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The Future of Work: How to Develop a Remote-First Policy to Attract Top Talent

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the shift towards remote work. For many companies, it was a sudden change, but now they have adapted to it, and the benefits are becoming clear. The remote work not only saves companies money in terms of office expenses but also improves employee satisfaction, productivity, and work-life balance. According to Owl Labs, remote workers are 13% more likely to stay in their current job for the next five years than non-remote workers. In this blog, we’ll explore how companies can develop a remote-first policy to attract top talent in the future of work.

What is a Remote-First Policy?

A remote-first policy means that remote work is the default option for employees, and the physical office is secondary. Employees can choose to come into the office as they please, but their work is primarily done remotely. This approach differs from a remote-friendly policy, which allows employees to work from home occasionally.

With a remote-first policy, companies must ensure that all employees, whether they are in the office or remote, have the same level of access to tools and resources necessary to complete tasks. It’s essential to create an infrastructure that supports remote workers without disadvantaging in-office workers.

Benefits of a Remote-First Policy

A remote-first policy offers several benefits for both employees and companies.

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Remote work allows employees to have more flexibility in their schedules, which leads to better work-life balance. With a remote-first policy, employees can work from anywhere they want, which means they can manage their personal and professional lives more efficiently. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for those who have families, as remote work allows them to take care of their children while still working.

Increased Productivity

Remote workers are often more productive than in-office workers since they can create a workspace that suits them best. They can eliminate distractions and optimize their work environment to increase productivity. Additionally, a remote-first policy minimizes the time spent on commuting, allowing employees to allocate that time to work.

Cost Savings

Remote work saves companies money by reducing office expenses such as rent, utilities, and office supplies. Additionally, employers can hire talent from around the world without having to worry about the additional costs of relocation.

Access to a Larger Talent Pool

A remote-first policy offers access to a more extensive talent pool since companies can hire employees from anywhere in the world. This access to a broader talent pool provides companies with the opportunity to hire the best talent, regardless of their geographic location.

Employee Satisfaction

Remote work contributes to employee satisfaction, which leads to higher retention rates. Employees who work remotely feel trusted, valued, and have more control over their work environment. A happy and satisfied workforce leads to a positive company culture, with higher levels of engagement and overall performance.

Developing a Remote-First Policy

A remote-first policy requires careful planning, clear communication, and the right tools and infrastructure to be successful. Here are some steps companies can take to develop a remote-first policy.

Determine Your Company’s Remote Work Philosophy

Before implementing a remote-first policy, companies must determine their remote work philosophy. This philosophy defines the company’s stance on remote work, how teams will communicate and collaborate, and how remote workers will be integrated into the company culture.

At the onset, it is essential to have a clear definition of what remote work means to the company. Remote work policies often get caught up in technicalities, and companies are left grappling with how to approach work virtually. It is essential to define terms, such as telecommuting, work from home, lay of location, etc., and lay down guidelines that are simple and easy to understand.

Adopting a remote-first philosophy could mean an entirely remote workforce or offering flexible work options to employees that allow them to work remotely. Defining this policy requires assessing the company’s priorities and goals, analyzing the workforce’s nature, and identifying whether they would benefit from remote work.

Identify Roles That Are Suitable for Remote Work

Not all roles are suitable for remote work, and it’s important to identify the jobs that can be done remotely. Companies must consider the nature of the work, the level of collaboration required, the tools needed, and the team’s structure. For instance, sales representatives can work remotely, while customer service representatives may not be suitable for a remote environment.

There are certain positions where it may be tough to establish understanding or coordination purely through online means. Such positions might need constant handholding or training, making it essential for leadership to develop substitute employee management plans that work well with remote teams.

Establish Clear Expectations and Guidelines

Establishing clear expectations and guidelines is critical for a remote-first policy to work. Companies must define how work will be tracked, how communication will be managed, how meetings will be conducted, and what the expectations are for availability and response times. These guidelines ensure that remote workers and in-office workers are treated equally.

Clear expectations and guidelines serve as an essential component of the employee-manager relationship. When it comes to the remote-first approach, it is essential to maintain a high level of transparency and trust with the workforce.

In addition, progress checks can help make sure that productivity goals are met even when workers are away from their managers’ sight. This could mean using productivity tools and dashboards to track and gauge performance.

