B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

101: The Pros & Cons of Remote Work Post Pandemic with Jack Mardack


Years before the Covid-19 pandemic made remote work the norm, Jack Mardack, cofounder of global HR platform, Oyster® was building his vision of a world in which, through remote working, people could have a great career wherever they’re at in the world.

But where are we headed when it comes to post-pandemic productivity and how can we hire talent remotely? Will we lean more towards remote work, in office work, or somewhere in the middle?

We talked about the transformation of knowledge work, positive and negative impacts of remote work, and the pros and cons of going back to the office.

OPTIONAL: Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast: Jack Mardack, Cofounder of Oyster , and Leaning into the Future of Work.

Want to hear more? Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

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You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue acceleration. My name is Aleniam, with you and then here today with Jack Maldac Co, founder of Oyster. How Are you today, Jack? Fantastic. Ray. A pleasure to be with you here today. Thank you so much for the invitation. What were you basing you? Are you in any California? I am. I am in California, but not in the sunniest part. Alas, I am in San Francisco. Yeah, yeah, so, okay, good, good, why still? Still probably better on London. So why not? So today would be talking about I ring talent remotely, but before we get into the conversation, would you mind just giving a quick background as to who you are, while you come from, and also must importantly explain was the ADB and Oyster and and what Oist does? Fantastic. So I'm I'm Jack Mardak, CO founder of Oyster. I'm originally from New York. I had a first career in banking. I moved to the bay area in the late s to take part in the bubble, the bubble and the growth of the first growth of the Internet business, and have been very lucky to get to work at some amazing companies. I was the first head of marketing at event bright to first seat of growth at at Pres and have have have had a good career in in marketing so far. Tony and I met at next Mo, a company that, if he found it in that exited to vantage in two thousand and sixteen, and we were we were keen to work together again on something that we could really put all of ourselves into, and the idea behind oyster comes from the prepandemic inspirational vision of a world in which, through remote working, people are able to have a great career wherever they live. The the inspirational picture for us is that talented people, wherever they are in the world, should should not be wasted, should have the chance to see their full potential realized. And so we began to work on this software platform that, from our perspective, was much needed. This is the middle of two thousand and nineteen, so we were looking ahead to a future that, that would say, already on the way the writing was already on the wall about remote working. There were certainly a number of companies, some big ones as you know, automatic get lab etc. That were saying this is amazing, and we were very attracted to that as a way to operate our own company. And it was also the the Lens through which we came to appreciate the need for a solution to the employments, the easy, convenient employment of people around the world, as if, as if that the fact that I'm a UK company and that wants to hire a German person, as if that wasn't a complication at all. So that was the vision and so oyster is exactly that. Oyster is the HRIS system for globally distributed companies. We make it easy for growing company to tap the global talent pull and to hire, pay and give great benefits to their people wherever they are in the world. That sounds wonderful. I love the mission. Thank you so much for that, Jack. So let's let's peak about the pond the beginning. I'm led to believe that it's almost over, having at least in the news people are a bit more obtimistic, but let's see. But of course I think what a lot of business of Odo stood last year. So I'm talking about two thousand and twenty. Is that you need to be that invisible company. You need to be you need to be able to have people walking from home. It to have clouds, you need to have access to systems, need to have that flexibility of walking from mom and with that, to...

