This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.
Thanks to today’s technology, your employees can do their jobs from anywhere in the world – and do it well. Hiring remote workers presents several key advantages, not only for you as an employer but for the workers themselves. Here are a few benefits of letting your developers work remotely.
Say your company is based in New York City, and you’re looking for a Java developer. Are there solid local candidates? Of course. Is there heavy competition for those candidates? You can bet on it. These days, there are 5 jobs to every 1 developer – expanding your candidate pool is your best bet at getting top notch talent. You can still put them through the same rigorous interview process you put everyone else through, but keep in mind – your developers can literally do their jobs from anywhere in the world. So, if there is a super-talented Java developer working from the mountains of Tennessee because he likes the great outdoors, why count him or her out?
You might have an awesome office with amazing views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, free snacks, chefs to cook lunch daily, and a game room – but according to our 2017 Developer Survey, developers said that the ability to work remote is one of their most important job evaluation criteria. Having the option alone instantly makes your company more attractive, because it speaks volumes about the culture you promote. The perks are all available, but if you’re comfortable at home – by all means!
At Stack Overflow, we strongly believe that a developer needs (a) a private office, (b) flexible hours, and (c) a short commute. With remote workers, you can check off all three. Give them the tools they want to be successful, like the latest MacBook with two 27” Retina displays and a massage chair, and let them set up their workspace just how they like it. They’ll be able to work when they want, whether it’s 9 to 5, or 3 to 3. And does a commute get shorter than that from the bedroom to the home office setup? Hiring remote workers allows you to cut the unnecessary commute, and helps increase productivity.
For a developer, train of thought is everything. When they are in their “‘coding zone”’, even a 30 second distraction can wreck their train of thought and require them to spend an extra few minutes figuring out just where they were and what they were thinking of. By allowing remote work, your developer sets up their environment to be free from what they feel distracts them.
It’s important to note that remote work is not for everybody. You have to look for characteristics that suggest your candidate can handle it. For example, look for candidates that show they are passionate about what you are building. See if the candidate shows they can be trusted by setting goals and having them meet them. Look and see if these candidates show they are self-motivated. Did they go the extra mile to get the job in the first place? Lastly, look for candidates that have done remote work, whether for themselves or for a reputable company, in the past. These are all good indicators that they will work well in a remote environment.