The Perks of Going Remote
Since the very beginning, CircleCI has embraced having a distributed workforce. Not only has this choice given us access to the best talent on Planet Earth, we’ve also benefited from access to a huge variety of viewpoints and the ability to support our global customers around the clock.
Having team members all over the globe brings many advantages for us as a company. What’s even more valuable, though, is knowing that the flexibility to work remotely confers some pretty great benefits on our global employees as well. We asked them what they liked about working remotely, and here are some of their favorite perks:
-The perfect office. You get to choose (or construct) your ideal work environment: whether that means more quiet and fewer social distractions, or the sound of songbirds outside your open window and the gentle hum of your dog snoring peacefully at your feet.
-No time wasted. You can trade long commutes on crowded trains for more free time spent with friends, family, or favorite hobbies.
-Unlimited flexibility. Reduce the stress of balancing family and work obligations by time-shifting your schedule as needed.
How We Do It
CircleCI the company is comprised of 111 people, and of those 36 are remote– a third of the company! We’ve been a distributed team from the start; operating asynchronously is built into our DNA. Because of this history, so many of the practices that we have around location-agnostic collaboration have been with us as long as we’ve been a company. We’ve worked hard to ensure that as we’ve grown we’ve scaled our ability to be an inclusive workplace for all, regardless of work location.
“This is my 2nd remote job and the two biggest differences CircleCI makes to me is the trust we’re given and how much everyone legitimately cares. The ability to work remotely is one thing, but CircleCI gives me the chance to thrive remotely. Truly kickass.” -Ryan O’Hara, Senior Customer Success Engineer, Colorado
How have we done this? From the start we’ve embraced practices of communication that ensure that one doesn’t have to be on-site to be in the loop. This filters down into everything from investing in solid A/V to the way we plan out and execute our tasks as a team.
Invest in Systems that Support
Here are some of the things that have worked for us in supporting a distributed workforce:
-Create a culture of trust. “It’s not specific to remote work, but healthy remote work is impossible if there isn’t a broad understanding that everyone is trusted to do their job. If there’s even the slightest belief that remote workers are not working as hard as the folks in the offices then effective remote work becomes extremely difficult.” -Conor McDermottroe, Developer, Dublin
-Encourage equal opportunity. “I never heard reasoning in decision making such as ‘[this person] cannot work on this because they are remote’ from anyone in CircleCI. Also, I think we make efforts to share information and decisions in the Internet (e.g. Slack or Google Docs) so that everybody can see it whether you are local or remote. -Hirokuni Kim, Developer, Tokyo
-Embrace multi-media. “It is much easier to be engaged in video conference than when it is just voice calls. I couldn’t do this job remotely without video conferencing.” -Jonathan Morris, Director of Sales, Los Angeles
-Get together. Hold regular in-person all-hands meetings, as we’ve been doing since the days when we could all fit around one restaurant table. “All-hands have been great opportunities to meet other coworkers and to feel as though we share a purpose.” -Nate Smith, Developer, Toronto
Tips from our Team
Those are some of the things we do to keep our distributed organization running more or less smoothly. But being a remote team member is not without its challenges. How have our remote team members learned to make working-from-elsewhere work for them?
“Develop a strong daily routine. With no commute to worry about, I take a couple hours for meditation and yoga every morning, which helps me settle into my workday.” -Rose Kaplan-Bomberg, Success Engineer, NYC
“I highly recommend coming in to the office from time to time, to interact with so many of the other employees, and support those relationships.” -Jonathan Morris, Director of Sales, Los Angeles
“If it’s your first remote gig, expect to feel ‘off balance’ and unproductive for a couple months. It’s very easy to let your work/life balance skew in either direction: not enough work or too much work. My personal lifehack to avoid working too late is to have a wife who gets home at 6:30 and is annoyed if I make her wait too long for dinner. This may not work for everyone but it’s effective when possible.” -David Goeke, Developer, Sonoma County, CA