...be honest with you, I was not a massive fun of that. I always so that I think the people in the office was was quite good. I like to come into the office and feel the atmosphere. That gives me an idea of how well we will be doing and all that sort of great stuff. I like to I like to feel the the the atmosphere of the office. However, yeah, we learn last year that it's actually quite fine to get people walking from a you've have got the right to, in fact, twenty five percode of all team where I'm not more productive working from them. So now I am really open to recruit remotely. But what I like tolostone's you know from your prospective what was the busy team, as well as the gettive impact of Irday ring process going fully viotualness to right. So before we get to that, particular question. I think it's useful to provide some context. And so the best way to to understand the pandemic is is as a catalyst event, right, not as a not as a persisting situation. But I think the situation of the pandemic will pass, but will be left with the catalytic effects, right. And and those catalytic effects apply to the tre ongoing transformation of knowledge work, right. So this was this was already something that was involving. So if you think of the previous era of work as the office era, right, it was in the it was in the office era. The office era is followed from the factory era, and the office era was really about bringing people together for the first time to work on information problems. And in that regard the office context was absolutely fantastic. You know, knowledge work was born in the office and we did amazing things as as a human species together in this context of doing knowledge work in close proximity to each other or where we could have we could share information, have conversation and advance on these complicated problems of information. And so we have to credit the Office for the birth of knowledge work. But perhaps thirty or forty years ago the advent of software first began to radically transform how people do knowledge work. Fast forward a bit to the advent of the Internet and then soon after that, from a comparative time standpoint, the advent of broadband and the end mobility and the Internet, of course, really began to accelerate the transformation of knowledge work and to begin to challenge some of the assumptions that we've had about how knowledge work needs to happen for a very long time. So this was already happening. Right. You have to see that this was already under way. More people were already working from home, whether full time or part time, enabled by a combination of things, some some technological and some new behavioral shifts, where it had become more normal for people to work in this way. And so the pandemic was not just about the acceleration of remote working. The pandemic has accelerated the transformation of knowledge work, of which one part is the acceleration of remote working, and the best way to understand that is the removal of the location dependency on how we do knowledge work. This was already something that was being challenged by software slack zoom. We already had these tools broadband, and so this this was already being challenged. The pandemic said, boom, it's a it's so the best way to understand it is it's a dramatic acceleration and catalyst of the transformation of knowledge work that was already underway. Right. So, in that context, companies that are that we're doing knowledge work have experienced a range of things. In some cases they've been surprised by...

...how well they've adapted. They've been surprised by the readiness of the tools that we were already using, like you know slack, who're already using it, zoom. You're already using these things, but suddenly now it's sort of a greater dependency and and the and these organizations of all sizes of realized, as you said, is you have realized that this is this as a lot of positives. In fact, we can work very well and and and do I have have an amazing outcome, which is which is an increase in productivity and an increase in work life balance and general well health and and happiness. Right. So there are there are great, great reasons that have become apparent to all kinds of companies to continue to work in this way. Some companies have declared that they will be remote forever, that they're letting go of the offices rates. Other companies are saying, well, we're going to scale back. You know, we're going to. We're going to cut a million square feet in San Francisco. When we're going to we're going to apply that money in other ways that make more sense. Right and and you also have many startups that are coming into existence as fully distributed companies, but for the very first time they see that it's not a negative. You can still hire people, you can still raise money on zoom, as we did during during a pandemic. And so you're going to have a reshuffling in the amount of distributed work amongst existing companies, all the way from a little bit more to a hundred percent. And then you're going to have you're going to have many, many, many more companies that are coming into existence as fully distributed companies. And so the prospects for this is that, yes, we're this, this is the future. It is that it's not there. It's not just a reaction to the pandemic. It's not just the acceleration of remote work. It is companies are making these adaptations out in pursuit of better ways of work, better ways of doing knowledge work. And so now we come to the talent acquisition question. So one of the one of the attractors, one of the reasons that the companies are so interested in this new way of working is that they do gain the the access to people that are beyond what might have been a small radius surrounding an HQ in London or in San Francisco. And so that's very exciting for multiple reasons. It's exciting for economic reasons and so far as one of the undesirable effects of the concentration of talent and companies and small geographic spaces is that salaries have to go up to match the the rents which are which all we're all driven by sort of a forced scarcity which is completely comes from the idea of people going to an office to work. To remove that and you have an opportunity to see how far your hundred thousand pounds can go in in developer talent in in Latvia or do Bai or Uganda right, and and so that is a is going to be an incredible effect to companies. And also there are the gains in in diversity of talent. I mean, I think the part of what the pandemic has taught us is that people are really a company's most important asset, and this is driving, I think, a renaissance of the HR function and and a shift in the way that companies think about people and in the value of people. And Diversity and inclusion and equity are going to be big themes in in the next decade as a as a result of this. And so the opportunity to bring in talent, wanted, individuals with diverse backgrounds and diverse view points is is very attractive to a lot of companies and and that that comes together to create what I call a superpower, yeah, round around talent acquisition that companies that embrace this way of working are going to be able to accelerate and on the strength of the brightest...

