In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the brand new remote work report.

Working remotely is on the rise these days, and while being able to work from outside of a company’s office has been possible for a while, working remotely is only now becoming mainstream.

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the remote work report that was conducted by the FYI team, key lessons that were learned from creating the report, some interesting statistics about remote working and much more. 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:32 Why this topic was chosen.

01:38 Hiten dives into what the report is.

02:25 How to download the report.

03:46 One of the key lessons learned from creating the report.

03:19 Some interesting stats about remote working.

04:26 Some challenges of remote working.

05:22 How remote working helps you learn to deal with yourself.

06:55 Why discipline is super important when working remotely.

09:06 How a lack of discipline can be detrimental to remote workers and employees.

3 Key Points:

  • Everyone loves remote work.
  • 91% of remote workers said working remotely is a good fit for them.
  • We’ve not really figured out how to deal with ourselves.


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we’re going to talk about the brand new remote work report, brought to you by no other than the OG Hiten Shah, and FYI. You guys, I’ve been following this for a good amount of time Hiten. You’ve been tweeting like a madman asking the interwebs for the cutest dog pictures when they work remotely, their work setup, all kinds of things. Really almost daily there’s been some compelling question that you have had for the workers of companies that work remotely, for the remote work community. I’ve been really impressed with the level of engagement, the level of feedback answers. There’s a lot of stuff going on. I’m sure that you’ve published polls, and surveys, and all kinds of stuff. All of this knowledge has now accumulated into one pretty badass report. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the report, and then we’ll highlight a few tidbits for people. What can people learn about remote work in 2019, and where can they get the report to learn even more.


Hiten Shah: Yeah. Yes, I did that, and FYI I did that, meaning all those tweets. It was so much fun. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun creating content in my life because we asked about people’s remote work setups. A lot of people shared their photos of their setups. We asked people about cute pet photos, so we got a hundred plus cute pet photos to put into our report. We also did a survey, and it ended up being about almost 500 people that filled it out. We learned a lot about remote work. We also partnered with a company called Miro, They do a collaborative whiteboard. That was fun. Before I continue, you can get the report. There’s a Bitly link. It’s That easy, and you can check it out. It’s over 30,000 pixels in terms of heighth, so it’s really long. One of the most fantastic things Steli, was that we actually got over 150 tips about remote work, so it’s like a whole directory of tips from people who work remotely. They’re in 13 different categories. One of the key things we learned is that, and this ended up being the title of the report, which is that everyone loves remote work.


Steli Efti: Everyone loves remote work.


Hiten Shah: Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. I mean that’s like the big thing, and obviously there’s challenges to it. It was interesting to learn that everyone loves remote work, yet there are challenges to it. It’s interesting. Right? What we learned, and I’ll get some stats, but basically it’s like 91% of remote workers said working remotely is a good fit for them. Ninety-five percent of remote workers would recommend working remotely to a friend. They said because they get to be close to their families, near their pets, they get to pick up their kids, and many other reasons that are very personal like that. It’s crazy. It’s like this remote work thing, also, even the name “remote work” is kind of weird. I think there’s distributed work, right, that people are doing. Some demographics from our survey are that basically 60% of the people we surveyed said they work remotely 100% of the time, and 70%, this was surprising to me, 70% of remote workers have worked remotely for three or more years.


Steli Efti: Wow.


Hiten Shah: So it’s not a new thing. We’re just paying attention to it now, and it’s got a lot more attention judging by even our tweets and the popularity of some of them. People love doing it. The big one here in my mind that’s worth talking about is that there’s some actual challenges. We learned about what those challenges are, and I’m going to rattle them off. But basically it’s communication, socializing, loneliness and boundaries. Other reports have mentioned these challenges as well. We go into them and explain what we heard and a bunch of quotes from people about them. We have this style of asking a lot of open-ended questions, not just multiple choice, so we get a lot of rich information about what people are actually saying. For all the promise of it, and the fact that people love it, the number one thing here is that we have not really figured out how to deal with ourselves. That’s my conclusion. We haven’t figured out how to deal with ourselves. It’s almost like remote work forces you to know yourself better because you go to an office, you have a lot of structure. Right?


Steli Efti: Yup.


