The team at Customer.io was feeling itchy. They were worried about getting tied down to one city, limiting their hiring pool, and wanted to increase their workers’ quality of life outside of their jobs. A preliminary test of working from home two days a week showed huge improvements in productivity. But would that last when every single person was really working remotely and in entirely separate cities? As Colin Nederkoorn, co-founder and CEO, explained:
Overall, it was a success (but not without trade-offs). Understanding those negatives gave us the confidence to go forward with building a remote company.
Some of the issues they found included things like communication challenges and lack of casual social time:
With time differences, if you get blocked on work, you sometimes have to wait. . . for the person who has the answer. In Remote, Jason Fried and DHH advocate for 4 hours of overlap for people working together. This might mean adjusting schedules to make sure you’re online at the same time.
However, for Customer.io, the pros far outweighed the cons:
No Commuting: Cutting out the commute means that if you’re working from home, you can spend the time you would be commuting exercising, gardening, cooking, or whatever it is you’d rather be doing than sitting on a train, bus or driving in a car.
Freedom to Travel: When your company is set up for people to work anywhere, you can do just that – work anywhere. Going for a wedding? Why not spend a week instead of just the weekend when you can just work from there?
You Can Tune-Out Your Coworkers: When you switch to asynchronous communication, if you REALLY need to do work, you can just turn off all possible distractions and focus. If people can’t tap you on the shoulder, those interruptions either get solved on their own, or handled by email / chat.
Think your team could do it? Read how the rest of Customer.io’s experiment is going here.
This post was originally published on 99u.com.
Sasha VanHoven is the assistant editor at 99u.com.