Global hiring. Lots of teams are going remote. Not as many (yet) are hiring around the globe. But it’s easier than ever now, and people are waking up to the fact that they can hire great people outside of their own country’s borders. Watch this trend over the next few years. This is what we built Panther for.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Matt Redler.

As the CEO of Panther, Matt Redler is working on building the economic infrastructure for the remote world. Through remote work, he believes that talent across the world — no matter where they are — can get access to great work opportunities. And that people can start living lives with more agency to be where they’re happiest. Prior to Panther, Redler founded Chefit, a personal chef startup.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

Before Panther, my biggest projects were two other startups: SZN Pass and Chefit. My experiences with both were completely different, but both shape the way I view work today. And, of course, neither of those startups exist today — here’s what happened:

SZN Pass: The idea with this startup was to create a Moviepass-like service for live events. You would pay a set fee and get access to a bunch of live events. Prior to building the product, I ran a survey. People loved the idea. But when it came time to pay, nobody wanted the product. It was a classic example of waiting too long (almost a year) to validate my product with customers. I learned there’s a big difference between customers’ words and their actions.

Chefit: This was a personal chef service. We had big hopes here and we’d assembled a brilliant global team to help build this product. But, COVID-19 hit, and (of course) in-home personal chef services weren’t top-of-mind for most people during a global pandemic.

So, we shuttered Chefit. Which meant we had a team of top-shelf global talent who were now all jobless. But when my co-founder and I tried to find jobs for our team at other startups, we found that many companies wouldn’t hire abroad due to legal and compliance challenges. That’s what led to Panther.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

The idea of a 40-hour work week, at a physical location, is a relic of the Industrial Age: A time when most people were working in manual labor and output could be reliably tied to hours worked. That’s no longer true, but most people still think that way. So here are three big differences I expect to see in the next 10 to 15 years:

  1. People will be paid for their output, not their time. Successful remote teams will not use tracking software to spy on their employees throughout the day. They’ll let them work how they work best and track success via output.
  2. Top-performing teams will be asynchronous. Many teams have gone remote, but not as many are embracing a truly asynchronous working model. But this will change as successful remote teams realize that async reduces stress and increases productivity.
  3. Hiring global talent will be mainstream. Right now, many remote companies are still only hiring within their own country’s borders. But the best talent lives across the globe — this will be the mainstream way to build a top-shelf team in the future.

Remote work is a new frontier in the way we live. It’s just as significant as any other working revolution in history. And remote work is, by far, the most positive working revolution we’ve ever seen. It’s a movement that gives people the agency to organize their lives how they’re happiest, not how their employer dictates.

So, expect to see a lot of things change. Not much will stay the same. One thing that will remain constant is the importance of good documentation. Writing down your company processes and values will become increasingly important as more companies go remote.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Most people would say “go remote.” But there’s another step that’s equally important: Go global. While going remote is mainstream and most successful companies will be making the shift (or already have), going global is just as important if you want to future-proof your organization.

It used to be very expensive and very difficult to hire someone abroad. Now you can do it in a couple of clicks.

But, as I’m writing this, we’re still living in a world where organizations shoot themselves in the foot by choosing to only hire in one city or one country. The truth is that great talent lives all around the world. If your competition isn’t already hiring them today, they will be tomorrow. The sooner you can build a diverse, global team, the better.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

You’ve probably heard about The Great Resignation: Tens of millions of people are quitting their jobs and getting pickier about who they’ll work for. For this reason, it’s really difficult for many employers to hire right now in the United States (and in many parts of the world).

And that’s because there’s a gap between what employees want and what employers are currently willing to provide. Right now, employees say they want things like remote work and flexible working hours. Lots of employers are pushing back against those demands.

If you’re an employer and you want to reconcile those gaps, don’t push back against remote work. Allow your employees the flexibility they want, and you’ll find it much easier to hire top talent.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

There are good and bad things about the world’s sudden “Work From Home” transition. The good is that many people, and businesses, realized they could get work done from anywhere. It was a wake-up call that we don’t actually need the office.

However, there’s a really bad side to this: Because most businesses weren’t prepared for a rapid shift to remote, the majority of pandemic-era WFH models were terrible. They tried to replicate the office experience while remote, filling employees’ days with lots of Zoom meetings, time tracking, and similar systems.

