Tell Your Recruits They Can Work Anytime, Anywhere

Nov 16, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

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

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 part of a series called Opinion.