...people and the most the most diverse talent from around the world. Yeah, now it does make perfect sense. What a very nice and inequent way to put it together. You are already also one of my next question, which is, you know, what sort of things would we carry for while from a nature of pels picked you from from the catalyst that was upon the Nague and you just went through about the equity in order that. But I guess for me, and probably what's useful for all, Agencia is on the stone. What we are the barrels that I used toys lifting. So let's talk about that, develop a Uganda, for example. Let's talk about that data research in let Va. Let's talk about the the data and the least in Manita. Okay, traditionally, what was what was the what is the pain? That? That's you guys are serving in. You know, she's great question, great question. So you might wonder, why is this hard? Why hasn't this been solved already? Why hasn't soft where Eaton this as it has eaten so many other things? And the reason is employment itself. Employment is a regulated thing around the world, and that makes all the difference. It means that countries have rules about how people are employed and and those rules are different. And so that is that is a fund that is the fundamental complicator, which is there are consequences, there are rules, there's there's the importance of compliance and and getting to that place of being able to compliantly legally employ a person in another country is long, complicated, expensive. Company could decide if they had the clarity of to know that, say, a particular country was going to be important for them. They have a factory in Germany and American company, then they might create a German entity, spend half a million dollars and three or four months setting that up from a legal perspective, hiring a local accountant to handle the the taxation, etc. And so that that would be just. That would be just Germany. Right. And so the creating their own subsidiary route is not something that any company can do for multiple reasons, even when they have the risk the resources. Like, why should we create a subsidiary in Germany to hire one German developer? It's ridiculous. Right. And so for decades we've had what is called the employer of record model, which was absolutely ripe for disruption. And this, this decade's old employment model is is based on the idea that I'm a business whose business it is to allow other businesses to employ through me, and so it's really kind of a paper clips and faxes kind of business. It's not very digital. There's really no no software in there. There's no consideration to the experience of the employee, for example, and but but that has been the alternative option for a lot of companies and that is not easy either expensive, sometimes so expensive that it challenges the economic benefits for employing someone in a in a particular country. Anyway, if you're paying two thousand dollars a month just to be able to, you know, hire them, then then that can that can be an issue right and so that was the context that we that we saw and that and that we saw was ready for disruption. And so it's really the the software ization of the the combination of the information complexity around legal, compliant employment in in multiple countries, the software ization of that, and it's the creation of a compliant payroll engine that makes it easy for companies to pay in pounds or dollars or yen, as the case may be, to...

...an endpoint for that for that for that employee. And so we build on recent evolution and innovation on that front. There are there are services available today for for money transfer around the world that have only existed in the last few years. So we build our our HR enablement stack through a combination of our own proprietary technology and leveraging some of the new infrastructure that is available in in the world of two thousand and twenty. That next perfect. Since that thanks for that. I mean one of the point that you made earlier about the San Francisco and London and order. I think I think there is a few. I'd like to come back to it quickly. Because, well, of course there is the the price, school after day jobs, wore meeter of space, kit space, and we know that San Francisco is not ship. There is eyes London right all your place on Birse New York. But unfortunately, when you want to be a big company, you know you want to go with the action is right and then the actions are into spaces. So you've got to be there right. However, what we see and parts fularly with the explosion of of software companies coming up. So I'm talking about you know, yours from San Francisco's. You just need to go to to take a time machine and go back to the Muscudi center ten years ago, to go to any convention. Good in your Microsoft part now Ursa or you name it. You have a much smaller bunch of people there and that you've got like literally the city is taken over. You know, as soon as there is is like eight hundred sounds start coming in, it's mad okay, and with that come a few things. Right, you need to find good developers. Is there more developers coming out of school? Are they coming at the right scale? Are they coming quickly enough out of school? Is there enough sales people, because we need to sell your stuff and everybody is in a rush to sell their stuff. Is there enough people to market your stuff, etc. Etc. So I think. I think for I appreciate there is there is some caust saving in remote tiring, but I also think that you can really give yourself a better chance. I think from my perspective, if I was to look at the best the number one opproximity of using a solution like yours is really the ability to get talent and versus the New York crity that I will have to choose, a media crity. Media to God, I may have to take that back, but compromise, yeah, the compromise that you would have to make to select the best of a bad bunch. Now you can go for actually someone with probably a little bit cheaper and maybe you could get two of them for the price of one. That will do a better job than the one, but you won't be able to touch them every day? Well, and you shouldn't do it anywhere anyway, but you should. You won't be able to see them physically in the office every day, but yeah, and that for me is is the trigger, because I still like the your face and I believe that, and maybe is it's our business. Is Proper to the way we run things, but we will always have an office space where people can get together, when we can gather on do that sort of stuff. However, access to language, access to good serves resources and also having people. I think you have a lot of very smart people who are looking at just this. What's the point of me being in my strip bedroom flat and so on from Cisco? I've got two kids now, so I come to enjoy the San Francisco night life and emo. It's kind of covid nineteen. So there is funding going on and being in displaced by the results of people. So why should I not just go in the middle of Ohire? You get Mason for Nice Farm, get a couple of police for the kids and and, as you said, that walk life balance as well. So I think people who are really smart and really good at what they're doing, they probably will want to go away from the action. It looks maybe, yeah, yeah, so the big picture there everyone's wondering where will we equilibrate after this? Right, and so I think it's...

