Remote Only work promotes:
- Hiring and working from all over the world instead of from a central location.
- Flexible working hours over set working hours.
- Writing down and recording knowledge over oral explanations.
- Written down processes over on-the-job training.
- Public sharing of information over need-to-know access.
- Opening every document to change by anyone over top down control of documents.
- Asynchronous communication over synchronous communication.
- The results of work over the hours put in.
- Formal communication channels over informal communication channels.
While there is sometimes value in the items on the right, we have come to value the items on the left more.
- People don't have to say when they are working.
- Working long hours or weekends is not encouraged nor celebrated.
- Use screenshots in an issue tracker instead of a whiteboard, ensuring that everyone at any time can follow the thought process.
- Encourage non-work related communication (talking about private life on a team call).
- Encourage group video calls for bonding.
- Encourage video calls between people (10 as part of onboarding).
- Periodic summits with the whole company to get to know each other in an informal setting.
- Encourage teamwork and saying thanks.
- Assign new hires a buddy so they have someone to reach out to.
- Allow everyone in the company to view and edit every document.
- Every document is always in draft, don't wait with sharing it until it is done.
- Encourage people to write information down.
What it is not
- There is no main office or headquarters with multiple people "The only way to not have people in a satellite office is not to have a main office."
- It does not mean working independently; teams should work together and communicate often and collaborate frequently.
- It is not simply offshoring work; rather, you hire around the world.
- It is not a management paradigm, it is still a normal hierarchical organization, however there is a focus on output instead of input.
- It is not a substitute for human interaction; people still need to collaborate, have conversations, and feel like valuable members of a team.
How it changes the organization
- Knowledge is written down instead of passed orally
- More asynchronous communication
- Shorter and fewer meetings
- More transparency within and outside the organization
- Everything is public by default
- More official communication, less informal
- More recorded materials means fewer interruptions and less on-the-job training
Advantages for employees
- More flexibility in your daily life (kids, parents, friends, groceries, sports, deliveries)
- No commuting time or stress
- No money and time wasted on commuting (subway/bus fees, gas, car maintenance, tolls, etc)
- Reduce the interruption stress
- Traveling to other places without taking vacation (family, fun, etc.)
- Free to relocate to other places
- Some folks find it easier to communicate with rude colleagues remotely
- Onboarding may be less stressful
- Home food: better (sometimes) and cheaper
- Cheaper taxes in some countries (for example in Belarus you will pay only ~5%)
- Pants not required
- Access to global jobs market - everywhere!
Advantages for organizations
- Hire great people irrespective of where they live
- More effective employees since they have fewer distractions
- More loyal employees
- Save on office costs
- Save on compensation due to hiring in lower cost regions
- Selects for self-starters
- Makes it easy to grow a company quickly
- Encourages a focus on results, fewer meetings, more output
- Cheaper taxes in some countries
Advantages for the world
- Reduce environmental impact due to no commuting
- Reduce environmental impact due to less office space
- Reduce inequality due to bringing better paying jobs to lower cost regions
- Scares investors
- Scares some partners
- Scares some customers
- Scares some potential employees, mostly senior non-technical hires
- Onboarding may be harder, first month feels lonely (for some people)
- Some people find it more difficult to work from in the same place where they sleep and watch films - dedicated workplace helps to switch the context
- Some people find that remote working degrades communication skills
- The need to prepare food
- You may be paid in a currency different to the local one, which carries risk & obstacles; e.g. in the UK it's harder to get a mortgage
Why is this possible now
- Fast internet everywhere - 100Mb/s+ cable, 5GHz Wifi, 4G cellular
- Video call software - Google Hangouts, Zoom
- Virtual office - sococo.com
- Mobile - Everyone has a computer in their pocket
- Messaging apps - Slack, Mattermost, Zulip
- Issue trackers - Trello, GitHub issues, GitLab issues
- Suggestions - GitHub Pull Requests, GitLab Merge Requests
- Static websites - GitHub Pages, GitLab Pages
- English proficiency - More people are learning English
- Increasing traffic congestion in cities
At large tech companies people on the same campus now routinely do video calls instead of traveling 10 minutes each way to a different building.
More ways to enable remote-only work are continuously being developed. One example is the evolution of speech-to-text conversion software, which is more accurate and faster than typing, thus making written communication easier and more effective. Reading was already faster than listening, but now the process of committing speech to text + reading by recipient can be the faster way to communicate even in a 1:1 communication. For one-to-many communication, typing + reading is already faster.
Remote only companies
In no particular order:
- InVision, see their posts about its remote-only motivations, building company culture, and what remote work feels like.
- Buffer, see their posts about going remote-only, the benefits, and how they make it work.
- Automattic, company behind WordPress.com and The year without pants fame
- Axelerant is a fully-distributed, global agency–with strong beliefs on remote accountability, the realities of digital nomadism, and flexible career choices.
