In previous articles, we’ve laid out the compelling reasons why more and more software teams are going remote. Virtual workers are more productive, less expensive, and more engaged with their work. Companies that partner with remote developers gain access to a global pool of talent; and, with the flexibility to expand across time zones, there’s always someone online to troubleshoot or provide customer support.
Many companies are already benefitting from fully remote developer teams. Here’s how some of the most innovative companies are leveraging remote work to stay ahead of the competition.
InVision is a product design platform that’s been fully remote since its founding. When CEO Clark Valberg started the company in 2011, he decided to save on costs and stay ahead of the innovation curve by trusting employees to produce their best work from anywhere. “It's about results, not where your IP address is," InVision's chief people officer told Business Insider. "We care about what you're able to do or achieve. If you're able to achieve something great while working wonky hours, then that's great."
InVision’s distributed teams allow the company to bring in talented software developers from all over the world. This allows the business to build an overall better product and to compete against giants like Google. At the time of InVision’s inception, Google had increased its footprint in Manhattan; going fully remote gave InVision a creative edge in how the team thought through their product. "We're a software company that builds tools for designers," explained the chief people officer. "It definitely helps us think about our product, since we're all designing remotely anyway."
Today, InVision is around 700 employees who all consider product development through the lens of their target consumer. Remote developers are able to leverage the remote work environment to push dominant players like Google and create better products in the process.
Basecamp is a project management tool used by many development and remote teams. Founder Jason Fried argues that remote work is integral to Basecamp’s success; he’s become a vocal advocate for remote work, going so far as to write a book arguing for a better way to work.
Fried believes that remote work allows Basecamp to access the best remote developers in the world, giving the company an edge that traditional work doesn’t. “You can hire the best people in the world,” Fried said to Forbes. “The truth is, is there's lots of great people all over the place so we all might have great people. The chance that the best people in the world are within a 20-mile radius of your office doesn't really make a lot of sense.”
Likewise, Fried has found that remote work empowers employees to think more deeply about their work. The nature of a traditional office environment is such that meetings get scheduled, emails come in, and employees get distracted. A software developer ends up working in 15-minute time slots with no stretches of uninterrupted time. “In the office, it’s not uncommon to reach 5 pm and realize that you did no meaningful work, says Fried. Remote work, on the other hand, allows for long stretches of interrupted time, which are necessary for thinking deeply and considering problems carefully.”
At Basecamp, Fried’s approach was to find the best talent and empower them to work in the ways that made them most productive. Fried has since sold a stake in Basecamp to Jeff Bezos for millions, proving the company’s value.
Social media management platform Buffer is one fully remote company that benefits from a diverse set of opinions and cultural backgrounds in developing their product. Buffer’s “Inclusivity Catalyst” Courtney Seiter noted that Buffer "does everything 100% remote first to create that feeling of inclusivity and equality across the board." The ability to draw on experiences, ideas and cultural knowledge from around the world helps Buffer be more innovative.
Buffer’s transparency makes it possible to create a remote work environment where employees aren’t defined by their socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. The company shares “hiring practices and salaries, revenue details, product roadmaps, and more on their transparency page.” The result? Buffer benefits from engaged workers who bring their full attention and identity to the task at hand.
As one blogger summed it up, “Companies comprised of an inclusive and diverse workforce that supports happy workers is the future of work we all deserve.” Coders and engineers who are hired remotely are making software development more innovative, more productive, and are more engaged in helping their companies grow.