Invest in Infrastructure and Technology

Remote work relies heavily on technology to be successful. Therefore, companies must invest in the right infrastructure and technology to support remote workers. This investment includes high-speed internet, communication tools, project management software, and cybersecurity measures.

Communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Skype are crucial, as well as document-sharing tools like Google Drive or Dropbox to ensure everyone has access to the information they need quickly. Investment in software and tools help businesses frequently analyze worker productivity, making it easier to spot any bottlenecks or roadblocks in the process as they emerge.

Develop an Onboarding Process

A remote-first policy requires a well-designed onboarding process that helps new employees understand the company’s remote work philosophy, company culture, and expectations. The onboarding process must include regular check-ins and training to ensure remote workers feel connected to the company.

Remote work may not be an option for every worker. Some may find it isolating and difficult to imagine their work impacting the company culture. An effective remote onboarding process should focus on starting off on the right foot and setting expectations.

Onboarding training could include detailed information on the company’s culture, mission, values, and standard operating procedures. Additionally, an onboarding process could focus on building relationships with the rest of the team and managers.

Create Opportunities for Social Interaction

Social interaction is an important aspect of any company culture, and remote workers must have opportunities to connect with their colleagues. Video conferencing, virtual social events, and online team building games are some of the ways to create social interactions for remote workers.

It can be a challenge to avoid remote workers feeling like they are working in isolation. Through efficient communication measures, one can ensure that remote team members get to know their colleagues on a more individual, personal level.

Virtual meetings can be used to create a sense of community and foster team interactions. Online workplace platforms like Zoom or Skype can conduct virtual brainstorming sessions and, using whiteboards or virtual sticky notes, engage remote teams.

The communal aspect of organizing virtual meetings is vital in keeping remote teams motivated throughout their workday, which is critical in developing a company culture that supports remote-first policies.

Train Managers on How to Manage Remote Teams

Managing a remote team requires a different set of skills than managing an in-office team. Therefore, companies must train managers on how to effectively manage remote teams. This training could include techniques for building trust and transparency, managing remote workers’ productivity, communication strategies, and how to handle remote workers’ isolation and burnout.

Managers must learn how to communicate in ways that are most conducive to effective team interaction. Regular catch-ups and one-to-one meetings can help managers build more authentic relationships with their virtual teams, ensuring that employees stay on task with deadlines and other work deliverables.

Provide Employee Benefits that Encourage Remote Work

One of the ways to create an environment that encourages remote work is to provide employee benefits that are compatible with a remote work policy. These benefits could include wellness programs that focus on mental health, flexible work schedules, unlimited vacation, and a home office stipend.

Offering benefits that support employees working from home creates a sense of value and trust in their work. It encourages remote employees to prioritize their health and make the most out of their working week.

Create a Culture of Trust

A remote-first policy relies on trust, and companies must create a culture that fosters trust between management, remote employees, and in-office employees. Trust is built through transparent communication, setting expectations and guidelines, and understanding the unique challenges that remote work presents.

Close communication lines are vital between remote team members and management to ensure work tasks are aligned with company objectives. Virtual meetings are a great way of ensuring that remote workers are kept up to date with the latest company news, which builds trust and, in turn, encourages workers to produce high-quality results.

If workers feel understood and supported, they are more motivated to work towards common goals and objectives. The feeling of accountability is essential when building a culture of trust.

Establish a Disaster Preparedness Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we cannot always predict what the future holds. Therefore, companies must have a disaster preparedness plan in place, particularly for a remote-first policy. This plan should include a communication plan, establishing remote work arrangements, training employees on remote work policies, and providing the necessary equipment.

The disaster preparedness plan must provide a clear pathway for businesses to respond to any crisis while making sure employees do not suffer any significant setback. This plan needs to be tailored to a business’s unique needs and the nature of the remote-first approach.


The remote-first policy is the future of work, and companies that develop a successful remote work culture will enjoy the benefits of access to top talent, cost savings, and increased productivity. To implement a successful remote-first policy, companies must prioritize infrastructure, technology, clear communication, and social interaction. By doing so, they can create a culture where remote work is the norm, and their employees thrive in their roles, leading to higher engagement and overall performance. The transition towards remote work takes time and effort, however the ingenuity and forward-thinking attitude arising from developing a remote-first strategy can be immeasurable in the long run.

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