In a way, the pandemic has created a lot of myths about remote work — and perpetuated them within businesses that didn’t adopt the proper systems.

In the future, high-performing remote teams will organize their remote teams around location independence, hours flexibility, and asynchronous work. This is not how most companies approached WFH throughout much of the pandemic.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

There are so many topics we could talk about here. But a big one is that our current culture around work is mostly toxic. We value the wrong things: long hours, vanity metrics, endless meetings. The result is that people work for too long and don’t put the same amount of emphasis on living a fulfilling life.

As culture shifts to recognize that we don’t live to work, expect to see better outcomes and happier people.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

I’m optimistic that as top teams transition to remote work, the global playing field will begin to level. Instead of talent in New York and London having huge advantages over talent in, say, Uzbekistan, remote work means that every single person can get access to the same opportunities.

It’s an equitable solution that means great talent can get hired, no matter where they are. Companies no longer need to discriminate based on geography.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

Stressed, unhappy people get less work done. And the work they create is worse. That reason, along with the fact that employers should care about their team as human beings, is why it’s so important to make sure your teammates are mentally healthy while remote.

It comes down to having the right systems in place. Here are a few things we do at Panther:

  1. Set clear company expectations about work culture — and make sure they’re good. Overwork is a huge problem for remote workers. At Panther, we encourage teammates to delete any work-related apps from their phone. We discourage work on weekends, work on vacation, or work on holidays. We don’t praise, or silently glorify, this type of thing. We know it’s bad for people and we recommend against doing it.
  2. Let your team work when they’re most productive. Never count your employees’ time or implement tracking software on their computers to keep tabs on them. Don’t be the helicopter parent of employers: It’s not productive, employees hate it, and it’s not the way to run a good remote team.
  3. Make it normal to take days off for rest and mental health. When you write guidelines for vacation policy, make sure your team know that it’s normal to take a day off for rest or mental health.

We’ve also created a wellness channel in our company Slack to chat about wellness, share tips, and share research. A happy team is key for us at Panther.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

There are two points here:

  1. People want more agency over their own lives.
  2. Leaders need to adapt to #1.

People don’t want to work 40 hours a week in your office because they know they don’t have to. They know they could do that work when, and where, they’re happiest. And they also know that there are companies which will let them do so.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

Trend #1: Global hiring.

Lots of teams are going remote. Not as many (yet) are hiring around the globe. But it’s easier than ever now, and people are waking up to the fact that they can hire great people outside of their own country’s borders. Watch this trend over the next few years. This is what we built Panther for.

Trend #2: The rising popularity of non-traditional cities.

When people can live wherever they want, they often want to move. LinkedIn recently did a related study in the United States. For example, you can expect people to head to beautiful mountain towns, like Bend, Oregon, which don’t offer many traditional jobs but are remote work havens.

Trend #3: Asynchronous work.

Too many remote teams are still operating with meetings upon meetings upon meetings. This won’t be the winning model in the future. Asynchronous communication also makes it easier to work with people across time zones, which is important for global hiring.

Trend #4: Remote work company retreats.

It would be ignorant to pretend that people don’t, sometimes, benefit from in-person contact, especially to meet the people they work with on a daily, or weekly, basis. Expect many top remote teams to hold “working retreats” at beautiful places around the globe. If your company is big enough, you can let each team design their own retreat.

Trend #5: Remote work visas.

Getting residence in most countries is difficult. As remote work becomes mainstream, expect to see more countries create easy residence visas to attract remote workers. Programs like Croatia’s will become more popular. In fact, Spain is working on one as of this writing.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

“Life’s short, have fun”

We’ve only got so many spins around the sun before we’re gone so we should make the most of each one. Try something new. Say hi to a stranger. Get really good at a new hobby. Or start a new hobby just for the fun of it. Move to a new country. Or state. Or city. Eat ice cream once in a while. Just enjoy life: You’re a hell of a lot more than what you do at work.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

Ashton Kutcher. His work as an actor is great, but his recent move into tech has been absurd. I’d love to do lunch with him — he’s doing really cool stuff.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

I’m most active on Twitter @mattredler.

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.