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Breaking Down the Basics of Remote-First: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Remote work has been gaining popularity in recent years, but it was the COVID pandemic that pushed many businesses to make the shift to remote work. The pandemic disrupted businesses worldwide, and many companies had to quickly adopt a remote work environment to continue operations. Remote work has shown to be successful, and many businesses are now considering making it a permanent option for employees. In this long-form blog post, we’ll dive deeper into remote-first work, why it’s becoming increasingly popular, the benefits and challenges it brings, the tools and skills required for remote workers, and best practices for businesses looking to implement remote-first strategies.

What is Remote-First Work?

Remote-first work is a work environment where remote work is not just an option but is instead the default. A remote-first business prioritizes remote work and provides employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere. Remote-first businesses have embraced technology and communication tools, which allow for seamless collaboration and communication, regardless of whether an employee is in the same office or working remotely.

The popularity of remote-first work has increased due to the flexibility it provides, especially for businesses in the tech industry. According to a State of Remote Work 2020 report by Buffer, 98% of respondents would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Remote-first businesses provide employees with the freedom to work on their own schedule and from a location that suits them best.

Remote-First Work vs. Remote-Friendly Work

Remote-first work prioritizes remote work, while remote-friendly work is a work environment where employees have the option to work remotely. Remote-friendly businesses may not have the technology or communication tools to support remote work effectively, and remote workers may feel isolated or disconnected from their in-office peers. In contrast, remote-first businesses have invested in the right tools and infrastructure to ensure remote workers can operate smoothly and stay connected with their peers.

Benefits of Remote-First Work

Increased Productivity

Remote-first work has shown to boost productivity. A study by Owl Labs found that remote workers are more productive than office-bound workers, citing reduced distractions, less time spent on commuting, and increased autonomy over work schedules as reasons for increased productivity.

Cost Savings

Remote-first work provides cost savings for both employers and employees. For employers, remote work eliminates the need for office space, saving money on rent, utilities and other overhead expenses. For employees, remote work eliminates the need to commute, reducing transportation costs.


Remote-first work provides employees with the flexibility to work on their own schedules and from any location. This flexibility allows employees to achieve a better work-life balance, leading to improved mental health and higher job satisfaction.

Talent Pool

Remote-first work provides businesses with access to a larger talent pool. Businesses can hire a workforce from any location globally, allowing for a diverse and skilled team.

Challenges of Remote-First Work


One of the biggest challenges of remote-first work is communication. Without face-to-face interaction, it can be challenging to build relationships and establish trust with remote team members. Communication tools like messaging platforms, video conferencing and project management tools are necessary to overcome these challenges.

Isolation and Burnout

Remote workers may struggle with feelings of isolation and burnout. Lack of social interaction and lack of boundaries between work and personal time are common challenges, leading to increased stress and work-related fatigue.

Essential Tools and Skills for Remote Workers

High-Speed Internet

Remote workers need a reliable and high-speed internet connection to collaborate with team members, attend virtual meetings, and communicate during work hours.

Communication Tools

Remote workers need communication tools that allow them to stay connected with their team. Messaging platforms like Slack, video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype and project management tools like Trello are essential for remote workers to stay connected.

Time Management Skills

Remote workers must manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and achieve goals. Successful remote workers must be able to prioritize tasks, manage distracting situations, and set realistic goals and timelines.


Remote work requires a high level of self-motivation. Successful remote workers must be able to work independently, take ownership of their tasks, and stay focused on their goals.

Best Practices for Implementing Remote-First Work

Establish Clear Expectations and Guidelines

Employers must establish clear expectations regarding work hours, communication protocols, and performance metrics to ensure everyone is on the same page. Having plenty of guidelines in place up-front can prevent misunderstandings and problems down the line.

Create a Strong Company Culture

Building a strong company culture that emphasizes connection, teamwork, and collaboration is critical in remote-first work. Providing opportunities for remote team members to interact and connect with each other is important for maintaining a sense of community and inclusiveness.

Invest in the Right Tools and Training

Investing in the right suite of communication and productivity tools is essential for successful remote work. Providing training on how to use these tools effectively ensures everyone can use them to their fullest potential.

Foster Transparency and Accountability

Regularly tracking progress and providing feedback is essential for fostering transparency and accountability. Remote workers need to know that their contributions are valued and that their work is making an impact.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Encouraging work-life balance is critical in remote-first work. Employers should encourage employees to take breaks and establish clear boundaries between work and personal time.


Remote-first work is an increasingly popular work environment, offering numerous benefits for both employers and employees. Remote-first businesses prioritize remote work and provide their employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere. Remote-first work has shown to increase productivity, provide cost savings, and offer flexibility for employees. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Remote workers need reliable internet, communication tools, time management skills and self-motivation. Employers must establish clear expectations and guidelines, build a strong company culture, invest in the right tools and training, and encourage work-life balance for successful remote-first work.

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