Which companies are setting a strong example of remote work and distributed teams?
Welcome, everyone! This is a must-read post by Thor Schroeder for remote workers and soon to be remote companies. The list of companies was hand-picked by us and all of the companies that made the list have a strong remote work culture and create a ton of influence in the space.
Keep reading to find out which companies made the list… 👇
Teams in Tech Doing Remote Work The Right Way
Remote work is not the future, it is the now. Companies all around the world and in all different types of industries are going remote to some extent. Remote seems to be this new sexy thing, but it is so common that it Fifty Percent of U.S. Workforce will soon be remote
I want to talk to you about some of the companies that are doing it right. Some of these tech companies have been remote since 2011. Sure, that is not that long, but the impact they are making in companies of all types and sizes is amazing! They are accelerating the movement leaps and bounds.
First, the OG.....👇
GitLab has been around since 2011 with a small footprint, then grew immensely after its time at Y Combinator. It is the largest all remote company, with members located in more than 65 countries. They make a tool that handles the entire dev-ops lifecycle in one application. I am not going to get into their business model or use cases, but if you want to know more about that, go here. What I do want to talk about is how and why they are so successful at being remote. They have an industry-leading manifesto. This is the pulse of how they run as a remote business.
These are the bylines:
Work from anywhere you want
Recognize that the future is unknown
Have face-to-face meetings online
Daily stand-up meetings are for bonding, blockers and the future
Bond in real life
Give credit where it's due and remember to say thank you
They go into these in more detail, with best practices and solutions. The point to be made here is that they have a guide, a structure, that works and works at scale. Other companies have followed suit, either by carbon copying their process or modifying it for their businesses needs. So if you are not sure where to start, but think your company could revel in remote, check out their guide.
GitLab’s logo is a Tanooki, not Mario in a Tanooki suit.
Aula is a social learning platform for universities. Their platform is truly forward-thinking, so check out their product page if you haven't heard about them. Aula is newer to being 100% remote, since April of 2019, but they are making huge strides and doing it right. First off, they followed GitLab's methods very closely. This has allowed them to make a true structure and set values that everyone was able to follow easily.
Aula believes that the constraint of remote allows them to focus on the things that truly matter.
In the same way, remote work forces us to rethink work in a way that we think many standard office-based workplace could benefit from.
Aula also has an environment based around transparency, keeping most of its documentation public through their Wiki, The Aula Brain. This means they also publicly share their ideologies around remote.
The points that stand out most for me are their "advantages":
Flexibility and autonomy. Pick up your kids when you want to. Sleep in. Walk your dog at lunch time.
Live where you want to.
Flow. Fewer interruptions.
These are all foundational reasons that most remote advocates should align with. If you think you would like remote and these ring bells in your mind, you should follow Aula closely. They are making waves, and fast!
Most people that do any form of social media management, for themselves or a brand/company, have heard of Buffer. They are one of the best places to manage your social presence. By scheduling, planning and collaborating on their platform, you can easily manage all social accounts. Buffer is an undoubtedly fantastic tool, but they are also a huge proponent of remote work. They have been remote since 2012, with a team of almost 80 people.
Buffer provides a ton of resources around remote work:
Not only do they provide these smaller, regular articles that cover their process, tips, tricks and links to current jobs, but they also do a yearly State of Remote Work. They partner with AngelList to bring the "Top insights and data from one of the largest remote work reports". This report is full of information, in a digestible format. It is great to share it with your team, remote or not. It just might be the tipping point for your CEO to go remote. In my case, it just makes them resent me a little more. I like to poke the bear....
ConvertKit is somewhat small, so you may not have heard of them. They have a great mission: to help creators make a living through email marketing. But they are doing way more than that, they are helping push the envelope on remote work. The company was founded with remote work in mind. Currently, 48 employees in 38 cities and growing. They don't have an office because they don't need one. They empower their employees to do great work and don't micromanage them. They have a small team so they can "focus on what matters", by investing in their team, product, customer and community.
We believe a small team gives us the opportunity to focus on what matters most, including pushing our team to do the best work of their lives, staying profitable to be able to reinvest in our product and customers, and giving back to the communities where we live, work and play.
Beyond being a remote company, they value such purposeful things that the bigger companies forget to. See their mission, vision and values here.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Work in public – We publicly share everything from our soaring successes to our epic failures and everything in between because it helps us learn (share those learnings with you). Besides, if you aren't willing to sign your name to your work and put it into the world, you'll never truly reach your potential.
Do less, better – We focus on what matters most from the product to our marketing to the customers we seek out. We know that when we do a smaller number of things with excellence, everyone wins.
F*ing A Players – We only hire, work with, and develop A-players. When you join the ConvertKit team, you'll know that we'll invest in you as heavily as humanly possible to help you grow and develop as a human and professional. And when you become a customer, you'll know that you're working with the absolute best.
Check out their career page if you want to be part of a team with those values. Not only is the company amazing, but the employees are also. I follow a few on social and they are fantastic. They are true creators through and through. Some have their own YouTube channels and share some truly valuable content, including the CEO Nathan Barry. Here is their full roster.
Basecamp is another OG remote company, though not 100% remote. Basecamp has undergone a few rebrands and product refreshes over the years, but remote has always been part of their culture. They have an office in Chicago, but only a few of their employees actually work out of it. The rest are scattered around the world, 50 people strong in around 32 different cities. They are not only remote advocates but they "wrote the book on remote working", no seriously, check it out!
Many of us love working remotely – we literally wrote the book on remote working!
They are basically the pioneer of asynchronous working. Using their own product, Basecamp, to run all internal and external communication. This allows their employees to get work done and not be at the beck and call of peoples "asks" throughout the day.
Basecamp is an industry leader overall, always willing to do what is best for people. They do this through a no BS approach that some love or hate, I obviously love it!
This statement here, from their about page basically sums up one of the biggest reasons why employees and employers should be thinking remote-first:
As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. REMOTE shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from any desk, in any place, anytime, anywhere.
Love them or hate them, they are right.
I truly believe that these 5 companies are essential to the remote work wave of the past and future. They are all doing something different, something right. They know what they believe in and are willing to go against the grain. These companies are not doing it to look cool and trendy, but to actually make a difference. If you are seeking the same, check them out further. If you don't end up working for them, you'll end up learning something.
Know of any friends or co-workers who would love to check out this Q&A? Forward them this email or they can sign up here.