By Barbara Jovanovic, the Head of Content at SafetyWing.
SafetyWing (YC W18) is here to remove the role of geographical borders as a barrier to equal opportunities and freedom for everyone, by creating a global social safety net for remote workers and nomads worldwide. It’s your home country on the internet.
We're grateful to SafetyWing for sharing their expertise. Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily held by Workplaceless itself.
SafetyWing has been a fully remote company from day one. We strongly believe that remote work is the future of work. We also believe that all problems are solvable. Once the pandemic hit, we wanted to make sure we were solving as many problems as possible for the remote community. We did that by offering resources and advice to other companies that were forced to suddenly go remote. The number of teams and leaders that managed to maintain a healthy company culture and motivate their teams during that difficult year was astounding.
Pandemic remote work did not offer the benefits and freedom of strategic remote work, and making the overnight switch from leading a team from an office to over Zoom was no small feat. Despite the rough introduction to working remotely, it seems that 82% of workers are still convinced that remote work truly is the future. In the same survey, 1 in 3 respondents said they would rather leave their job and find a new role if remote work was no longer offered as an option.
The pandemic only solidified and accelerated the upward growth curve of remote work. It also concretely pointed out the support systems that were lacking for remote teams, with globally accessible healthcare options at the forefront. As more companies switch to remote, we want to help make remote work available to everyone, no matter where you are in the world. The lack of traditional benefits, such as health insurance, is one of the biggest challenges for globally distributed companies to solve. SafetyWing is happy to report that as of last year, setting up an entire distributed team with a health insurance plan is less time consuming than onboarding them all on Slack or Notion.
Here are four reasons you should provide global healthcare for your remote team:
Bringing together a group of top-tier remote workers that understand your goals and values is a necessity. Most founders know that recruiting is one of the most difficult parts of building and scaling a company. Offering benefits will make you stand out and attract the best of the best from anywhere in the world. This is one of the main advantages of being a remote company: having the opportunity to find the best possible fit for the role you’re hiring for, without the constraints of a local talent pool.
It’s great that companies can hire globally, but this also means workers have more choices than ever before. Remote companies are starting to realize they’ll have to compete for the best talent by making sure they have a healthy company culture, offer as much freedom and flexibility as possible, and provide benefits just like any other traditional company would. Simply allowing your employees to work remotely is not cutting it anymore. Remote work has become a requirement, not a benefit.
There are several benefits you can offer to your team, and you should be as creative with this as you can. Some examples include:
But a shiny new laptop won’t distract workers from the fact that they don’t have health insurance.
In case you still aren’t convinced benefits for remote employees are necessary, reports show that health and dental insurance are some of the most important benefits that employees expect. With more options for finding talent comes an increased responsibility for remote companies of any size to provide benefits.
Remote Health is the first global health insurance for remote teams. Now you can onboard your entire team onto one plan that’s easily customizable and covers everyone, no matter where they are. A team member could be based in San Francisco, but spend the spring traveling in Mexico or Thailand while using the same insurance plan everywhere they go. That’s the borderless workforce SafetyWing is building for.
You can easily add or remove team members at any time on the dashboard, and have access to add-ons like dental, maternity, virtual doctor and more. It goes without saying that the plan includes Covid-19 treatment and unexpected quarantine coverage. For teams of 10+ people, all pre-existing conditions are covered, no questions asked. This makes the sign up process incredibly easy and fast.
Now that it is not only possible but easy for remote companies to take care of their teams, it’s expected they’ll do so in a similar manner as in-person companies traditionally have. Treating everyone on your team equally, no matter their geographical location, age or gender, is paramount in creating a healthy working environment.
Before Remote Health, team leaders and HR teams had to go through the administrative nightmare of finding a different insurance plan in each country where a team member was located. Not to mention that the employee will only be covered in their country of residence, which won’t be enough now that more workers are choosing to spend at least part of their time working elsewhere.
Another common solution is a monthly stipend each employee can spend on finding their own insurance plan wherever they are. But that only creates a further divide.
“Our theory was, if we provide X amount of dollars as a stipend, we're treating everybody equally. But we’re actually not, because that $700 doesn't go as far if they live in the US vs. somewhere cheap, and it doesn't go nearly as far for me if I'm not in my thirties. So in an attempt to find equality, what we had was a very unequal system.”
Apart from being a mission-driven company, showing that the founders and team leaders truly care about the mental and physical health of every single team member is incredibly important. When you find ways to make your company a genuinely great place to (virtually) work at, you will immediately see the effect this has on your team’s motivation, productivity and overall happiness.
Offering essential and additional benefits shows every new hire that you are actively investing in them in return for them investing their time and skills in your company. If you are giving your team the best you have to offer, they will do the same in their role. This will also help your recruitment and hiring process. If people are happy working in your company, they are more likely to recommend the new roles to their friends and personal network.
If you’re not sure what your team truly wants, just ask! You can use tools like officevibe to generate an anonymous survey and, instead of assuming which benefits or work lifestyle they want, simply offer options to choose from and give feedback on.
Companies like Spotify, Twitter, Quora and Slack are revolutionizing work not only by adopting remote work but by supporting location independence and hiring employees from anywhere in the world. This movement will create incredible opportunities for work, higher income, and a better lifestyle for a huge number of people.
This shift is not just allowing people to work out of office but is building a future of work that hinges on the happiness of employees, a healthier way of working, and the freedom for every remote worker to choose the lifestyle and team that resonate with their personal values.
The remote workforce is growing, and the talent you can find is incredible. Who wouldn’t enjoy working in the team with a developer that lives out of a sailboat in the Caribbean; a Head of Growth that’s obsessed with optimizing for the best remote lifestyle possible; and a Head of Engineering that is developing a video game in his spare time and recording everything he learns during the process.
When your team is happy and cared for, they will feel inspired, making every other aspect of growing a remote company easier. The remote community is getting bigger and more mature every day. Workers are exchanging knowledge and sharing advice resulting in new solutions and resources. In the Building Remotely podcast, the SafetyWing team continues gathering knowledge from remote founders and thought leaders to help you build and scale remotely.
If you're ready to provide global health insurance for your remote team, SafetyWing is ready to help. Sign up or book a demo to get started.