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Tell Your Recruits They Can Work Anytime, Anywhere

by Nov 16, 2012, 5:34 am ET

In my last role, I worked out of my home in Los Angeles leading a team at the company’s headquarters in London. We had 9,000 kilometers and eight timezones between us. Collectively, we worked some unusual hours to overlap our schedules but, for the most part, worked the hours and days best suited for us individually.

Remote teams in virtual offices — working flexible hours — are rare outside of startup circles. However, as demand for talent increases, more business leaders are adopting an anytime-anywhere work philosophy to cast a wider net, reduce the cost of labor, and optimize work-life balance, all in the name of attracting the very best.

A quick search, and you’ll find plenty of career pages like the one at the graphic you see with this article (which I took from http://bandcamp.com/jobs).

Recruiters take note: There’s a growing trend in hiring remote talent on flexible schedules.

It’s more than a trend. It’s a movement.

Ryan Carson, founder of Treehouse, has developed a cult-like following on the credo, saying on his blog that “we work a four-day week because we think that information work isn’t like manufacturing. Another hour at the MacBook won’t yield another $1,000 in profit. We believe that smart folks can get five days of work done in four days.”

Douglas Merrill, former CIO at Google, explains in Forbes, “The idea of a 9-5 workday comes from Frederick Winslow Taylor, who found that assembly lines are more efficient if you start them at the same time, and from John Dewey, who wanted public schools to teach kids to be better factory workers … People should work where and when they want, and be able to take time off in the middle of the day and make it up at night … The best social policy is to make the mental adjustment from shift work to knowledge work, as a society.”

You may think that these are just quotes — and putting this into practice will be a long time coming.

Actually, Treehouse employees enjoy three day weekends every weekend.

Merrill, now founder and CEO of ZestFinance, offers unlimited vacation time.

This may leave you thinking that it is startups whose employees are working anywhere, any time, but big corporations won’t embrace this.

Keep thinking that, and you’ll lose recruits to someone else, because a lot of the people you see being written about on ERE, and commenting on ERE (not to mention ERE itself, about 13 employees, all remote), are working for the Ciscos, Sodexos, Deloittes, and other such companies. They’re wearing shorts and T-shirts, work super hard but still take their kids to school and back — and would take another job the second they’re told they cannot do this any longer.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Reginald Stewart

    Great article! Today is a good example of how this flexibility is working at Sodexo. As I sit in my home office in sweats on the east coast, our team is working to fill a virtual Senior Recruiter position in the western time zones (#17964) and a Strategic Sourcer position (#19348). Since the majority of our team is virtual, we have the ability to consider top talent in multiple states. If you are interested, click on the link to check us out. http://www.sodexousa.com/usen/careers/careers.asp

  • Jeff Bloch

    Decision Toolbox went to a 100% virtual workforce over 10 years ago. It’s allowed us to attract very seasoned recruiting stars and they love the flexibility! http://www.dtoolbox.com

  • Ido Ben Ari

    Great article. I totally agree.
    Indeed “anytime, anywhere” is not only for start-ups. I used to manage a group of teams in a big software/travel company, and I noticed that when people got the freedom described in the article, they became happier and much more efficient. This flexibility is nearly a must when it comes for positions requiring creativity.

  • Naama Hillman

    It makes so much sense – productivity has nothing to do with working 9-5 and I’m happy to hear this way of thinking is gradually being adopted and accepted in different organizations and sectors!

  • http://www.sparkhire.com Josh Tolan

    Interesting article! It’s true, as the war for talent rages on more companies are likely to embrace remote workers in order to find the best people. Not all of the best candidates will be located in your backyard, or within commuting distance to your company. Using new technology like video interviewing, it’s easier than ever to hire the best people for your jobs regardless of their physical location.

  • Todd Raphael

    Hi – I saw this McKinsey article today, thought it was interesting and quite related …
    https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Organization/Talent/The_evolution_of_work_One_companys_story_3035

  • http://felixclack.com Felix Clack

    As part of a remote team, I’m sold on it. This is the future.

  • Doug Cohen

    I think its a great thing to be able to work out of the house, but I also think there are companies that are scared to try it, for fear of losing control or having little or no trust it is employee. I find I work more at home then I do in an office.

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