite thing about working remotely? What's your least favorite thing? This next question came through Slack. My favorite thing about working remotely, I think it's the output. It's the output that's valued, I should say. So us here at We Work Remotely, we care only really about the work that gets done and less about the hours that you're sitting at your desk. I work well under those circumstances. I think that's the way that it should be. I think that if you are sitting at a desk and you look at the clock and you're using time sat at desk to figure out how productive you're being or to measure what time you've worked or if you're using that as a benchmark, I don't think the right way of doing it. My favorite thing about working remotely is just the fact that the output is the most important thing, and, of course, just the idea that you can get up and change your circumstances, change your working scenery, and I think that's important, too.
Matt H: 27:11 What's my least favorite thing? I think it's loneliness. I think it's isolation. I think it's just, again, with that lack of practice when it comes to conversations. I think that all of the things that come along with not talking to people very often, I think that's my least favorite thing.
Matt H: 27:28 Next question. What are your tips for keeping everyone on the team in the loop? It's a good question. I think over-communication is something that people say a lot when it comes to this question and that I agree to a certain extent, although I think that can get closer to micromanagement, but I would say if you are unsure of if everyone's on the same page or in the loop, I would just ask even when it might seem stupid or might seem silly to keep asking whether everybody's on the same page. You're better off for asking than you are for assuming, so I think that's a good rule. I think regular things like stand-ups are important. I think just making sure that you set up a routine. That means, at the start of the week, you set out with a weekly agenda with your team or if you're a manager, if you're a CEO or whatever it is. Just make sure that you have a consistent level of checking in with people so people know when there's a time that they can open up and they can express how things are going and all that kind of regular project management stuff, but just some consistency with that. If you're saying that you're going to have a standup every day with somebody, do the standup every day with somebody. If you say you're going to do a video call, do it, all those things that just keep tinkering with it, because I don't think it's at the same for everybody, but just make sure that you have a consistent touchpoint when it's relatively open so that you can have those conversations with people to make sure that everybody's aware of what's going on, and when it comes to project management and stuff, there's tools out there that can be really helpful. Then we have a lot of tools in their Remote Work Resources page. So check those out if you're having trouble with this, but there's tools out there, but I just would say that consistency with touchpoints is really important. I hope that helps.
Matt H: 28:56 The next question is what are the drawbacks of working remotely? I think I covered them. Isolation, for sure, is one of them.
Matt H: 29:02 I haven't actually mentioned my favorite thing about working remotely. I have a dog, as some people know. Many people know now that [inaudible 00:29:09] social media feeds because he's been featured there a few times. He's quite large, and he likes to bug me when I'm on calls, but he's one of the reasons why I like to work remotely because I get to hang with him. He's a good work buddy.
Matt H: 29:23 Why is remote work on the rise and becoming such a phenomenon? I think it's a combination of things. I think it's obviously technology in itself. One could argue what came first, remote working and then technology came after that, or technology came first, but I think that's probably the most accurate answer is that technology, communication technology in itself, has come first and allowed for the remote work phenomenon to grow, as it has things like Zoom and Skype, and I don't know who's using Skype anymore, but Zoom, Slack, other tools out there that's taking the communication barrier out of the equation. So it's really easy for people to just start a remote company because you could literally have all the options and tools and things that you need to be successful right off the bat. So that's a really important one.
Matt H: 30:04 I think the other thing is just people's awareness of how important it is to be healthy, both mentally and physically. I think group work saves a lot of people from commuting. It saves people having a trade-off between the cost of living and high paying jobs. If you want a high paying job, there's lots out there and you don't have to live in Silicon Valley. You don't have to live in some of the more expensive areas, New York, Chicago, Boston, if you're in the States or up here in Canada, Vancouver and Toronto, or if you're over in Europe or wherever you are. You don't have to be in the major centers and you don't have to be in the expensive areas to get really high paying jobs. You can go to places like [inaudible 00:30:39] School, you can go to things like freeCodeCamp, get the skills that you need. Then, that's just the coding example, but it democratizes what's available to people, and I think that's a really important one.
Matt H: 30:49 The other one, of course, is that employers, they can have a global talent pool essentially to pull from. So you're not limited to the location, you're not limited to who's who's an engineer, and in my case in Victoria, BC, you're not limited to what the pool of engineers are like in San Francisco. Obviously, it depends on the company and depends on legal restrictions and time zones, but, of course, you have the ability to hire quality people from all over the world. With that comes no rent expense, too. If you're a company that you're just starting out and you have just gone through an accelerator or you just got funding or if you're bootstrapped or whatever, you don't have to have an office and you don't have to have that major rental expense that's in your P&L that it's eating up a lot of your revenue. You can take that and you can apply it to the wellness programs and to keep your employees happy. You can offer generous benefits packages. You can offer paid vacation time maybe if that's what you're doing. So just giving people freedom, and it gives people some optionality for where they work and how they work and all that kind of stuff. So I think that's a really important one, the wellness piece. So three of the important things there, and I think that, in combination, they led to this rise that we've seen.
Matt H: 31:54 What specific characteristics should hiring managers look for when hiring remote team members, if any? I don't think that there's anything really specific, unless, of course, that you don't want to take somebody on that hasn't worked remotely before, which I've heard different approaches to that. Again, I don't know as if there's any right answer. I think it depends on what resources you have and what's available to you, but I would say that you just have to make sure that you're very careful about who you hire because you essentially have to trust that person right off the bat to do their job, and you're not going to be around them to make sure that they can do what they say they can do and are working effectively right away. So it just means that you have to be very selective. You have to be quite sure of who you're hiring and making sure that all those things that remote work requires you to be good at. They have to be able to prove that they're good at those things. So things like communication, things like writing is another big one. If you can't write well, then it's really hard to communicate well.
Matt H: 32:48 You have to make sure that people are accountable and people who say that they're going to do things actually do them and follow through. It's a question to answer. I don't think that there's anything specific in terms of characteristics and personality traits that mean that you're going to be a good worker remotely. I think it's up to the employer to be clear on what remote work really is and what are the downsides of remote work, too. Not everybody that's going to a remote job really truly understands the change that's required of you to be successful at working remotely. It might seem easy in practice to go from an office to remote work. For some people, it's not. So for some people, if they find out that they've made the wrong choice or they work remotely and realize that, "Hey, this isn't the best way that I work," if they need people around them to be successful, then those kinds of questions need to be asked obviously in the interview stage, and I think it's important also, if you have the opportunity to do so, I think it's a good idea to set people on a two or three-month test trial run, whatever that's called for you, probationary period or whatever. That's really important because it really gives people the opportunity to showcase what they can do and make sure that it's a good fit. I hope that helps.
Matt H: 33:53 Well, thank you so much everybody for writing in those questions. I hope they were valuable. I really appreciate it. Again, if you have any writing that we should talk to specifically that hasn't been on the show already or even has and you'd like to hear [inaudible 00:34:04] them again, please do reach out to us, firstname.lastname@example.org. That's podcast at weworkremotely.com. I hope that was valuable, and we will do it again if you guys have any other questions that I haven't gotten to, but thank you so much again, and we'll have somebody else in the show in a few weeks, but thank you so much for writing in. I really appreciate it, and check out weworkremotely.com if you're interested in remote jobs, and thanks again.