Remote Work: A Blessing or a Curse?
Insight written by Jessica Pierson, originally published on November 11th, 2021.
Remote work has become a term that is all too familiar to us. Once the Covid-19 pandemic struck, most offices closed and Americans were forced to work remotely from their homes. Although some of us were already used to the work from home experience, many were new to the concept. Prior to the pandemic, 47% of U.S. employees disclosed that they had never worked from home and only 17% of employees reported working 5+ days per week from home. This percentage rose from 17% to 44% after Covid-19 came into play (Statista).
Although this surge in remote work is primarily due to the pandemic, it does not seem like this new trend is going away anytime soon. According to PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey, over half of the company’s employees would prefer to work remotely for at least three days a week post-pandemic (PwC). While some are itching to get back into the office, others have gotten used to working from the comfort of their own homes and do not want to lose the time consumed by a daily commute.
So what exactly does this newfound pattern in the workforce mean for startups? On the upside, a company operating remotely can save all the overhead costs associated with running a physical office space. Early stage companies could be using these funds for other important resources such as further product development, recruitment, and marketing / sales expenditures. Operating remotely could even open up the talent pool to candidates in more distant locations that could be a good fit for the company.
Although remote work has its upsides for startups, it could also prove to be rather detrimental. One of the most important things that many investors consider when deciding whether or not to invest in a startup is the founding team’s ability to work together to execute their idea. When a founding team is not able to physically work together in close proximity, it becomes more challenging to build a product or service and create a positive company culture. Culture not only sets the tone for how employees work with each other but also how they work with customers, investors, and other stakeholders.
Ultimately, startups need to consider what type of work environment works best for their business idea and operations. Remote work has the potential to save startups money but can also create a disconnect in team dynamic and culture. With the team being a very important aspect of a startup, it may not be worth risking the in-person interactions and collaboration to align with the recent trend of increased remote work.
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Jessica is a senior from New Jersey pursuing a business administration degree with concentrations in management and hospitality. She currently interns at BASF chemical company as a Customer Support Analyst, where she works directly with the Care Chemicals team to improve internal processes and gain exposure working directly with customers. Jessica also serves as the liaison for the Impact NH Fund, which aims to support women led companies and educate more woman in Angel investing.