2018. The world saw over 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) hours of freelancing work done every week in the U.S. only.

2020. CNBC reports a whopping 30% of Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Cisco and Amazon are hiring gig workers from all parts of the world, while small businesses are scrambling to hire more workers online.

Now that we're over a year into the pandemic, it's hard to believe that things will ever be the same again. The world as we knew it came to a standstill and still now many businesses around the world remain shut down. It has become clear - painfully clear for some - that the only businesses still running on all cylinders are those with teams of remote workers. With the current global pandemic, the world has suddenly come to a standstill. Businesses have shut down and office districts look like ghost-towns. The only businesses still running on all cylinders are the ones with a team of remote workers.

As we continue to pray for everyone's health, there is a silver lining to be appreciated in all this, even as many of us continue to be confined to our homes.

For the first time in modern history, the world has responded with a spirit of solidarity. We have seen unity in diversity.

Hi, I’m Raul and I’m the co-founder of Getro.

When my business partner and I founded this company four years ago, we had already engraved this philosophy of ‘unity in diversity’ in bedrock.

We enjoyed a sweeping global network. Narrowing down our possibilities and hiring people from one place only would’ve been a painful proposition. The two of us had something else in common as well - an inquiring spirit that had no desire to be part of a team where everyone was of the same race, gender or language.

We had another reason for diversifying the team, however...

Equal Scope and Opportunity

We wanted to create a company that was exciting to be a part of, an international working habitat that would provide equal opportunity to everyone, irrespective of nationality, sex, color, religion or gender.

So, we went on to create a place where employees from all over the world could ‘unite’ and collaborate in a friendly environment with equal scope. That meant a person living in a country like Argentina or Spain would enjoy the same environment as someone from the USA or the UK.

While our approach was somewhat unique in pre-COVID times, there was a sudden and monumental shift in the team building approach as the pandemic swept our globe, all within a matter of weeks. Fear had become a motivator.

Businesses are seeing the opportunity they missed: the benefits of having a global remote team.

The scramble to go diverse and remote has begun.

Think. Think about the limitless possibilities and what you can accomplish by hiring people with radically different ways of looking at life and the world. Imagine the unlimited bandwidth you can add to your business.

You lift the limits and you make the world a better place.

I’m a huge endorser of diversity and remote work, but that does not mean it’s everyone’s cup of tea. With the pros always come a few cons.

So, let’s take an unbiased look at the positives and negatives of working with remote teams.

The 4 Must-know Disadvantages of Remote Work

Let's take a look at the darker side of this growing trend to help you decide whether a remote team is the right fit for you.

Different Time Zones

Image: Jon Tyson, Unsplash

To be honest, this has been the biggest pain in our backside.

Forget 9-5. You have one worker in Sydney, another in New Delhi, two more in Central Europe and one in Cairo - and that's just your UX design team. How do you manage them all in a space of 24 hours  - without burning out?

To make this work, Getro had to create several slots of operational hours:

  • Hours of operations: 11am-1pm ET
  • Extended hours of operation: 10am-2pm ET
  • Super-extended hours of operation: : 9am-3pm ET

For anyone new to remote team building, that's enough to cause headaches. But rest assured, there's a way to work around various time zones. We'll come back to that in a future post.

Endless typing

To collaborate, stay on top of things and stay organized, you need to type a lot and play message ping pongs throughout the day. Next thing you know, you're combing through chat channels for those important conversations and files that got buried in a heap of communication..

There are effective ways and sophisticated user-friendly tools to get around this problem. To find shared files, organize and collaborate quickly and effectively, we at Getro use some awesome tools:

  • Guru
  • Google Docs
  • Asana
  • Jira (Atlassian)
  • Slack

These are just a few tools worthy of mention. There are tons more out there that can suit your exact needs.

Too many meetings

For some, meetings are a great way to meet people and discover new opportunities. For others, they’re a major hassle.

Not everyone likes sliced bread

There are people who are simply not cut out for remote work. We had a few amazing professionals who decided against work-from-home as it made them feel cut off and lonely.

The Must-know Advantages of Remote Work

Personally, I find the advantages of working with a remote team far outweigh the disadvantages. I’ll talk about the top benefits here that are relevant to all businesses across the board.

Birth of an Independent and Productive Company Culture

Creating identity and unity in your company culture by means of diversity might not be an easy idea to digest at first. It’s only when you start working together as a team that you see a positive culture slowly unfolding.

Here’s one of the best descriptions of ‘company culture’ I’ve ever seen:

"Company culture is the set of behaviors that people do at work that makes them feel they belong to each other"

– Cesar Gonzalez

When people from contrasting backgrounds meet together and nobody is superior or inferior, something magical happens. A greater sense of bonding gives birth to something extraordinary: a new unique culture that runs through the entire company and increases productivity.

At Getro, we’ve seen how culture-fit hiring has helped us feel close despite the distance. Our values are an artifact that helps us express why we belong to each other.

Our Work Philosophy in Short: CCCIGO

  • Compassionate candor
  • Committed Ownership
  • Curiosity
  • Inclusivity
  • Gratitude
  • Openness

People often ask us, “Where are you based?” We say, “All over the place"

As you can tell from the pie below, that IS the honest answer.

where we live

Take a closer look below to find out more about where we are all from:

Where we are from

How about gender equality?

We slice the pie close to the middle.

Gender equality

What about the sexual identities on our team??

Far be it from our business. We don't pry into the personal matters or love lives of others, but as far as we're concerned, the more diverse, the better.

How diverse should I get?

If you ask me, as much as you can. Currently, I’m considering employing older workers who are 50+.

I know some of you might be scratching your heads at this, but read this report from American Express and see why big companies are so eager to employ mature workers.

Besides being good leaders and having an awesome work ethic (through years of experience), they also offer the broader insight and larger networks that we’re often lacking.

Did you know legendary copywriters like David Ogilvy and Joseph Sugarman presented some of their most epic works late in life?

Other advantages:

Beat the traffic. Remove the fatigue

This is one of the biggest selling points for remote work. Workers are never caught in traffic and there is NO excuse (except for being sick) for being late. On-time meetings and zero commute fatigue mean increased productivity for all.

Access to a wider pool of talent

A huge majority of talented young millennials look for workplace flexibility. Surveys have shown me that this is what they want and expect. They want the freedom of working from anywhere as ‘digital nomads’.

Unless you offer remote work, you simply cannot access these talented individuals.

Lower cost

Hiring an office space is expensive. It’s one of the biggest fixed costs your businesses will have to deal with. Running a remote team means you can either work from your living room or get by renting a smaller office.

Make the most of innovative tech

Without a remote team, there’s no reason for you to be aware of the latest tools that enable fast, effective remote work and collaboration. These invaluable tools help businesses run smoother and faster in an unprecedented way.

The Takeaway

Diversity at the workplace reaps tangible and intangible benefits. The most effective way to achieve this diversity is through remote work, hiring top talents and even amateurs from all corners of the world.

Experts show how heterogeneous groups can bring more creative ideas into the mix. Studies point to increased productivity and a competitive edge.

I understand remote work is not for everyone, but the trend is moving in a sharp upward spike. Endless meetings, extra typing and awkward work hours can be a put-off but the advantages far outclass the inconveniences.

If you’re an entrepreneur and have recently been forced to go online looking for remote workers, I encourage you to do so on a long-term basis.

Diversity with remote work is an eventuality that WILL happen across all borders. The shift has begun. Why wait?