min read

Remote work in 2023: hire the global workforce

Remote working is everywhere. The world has become your talent pool. Remote gives rise to new work modes, lifestyles and hiring strategies.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
December 18, 2023

The world has moved beyond scepticism for the remote working trend.

In the course of just two years, companies embraced remote and its benefits.

Remote working provides companies with efficiency gains, a more productive workforce and scaling opportunities like never before.

Employees are also happy with remote options, because they can finally work from anywhere they want, are better able to focus and can enjoy a flexible lifestyle dominated by their own needs, instead of schedules.

97.6% of the workforce said they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their life (1).

And of the people who have started working remotely, 41% never want to return to the office (2).

The remote force is strong. And many people and organizations have made up their mind. But plenty still remain undecided or are looking for the right ways to implement a remote working model.

Getting to a remote model means you’re hiring a global workforce that should get the full support to make their remote work, work.

This guide will help you understand remote working models, its requirements and how you can adopt a new remote hiring strategy.

  1. The amazing things that remote made possible
  2. Remote flavours
  3. Time zones
  4. Other challenges that remote brings
  5. What remote work requires from employees
  6. Examples of successful remote working and hiring companies
  7. What successful remote companies do when it comes to hiring
  8. Tools that help you hire remotely

1. The amazing things that remote made possible

Remote is one of the fastest global transformations of businesses that ever occurred.

Remote workers are reaping the benefits of remote with flexibility, work from anywhere, no travel time and family time mentioned as the biggest benefits.

State of remote work 2021

People can work from anywhere

Dreams literally come true of people that always wanted to work from remote places but could never do so because they were constraint to a local office.

Now they can choose to stay close to their family, work from exotic places or travel the world and live in a new country every three months.

We’ve only started to imagine what possibilities this brings, entire categories of talent will reinvent their lifestyle.

These are some real stories from people working remotely:

"Working remotely has allowed our family to create memories that will outlive any accomplishment. We've been able to spend a month in Iceland, extended time in Costa Rica, Florida, and Washington state" -Brian Rhea, product manager GitLab
"I’m traveling to the seaside to join a couple of my friends who also work remotely and live in a small town by the sea every summer from June to September" -Silvina Furnadzhieva, Productivity Consultant.
"Working in 15 countries over 7 years, remote work has afforded me to build work around my lifestyle goals. It’s the movement of choice" -Jordan Carroll, Job Coach.

Unless you’re a paranoid micromanaging manager, you have to love the fact that your employees have more chill and fun time instead of sitting in the bus commuting to physical meetings.

The world has become your talent pool

Think about this for a second. Embracing remote means that the full 8 billion people around the world become your potential next hires.

If you compare that to being limited to local talent, that talent pool increases with crazy multitudes, even if you live in a big country.

Imagine going from sourcing locally to globally in these countries:

Germany 84 million people > 8 billion x95 talent pool

Netherlands 17 million people > 8 billion x470 talent pool

United States 330 million people > 8 billion x24 talent pool

Australia 26 million people > 8 billion x308 talent pool

You could say that all talent is to be found in your own region, but that’s probably just you being comfortable with your current way of working.

Hiring for remote roles allows you to find the top 20 talents out of a talent pool of that match the exact job description and are best in what they do.

While some remote companies still rely on legacy sourcing tools that are not fit for a global strategy, others are responding to this trend with search engines that search the entire global web and can find any candidate regardless of the country they are in.

Sustainable collaboration

We need each other to get things done. But thanks to remote, we do not have to travel to meet our colleagues and clients.

In some businesses it’s very normal to drive for hours to meet people or even take a flight for a single meeting. Something that I believe for most professions will very soon be unimaginable.

Now remote has been given a boost, you can’t really make the case anymore for travelling five hours for a one hour meeting.

In office models have workers spend the equivalent of 28 days a year commuting (1), that’s a whole month worth of just travelling to work.

Remote working has allowed saving that travel, with the impactful side effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to an amount of 600,000 cars (7).

Naturally diverse teams

Diversity has been buzzing around the business world for a while now, but beyond the buzz, remote offers a true and natural way of attracting diverse talent.

