Detaching from the HQ: What Do Our Companies Look Like Then?

Imagine you’re back in the workforce looking for a job (or maybe you’re one of my younger readers just starting their career), what are your expectations for working remotely? Is being able to work from home a deal-breaker? 

You’d probably not be surprised to learn that 68% of Millennial job seekers said an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers. And, it looks like employers are taking note. In fact, according to the State of the Remote Job Marketplace report, roughly 3.9 million Americans (or 2.9% of the total workforce) reported working from home at least half of the time.  

So, when I read an article recently that said Jack Dorsey (Co-Founder of Twitter and Square, Inc.) believes the “concept of a headquarters is a very old concept that is going to go away” — I believed it. 

Dorsey went on to say that he thought this change would happen slowly over the next five years and cited large coworking companies like WeWork and “entrepreneurs building companies in coffee shops” for the change. He’s even making the shift at his own companies — headquartered in San Francisco, he believes you don’t need this “center of gravity” to do your best work. 

However, attracting Millennial and Gen Z talent is not the only positive that comes with a decentralized workforce. Working remotely has been known to increase productivity, lower stress and boost morale, decrease real estate and operating costs, and more.    

So, with that said … what does the future look like as we detach from the HQ and decentralize our workforces? 

How do we prepare our companies for a remote workforce? 

Despite all the positives — and the near certainty that this trend will continue — some companies (like IBM, Bank of America and Yahoo) have pulled back their remote workforce. Knowing that, how can we set our own companies up for success? 

Here are a few rapid-fire tips: 

#1. What Does Your Tech Stack Look Like? 

Great collaboration and communication will rely on your remote workforces’ access to technology and tools. Make sure you have project management tools (Asana, Basecamp, Monday.com, etc.) lined up for your team. And, set the expectations early for how collaboration and communication will flow. 

#2. What Does Security Look Like?

As the headquarters becomes more decentralized, we’ll shift from physical security systems and staff to a focus on cybersecurity, the IoT, and keeping data safe. Will you provide team members with a secure cloud system? A virtual private network (VPN)?  Or productivity tools like LastPass? (A favorite of mine.) 

#3. What Does Company Culture Look Like?

How will you maintain company culture when your team is dispursed? In-office days, company meet-ups, retreats, etc… these can all help keep a workplace culture that matches your company and encourages a team-based vibe. 

#4. What Does Mangement Look Like?

It’s vital to set expectations and boundaries and to still have a hierarchy that gives team members a sense of security, but it’s equally as important to trust and step aside. Micromanaging doesn’t work in a remote workplace, and it will be important to prep your management team for this new type of leadership. 

Is your team already working remotely? I’d love to hear more of your experiences — and your practical advice. Let’s move this conversation over to my LinkedIn page.