The 60-Minute Talent Mistake

In the earliest days of Life Meets Work, my clients tended to be smaller companies who were just starting to introduce flexible work.  As I pitched our consulting services, I talked with a good

remote workers

Photo credit Flickr/puresolitude)

number of employers who bemoaned the lack of skilled talent, yet refused to consider remote workers.  They wanted the best…but insisted the “best” live within a 60-minute commuting distance.

During the recession, employers could get away with such face-time mandates. But recession or not, the U.S. is facing a skilled worker shortage and it’s about to get whole lot worse.  If you want to build a world-class team, you can’t limit yourself to your local community.

Here’s more on what you get when you hire remote workers:

1.  Widen Your Talent Pool

When you set yourself up to work with remote workers, you widen your talent pool. Ask yourself, would you rather work with ‘A players’ located anywhere in the world, or ‘B players’ located in your office?  Look beyond your commuter radius and you can source talent from anywhere in the world.

Increasingly, today’s skilled workers choose where to live first, and find a job second.  Hiring remote workers gets you over that “Cool City” barrier, especially if your community is small and lacking cultural attractions.  Plus, until the housing market loosens up, asking people to relocate might just be impossible.

2.  Reduce Real Estate Costs

This one’s obvious: If employees don’t have to come into work, you don’t have to supply parking and desk space for them. Lots of small companies go this route, and it vastly reduces the capital required to run their business. Of course remote work “works” for companies of all sizes. McDonald’s, Dow Chemical, and IBM are just a few of the many corporations that use telework as a way to reduce brick & mortar expenses.

3.  Extend Service Hours

Depending on your product and customer base, a remote workforce can be a simple way to increase service hours and extend the workday. With the right CRM in place (and there are plenty of great options), you can provide seamless customer support from coast to coast without ever scheduling a “second shift.”

4.  Expand Your Market & Your Perspective

Hiring sales reps to build remote markets is an accepted business practice. But even employees that aren’t actively engaged in sales can add “perspective value” to your organization. They help you understand pricing norms, consumer preferences—even regional weather or holiday patterns that could impact your business.

Not ready for remote hires yet?  Provide teleworking options for the employees you already have.  Build your infrastructure and comfort level now, so you are ready…before the talent wars flare back up in your (60-minute commuting radius) backyard.

Have you thought about bring on remote workers or allowing employees to work from home? What’s holding you back?


About the author: 

Kyra Cavanaugh is president of Life Meets Work ( a consulting firm that helps organizations implement and improve workplace flexibility.




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