Best RemoteFirst Companies to Work For in a PostPandemic World
Wed, 28 Jul 2021
[best remote companies]Remote work isn’t the future of work – it’s the present. Since 2020, video calls are happening twice as often, and [almost 70% of full-time workers](https://resources.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2020) are [working remotely](https://www.process.st/remote-work-software) compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Today, employees not only embrace remote work, they expect it, with [one in two US workers](https://resources.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2020) stating that they would not be prepared to return to a job that didn’t accommodate for some kind of [remote working](https://www.process.st/remote-working/). For many reasons, the sentiment towards remote work from an employee perspective is largely positive, with a surprisingly large number of surveyed individuals stating that they have been able to [maintain or even improve their productivity](https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/valuable-productivity-gains-covid-19) during the pandemic. That’s why, in a post-pandemic world, so many of the remote-first companies who had already established effective [fully-remote teams](https://www.process.st/remote-team/) are thriving. In this article, I’ll examine some of the best remote-first teams you could be working for, with a focus on what to look for when considering if a company is truly fully-remote, and how the company culture can reflect a remote-first mentality. Here’s a breakdown of the article: - [State of remote work in 2021](https://www.process.st/best-remote-companies#state) - [Remote-first vs remote-friendly](https://www.process.st/best-remote-companies#remote) - [Questions to consider when looking at remote-first companies](https://www.process.st/best-remote-companies#questions) - [Best remote-first companies to work for in a post-pandemic world](https://www.process.st/best-remote-companies#best) Let’s start with the current state of remote work; what can we learn from recent reports & statistics? State of remote work in 2021 For this article, I studied a number of recent reports & publications on the state of remote work, with the goal of presenting an easily-digestible summary of key findings. Here’s a list of my sources, if you’re interested in a deeper dive into remote work statistics between 2020-2021: - [State of Remote Work 2020](https://resources.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2020) (Owl Labs); - [Organization Practice: What Employees are Saying About the Future of Remote Work](https://fortcollinschamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/What-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work-Final.pdf) (McKinsey & Company); - [Exploring Public Sentiment on Enforced Remote Work During COVID-19](https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2021-56704-001)(Journal of Applied Psychology, Zhang, et al.); - [COVID-19 Employee Sentiment Survey, May 21 – June 13](https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/valuable-productivity-gains-covid-19) (BCG); - [US Remote Work Survey – January 12, 2021](https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html) (PwC); - [Glassdoor reviews for the top 10 remote companies](https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/best-companies-working-from-home/); - The [remote-first.org](https://www.remote-first.org/) community. Here’s a breakdown of the key statistics & findings. ~70% of full-time employees were working remotely in 2020 - Key Point: Almost 70% of full-time workers in the U.S. were working remotely in 2020. - Source: State of Remote Work 2020 (Owl Labs). Remote work has been an overwhelming success - Key Point: For both employees and employers, the positive sentiment is clearly expressed, with 83% of employers saying that the shift to remote work has been successful for their company. - Source: US Remote Work Survey – January 12, 2021 (PwC). ~50% of those surveyed said they won’t return to non-remote jobs - Key Point: 1 in 2 people say they won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work. - Source: State of Remote Work 2020 (Owl Labs). Most people believe they are just as, or more productive working remotely - Key Point: 75% of people are the same or more productive during COVID-19 while [working from home](https://www.process.st/working-from-home/), with 51% saying they have been able to maintain or improve productivity on collaborative tasks. - Source: COVID-19 Employee Sentiment Survey, May 21 – June 13 (BCG). [best remote companies][Source](https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/valuable-productivity-gains-covid-19&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1627389980106000&usg=AOvVaw0kDJlFZsy0mRdf2QsZPmqJ)Socially satisfied employees are happier & more productive - Key Point: Employees who feel socially satisfied in their work-life balance are more likely to maintain or improve productivity on collaborative tasks in the workplace. - Source: COVID-19 Employee Sentiment Survey, May 21 – June 13 (BCG). [best remote companies][Source](https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/valuable-productivity-gains-covid-19&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1627389984884000&usg=AOvVaw0T-5CNwPSvgroLfq-u5wtr)Remote workers could save up to $479 per month - Key Point: During COVID-19, on average, people are saving $479.20 per month in personal expenses. - Source: State of Remote Work 2020 (Owl Labs). Majority consensus on meeting-free days - Key Point: 80% agree that there should be one day a week with no meetings at all. - Source: State of Remote Work 2020 (Owl Labs). Better remote communication = happier, more productive employees - Key Point: Remote-first organizations that prioritize clear communication see happier, more productive employees. - Source: Organization Practice: What Employees are Saying About the Future of Remote Work (McKinsey & Company). [best remote companies][Source](https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1627389996715000&usg=AOvVaw2ZlU27FaM-ALRQokmInZ0A) Remote-first vs remote-friendly It’s worth distinguishing