Especially cultural diversity is driven by remote models because talent can come from anywhere in the world.

This gives people the opportunity to learn about different cultures and from people with different beliefs, preferences and behaviour.

In local teams an effort has to be made to reduce proximity and networking bias, in remote teams cultural diversity becomes a natural part of the hiring cycle.

More focussed work

Remote workers consistently indicate they are more focussed when they work remotely as opposed to working in the office.

77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when they’re working from home (5).

For 75% of people, the fewer distractions they have with remote work are an important reason to work remotely (6).

Remote workers said they gained 35 working minutes a day on average due to fewer interruptions at their home as opposed to constant interruptions at an office (4).

"The ability to eat meals, make coffee, take breaks on your own time is lovely" -Collin Waldoch, Bootstrapped Startup Founder.

2. Remote flavours

Remote comes in lots of different flavours.

Some people work in teams with people they have never met in person and might never meet each other. I have experienced this myself with our own full remote team, half of our own team I never met in person.

Other companies choose a hybrid approach, reaping the benefits of remote but embracing the power of building relationships in person.

Different situations ask for different types of remote models.

You probably have heard of hybrid and full remote models.

Hybrid is a broad term to describe a model in which employees work partly remote and partly in the office.

Full remote (or all remote), is when employees work entirely remotely, all the time, with the exception of company gatherings like parties, company trips or for example quarterly events.

Remote levels (source HeroHunt.ai)

Then there are all kinds of different names we can give remote different remote styles like Remote Ok, Work From Anywhere, Synchronous Remote, Asynchronous Remote, Remote-first, Office-first.

Some companies like HubSpot provide options where the employee can opt-in for certain remote, hybrid or in office setups.

HubSpot offers three options to employees (3):

@Office: You come into a HubSpot office 3 or more days per week. You have a dedicated desk for your laptop, monitor, family photos, plants, and anything else that makes your workspace truly yours. Beyond taking your HubSpot laptop home if you’d like to, employees who are @office won’t get an at-home desk set-up.

@Flex: You come into a HubSpot office 2 or fewer days per week. When you come to the office, you’ll be allocated a “hotel desk”, which will be organized by team when possible. Because you opted-out of dedicated desk space in an office, HubSpot will help support your work-from-home (WFH) set-up. 

@Home: You work the majority of your time from home in a HubSpot-approved entity. HubSpot makes sure your WFH set-up is safe, sound, and sets you up for success.

3. Time zones

About 74% of employees work with colleagues who are in different time zones (1).

Time zones have a big effect on the way you work together with colleagues.

If you work in France, and part of your colleagues work in Australia (East), you have to bridge a 9 hour time difference, meaning that if you start your day at 08:30 in the morning, your colleagues in Australia, at 17:30, most likely already finished for the day.

Global time zones (image source)

Most remote teams work with 2 to 5 different time zones (1).

To manage the time difference, a further sophistication of ways of working with each other has to be developed.

One way to talk about managing time zones in work is to talk about synchronous working and asynchronous working.

Synchronous working

Synchronous working is what most people are used to. This basically means working when your colleagues (or customers) are working.

You could say, from a collaboration perspective, this is the most convenient form because the people that you need to collaborate with to do your job are wide awake when you are.

Asynchronous working

Working asynchronously means you and your colleagues or clients work at different times, at least partly.

Example, we worked with a team member who was in India, meaning it was 18:30 his time, when it was 11:30 my time (Netherlands), which gave us about two hours synchronous time since I started my work around 08:30.

Working asynchronously means you cannot always expect a direct response from colleagues when you message them with a question or a proposal.

You probably have to wait a few hours or a day before you get a response from them so you can move on with that particular task.

This requires some advanced work planning since you have to keep delays into account and you might not be able to finish things right away.

The adequate asynchronous worker plans and schedules the part of their work that is dependent on others carefully, taking into account the time frames in which they can collaborate with others.

Asynchronous working is typically driven by text messages (through for example Slack), because phone calls are not always possible with times that do not overlap.

4. Other challenges that remote brings

Even though remote is already embraced at scale by companies and employees, and the transition to remote is going smoothly in 82% of the cases (1), remote work also brings new challenges.

