Remote Working [Sponsored by “REMOTE”]

6 November 2013

Should your company let its employees work from home? Vooza’s CEO debates Jason Fried, 37signals founder and author of “REMOTE: Office Not Required.”  (“REMOTE” shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from anywhere.)


>> Welcome to TechTalk.
>> I’m Roger Bell.
>> Today’s topic remote working.
>> Should your company let its employees work from home?
>> Let’s debate.
>> Joining me is the CEO and Founder of 37signals, Jason Fried.
>> He also has a book called Remote, Office not Required.
>> Also joining me is the CEO of Vooza,
>> and a staunch opponent of remote working, Matthew Stillman.
>> Matthew I’ll start with you don’t you
>> trust your employees to work from home.
>> Look let’s be clear about something I hire morons
>> who can’t be trusted alright they need constant adult supervision.
>> You can’t just have them working from anywhere.
>> And Jason what’s your take.
>> Well, where are the people who do your payroll and your accounting and
>> your legal stuff do they work in your office or do they work remotely.
>> No we hire people outside our office to do all that.
>> So really you do have remote workers.
>> You have people doing really important work
>> for you, but they’re not in your office.
>> Yeah, but those aren’t my employees, those are people I can trust.
>> Jason, so how should a company get a started with remote working.
>> I think the best way to do it is just like anything.
>> Take it easy.
>> Start small.
>> See where it goes.
>> Have a few employees work from home one or two
>> days a week or maybe even just once every two weeks.
>> And see what happens.
>> Well, that just seems really unfair.
>> At Vooza we all suffer equally, okay?
>> We’re miserable at the same time and the
>> same place and that’s the way it should be.
>> Now, one of the advantages cited by remote workers
>> is they get to spend more time with their family.
>> Matthew, wouldn’t you like to spend more time with your family?

>> God, no.
>> Hate my family?
>> Oh no, the whole reason I started a company was so
>> I had somewhere to go everyday to get out of the house.
>> Last time I played Twister with my five year
>> old I got burn marks up and down my back.
>> I, I understand now.
>> Now, let me ask the both of you.
>> How do you evaluate your employees?
>> Well, I ask a lot of tough questions You know I look at
>> an employee and I ask was that person here at 9 AM or 9:05 AM.
>> Do they take a lot of breaks.
>> When I walk past do they have Facebook up on their screen.
>> You know that’s the sort of precise
>> monitoring that’s not possible with a remote worker.
>> I mean that’s what makes me such an effective CEO.
>> It’s why people compare me to Churchill.
>> You know, I don’t like to judge people’s location.
>> I just judge their work.
>> Everyone’s on the same playing field that way and
>> we can look at everyone’s work over the internet.
>> Super easy to do and uh, for us it works out really really well.
>> Matthew, couldn’t you just look at your employee’s work.
>> Look, I don’t understand what anyone here does.
>> I don’t know how to code.
>> I don’t know how to design.
>> What am I gonna look at some code and be
>> like this gobbly gook looks better than this goobly goo.
>> You know?
>> That’s why I do the one kind of monitoring that I know how to do.
>> I make sure employees are in a seat eight
>> hours a day right where I can see them.
>> I think companies like that are going to
>> have a hard time retaining talent over the long term.

>> Matthew aren’t you worried about pushing some of
>> the most talented workers at Vooza towards the door?
>> Look!
>> One thing I can say for sure.
>> No one here at Vooza has any talent.
>> Al right, but at least when they’re hear I know they’re not goofing off.
>> Can you zip me up?
>> People are getting things done.
>> You know?
>> I know people aren’t just surfing.
>> It’s stuck on your hair.

>> Thank you very much.
>> People aren’t just surfing the web all
>> day, they’re not just commenting on blogs, all right?
>> They’re writing code, they’re designing
>> whatever designers are designing here.
>> They’re getting things done, they’re marketing, they’re getting the
>> word out there, they’re making a dent in the universe.
>> That’s why Vooza’s assumed such a leadership position.
>> You know, 37signals.
>> Who even knows what.
>> Steve, I’m trying to do an interview.

>> Hello.

>> I’m just saying, it’s been key to our strength as a company.
>> Guys, guys.
>> I’m gonna have to cut you off right there.
>> We’re gonna have to end it right there, but thank you so much to my
>> guests, Jason and Matt, Uh, don’t forget to
>> check out Jason’s book, Remote, office not required.
>> And Matt, uh, good luck with that.
>> For TechTalk, I’m Roger Bell.

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