As a leader, I refuse to work remotely. This is how I flip the script
The co-founders of TrippleMatch just signed a lease for their new workspace in February 2020. The CEO explained how he must develop a vision for the future of work.
I admit: I have always liked working in the office. In my memory, the early days of TripleMatch (which I co-founded with others and grew to 100 employees in the past five years) were late nights in our single glass-walled WeWork office. Friendship is built in the process of working hard every day to conduct business, working closely with incredible people. Takeaway dinners, playing music and team happy hours.
But in March 2020, as the pandemic began to cause illness and fear across the country, we moved the entire company to remote work overnight. To make matters more complicated, we signed a 15,000-square-foot office lease in the Flatiron District of Manhattan last month. This is our first real office outside of WeWork. We even painted the walls in TrippleMatch blue in anticipation of our check-in date.
I spend most of my time on Zoom, and our brand new office is filled with 50 dusty empty chairs.
After it became clear that, like many other technology employers, our business will not only survive the pandemic but will flourish, it is especially difficult for me to figure out how we will handle remote work. I have had many long conversations with my co-founder Eric Ho. We are troubled by this call. We talked with countless investors, mentors and friends.
We don't have any illusions about the disadvantages of remote work. We fully understand the value of building personal relationships. Tap conversation that cannot be copied over a 30-minute scheduled video call. Daily collaboration between product managers and engineers. As we did in the WeWork era, real connections and friendships develop from close relationships.
But in the end we believe that moving to a more flexible way of working will maximize employee happiness and align TrippleMatch with what we believe to be the future of work. We have introduced a policy that we call "remote priority". We will have an office in New York, but employees can work anywhere without having to visit in person. If someone in the meeting is working remotely and the other person is working in person, we will hold the meeting on Zoom by default. Since we launched the policy in the third quarter of 2020, we have hired 39 employees, 27 of whom are completely remote. Of our 100 full-time employees, approximately 20 will enter the office on any given day.
So, how is it going? First, the benefits of remote priority work are huge.
Employee happiness and happiness
Our employees don’t have to commute in Manhattan’s traffic, crowded subways, or bad weather. Employees can work in the most efficient way they want, whether at home or in the office. True freedom and flexibility are some of the best benefits we can provide as employers. I am particularly proud of how this change makes TrippleMatch a better place to work, suitable for young families who can now raise their children flexibly.
For these reasons, our employees love it. In a recent internal survey, their satisfaction with the policy was 9.6 points (out of 10 points). The benefits are so obvious that I expect the next generation of employees will demand flexibility. Our research shows that 84% of Gen Z job seekers are looking for a company that is completely remote or has important remote components.
TrippleMatch is growing very fast. Our goal is to double the number of employees in 2022. Bringing talented people into the organization is a top priority and an ongoing challenge. Our remote priority work policy has greatly facilitated our recruitment efforts. Before, we could only recruit talents living in the New York City area, but overnight, we expanded the available talent pool to the entire country. This represents a 40-fold improvement.
Due to the priority of remote work, we hired outstanding employees who were not able to recruit before. For example, we have just hired an excellent product manager, we have been talking to him for many years, but he has a house in Nevada and will not consider moving to New York. After we launched this policy, he began to look for opportunities, which opened the door for another dialogue.
Remote priority work makes us more competitive in the hot job market. We have found that working flexibility is very important when navigating candidates with multiple offers. We pay New York wages regardless of where our employees are located, which makes it easier to compete for strong talent in areas with lower living costs.