State of remote work

The top three challenges for remote workers are:

  1. Not being able to unplug, an issue commonly referred to as ‘always on’, because work is always accessible (online)
  2. Difficulties with collaboration and communication, due to many factors under which lack of body language and spontaneous encounters
  3. Loneliness, a side effect of remote working that for some people can lead to feelings of depression

In blended remote working forms, like hybrid, all kinds of additional challenges can arise. Not only at an individual level, but also at an organization level.

Companies like HP, IBM and Yahoo report the challenge that in a hybrid model, the in-person culture comes to dominate, disenfranchising those who are working remotely

Despite these new challenges that employees are coping with, a staggering 99% of remote workers would like to keep working remotely, at least part of the time (1).

It seems for now, the advantages or remote outweigh the challenges it brings.

5. What working remotely requires from workers

The challenges and opportunities that remote brings, ask for a different way of working than an in-office model.

To start hiring remotely, there are some basics to consider.

Practical considerations for hiring remote talent

Being a hybrid or full remote company means that you are selecting for certain individuals who can and want to work remotely.

Qualities to look for in remote employees:

  • Manager of one: They can self manage their planning, tasks and deliverables, set priorities and are not dependent on someone watching over their shoulder.
  • Digitally savvy: Needless to say, working remotely is powered by digital interaction and tooling, candidates have to feel really comfortable doing their work with digital means.
  • Communicative: Remote employees have to communicate regularly and document their communication clearly so colleagues can understand what they are doing and what they need without necessarily talking one-on-one.

Also collaboration from a hiring perspective requires some adaptation to fit the remote situation:

  • Digital first communication: Almost all communication, especially in full remote companies, is done through digital means (Slack, Zoom, Notion).
  • Asynchronous planning: The remote hiring team needs to plan further and more carefully so different time zones can be taken into account.
  • Automated processes: In a non remote setup you can rely for a big part on interpersonal relationships to get things done. In remote setups, more is dependent from automation, like data collection and ATS integrations, to support a data driven way of working facilitated by technology instead of manual processes.
  • Documentation: Since in a remote setup you don’t just walk to someone's desk to ask something, it becomes more important to document processes, ways of working and for example touch points with candidates, so colleagues can make use of your work and follow up on tasks.

What to communicate in job posts and in interviews when you’re hiring for a remote role:

  • Describe the remote working model in some detail: full remote, hybrid, office-first or any of the other flavours mentioned earlier.
  • Communicate time zones that the future employee will most likely be working in (synchronous vs asynchronous communication).
  • Include a link to additional information on how you work remote as a company.
  • Indicate if prior remote working experience is required, optional or not important for the role.
  • Include the remote perks you’re offering, for example: work from anywhere, diverse teams, sustainable collaboration, remote desk budget.
  • Optionally provide some employee references on how they experience working remotely with your company.

Legal considerations for hiring remote talent:

  • If you have a legal team within your company, check with them to see what the legal requirements are of hiring processes and candidates. If you don't have a legal department, research any legal boundaries yourself.
  • Before you set your mind to sourcing globally, be aware of your company’s or policies or (inter)national law that might restrict certain areas of (re)locating talent, for example danger zones.
  • Check the resident permits (typically for permanent roles) and work VISAs (typically for contracted/temporary roles) that your company requires from the candidate. Even if they work fully remote, a permit can be required.

Last but not least, check with the candidate what they need to do their job remotely

6. Examples of successful remote hiring companies

Some companies have already adopted full remote models.

GitLab is one of the world's largest all-remote companies. They are 100% remote, with no company-owned offices anywhere on the planet.

We can learn something from the companies that have already gone remote, even before the global remote transformation of the last two years.

GitLab significantly invested in setting up and documenting remote work guidelines to support the workforce in collaborating without an office.

Guiding principles give direction to current employees and people who want to join the company.

GitLab’s Remote Manifesto:

  1. Work from anywhere you want
  2. Communicate Asynchronously
  3. Recognize that the future is unknown
  4. Have face-to-face meetings online
  5. Daily stand-up meetings are for bonding, blockers and the future
  6. Bond in real life
  7. Give credit where it's due and remember to say thank you

Other companies that have adopted hybrid and full remote working:


Spotify announced in February 2021 that they were going to a ‘Work from anywhere’ model. With this, they have become a ‘flexible/distributed-first company’.

