The Inevitability of Remote Work

And how we use it as a competitive advantage

Back in my Morning Brew days I absolutely loved being in the office. I was just a few years out of school, living in New York City, and the energy of taking the train down to FiDi to work with the early team was so palpable.

  • Frequenting the unlimited supply of cold brew on tap.

  • The after work happy hours, prancing around the city from event to event.

  • The “anyone want something from Leo’s” Slack on Fridays, immediately identifying everyone who was hungover and wanted to eat a bagel to commiserate together.

  • Pissing next to a shoeless Adam Neumann at the WeWork we worked out of.

All of these are examples of shared experiences, with a group of incredibly talented and ambitious people, that made work so fun and memorable.

When COVID hit in March 2020, I was probably the most upset about being told to not come into the office.

I was a recent postgrad living in a shoebox apartment in the East Village. Shoebox meaning…

  • my room was just barely big enough for a bed

  • our couch faced the bathroom so you could sit and spectate others enter and exit while watching the tv mounted above it

Probably watching Maryland getting smacked on ESPN

I think I developed a slight cold brew addiction at Morning Brew (still have it). I couldn’t possibly imagine a world where I was cold brew deficient, sitting in this windowless “living room” with my computer on my lap… and being half as productive as I once was.

But as humans do, you adapt.

I moved into a slightly larger apartment in Williamsburg with dedicated space for a desk. I invested in a nice setup to comfortably work from home and also learned how to make my own cold brew. I was able to reallocate time previously spent commuting towards healthier habits like meditating, reading, more time in the gym… and honestly just more time to work and be productive.

Before long, I didn’t have the slightest desire to ever return to the old way of doing things. Rushing home from the gym, quickly showering, tossing on a heavy jacket, traversing through the freezing cold city, packing myself into an overcrowded train of strangers, and standing there like a sardine for 30 minutes. Then doing it all again on the way home.

Remote work became inevitable.

So inevitable that when you take a moment to actually think about it, I believe the alternative is such an unbelievably archaic model of the modern workplace.

When we started beehiiv we knew we were always going to be 100% remote. Here’s why…

Access to global talent

At beehiiv we hire the absolute best person for the role, despite where they live in the world.

Historically the alternative has been looking for candidates who live (or would be willing to live) within a 25 mile radius of your office. Just read that again, how fucking limiting and dumb does that sound?

If beehiiv were made up of only people who lived in Los Angeles, we would fail so quickly (no offense, LA). Today, beehiiv employs people all across the US, Canada, Colombia, UK, India, Finland, Netherlands, and the Caribbean.

No commuting

The average American spends over 330 hours per year commuting to work. And while the quantity of time itself is certainly jarring, I’d argue the unnecessary stress associated with commuting may be even more detrimental.

Rushing to make your train, unexpectedly sitting in traffic, forgetting something at home, being crammed into the back of an over-crowded subway car. While sure, none of these may ruin your week, each of these stressors compound day after day… and they’re entirely avoidable.

And again, that whole time thing. Employees could spend that time sitting on the freeway doing literally anything else and it would likely be far more productive (and less draining).

(Lack of) expenses

We’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year not paying for a physical office space.

We also don’t waste any time negotiating lease terms, building models to project future growth and office plans, dealing with supplies and cleaning, relocating employees, etc.

Maximum flexibility

The only thing I care about are things getting done, and getting done well. If you can do that from a coffee shop in London or a beach in the Caribbean I couldn’t care less.

Since starting beehiiv I’ve spent several months working from Mexico City, Santa Teresa, and Medellin (where I am currently).

Remote means more time spent with family, easier travel planning for holidays, and being where you want with the people you want to be with.

I won’t argue that modern software can entirely replace the kinetic exchange of ideas and serendipity of an IRL setting. It can’t.

But I will argue that the tradeoff is certainly worth it.

  • We have access to talent anywhere in the world.

  • We prioritize the wellbeing of our employees and encourage them to build a lifestyle catered to their wants and needs, not ours.

  • And they very literally have more time in their day to spend on their work, being with family, or doing anything else.

But it requires a ton of intentionality to succeed and build a strong culture as a remote company.

Next week I’m going to share exactly how we operate beehiiv — from our tech stack to the types of meetings and everything in between.

If you think someone else may be interested in how to operate a remote company, invite them to signup with your referral code:

Credit: Kat Fergerson

I’m not capable of working on anything noble enough to warrant this office… but working with views of the water >>>.

Thanks to Kat for our second reader submission 🙏.

Reply with your own AI generated office and I’ll feature it in an upcoming issue.

Turn on, tune in, drop out. Click on any of the tracks below to get in a groove — each selected from the full Big Desk Energy playlist.

Some of my favorite content I found on the internet this week…

  • Somehow beehiiv got snubbed from this list, but here’s the best inventions of 2023 (Time)

  • Where does this guy even find the time to do ketamine in-between launching rockets and being antisemitic? Thank god we have Business Insider’s award winning journalism to tell us his drug use might be harmful to his health (Business Insider)

  • Mr. Beast posts a video directly to Twitter and will probably earn $17.55 (Twitter)

  • Honestly just a great piece of content 👇🏽

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