What is a remote-first company?

Remote-first company

Remote-first companies have become increasingly common in a post-pandemic era. Spurred by no-contact regulations in nations across the globe, remote-first companies are providing a newfound sense of freedom for full-time employees who are no longer required to go to a physical office location to do their jobs. 

Remote-first companies are helping millions of employees enjoy a greater work-life balance. This is because workers are now gaining time by shunning long commutes and instead becoming more productive with their time. Contrary to 100% remote work, remote-first companies offer employees the opportunity to come together physically. This can be done through satellite offices or coworking spaces, another popular organizational strategy used by companies in a post-pandemic world. 

While remote-first companies have gained popularity, they can still be a source of contention in the workplace. This is why it’s beneficial for company leaders to become familiar with remote-first companies and how they impact the future of the workplace. 

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What is a remote-first company?

Remote-first companies are companies that allow employees to work remotely (from home, a coworking space, or other location of their choice) instead of coming to a physical office. While, for many, this arrangement was born out of necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant portion of employees have voiced their preference for remote-first companies. 

A remote-first company typically offers employees flexibility, allowing them to work according to their personal preferences. This may mean working while living a nomadic lifestyle, working strictly from home, or working from the comfort of a coworking space or company office. Ultimately, the decision of where to work is left solely up to the employee. 

On the other hand, remote-first companies also organize regular physical meetups to help employees maintain a sense of community and cohesion. Bringing employees together for meetings, training, or team outings allows for in-person interaction and enables remote-first teams to thrive.  

Despite the successes of remote-first companies, some business owners are still hesitant to embrace this option for their own enterprises. For those considering a switch to a remote-first working model, adequate research is key. 

Browsing a list of remote-first companies and segmenting them by industry can help job seekers locate a job that aligns with their unique preferences. Similarly, viewing case studies of successful remote-first companies and how their employees have fared during the adjustment can help other companies decide whether remote-first work may be a viable option for their organization. 

There are some legal issues to consider before choosing between office-based vs. remote-first work. For example, companies employing people within the European Union may be legally required to offer employees the right to work from home. As such, it’s important that companies create a clear plan of action regarding their future in-office and remote work policies.  

Remote-first companies vs. 100% remote

Although remote-first companies and 100% remote companies share some similarities, there are some key differences between them. Remote-first companies, for instance, offer employees a common workspace in which to congregate if they choose. This allows employees to have in-person get-togethers to socialize, brainstorm, or catch up on important group work. 

On the other hand, 100% remote teams rarely get together physically, meaning employees have little space for in-person interaction, which can have adverse effects on team morale.

Benefits of remote-first companies

Remote-first companies promote autonomy, trust, and even inclusivity by leveling the playing field for employees. By encouraging autonomy and trust in the workplace, companies improve their standing with employees and become a more attractive option to outside recruits and employees of competing companies. Remote-first work continues to be an attractive perk for job seekers across a wide variety of sectors. 

Cost savings are another benefit that remote-first companies enjoy. Remote-first work can help minimize overhead and improve a company’s bottom line. In fact, the average company that allows employees to work out-of-office half the time can save over $11,000 annually. In addition to savings, easier recruiting means companies can bring in top talent, which can also help to increase profits over time. 

Here are some well-known remote-first companies:

  • Affirm
  • Airbnb
  • Automattic (WordPress)
  • Basecamp
  • Calm
  • Coinbase
  • Coursera
  • Dropbox
  • DuckDuckGo
  • PagerDuty
  • Quora
  • Stripe
  • Toptal
  • Yelp
  • Zapier

In today’s modern workplace, employees appreciate the opportunity to work from home. Companies that are remote-first often report higher levels of employee happiness, which can trickle down and lead to enhanced productivity, better creative output, and higher team morale. For this reason, remote-first companies may have a greater number of job applicants to choose from as well as a greater chance for long-term success. 

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.