We’re AWeber – a mighty team of 89 remote-first team members that span three time zones, two countries, and 15 states; all working together to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow by forming meaningful connections with their audiences.
At this point, I’m sure we all know someone who’s returned to the office.
Returned to waking up earlier, fighting traffic during daily commutes, wearing pants…
What productivity was lost working remotely?
Of course, there are SOME benefits to meeting in person (we plan on doing company-wide retreats after all!), but for us the benefits of staying remote-first far outweighed being in person. Here’s why we’re not returning to the office.
We’re now more diligent about creating discoverable documentation that anyone, in any time zone, at any point in our company’s history can access. A focus on documentation and asynchronous communication allows us to easily discover outcomes from previous projects and make educated business decisions based on those learnings.
We no longer default to in-person meetings, but instead focus on creating transparent documentation that allows for feedback and collaboration from anyone across the company. This enables us to prune back many of those unnecessary meetings that used to fill up our calendars. Or if we do have to meet, we’re now more efficient and effective with how we spend our time together.
A lot of companies are moving to a hybrid model – it’s the best of both worlds right? Wrong!
Hybrid models add more confusion to daily workflows. Instead of everyone working the same way, you now have to deal with ineffective meetings (think: 10 people crammed into a conference room with poor audio quality and bad camera angles) and relationships built based on proximity, all that puts remote team members at a disadvantage.
Instead, we’re in favor of all working the same way. We all have our own video/audio setups that allow for optimal (and clear!) conversations. We all communicate the same way – with a bias for being asynchronous and heavily documented. We all have the opportunity to form relationships the same way – no one is missing out due to their work location.
We now have more flexibility in our daily lives.
We gain back an extra 1-2 hours per day that used to be spent commuting and have now replaced that with spending time with our families, running errands, or heading outside to get some fresh air while it’s still light out. We have more choice over how we spend our time. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the cost savings of not having to commute – looking at you, $5/gal gas prices.
We also have more flexibility over our daily work schedules. We’ve always been flexible at AWeber, but being remote-first means fewer synchronous meetings and therefore more freedom to determine how we spend our time.
There is also more flexibility in where we work. I personally love to extend my stay at a new location – heading out a day or two early to settle in, work during the day and enjoy the nightlife of a new city after work. Don’t just take my word for it – check out my coworker’s blog about doing just that – TheBusyTraveler.com.
We’re no longer limited in who we hire. We used to hire the best people in the Philadelphia area, but now we hire the best team members from around the world. We’re able to choose from an even greater selection of highly specialized, diverse, passionate, and entrepreneurial talent to allow us to come up with creative solutions to the tough problems we solve on a daily basis.
We are still trying to figure out the right mix of remote events and in-person gatherings so we can form deeper connections with each other. Being remote-first means that our work schedules vary, which can also mean that it’s harder to prioritize your team’s virtual happy hour or attend that game night when you have cute kiddos and drooling dogs staring you down, waiting for their nightly walk.
We’re still working on that “perfect” formula, but we’re focused on trying new things from virtual holiday parties to walking challenges and we’re dedicated to evolving our remote-first identity.
So are we heading back to the office?
No, we’re not. And we’re excited to see what the future has in store for our remote-first company!
P.S. Are you already back at the office or dreading the day that you’ll inevitably have to return? Apply today to become our next remote-first AWeber team member!