When it comes to remote work, Spotify believes that:

  • Work isn’t something you come to the office for, it’s something you do
  • Effectiveness can’t be measured by the number of hours people spend in an office – instead, giving people the freedom to choose where they work will boost effectiveness
  • Giving our people more flexibility will support better work-life balance and help tap into new talent pools while keeping our existing band members
  • Operating as a distributed organisation will produce better and more efficient ways of working through more intentional use of communication and collaboration practices, processes and tools.

Spotify offers flexibility when it comes to where employees work from and how:

  • My Work Mode – our employees will be able to work full time from home, from the office, or a combination of the two. The exact mix of home and office work mode is a decision each employee and their manager make together.  
  • Location choices – we will also introduce more flexibility when it comes to what country and city each employee works from (with some limitations to address time zone difficulties, and regional entity laws in the initial rollout of this program).


Zapier has always been 100% remote. The bootstrapped founding team started working remotely back in 2012 and continued to do so when they started hiring people.

They indicate:

“The only real drawback to remote work is that, when there's a big milestone, celebrating just isn't the same. We can get 80% of the way there on Zoom, but when you can't all get in a room and high five and feel each other's energy”

Zapier makes remote work work by: 

  • Harnessing culture by make work rewarding, using the right tools that allow fun, occasional in-person meetups and local community sponsorship
  • Rigid documentation to know what work is done and allow async communication
  • Being good communicators, remote workers learn to be specific and descriptive with their language early on


Buffer is a social media automation platform that went full remote, kind of by accident. The founders had to leave the US because of Visa issues and started working and hiring in different locations.

Buffer introduced some cultural practices to make sure employees are happy with their work:

  • Making sure people don’t feel they need to be on Slack all day
  • A minimum of three weeks vacation time for all teammates
  • Having team members feel comfortable to ‘bring their whole self to work’
  • Saying thanks in their gratitude Slack channel
  • Valuing transparency
  • Profit-sharing with teammates as well as donating to charity every year

7. What successful remote companies do when it comes to hiring

There is a clear pattern in how these remote companies make remote models work for their organization and people.

  • They document their hiring process so everyone in your organization can follow a similar process to hiring and you can collaboratively improve the hiring process.
  • They manage time zones of candidates, recruiters and hiring managers so interviews can take place on reasonable times.
  • They have clear hiring policies when it comes to who to hire, in what circumstances, in what geographies or political environments, rules of engagement with candidates, legal boundaries like privacy etc.
  • They provide the right equipment to recruiters to do their job remotely, like a desk allowance for headphones, webcam, audio setup, big screen etc.
  • They provide software tooling necessary to find candidates, reach out and communicate with candidates, manage the recruitment process and document touchpoints with and information of candidates.

8. Tools that help you hire remotely

Tooling and automation is indispensable for remote companies. When it comes to remote hiring, a lot of processes can be (partly) automated and supported by software to drive collaboration, efficiency and candidate experience.

  • Any ATS that allows for collaboration with colleagues on candidates and automates the repetitive tasks.
  • Slack: Chat focussed communication tool, suited for asynchronous working.
  • Notion: User friendly documenting tool to document your hiring process, guidelines and onboarding pages for new employees.
  • Zoom: An obvious tool to be mentioned but not to be missed, Zoom enables video calls with candidates and online recruiting conferences.
  • HeroHunt.ai: Search engine that finds tech candidates independent from location.
  • Calendly: Easy tool to let candidates see your availability and book a meeting right away.
  • myInterview: Partly automated and structured video interviews.
  • SignRequest: Lets candidates and you as an organization sign contracts digitally.

References used for this article
  1. Buffer, State of Remote Work (2021)
  2. PwC Future of work 2030
  3. HubSpot - Future of work | Hybrid (2020)
  4. The Business Case for Remote Work (2021)
  5. CoSo Cloud remote report
  6. FlexJobs remote survey (2021)
  7. State of Telecommuting

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