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The most important factor in choosing my next company is the culture. I expect it to be inclusive and striving for diversity and belonging. I expect it to have reasonable work expectations. In America, that means 40 hours a week. I think that number should be lower but hey, it’s what we have.
I’m baffled that we’re in season 3 of the pandemic and many orgs are still figuring this out. I have had some people say one of the reasons my resume was attractive was because it has been more than a decade since I have worked in an office since. I’ve been working asynchronously with a global company since 2014 (in an odd timezone no less). So the pandemic didn’t throw that much of a wrench in my day to day activities. I would say something along the lines of “I can certainly help the transition” and their eyes light up. But there’s also this weird glorification of what GitHub did. Some people would describe a culture that was 80% the way there as something that was a chaotic mess. I’d have to convince people that they’ve already tackled some of the major hurdles and they really only need to address one or two others. GitHub wasn’t perfect either.
But seriously, if you have tons of meetings or strict working hours or lots of beauracracy wtf are you doing. Muan talked about this a lot in her post. Her timezone is even more distant than mine. That post has a lot of gems so I don’t want to repeat her content. I’ll just suggest you read it and include everything she said here, because I agree with her on everything.
Undefined work hours
GitHub supported pretty loosely defined hours for anyone in a senior-or-less position. You couldn’t just randomly pop in when you felt like it. There were expectations that you’d respond to things in a reasonable time frame, especially over greater distances. 24 hours was the absolute max if you weren’t on vacation. If you’re trying to reach someone in a timezone earlier than you, be sure to respond to their messages before they wake up.
Not only do I want to define my own hours but I want the ability to do it on the fly. I already stated I want to work in my time zone, but only sometimes. Sometimes I get up early and want to hit the ground running. I could start anywhere from 5 - 9 am. I’m not skipping meetings and I’m not forcing people to work around a mysterious schedule. But if nothing is on my calendar, I can do what I need to do to be productive as an employee and human.
I remember working with an American doing a biphasic sleep schedule and people in Europe in the same week. We got stuff done.
No contact outside of work hours
If we have a pager system, cool. But I will not be around on nights and weekends and I’d expect others to do the same (based on their time zone) - especially leadership. This can be an issue with some startups, but others see the sustainability benefits of not working long hours and weekends.
Minimum vacation policy
I wish people who adopt this pattern would use this terminology. The problems with unlimited vacation policies are widely understood and this simple phrasing addresses the problem directly. I want to work a place where I am expected to take time off and my manager is in charge of making that happen if I slip.
Some companies have been forced to tolerate the presence of remote workers while others embrace their distributed colleagues. At this point, who knows how long the pandemic will go on for. Who knows what life after the pandemic will be. But if you’re remote first, you’re prepared for most outcomes.
Remote first means people in an office are the afterthoughts you occasionally forget to include or provide similar bonuses. I worked remotely for a company that wouldn’t even let their remote employees attend the company parties even if said employee paid for travel and lodging themselves. I don’t want to hear anyone in an office complain :laugh: