The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten
420: Semi-Remote? Good/Bad?
Jun 7, 2019 · 13 min
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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the difference between running a fully remote company versus semi-remote companies.

The business world has changed. It’s now possible for employees to work outside of an office and be very productive at it. But deciding if your company should be a remote company or a semi-remote company is a critical decision a founder can make

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how Close started as a semi-remote company, why remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employees, how Hitens company managed their remote teams.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

01:10 Why this topic was chosen.

02:00 How Close started as a semi-remote company.

03:39 Why remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employees.

03:37 Why Airbnb stopped referring to their headquarters as HQ.

04:44 How companies fail to understand how to make remote working work.

05:05 How Hitens company managed their remote teams.

05:50 Why everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.

06:06 How to ensure that everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.

06:33 The importance of understanding that you have to fight silos.

3 Key Points:

Remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employeesWe started documenting meetings all the time.Everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.

[0:00:00]
Steli Efti: Hey, everybody this is Steli Efti.
[0:00:03]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]
Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the difference between running a fully-distributed, or remote company, versus being, let's say, semi-remote and semi distributed. So, let's first define what the difference is between the two, and then let's go through the pros and cons of both approaches. Right, so we have talked recently on The Startup Chat about the trend of remote work and that not going away. Check that episode out if you haven't listened to it, but today I wanted to talk about a difference between companies that from Day One have decided that they're not going to have an office and that every person that works in the company is basically working in the distributed fashion remotely and is setting up their own work environment. All right, and all work, all collaborative work, all communication, happens virtually versus companies that do part of their work or have part of their workers outside an office. So, semi-remote, in my definition, means you have an office or multiple offices but you also have... Either you have a bunch of people that work for you that are not working out of these offices and live in completely different locations or, and this is a big or, you have everybody that works for you, let's say... The early days of Close we were qualifying ourselves as semi-remote because we did have a small office, and everybody lived in the Bay area, so they could get to the office. But people were traveling so much, or entire team was traveling so much, and we really didn't care that much about having working hours in the office. But we thought of ourselves as semi-remote because, at any given time, it was very rare that all of us were at the office. At most of two out of three months there was maybe just like two out of the six or seven people that worked actually in the office.
[0:02:03]
Hiten Shah: Wow, yeah I've had an office once, and I didn't really go into it as much as other folks did that were in the area. I don't think we've made it the biggest requirement to go there and then we had a lot of folks who were remote as well, and I think I'm going to start it off by... their equal in terms of team members. And I think that's a very challenging thing when you have an office and you also have r...

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