The big debate: remote v.s. local

How do you know whether to hire locally or remotely? Here are four simple rules of thumb that will help you make the right decision!

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4 minute read


📃Team members like to write stuff: Hire remote when you prefer communicating in writing.

💻Tech guys: Hire remote if you and your team are comfortable with technology.

💳Digital business: Hire remote if your company creates 1s and 0s.

🤓Performance: Hire remote if you like performance-based management.

Despite all the fuss around remote management, some people still find that hiring local works better for them. You need choose carefully and bring the right people on board, since there are as many reasons for hiring local as there are for hiring remote.

Here are four simple rules of thumb that will help you make the right decision!

1. Hire remote when you prefer communicating in writing

There are people who simply prefer speaking to their employees whenever and wherever. They find it more convenient to call their workers into their offices and sit them down for a talk. Their thoughts get relayed on the spot; they can express themselves and relish the give-and-take of instant communication. On top of that, other employers dislike writing and find it difficult to communicate what they want to say. They find it especially difficult when language barriers are involved. If you belong in that category, you’re more likely to succeed hiring locally rather than remote.

On the other hand, there are managers like millennials who prefer emails and texting to phone calls and conversations.  About 70 % of employers hate speaking to their employees – about anything whatsoever. If you’re one of those 70% who finds it easier to interact through writing rather than speaking – hire remote.

2. Hire remote if you and your team are comfortable with technology

If you hire remote, you’ll be using multiple apps to communicate. After all, your team lives in various countries, so if you to build a sense of togetherness and purpose, your workers will have to be tech-savvy. You’ll want them to feel comfortable with and master channels such as Skype, Telegram, Trello, Google Drive, maybe Google Hangouts, and so forth. You may need something like Google Docs or Box for document creation, Slack for chat, and Zoom for screen sharing and video conferencing.

More than that, you’re going to have to be tech-savvy yourself since you’ll need to know which technology to invest in to support your remote workers, as well as how to help your team use the tools most effectively.

If that’s not your style and/or if most of your team feels uncomfortable with technology, you may find hiring local is the option for you.

3. Hire remote if your company creates 1s and 0s

If you work with ones and zeros – like a data-processing business, accounting, publishing, or the like – go remote. If your business does a lot of fast handing work, where you have to constantly dodge objects and rapidly pass on things – think of a restaurant, for instance – you’re more likely to prefer local... remote just won’t work.

At times, hybrid models can patch the gap. For instance, Kiwi Company is a food delivery system in Berkeley that uses tiny robots to deliver food. Sometimes, these robots make mistakes, so programmers in China or Thailand use Xbox controls to “correct” their paths. This kind of hybrid model saves the company money. Here, you have a system that has to be local – it has to serve fresh food fast and on the spot. However, the company’s managed to make part of it remote – the robots are programmed by remote workers. 

4. Hire remote if you like performance-based management

There are managers who mostly care about the results of the work. All they want to see, for instance, is a beautifully designed website or a YouTube video that makes their companies stand out. Then there are others who care about how their workers use their time. Such managers are more process-based. They want their employees in the office so they can supervise them. The CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Meyers, banned remote for one of these reasons. She felt employees were just giving the excuse of working remote, when they were really more likely “waiting for the cable guy” and just not working fast enough.

If you fall into the first category, you’re more likely to succeed hiring remote. If you’re the Marissa Meyers type, remote workers may frustrate you. In that case, our recommendation is to stick with local.

Bottom line

In short, we recommend you to hire remote if you’re more comfortable relaying your instructions in writing rather than speaking to your employees. You’ll also do better hiring remote if you and your team members enjoy technology. Third, consider hiring remote if you work with a digital-based business like data-processing, rather than a service that requires constant hand-to-hand passing. Finally, you’ll find remote management your solution if you veer towards performance-based leadership rather than process-management – in other words, if it’s the numbers and results that absorb you. In all other cases, hire local. It’s as simple as that.