Since capitalism has existed, corporations have had the power.
Henry Ford invented the modern nine to five workday in 1926, and it stuck.
Society built a reverence towards the shrine of the salaryman. Pack up your briefcase, drive your Chevy to work, and build your identity around work. We made it cool to work at McKinsey, and made Wall Street Money movers the modern day kings.
Things are changing.
Technology companies are eating the world, and technology companies’ most important assets are the people that work there.
New tech is different. An exceptional engineer or designer is worth millions in market cap (though hard to quantify). Attracting and retaining incredible people is why these companies are so valuable.
The most valuable companies now have the best engineering cultures.
The past 15 years it’s been Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. They attracted folks through generous compensation, a cult-like corporate culture, and perks like massages, free food, and bean-bag chairs.
The power dynamics are shifting.
It’s no longer cool to work at Facebook, and many exceptional people are leaving the big 4 to join the next breed of technology juggernauts.
These companies are embracing new rules of corporate culture, and specifically investing in remote.
Gitlab is the world’s largest fully remote organization, and others are joining.
As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over. - Tobi Lutke, Shopify CEO
Companies like Shopify, Twitter, Slack, and Square have gone remote first. Many others like Stripe are heavily increasing their investment in remote engineers.
Even companies like Siemens (140,000 employees), and Fujitsu (80,000 employees) are committing to remote.
Remote changes everything, if done right.
On the surface remote work is not that interesting.
“Telecommuting” has been around for decades.
However, remote does not need to be just telecommuting. This is the biggest opportunity we’ve had to rewrite the rules of work, and it’s being led by companies built on rewriting the rules of society.
Shopify is led by a German online snowboard salesman.
Twitter a San Francisco modern-day monk.
Basecamp a wise midwesterner and a crazy Dane.
Stripe genius small-town Irish brothers.
These guys are not Henry Ford. And software is not cars.
Building software cannot be done via assembly line, and human intelligence and creativity is infinitely more important than compliance to the norms.
Remote-first culture lets companies throw out all the traditional rules of modern office culture.
People don’t want free food, yoga classes, and daily happy hours.
They want freedom.
The future of work is individualistic
Every human is different. Everyone works differently.
This simple fact has been ignored for hundreds of years.
Some people work better at night. Some in the morning.
Some people have young kids and need to work around them.
Forcing the 26 year old gamer to wake up at 8am to sleepwalk her way through a standup is cruel and unnecessary punishment.
Some folks want an open schedule.
Some want rigid structure.
We believe in everyone’s right to choose (their schedule).
And that companies who embrace that, will win.
Gitlab encourages every employee structure their day in a way that their most productive and happy — fitting work around their lifestyle.
They're not alone, and more companies will follow.
With Holopod, we believe everyone should design their ideal work day.
For me, it’s no meetings before noon. Two 2 hour blocks of undistracted focus time. 2 hours of exercise and self-care. A quick catch-up with my team.
The option to take off whenever to clear my head.
Late night bursts of inspiration.
For my cofounder Nathan it’s waking up at 6am to do Crossfit. 4 hours of coding. Checking out at 6 and enjoying the evenings in the mountains.
We find the overlap in our days for impromptu calls as we’re virtually “co-working” outside of our focus time.
As more teams adopt truly flexible hours and culture, individuals will gain. People will finally be able to design work around their life, not life around work.
While not everyone will get exactly what they want, we believe the more the giant Venn diagram of your entire teams' ideal days overlaps — the happier your team will be. And the better your company will be.