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Why Remote Companies Have a Competitive Advantage with Tony Jamous, Oyster

Remote work isn’t a new or novel idea. 

While some organizations prefer employees to be back in the office, others understand that remote work is a competitive advantage, enabling them to attract a wider talent pool and highly skilled global workforce. 

Tony Jamous, CEO and Founder of Oyster, joined the LEARN podcast to share his insights on building a global workforce, sustainable leadership, and how businesses can support employee well-being. 

Embracing remote work as the future vs. a passing trend

With a staggering number of jobs going unfilled and a massive influx of knowledge workers from emerging economies, embracing a global talent pool is essential. Remote work isn’t a passing fad; it’s the present and future for many organizations. According to Forbes, 12.7 percent of full-time employees work from home, and 32.6 million Americans will work remotely by 2025. 

“I believe 100 percent that the future of work is remote and distributed,” Tony says. “First, there are macroeconomical forces that we cannot fight. There are 85 million jobs going unfulfilled in the West; that’s an 8.5 trillion economic loss, around 10 percent of the world economy.

“At the same time, over a billion knowledge workers are coming into the workforce in the next 10 years, mostly from emerging economies. And today, with learning and development tools, we know this learning can happen anywhere. You don’t have to be in a certain place to learn, grow, collaborate, and communicate.”

Remote work breaks down barriers, offering companies access to diverse skills and individuals the freedom to contribute from anywhere. It’s also what employees want. Based on a survey of 9,000 workers in six countries, 72 percent of participants prefer a hybrid remote-office model.

Read more: 4 Tips to Build a Global Remote Team with Shuo Wang, Deel

Prioritizing mental health in the workplace

Burnout at a previous job led to Tony’s “aha” moment, that taking care of oneself is crucial. It’s not merely about the bottom line; it’s about fostering a work environment where leaders are actively engaged in the team’s well-being

Despite its many benefits, remote work can lead to isolation and burnout—making it even more imperative for organizations to invest in employee well-being and mental health. 

“What I realized myself is working remotely for the last four years now led me to accelerate my emotional growth because I had to deal with this emotion on my own, and that enabled me to take a step back and reflect on why I’m having these feelings and help me to accelerate my emotional growth,” Tony says.

“I don’t think there’s a limit to that. It depends on each company and how much you care about how people feel working in this organization. And I believe organizations should do everything they can to make sure people feel great being here.”

Tony shares that Oyster has a culture that supports team members’ mental health, with resources like a mental health channel, therapist options, and weekly meditation classes.  

Read more: How to Prioritize Mental Health in the Workplace

Sustainable leadership and leading by example

Promoting a culture of mental health and well-being starts from the top down. Tony shares how he leads by example and his philosophy on sustainable leadership.

“Sustainable leadership is an approach to leadership that, first and foremost, you lead yourself,” Tony says. “You take care of yourself as a leader, you are in good physical and mental health, you’re in a good state in your life, and then from there, you can take care of others, you can take care of your team, you can take care of your business, and then you can take care of the planet.

“We have designed the culture at Oyster to be flexible and fully distributed. We are a hyper-diverse organization from 80 countries. We have 600 people from 80 countries, all coming together to build this amazing, mission-driven business.”

And this idea of sustainability and taking care of the planet integrates with Oyster’s remote-first organization. 

“Just think about the environmental impact of commuting to the office,” Tony says. “Remote workers consume half of the CO2 emission of people commuting to the office. So if you want to be a sustainable business, you need to think seriously about creating more flexible options and creating work that works for people but doesn’t hurt the planet.”

Remote work reshapes our work and forces organizations and leaders to evolve to embrace the advantages and solve the challenges. It’s not just about the bottom line but fostering a work environment where leaders actively support their team members. 

Listen to the full episode for more insights from Tony, and subscribe to the LEARN podcast on Apple, Spotify, or YouTube to learn more from top leaders in tech. 


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Maile Timon

Maile Timon is a Copywriter and Content Strategist with 10+ years of experience writing for B2B and B2C brands. She creates thought leadership and SEO-optimized content and short- and long-form copy for websites, landing pages, email campaigns, and more. Follow Maile on LinkedIn.

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