between remote-first and remote-friendly (or whatever you want to call companies that don’t prioritise remote work, but still accommodate it in some capacity). - Remote-first companies will, by default, be structured around remote teams, and generally will have been built from the ground-up to accommodate remote working. These types of companies, typically [tech startups](https://www.process.st/starting-at-a-remote-startup/) around the SMB scale, are often fully-remote, and will generally have more experience with remote work best practices (of course that’s just a generalization). Often these types of companies are offering purely digital products or services. - Remote-friendly companies will generally be companies that have some remote capacity alongside a dedicated physical center of operations. Many companies became “remote-friendly” over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of needing to adapt to a changing work environment. Make no mistake; many companies were remote-friendly pre-COVID, in the sense that they may have employed remote workers to fulfil certain functions like marketing or customer service, where there was no material output. So it should be clear that whether a company is remote-first or remote-friendly (i.e. fully- or partially-remote) will depend on what kind of product or service they are offering. Questions to consider when looking at remote-first companies If you’re considering working for a remote-first company, these questions might help you understand whether the company is a good fit for you. Is the company fully remote? Culture between a partially- and fully-remote company will be very different. Fully-remote teams generally go to greater lengths to build an accommodating company culture that involves all members of the team, regardless of location or time-zone. Sure, this is possible in a partially remote team, but things can become more complicated if only half of the team is remote while the rest are co-working daily in the company office. Consider what kind of work setup would work best for you, and be sure to understand if the company you’re working for is remote-first (fully remote) or remote-friendly (partially remote with a significant localized workforce). What kind of remote work software does the company use? Consider what [remote software](https://www.process.st/remote-work-software) the company uses. Are they trying to collaborate on company documents or processes with Microsoft Word in the context of a globally distributed workforce, or do they use something like Google Docs or Notion to facilitate faster, easier collaboration? How do they manage, share, and [continuously improve](https://www.process.st/process-improvement-tools/) their internal processes? A fully or even partially remote company will require a way to seamlessly collaborate and share work-in-progress [process documents](https://www.process.st/process-documentation/), and allow for frictionless updates. Is the company able to leverage tools like [Slack](https://www.process.st/slack-app) and Zoom to full effect, or do they seem to be fumbling with [remote communication](https://www.process.st/synchronous-vs-asynchronous-communication/)? Was the company remote pre-COVID? This is a tricky question, but one that might help you understand how much experience the company has with remote work. If they [transitioned to a partially- or fully-remote workforce](https://www.process.st/remote-work-transition/) as a result of COVID-19, it may be that they are still relatively inexperienced in coordinating a fully-remote workforce; that in and of itself may be a challenge you’re interested in taking up! It may also be a deterrent, if you’re looking for a company with a more established remote work practice. In that case, knowing how long the company has been operating remotely can help you understand what kind of company culture to expect. Best remote-first companies to work for in a post-pandemic world It’s almost impossible to say who is the “best” remote company; but since my aim with this article was to focus on the best “remote-first” companies, that is a more reasonable ask. Here’s a list of the best remote-first companies, based on the criteria discussed above as for what constitutes a good remote-first (versus, say, a remote-friendly) organization. Process Street [best remote companies] Process Street is a simple, free and powerful workflow management software designed to help you manage your team’s recurring checklists and procedures. Remote-first or remote-friendly?: Remote-first Years of remote experience: 7 Glassdoor rating: 4.6 / 5 Benefits: - Work from anywhere! Fully remote-first team – no offices [🌍] - Equity for all full-time roles [📈] - Great healthcare, dental, and vision coverage for US Employees and their families [👩🏾⚕️] - Annual company offsite, focused on building meaningful personal relationships with your colleagues (when safe) [🤗] - Extremely flexible approach to balancing work and life [👩👩👧👦] - No toxic stuff, no cliques, no kidding. We’re small, nimble, and extremely collaborative [🚯] - Unlimited vacation policy (The good kind! Most folks take three to four weeks of vacation, plus their major holidays, AND a company-wide week off in December) [⛱] What employees say: I’ve worked 100% remotely at Process Street since I joined the team in 2018, but against the team’s track record I’m a veritable newbie; Process Street has been operating as a fully-remote company since 2014! Having operated as a remote-first company for over 7 years, the Process Street team knows a thing or two about working remotely. > “Our culture was built to be remote from the start, so we’ve long embraced the idea of belonging and collaboration from afar. Our values encourage all employees to “act like an owner,” empowering them to be autonomous – we believe the people closest to a problem usually have the best solutions. > > We’re lucky to have a product that customers love, and we’re funded by amazing investors like Accel, Atlassian, and Salesforce Ventures. I’m proud to be on a team that’s not just full of smart people, but smart, GOOD people. My colleagues consistently make me proud of the group I belong to.” Close [best