Industrial Nomads: The Companies Where You Can Work Without an Office
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: remote working is going to be big. Really big. One in two Australians big. Cause-a-generational-rift-if-not-properly-managed-by-every-business-operating-in-2017 big. Too far? Ok. But it is worth talking about.
In a survey from McCrindle, some 80% of Australians said they would be more loyal to their employer if they offered remote working options, while 55% of us said we’d be more productive. At present, only 54% of us work in one central office, and 20% of us work across over three locations regularly. Deloitte Australia even said that mobile working was increasing our economy by $43 billion.
In line with the government’s goal to have 12% of Australians on some form of remote working by 2020, we could cut $108.7 million in travelling costs weekly. And without the roughly 4.4 hours we spend a week commuting, it would be good for the environment too. But enough numbers. If you decided you wanted to find an office that embraced remote working wholeheartedly (or just show your boss how it could work), these might be a good place to start.
Would you believe that 25% of global web traffic is powered by a company without an office? Automattic owns Wordpress and its associated add-ons, where some 400 people in over 43 countries work from home or co-working spaces to deliver billions of pieces of content every day. This blog is built on Wordpress – would we trust them if we didn’t believe in it? (we wouldn’t).
When Buffer hit a milestone 50 employees in late 2015, they did what most companies wouldn’t and ditched their office completely. The reasoning? You can have a whole team in one office or completely distributed, but not both.
At Buffer, you can work wherever you’re happiest. If that means at a paid desk in a co-working space – that’s included as a perk. If you want to sit in a coffee shop all day – that’s cool too. But it’s backed by a robust set of principles that ensure everyone is communicating, is aware of each other’s responsibilities, and works together to achieve the best solution in the fastest way possible.
Project management software company Trello baked remote working methods into their company from the ground up, where (these days) around 50% of their employees work beyond their HQ. In tandem with some guiding principles to ensure remote workers are hitting targets, they’ve also come up with some gorgeous solutions to overcome the cultural barriers that come with a remote team. For example, their program 'Mr. Rodgers' connects two random employees to talk for 15 minutes; employees have been known to get to know each other, come up with some new ideas, even write a song or create a piece of art collaborative. They also have a company-wide 'Remote Week' where every employee converges on HQ for a week to get to know one another.
Let's be clear – (development platform) Github has an incredible office in San Francisco – but if you're not around, that’s fine too. Around 65% of their 300 employees work remotely, backed by a company-wide policy that people should work where they’re happiest. They place emphasis on the hiring capabilities of an office-less office, where restricting your talent pool to your city limits the talent options available to you. They’ve ridden themselves of the negative aspects of an office (commute time, family time, distractions), but when you want the culture side of things, come and hang out in the office. They have a DJ!
Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier literally wrote the book (or rather, a book) on remote working (it’s called Remote, fittingly). They practice what they preach with 50 employees spread across 32 cities in the states. The best part? Most remote companies use their Project Management/Team Communication product to enforce their own remote working principles.
Not so scary now huh?