- GitLab, this website is hosted by GitLab, everyone is welcome to contribute to this page, also see our handbook for remote working practices.
- Zapier, wrote a book on remote work, is 100% remote.
- Close.io, see their jobs page and blog post about remote culture.
- Groove, see their blog on being a remote team.
- Anybox, see their feedback (in french) Télétravail généralisé, notre retour d'expérience.
- Screenly, this is how they work.
- Soshace, see their jobs page.
- Innolitics, see their handbook which describes how they work remotely.
- HiringThing, see their post about what it is like to work remote-only.
- Scrapinghub, who turns websites into data. See their about us page, open positions, and blog.
- Toptal, see their Benefits: "Fully Remote, No offices, no useless meetings, no mandatory hours. You’re recognized for what you do, not your time in a chair" at careers page, also see FAQ: "Where do Toptal experts work?".
- Sonatype, blog article on remote work at Sonatype.
- Podia, a remote-only company, see their founder's Tweetstorm
- Knack, a remote-only company, see why they work remotely.
- Doist, makers of Todist and Twist. Here's how they make remote work happen.
- Discourse, see Coding Horror's "We hire the best, just like everyone else"
- Aha!, see their blog about remote work.
- Articulate, see their website company page for how they work.
- Infinity Interactive, see their benefits page for their embrace of remote working.
- Altcoin Fantasy, see their tips on hiring and retaining performant remote workers for an early startup.
- Nozbe, see what they do, how they work and what are Nozbe’s values.
- DuckDuckGo, see their "Work Whenever, Wherever" Careers page, also see Making Remote Work: Ask DuckDuckGo About Being A Digital Nomad Q&A.
- FormAssembly, see their jobs page. Also see their blog post: "[Infographic] Benefits of Working Remotely".
- Gruntwork: see How they built a distributed, self-funded, family-friendly, profitable startup.
- Idea To Startup, see their join page: "2. Work From Anyplace. It doesn't matter whether you live" …. "You can work from anyplace".
- SoftwareMill, see their pros&cons of remote work post & others
- Pangian "Top talent working remotely. Worldwide", see their about page "The fastest-growing remote talent network. Worldwide".
- Winding Tree, Decentralized Travel Ecosystem built by decentralized team.
- RocketPunch, blog article about their autonomy culture (Korean)
- Mobile Jazz, a spec-to-ship web and app product development agency. See their post on Going Fully Remote: Six Month's On.
- Bugfender, a mobile app remote logging and crash reporting tool for developers. See their post on Exercises for Developers and Remote Workers.
- Zipline, an enterprise retail SaaS company that delivers wonderful communications software to some of the world's largest retailers. Remote from the start, profitable, and growing.
Remote first companies
- Basecamp, authors of Remote
- Harvest, see their collection of stories on Working without borders
- Nota, builders of a modern idea hub & instant screenshot sharing app perfect for remote work.
- Niteo, a decade old Python boutique with a public Handbook
- ElevenYellow, type
job openings on their console to join this team of digital nomads.
- PowerInbox, an ad tech company with a fully-remote engineering team. Check out their jobs page.
- wemake.services, software development company using
- Igalia, worker-owned cooperative providing software development consulting services
- Ad Hoc, see their post "The truth about remote work" and their jobs page.
- Brightbox, remote for 11 years, see interview with Basecamp for the "Remote" book.
Organizations promoting remote work
Other remote company aggregation sites
Job boards aimed at remote workers
See a collection with reviews of 25 sites, some of which are listed below:
- We Work Remotely
- Remote OK
- Working Nomads
- Remote jobs on Angellist
- Remotive - in particular, The List of Awesome
- Who Is Hiring?
- Remote For Me
- Remote jobs on RocketPunch (Korean)
- After Growing to 50 People, We’re Ditching the Office Completely
- Remote working tips by Groove
- Remote manifesto by GitLab
- Being tired isn’t a badge of honor
- The Day They Invented Offices
- Introverts at Work: Designing Spaces for People Who Hate Open-Plan Offices
- That remote work think piece has some glaring omissions (a rant)
- Guidelines for Effective Collaboration
- The Ultimate Guide to Remote Standups
- How Do You Manage Global Virtual Teams?
- Getting Virtual Teams Right
- This office closed its office and remote only
- GitLab & Buffer CEOs Talk Transparency at Scale
- GitLab’s Secret to Managing 160 Employees in 160 Locations - Interview by Y Combinator
- GitLab's Remote Only Presentation
- Tweetstorm about the impact by Amir Salihefendic
- Martin Fowler on remote vs. co-located
It is important to understand that the whole idea of Remote Organizations is still
quite new, and it is best developed through your active participation. You can
participate in many different ways:
- You can propose or suggest any change to this website by creating a merge request
- Create an issue, if you have any question, or if you see some inconsistency
- Help to spread information about Remote Only organizations by sharing it on social networks