Hiten Shah: When to get there. What meetings to have. When to eat. What to eat a lot of the time. You have ability to go to coffee with coworkers. You have the ability to have lunch with coworkers, or even dinner sometime. You have almost this whole social construct that gets built out for you. Well, if you’re working remotely, there’s probably nobody else in your area that works at the same company, and you don’t get to hang out with them. There is no casual things going on the way you do in an office. Then ultimately, basically if you’re new to it, you step back, and you’re like, “Oh. I have to figure out my own structure, and I’ve never really had to do that before,” because even in school you never had to do that. Right?


Steli Efti: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. This is something that took us a while to understand. To date, it kind of reconfirms our beliefs about remote work. But remember in the beginning when we would interview people that wanted to work for Close, which is a fully distributed team, a lot of times when I asked people why they’re interested in remote work, they would tell me, “Oh. I love the idea of freedom. The freedom to travel, the freedom to move, the freedom to work whenever and wherever I want.” To me, at the very beginning it was like, “Yeah, freedom. That sounds like a good reason to want this.” Today when somebody says “freedom”, I go, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. Let’s talk about discipline. How much of an adult,” right? I’m like, “How much of an adult are you? What is your house or apartment looking like? What are your habits? What are your structures? When was the last time you wanted to change something about your life, and how did you do it, and how did you accomplish it?” Because what we realized is that discipline really equals freedom, to steal Jocko Willink’s quote, and that to do remote my conclusion is that to be successful while working remotely in a company you have to have a high level of self-discipline. The discipline to design your work life yourself in a way that is successful, which is the tough thing. Just like you said, like offices for all their downsides, the upside is that it’s a work environment that is designed for you. All you have to do is show up there. Right? Everything is reminding you of work. You know where to go, where to sit, what machine to use, you know when the breaks are, you know who your coworkers … A lot of things just happen because somebody else, the company, has rented an office, furnished it, and created a work culture within that office that you just have to just walk into. Versus when you work remotely, nobody’s doing any of this for you. You have to do this for you. That takes work, and that takes discipline. It’s not just like, “Oh, I could do anything I want.” Anything you want, if you like discipline, is a recipe for disaster, and an ocean to drown in, right, because you have so many options. When you want to work. If you’re going to wear your pajamas, or work from your bed, or on the floor, or at a desk, or in a coffee shop. Many, many options are only good if you have the discipline to make good choices, right, and to follow through on those choices. I think that that’s still a really big challenge for a lot of people.


Hiten Shah: Yeah. I love how you think about it. I love the idea of discipline, and reframing it when you interview people to be about discipline, because what I learned is that people do want their freedom. They really highly value the freedom of remote work. But if they don’t have the discipline, they’re screwed. You’re screwed too as a person who’s hiring remote workers, because what ends up happening is you have a whole bunch of people who are basically they’re going to have emotional problems doing remote work if they don’t figure out their own stuff. This isn’t about company retreats, and things like that. I know you folks love to do them, and we don’t actually. That’s probably a whole nother conversation, but if you don’t have discipline, you cannot do remote work successfully is what it really boils down to.


Steli Efti: Yes. All right. There’s a ton more tips, insights, numbers, trends. If you work remotely, or if you’re interested in remote work, Hiten, hit them up again with the Bitly link where they can get it and download it.


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean it’s really ridiculous. We put a lot of effort into it, and it is a very informative report, especially with all the tips. You go to, B-I-T.L-Y/remotework. Sorry. That’s wrong. It’s It’s R-E-M-O-T-E-R-E-P-O-R-T. It’s You’ll be able to check out the whole report. You’ll click in, and you’ll be able to get to the tip section. There’s tons of tips to browse through. Again, had a lot of fun writing it up, and learned a lot. In fact, my co-founder, Marie, was taking point on a lot of content, and reading the tips has actually made her even more conscious about certain habits and certain things that she wanted to change about her own remote work, and how she’s doing remote work. It was pretty awesome to see that as well because change is hard but if we can influence people to have better remote work habits and learn from this, that’s what we want. [crosstalk].


Steli Efti: That’s amazing. Amazing. Highly recommend you go and get that report, and download that today, right now. Quick inside baseball. Some of these answers definitely also Close teammates that have responded to your tweet. I know that we had a few times somebody on the team sharing a Twitter link, and I know that a bunch of people definitely uploaded their dog pictures, and their office setup to you that are Close team members.


Hiten Shah: Awesome.


Steli Efti: So you might see a pic from one of us, and the stats include the Close family. Make sure to get the report. This is it for us for this episode. We’ll see you very soon.


Hiten Shah: See you.