remote companies][Source](https://close.com/) Close is a sales CRM tool that [started out as a semi-remote company](https://blog.close.com/remote-team-culture/). Today, they’re a distributed team across the US and EU, with over 40 people across 12 countries working remotely. Remote-first or remote-friendly?: Remote-first Years of remote experience: 7 Glassdoor rating: 4.8 / 5 Benefits: - 2x yearly team retreats [✈] - Flexible work hours [🕑] - $200/month coworking stipend [📈] What employees say: > “I can’t stress enough how much emphasis is placed on deliverables instead of “number of hours worked” in a week. Managers and the CEO work extremely hard with individual contributors to agree on realistic projects, deadlines, deliverables and to empower employees to go out and do what they’re hired to do.” > “You can work from anywhere around the world. Travelling doesn’t need to destroy your PTO day limit.” > “I have a voice in the company.” Zapier [best remote companies][Source](https://zapier.com/) Founded in 2011, Zapier has always operated as an entirely remote company, and today has nearly 300 employees working in 27 countries around the world. > “We help people easily connect and automate the apps they use every day so they can get more work done with less effort. Partners and developers, including Google, Salesforce, Intuit, and Dropbox, use Zapier to offer their customers integrations with over 1,000 other apps.” Remote-first or remote-friendly?: Remote-first Years of remote-first experience: 10 Glassdoor rating: 4.6 / 5 Benefits: - Work from anywhere [🌍] - Competitive salary [💸] - Unlimited vacation policy [⛱] - Great healthcare [👩🏾⚕️] - Retirement plan [📈] - Profit sharing [💲] - 2x yearly company retreats [✈] - 14 weeks paid leave for new parents [👶] - Computer and software setup [🖥] - Professional development allowance [👔] What employees say: > “Pros: The people!! The Zapiens make working from home much easier than I expected it to be and they are the probably nicest team I’ve ever worked with. The work is challenging and everyone helps each other succeed.” – Current Employee Atlassian [best remote companies][Source](https://www.atlassian.com/) Atlassian is a tech giant responsible for major collaboration tools used worldwide like Jira, Trello, and Confluence. They maintain physical HQ in Australia alongside a globally distributed company. Remote-first or remote-friendly?: Remote-friendly Years of remote experience: [4+](https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/15/atlassian-offers-remote-work-opportunities-8percent-of-employees-are-remote.html) Glassdoor rating: 4.5 / 5 Benefits: - 5 days of paid leave for volunteering purposes [⛱] - A dedicated budget for a coworking space or home office setup [🖥] - An annual education budget for growth and development opportunities [👔] What employees say: > “I love how Atlassian quickly adapted to the changes imposed by Covid-19. Remote onboarding was smooth and organized. The team members are very friendly. The technical processes are quite sophisticated, and I’m glad to be a part of it. I also enjoy the long list of remote events that keep everyone motivated.” > “I joined Atlassian 3 months ago and have been impressed with the culture here. Management cares about their employee’s opinions. They ask for feedback about future projects and strategies from all employees. Employee welfare is looked after. For example, the whole company received a day off in August to help deal with any anxiety and stress that may have arisen from the pandemic.” Bonus: Slack (remote-office hybrid) [best remote companies][Source](https://slack.com/) Ironically, Slack began as an [office-first company](https://mashable.com/article/slack-remote-work-permanent-coronavirus), based out of San Francisco. It wasn’t [until 2020](https://slack.com/intl/en-es/blog/news/update-on-extended-work-from-home-for-slack-employees) (!) that they shifted focus to a more remote hiring policy. > “We’ve already taken steps to change the way Slack works. For example, our hiring policies have changed dramatically and permanently—most new roles are open to remote candidates, and most Slack employees have the option to work remotely on a permanent basis.” Slack currently describes its hiring policy as [hybrid](https://www.reworked.co/digital-workplace/slack-ceo-says-hybrid-work-plans-will-be-market-driven/), with plans to “maintain a distributed work environment through at least February 2022.” Slack’s CEO Stuart Butterfield has said that if you asked him in February of 2020 if it would be possible for all employees to work from home and still maintain the same level of productivity, he would have said no. > “And when what you think is impossible turns out to be possible, you’ve got a kind of question, what else can we change? What else is possible?” The future of remote work It’s clear that remote work isn’t going away any time soon; in fact, it seems like the opposite is true, as more and more companies begin to adopt remote work as the default. One of the most important things employers can do, whether fully- or partially-remote, is communicate clearly with their employees about their future plans for remote work. As an employee, ambiguity or uncertainty from your employer when seeking this kind of clarification can be a big red flag (indicating that perhaps the company is not as well-equipped to deal with remote work as they might like you to think). Lack of communication leads to anxiety, and [anxious employees are known to consistently perform worse](https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work). At Process Street, we prioritize (over-)communication, and have been working remotely for over half a decade now. Interested in working at Process Street? You can see what positions are currently available [here](https://www.process.st/jobs/). Do you work remotely? What are your thoughts on the recent remote-shift? Do you think remote work is here to stay? Let us know in the comments! The post [Best Remote-First Companies to Work For in a Post-Pandemic World](https://www.process.st/best-remote-first-companies/) first appeared on [Process Street | Checklist, Workflow and SOP Software](https://www.process.st/).