...somewhere in the middle. Is the clear answer. And there will be companies that make their own individual choice along a continuum. Right and and but it's important to understand that the factors that are that are in balance, right, and so on the on the go back, on the go back to the office side of things. Right and so many organizations are concerned about diminished productivity. Right. They they haven't solved that yet. They have a lot of inertia in terms of other ways of working, working in an office base way, and so for them there is a legitimate concern of diminished productivity. There's also, related to that the fact that some operations and functions require the office. What we hear a lot, for example, is training of new employees is really not not something that is very practical to kind of do entirely remote. Remotely. There are there are some there's some things that have to happen and at a facility, from from a logistics standpoint, and so some companies simply require whether it's because they believe that that new starters to the company should not, be, let's say, philosophically, allowed to work remotely. They may, they may have a position. For example, I think facebook has said as part of their declaration around remote work last year that not all roles are eligible and that for the most part New People to the company would probably still be required to come into the office, and so that's a very interesting sort of approach and so that will remain true for a lot of companies. They state, they quote, still need the office for some reason. The other concern is is about culture and socialization. Right people, and this is especially true of companies that that were at an office, that have built relationships and ways of working. We're human beings and part of what we get out of art of our employment is is access to other human being beings and the socialization that that is absolutely an important and important nourishment. And last but not least, some employees want to go back. Right then, that that is that. That is true, and I had a great conversation with the subject of San Francisco real estate at a on a podcast actually was a clubhouse. It was my first clubhouse. I did last week and this was a fellow who had a lot of intimate familiarity with what is going on in the San Francisco commercial real estate seen and he shared that there's like four hundred floors of empty real estate and commercial real estate in in San Francisco Right now, some eight point one million a square feet, Fyi, and and and he he had the belief that if you're in San Francisco and you're twenty five years old and you're in you're sharing an apartment with three guys, you don't want to work remotely. Right. You're interested in the social aspects which are a part of work for for so many people. Mean a lot of people still form romantic attachments at work. I mean so work, the work, the work, social balance and and the gratification that we get from that doesn't go away. To that, to that person sharing a three sharing a one bedroom with three, three roommates, I would say, like you said, yet you know, you could also move to Ohio, right, and so that's not the you know, it wouldn't have the problem of having to suffer your roommates all day. But but that that remains a legit a legitimate concern. The companies have is some people like no, I would like to go back to the office for for whatever reason. So those are the reasons to go back to the office, and then on the reasons not to. It's the opportunity for tremendous cost savings, right, and so, I mean I'm not an expert in terms of how much expense goes to real estate in the carriage of office space at the big companies, but I would imagine that at a company...

