Generally IT entrepreneurs think that it is a requirement to have a centralized headquarters building. Large, lofty spaces with pool tables, bean bags, and modern art on the walls.
I think this thinking is old and past its time in the IT industry. I don’t like old ideas. If your company is centering around information technology you have an Internet connection. The distributed nature of an TCP/IP network lends itself well to a distributed work force.
So why do companies still insist on the overhead of a centralized workforce? It could be that they expect their customers to want to see them in an impressive facility. This is superficial. Since when does putting up a façade of what a business should have or look like make any difference on how a product performs? It doesn’t. Perhaps it’s a way to control the company employees; ensuring that they’re working. I think this too is false as employees who are excited about what they do will want to work hard no matter where they are. Even so, there are tools and policies that can be implemented to make sure work is completed.
I look at Automattic as an example of how a distributed company should perform. Automattic has remote workers all over the world and uses a diverse set of tools to collaborate between them. Because the employees are all over the world, productivity is pretty much 24/7. Try and get that out of a centralized office space in a single time zone! They’re a growing company and are simply doing remote right.
If there’s one thing that I can confirm as someone who has teleworked in the past, remote working offers flexibility, reduced stress, and increased savings in commuter-related costs. My future businesses will be following Automattic in offering a remote team work experience.