A celebration of remote companies building the future of work
Remote Work Awards is RemoteHub's annual celebration of remote companies building the future of work.
It's a showcase of remote teams leading the remote work revolution. These companies are sharing what they have learned when building fully distributed teams – while there are a lot of benefits remote work brings, there are also many challenges to overcome.
Remote work is not only about being location independant – it's a way of life. It's about blurring the boundaries between work and rest of the life and integrating them for a calmer and more meaningful life experience.
RemoteHub would like to recognize the following remote companies for their work towards a more distributed world and better work-life balance.
Remote work is based on a concept that work does not need to be done in a specific place (office). This is not something that happens in the future. This is now!
There are a lot of companies who work remotely, and have been doing that for many years.
Some teams are working from the same city, but a lot of companies also have team members in many different countries throughout the globe.
Now GitLab has more than 800 team members working from 250+ locations across 50+ countries throughout the globe. GitLab has the biggest number of cities on RemoteHub.
Teams on RemoteHub have added more than 2,000 cities from 100 countries they work from. Meet the TOP 10 distributed companies with members working from most countries.
Toggl Plan is a remote company headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia – a city in Europe that has a lot of development talent in spite of it's small size.
Estonia has a strong IT sector, and has been mentioned as the most advanced country in Europe in the terms of e-Government of Estonia. Also known for it's e-Residency program that enables digital entrepreneurs to start and manage an EU-based company online, Estonia is quite well-known throughout the world.
Fun fact: RemoteHub is also made in Estonia!
Teamweek, like many other remote companies, started to hire for remote positions to access the larger talent pool. While there are a lot of development talent in Estonia, there's also a lot of IT companies who need the talent. After testing remote work with one of their teams, they knew it was a perfect solution and today their distibuted team works from 10 countries, all in different timezones, including Brazil, Kenya and Canada among others.
While a lot of companies have started in the office and have been adding remote team members, some companies started with a remote team from day one.
“We started as a remote company from day one.”
“We started remote and will stay that way forever.”
“We have always been remote, there is no office space to go to!”
When if you're not expected to show up at the office (or if you do not have an office to go to), why not go travel the world? There are people who don't even have a home address as they're flying to a new country every month (call them digital nomads), but most remote workers actually work from home or a nearby coworking space.
“I took a one-way flight from Estonia to San Francisco quitting my studies and career to start a new one- remote one.”
Enelin is Head of Business Development at SafetyWing – a fully remote company building global safety net for the future of work. One week she can be working from co-working space in Bali and the next week we can find her from a Digital Nomad Cruise going from the Barcelona to Brazil.
“We left San Francisco as a team of two and we're coming home a team of five. We're still fully bootstrapped and profitable.”
Sarah and Andrew are a couple of digital nomads building Canny, a nice-looking user feedback tracking tool while traveling to 27 cities in 16 countries.
They have growed their company from $0 to $400k/year, had their first team retreat in Lisbon and planning the next one in Croatia. Canny is bootstrapped, profitable and happy with a remote team working from four countries from all over the world.
Digital nomad lifestyle is definitely not for everyone – there's a lot of planning, moving around and adjusting to unfamiliar places. This can be exhausting for a lot of people.
“I, however, love that stuff. Seeing how locals live, walking around new neighborhoods, discovering hidden gems. All while not having to pay rent at home. Of course, there are challenges, but nothing great comes easy.”
After two years living the digital nomad life, they are settling down for a while in Toronto.
Life is more than work. While there can be a lot of distractions when working from home, especially if you have small children, it allows you to be a part of the family. Instead of leaving the home early in the morning and returning when it's dark outside, just about when your kids are going to sleep, you'll stay home most of the day.
“I have my desk with three monitors set up in the middle of our open plan living room because I want to be a part of family life when my kids are home. My wife for example is a copywriter and locks herself into her home office upstairs to stay focused.”
This kind of flexibility is built right into remote work. Start the week at home, spend a couple of days in co-working space and end your week in a nice coffee shop.
While the ability to work from home or anywhere else in the world is itself the ultimate benefit of remote work, there are even more perks that remote companies provide for their distributed teams.
The boundaries between life and work are already fading away and working remotely with a flexible schedule takes this even further.
Toggl Plan has learned that by providing the freedom to plan one's own time and trusting their people to do their best work, they have a happy team, and the most efficient and creative results come from people who are happy in their life.
These are the TOP 10 most popular remote work perks and benefits companies offer to their distributed teams:
Remote companies choose tools that will help them stay connected and productive and their remote culture is deeply integrated into the tools they are using.
“We usually start and end the day with greetings and goodbyes via Slack.”
