Sitting down with Jo Palmer of Pointer Remote

Takeaways from Jo Palmer's episode, Distributed Discussions.

Sitting down with Jo Palmer of Pointer Remote

1. The importance of clear systems in the early days of remote work

As Jo was first starting out in running her remote business she looked to make repeatable processes her team could easily learn and follow—and due to their locations, sometimes up to a three-hour drive for Jo, those systems needed to be in the cloud.

Jo shares her experience:

“It was very apparent that we needed everything to be cloud-based. Like I said, this is eight years ago. I know that that doesn’t actually seem that long ago, but also seems a lot of time ago for someone that had never run a business. I was a classroom teacher. I’d never been in an office environment. I’ve never been in a corporate environment. I’d never done any of these. I’d never been even in management or leadership positions at school. It was definitely lots of learning from all aspects of it.

Being organized and being able to give my team access to what they needed especially because I was working in the business as well.”

Years later, in her work with Pointer Remote, the need for clear systems can be a ‘make it or break it’ experience for employees.

“ …businesses would come to us very much as a last resort. They’re like, we’ve tried everything. They’d throw their hands in the air. Okay, let’s try this remote work thing because someone told us about you. Then, we’d be able to give them amazing candidates straight away. They’d hire them within a week. It was amazing. They’re like, this is great, but then in six months time, that person with a place in that business would ring and be like, this is diabolical. There are no systems and processes in place. There is nothing that includes me. I get left out of meetings. I haven’t met any of them in the flesh.

All of these things that a lot of businesses across the situation found themselves feeling as well because they didn’t have the systems and processes.”

2. How the mixture of COVID-19 and increased remote work is impacting rural communities

“People were just like, hang on, after lock-down, I would just be like, I don’t need to do this. This is ridiculous. I don’t need to pay this mortgage. I don’t need to miss out on everything family life wise. I don’t need to be feeling exhausted on the weekend because I’ve literally commuted for 10 or 12 hours this week on top of my 40 hours of work. Let’s go west.” explained Jo.

And while they are moving, they are not necessarily going to the places that would most benefit. In trying to avoid new clumps of mini-cities, smaller communities have done well in promoting themselves to new residents via solutions such as:

  • Proximity to the coast
  • Building a simple co-working space for people to gather
  • Having childcare centers
  • Cultivating an inclusive community in the towns via events and community groups.

3. The economic impact of one remote family can be huge in rural communities

Let’s use an example Jo shared of 4-5 families moving into a new town. She says,

“That doesn’t sound like much but if you come and plunk in a town of 6,000 people, if you come and put 5 of those, even if only 1 of the couple were working in an $80,000 job—the average salary in Australia is about $83,000—if 5 people bring $83,000 a year into a town of 6000 people, financially, that is game-changer. They all bring 2 kids each, that’s 10 kids more that are going into a school, that are in the soccer team. They then go and shop at the supermarket. That real economic and cultural benefits that it has for that smaller community is just really incredible.

Whereas what this remote work revolution has done is given people the chance to say, okay, will you go to your physical brick-and-mortar office job, medical job, or whatever? The trailing spouse is like, hang on, this town has got co-working space. They’ve got a business chain that’s really involved. Oh, they’ve got a woman in the business group. They’re doing things. There are things here for me. I can work remotely but not feel isolated and can feel part of the town.”

4. The surprising benefit Jo recommends HR teams offer

Sponsoring community or sporting groups: “That’s two-birds-with-one-stone, the individual employee has the ability and some cash to contribute or participate in things. But again, like a branding opportunity for a business, how fabulous?” exclaims Jo.

5. Why HR and recruiting teams should hire in Australia

“I think a lot of the time we do get overlooked because of the minimum wages and salary expectations in Australia are very high. We have a lot of tax here, but people are generally paid well here. That is something to keep in mind. But again, there’s an element of you-get-what-you-pay-for as well so that’s good. I think our time zone is something that can be leveraged really well. I think especially in those of customer support roles and things if you’re wanting your organization to have 24-hour chat or support, all those sort of things, really being able to leverage our time zone. English as a first language is another big thing that you can leverage here.”

If you want to hear more make sure to listen to the entire episode here and make sure to tune in to the next episode of Distributed Discussions featuring Tilly Firth of Impala.

You can also subscribe to the Podcast here and make sure you never miss an episode!

About Oyster

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