...like Google or facebook it's well into the tens of millions of dollars, yeah, per year. And so these companies are going to are going to make a balanced decision about the pros and cons. And and it might be true that billy, you know, who lives in in in Soma, would love to return to the San Francisco Office of facebook. But maybe facebook decides that it is, you know, it's not worth it. And you know, sorry, billy, you know we love you, but we're we're we're scaling back on on San Francisco Square footage as a part of this king to new rebalancing and so that that counters. People say, well, people want to go back to the office, but but the economic incentive, particularly for very large companies, is extremely extremely significant and counter to the first point, some employees want to stay home. And then the third, the third piece, I'll just call it broadly the superpowers of distributed company. Many companies are attracted to the superpowers, which include accelerated organizational performance, the the advantages of access to the global talent, the increase in average employee wellness and happiness. So these are very attractive factors and so I think that every company will draw its own points of the ealence given. Given those considering now, I think you're right. I think it does depend so much on the demographic of the clients, of the companies are read that you are you are. So it does depend on the demographic of the employee that you've got. And and for us we found that, you know, we've got. I think we were less so impact in North America, because I think we will guys are based in Dallas and in that as we probably had like when week off low down and then I was pretty much shit and people are still putting into the office with musk on. But in York we had to stop, you know, we had by load. We want to load to come to the office right. It was kind of it was kind of not to load and and we had a lot of people complaining. Where a lot of people complaining because they were not in the right state of mind. You know, even from even from a mental and perspective, you have people who are socialize, you have people that feed themselves from those of people next to them. You've got people at Community Office, as you say, could be romantic, could be bent O, could the energy that you get from other people and when you think you got it working, is probably what eighty percent of our week at the moment. And and and it's funny. I was I was speaking to one of my clients and I've been back in the office, you know, when lay there, when you know to to sign some stuff and do some things in person that needs to be done. And there was a couple of people then. And Yeah, it's actually great because my days are like back to back in calls at the moment and when I go to the office that I just cleaned that up and I just get into all these code is actually fantastic to be a little bit less projective but a little bit up here, you know, you come back in the evening, and so I think you're right. I think for me is the balance, because now what I gotta like if, if my to do this is getting out of end, I can walk from home. I'm set up now. I've got my desk. I'm not working from my you know, I'l so far whatever I do, so I can really get stuff done. But at the same times, when I've got a little bit more time and kind of thought to be in the office, it's actually quite nice to be a little bit less productive but to be in the contact of people. But again, he's just me. So it's not, as you said, I think is the Aquiprim and each company will have to make decision of their own and and and advice on what they want to do. But rest in Chol that I think your solution is relatively pertinent, if not really pertinent, and in fact, you know, we're probably looking at using your solution because now that we got to taste of remote walking and we let it works for us, we are really likely to get people in different countries because, as you know, our business is really his language driven.

We need we need to have people want dust on the cult show and it's definitely a solution that we we see a lot of value in. So I wanted to thank you so much for your time, Jack. Unfortunately we get into the end of our session today. I think we probably could have got one photos of thirty YS. It's at least but, but, but, you know, all good things come to an end at some points, unfortunately, but I guess do. The question that I asked at that time of that point in the podcast is really around people who would want to get in touch with you. So there is to US pay, there is people who may want to discuss with you and and and get your knowledge and and maybe speak about paying point up there facing and some of that mess. You know what, I did not know that something like oyster existed. And yes, I'd love to get a few developers in let via and it's always been a problem, but I want to get one. So so, if we want to get intuch with you, Jack, what's the best way to get in touch with you? So to get in touch with me personally, I'm a jacket oyster hrcom and anyone who is interested in our services can reach out to me or feel free to visit Oyster hrcom and create a free account get started. We've made it quite easy to get going. I would say also anyone who we're very committed to supporting companies that are reaching for this ambition of being a distributed company, who are really inspired by these superpowers, and so I would welcome the chance to speak to anyone who is looking for help or guidance, either as a leader at a distributed company or someone in the in the people function, who wants to understand sort of how to make all of that work better. We're excited to share our own knowledge and insights as a as a growing, fully distributed company ourselves, and so I would I would extend that offer warmly to anyone in the audience that's wonder who. Well, thank you so much for your time inject to the each wasn't absolutely to have younger. Likewise, re operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in house has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be to be revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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