The current (and future) of work is completely different to employment in the past.
While some companies were ahead of the curve and embrace flexible and remote working pre-COVID-19 – they were the exception to the rule. But when COVID-19 hit, companies were “all of a sudden..given no choice”, Marcelo Lebre, COO and co-founder of HR tech startup Remote, tells UNLEASH.
Companies had to adapt in order to not just survive, and thrive; this is primarily because employees have expressed their desire to continue to work from home at least part of the week. Power dynamics have shifted, and employees are now in the driving seat about the future of work.
According to Topia’s 2022 report, 56% of workers believe remote work contributes to an “exceptional” employee experience, and 95% think that employees should be able to work where they like so long as they get their work done.
Rather than living to work, employees realized that flexible, remote working enabled them to work to live and gain a better work-life balance. “Companies are now much more aware that the wellbeing of their employees is fundamental to their success”, Lebre notes.
As well as improving work-life balance, remote work has, of course, widened the talent pool. Rather than having to hire people who lived a commutable distance to the office, now the whole world is available to all companies.
COVID-19 as a catalyst
In the same way that remote working existed (albeit on a small scale pre-COVID-19), Lebre is clear that working and hiring from anywhere “was already there” pre-COVID-19, “the pandemic “has acted as a catalyst” and accelerant.
However, the most common way to move employees to certain locations was to relocate workers with their families – often across continents – and “pay through the nose” for the privilege.
Of course, sometimes this isn’t the right move for the company or for the individual and their family, and “you’re left with a heavy conscience that you flew someone and their whole family across the world” and then you have to left them go, notes Lebre. This means this approach to filling global roles “is not efficient, not good and not nice”.
Having experienced this situation first-hand in previous jobs – including at GitLab and Unbabel – Job van der Voort and Lebre decided to come together and found working from anywhere startup Remote. Since then, Remote has become a unicorn and attracted clients including Mural, Pinpoint, Hello Fresh, and Mavenoid.
Equal opportunities globally
The most “fun part” of Remote (and its mission) is to drive equal opportunities at work globally.
As a result, workers can now apply for and gets jobs that previously would have been limited to those who lived in the San Francisco area (for example), but now they don’t have to move across the world to access top-quality jobs.
“Now your backyard is the world, so [workplace] opportunities multiple exponentially” and equalize for everyone no matter where they live, adds Lebre.
For Remote and Lebre, the mission is to make remote, globally hiring “pervasive” and so easy that it becomes the natural way of doing things.
“People can hire from wherever they feel like; you just hire the best person in the world within your budget”, concludes Lebre.
Being a one-stop shop for HR
For Lebre, equalizing opportunities globally is what makes creating Remote worth all the effort.
Although companies existed pre-2018 that helped companies hire from anywhere and create teams distributed across the world, they were not solving the problems HR teams were having.
“It was hard, painful and always about stitching solutions together,” explains Lebre. It is also “super expensive” and unaffordable for many companies.
This is because HR teams were having to deal with lots of different vendors who worked on certain elements (such as payroll, recruitment, or legal) and in specific geographies, so they had to rely on more than one to hire across the world.
Remote wanted to do something different. Lebre and van der Voort needed “to build an engine for companies to scale” and make that “simple and fast”. “We’re not trying to create an adaptive solution, we’re trying to create the future of work”.
“Our approach from day one was.. to go around the world, and [have] our own entities in all the countries”. This meant Remote was not reliant on other third-party companies for any elements of their offering. It means the company can charge clients whatever it wants and it can move at the speed it likes.
“We own our own infrastructure, all our services and we made all our policies”; Lebre believes this is why Remote has successfully attracted significant funding over the past four years.
The aim is to play to recruiters’ pain points, since Remote’s founders “came from the community”.
“It’s a very big market. We are not tying to grab as much market as we can in the first place, instead we’re doing it naturally because we’re doing what companies need” and making their lives easier.
The long-term mission for Remote is for companies to “not have to “worry about providing people’s benefits, healthcare, work contract” or paying them.
“We just want people to focus on growing their business, growing the vision”, then they can let tech like Remote “do the heavy lifting” around hiring, managing and paying people.
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