Slack is the most popular tool among companies on RemoteHub. More than 50% of remote teams here are using Slack as their virtual office. You are “in the office” when online in Slack, but there seems to be a trend for asynchronious communication where people are not expected to answer immediately, but rather when they find the time in their workflow.
“Our most-used tools include the GitLab tool, Slack, Zoom, and G-Suite products. We have a slack channel called "office today" where team members can share the view from their workspace of choice each day.”
“For FYI topics we use Slack to post our status, share company news, new tech stuff and other fun things with each other.”
While Slack is the place for text, more than 30% of teams on RemoteHub use Zoom as their main tool for having video chats with their team members.
“Daily and weekly meetings with the whole team happen via Zoom.”
The rise of remote work needs not only new software tools, but completely new services too. There are online programs like Remote-how that teach how to build and lead effective distributed teams, physical conferences like Running Remote and even a fully equipped health insurance Remote Health that is built to be flexible and easily manageable with a simple dashboard where remote companies can add/remove their remote team members. One global plan covers members in over 200 countries. The price gets cheaper as your company scales, and there are a number of add ons you can use to customize your coverage.
Health insurance is national and only available in home country, but Remote Health let's remote companies to cover all of their employees and contractors under one flexible health insurance product, no matter where they live or travel to.
All this is done from a web interface where remote companies can add/remove insurance coverage for their remote team members.
RemoteHub interviewed remote company managers to learn more about their remote culture.
Leading remote companies are very friendly about sharing what they have learned when building a remote team. They talk about the benefits remote work offers, but also challenges it brings.
One of the ideas of RemoteHub is to look into remote teams more deeply – this lets other companies to learn from experience, but also helps people looking to join a remote team to see how their future life would be like.
Most remote teams on RemoteHub work in tech companies. And if they are not building their own technology products, they still have a website or internal IT platform to support their business. This means having engineering processes in place is increasingly important.
When your team is not in the same building, and when people are working on their own schedule in different time zones, you can't just walk to a desk and talk about what's on your mind. It's important to have communication flows in place for a smooth work experience.
“We have 2 different kind of daily stand ups: project office hours twice a day at 10am and 4pm and daily check ins in our Slack #standup channel.”
For people looking to join a remote team, it can be helpful to learn about the practices in place – to see if these daily calls would fit into their life schedule, for example.
While there is a need to meet work goals, these daily or weekly calls are not considered to be a place to prove that you did some work, but rather a opportunity to bond with the team and ask questions to remove obsticles from your work.
“Don't talk about what you did yesterday, this is not a reporting moment where everyone tries to look busy. Rather, kickstart the day with some bonding, solve anything blocking and share future plans so people can plan and act and ultimately save time.”
These are the most popular engineering cultures on RemoteHub.
While people can work very effectively by chatting in Slack and doing some video calls, something awesome happens when they meet in real life – they get to know each other more deeply and their conversations are enchanced.
60% of the companies on RemoteHub meet their remote team at least once a year on a team retreat in a beautiful and inspiring place. It's common to fly the whole team together for a week to have fun and also get some work done.
Some popular remote team retreat destinations are in Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Doist is a fully remote team behind popular productivity apps Todoist and Twist with members working from 25 countries. They are one of the leading remote companies building the future of work by offering insights into the life of their remote team.
While Doist has an annual, all-inclusive, company retreat to get the whole team together for a week for work and relationship-building, they have also started to meet in smaller groups.
This is something that many remote companies are doing – people near by meet up to get some work done and get to know each other better.
This is also one of the reasons why RemoteHub is mapping the locations of remote companies. When looking to join a remote team, it can be useful to choose a team that has members near you.
Remote work is becoming more and more popular topic in the news.
Digital nomads write about working while travelling, remote companies blog about their journeys about building remote teams and even big media outlets are writing about the revolution of work.
RemoteHub collects and shares the most interesting articles about remote work.
Let's spread the word about remote work and bring more companies to join the remote work revolution.
If you write about remote work, feel free to use any material from RemoteHub, but please link back to my website. I've made a list of quotes here so it would be easy for you to start.
I made a list of quotes that you can easily use in your writings about remote work.
Hi there! I'm the maker of RemoteHub.
With the advent of technology, people can work from anywhere in the world. You don't need an office to open your laptop. Instead, you can stay at home, walk to a co-working space or even take a plane to Bali.
This is not a future, it's happening now! There are a lot companies working with a distributed team across the globe. And there are increasingly more companies who are hiring their first remote team members.
I also like how remote work is removing the boundaries between work and rest of the life. Working from home, you can be more involved in your family life and see your kids grow. Without an office, you can travel to explore the awesome planet you're living on. Combined with flexible working hours, you'll work when you're the most creative.
I enjoy making stuff on the Internet, and RemoteHub is my contribution to the remote work revolution that's happening right now.