Working from home (WFH) or remote work is becoming increasingly popular with a number of companies. However, not all WFH opportunities are created equal. Every company has a different policy: some might allow you to WFH a few days a month, some might hire you as a remote member of an in-office team, others might be completely distributed, in which every single employee works remotely.
It is this last category of companies that are both completely remote and distributed that allow the most opportunity to take advantage of remote work. Employees with this lifestyle can travel the world as they work full-time, move with a spouse on a moment’s notice, and often set their own hours based on when they work best. At the same time, they are not cut off while the rest of the team is still in the office.
However, working on a team that is both remote and distributed is also the hardest option to find. There are few companies that actually maintain this work style after moving past a certain number of employees. But it is possible to find such opportunities. The following seven companies have caught on to the WFH trend and are also ahead of the curve in maintaining a completely or majority distributed team.
Here’s to hoping the rest of our offices will catch up.
“No offices, no useless meetings, no mandatory hours. You’re recognized for what you do, not your time in a chair.”
Toptal has latched onto the benefits of providing a completely distributed, remote culture and has a mission to bring that culture to the rest of the world. The tech company connects the best 3% of software developers from around the globe with top companies for remote work. Toptal’s internal team of over 110 employees is completely distributed as well.
Many of Toptal’s employees take advantage of this setup to live a “digital nomad” lifestyle, moving anywhere in the world for a few weeks, months, or years. Co-founder and COO, Breanden Beneschott, has lived in over 30 different countries since starting the company, and Toptal supports every employee who chooses to do the same. Together with the internal team and network of developers, Toptal employees can currently be found in over 93 different countries.
“Work from home, from a coffee shop, from a coworking space — anywhere with good enough Internet to do a Google Hangout. Go move to Montana for a month and work from there if you want. (And if you already live in Montana, keep on living there!) There are no remote workers here; we're all part of a distributed team.”
Upworthy is a content distribution company that spreads word about issues that matter, including body image, bullying, cancer, domestic abuse, gay identity, and many other topics. One of the fastest growing media companies, Upworthy allows its entire team to work remotely, and the whole company is distributed.
Upworthy looks for employees who do not need constant supervision and gives these employees plenty of freedom to work the way they work best. They also encourage employees to take vacations where they are actually disconnected and offline. Employees can even adjust their daily schedule to account for doctors appointments, child drop-off and pick-up, and much more.
“Work in the place that makes you happy, that inspires you daily, and helps you to become the person that you wish to be.”
Buffer provides tools to help individuals, businesses, and publishers build an audience online and engage with followers as effectively as possible.The Buffer team is currently spread across 7 different time zones, from Honolulu to Paris. That’s a full 12 hour difference. But instead of viewing this spread as a hinderance, the Buffer team takes advantage of their range of time zones.
Because the team is so distributed, Buffer is able to track the happiness of their customers and the speed at which their team can respond to them. Even though Buffer has over a million users, the team is able to respond to 80% of emails within 1 hour, which would not be possible without the distributed nature of the team.
“We believe that if a job allows for it, people should work wherever they're happiest.”
GitHub is a community where developers can easily discover, reuse, and contribute to more than 24 million projects using an industry standard workflow. The company’s goal is to provide tools that make collaborating and writing software easier, and they work to achieve this goal with a remote team.
GitHub has an office location in SOMA, but they believe that if a job allows for it, people should work wherever they're happiest. The company also offers other perks for work/life balance like complimentary gym memberships and Amazon gift cards for employees to buy books they need. GitHub also allows employees to attend one work-related conference per year, anywhere in the world. If you’re invited to speak at a conference, GitHub will also cover you to get there.
“Basecamp is a company spread out across 26 different cities around the world. Our office is in Chicago, but everyone at Basecamp is free to live and work wherever they want. Many of us love working remotely.”
Basecamp is a web-based project management tool that offers to-do lists, web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. And, the company that makes distributed work easier is a distributed company itself.
Although the company has an office in Chicago, Basecamp’s community of designers, programmers, tinkerers, writers, speakers, bikers, engineers, runners, developers, chefs, analysts, campers, musicians, filmmakers, knitters, hikers, authors, photographers, pilots, race car drivers, readers, travelers, gardeners, volunteers, parents, and hard workers can be found all around the world.
“The team is distributed so maintaining a proactive and self-motivated working style is essential.”
Treehouse has rethought the learning process behind tech education and built a proven system to get you the skills and knowledge clients need to accomplish goals. The company can help you get started in the tech industry, improve your skills, and share your work.
Treehouse began as a completely distributed company, but decided to open offices in Orlando, Florida and Portland, Oregon after reaching around 40 employees. However, the company still allows certain positions to work remotely. Current open positions include a Designer role, listed as “anywhere in the U.S.” Other listed Teacher positions can be based in Portland or Orlando.
“We are a distributed company, democratizing publishing and development.”
Automattic, the company behind WordPress, remains completely distributed. Automattic’s team members hail from nearly every continent and 36 countries around the world. Every employee works from their own home or office, in places like the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Iceland, Bulgaria, Australia, and more. This geographic variance allows the company to be active 24/7.
If you want a more social office setting while working remotely, Automattic gives an allowance for home office setup and coworking space. The company also hosts team meetups 1 to 3 times per year in exotic locations around the world, covering all costs of company travel.
If these awesome perks and new working lifestyles aren’t enough to convince you to leave your standard office environment, perhaps numbers will. One Stanford study found that allowing employees to WFH led to a 13% performance increase compared to their in-office counterparts. Additionally, WFH can allow you to avoid crazy commutes, avoid office distractions, and maintain a better work/life balance. Plus, it simply feels like the future.