In this episode, we talk with Firstbase Founder, Chris Herd, about the benefits and drawbacks of remote-first companies and completely shifting to a remote working style. Chris touches on what the future of the modern workplace will look like based on current trends.
Previously building a fintech business that focused on solving asymmetric information problems in financial decisions, after realizing customer acquisition costs were too high, Chris and the team pivoted to focus more on an internal product that had already begun development.
Having no desire to commute and wanting to see milestones in their young children’s lives, Chris and the team knew they wanted to be fully remote. They then had a terrible experience attempting to get set up via other remote-working platforms and realized their internal product, which would later be known as Firstbase, could solve this problem.
Firstbase’s Content Strategy
Pushing out a lot of blog posts on LinkedIn evangelizing the general concept of remote work, including promoting other companies in the space led to a lot of inbound leads.
In addition to this, taking time to highlight the physical experience of working at home- lack of privacy, collaboration tools, comfortable ergonomic setup, etc. on social media led to an influx in the conversation. Chris’s team, having already experienced the barriers in this culture for some time, were able to share their firsthand experience.
Throughout all of his content, Chris wants Firstbases’s mission to remain front and center:
“How can we make sure workers are safer, more productive, more comfortable at home than they would be at an office? How can we recreate the good things about the office experience at home so people can do the best work that they’ve ever done?”
Remote for the Right Reasons
Chris is a big believer in everything about remote work, and he felt this way before a pandemic legally required people to stay at home. He understands some people’s apprehension towards the topic, so he wants to address the pain points.
If done correctly, human beings can experience an exponentially higher quality of life by working from home, and he wants to help as many people achieve this as possible. (The waiting list for companies at Firstbase currently sits around 600).
Don’t Forget the Visuals
As most guests on the podcast have mentioned already, visuals can resonate with customers, unlike any other media.
Chris mentions that customers’ expectations for any B2C company are high, so making sure all visuals are attractive is a very important step. This includes everything from having an aesthetically pleasing landing page to an intuitive UX. Visuals are great at pushing the customer over the line. So don’t blow it.
Leading a Remote-First Organization
While organizations might have different cadences and formalities in their approach to working remotely, Chris states that the “human connection” side of professional life is absolutely still necessary.
He meets with his team in person at least once per quarter, and then chats and meets with them virtually consistently throughout the week.
He is confident that the positive parts of human connection that occur in an office setting can be replicated remotely while eliminating the negatives and distractions that he claimed had “just turned offices into an adult kids’ club.”
People deserve to have the opportunity to work without disruption. Once employees transitioning into remote work learn how to manage their time and work independently with confidence, Chris is sure everyone will see the benefits.
The Future of the Modern Workplace
Chris describes the future of work as “going back to the future,” referring to “what the office originally was.” He claims the office was originally designed as the optimum place to do deep work.
Post Industrial Revolution, with real estate prices being so low, nearly every white-collar worker had their own office. Since then there’s been a slow progression to cubicles, semi-open spaces, and now completely open office plans, which Chris calls “ridiculous.”
The future of work is returning to that original intention of the office space, where people have the opportunity to collaborate at times when necessary, but it’s not compulsory. Or a constant distraction.
Wrapping up, Chris says that it all goes back to wanting people to be able to “organize work around their life, as opposed to life around their work.” This is the gift that remote work can provide.