Working from home has become the new normal for many people during the Covid-19 pandemic, but Company-X has offered its team the flexibility of working remotely since the company was founded in 2012.
Giving the Company-X team their own laptops and the blessing to work from home, or wherever else they would like to work from, attracts the best and brightest software specialists from around the world.
While the majority of the Company-X team are based in Hamilton, the greater Waikato and New Zealand, the company also has team members who work from Australia, Asia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Company-X’s recruitment strategy is to hire new team members recommended by existing team members as much as possible so that new recruits come with built-in trust. Company-X looks for certain attributes in its team.
“They should be self-directed,” said professional services manager Michael Hamid. “They should also be able to organise and manage their workload and be OK in their own company.”
This policy means Company-X appeals to prospective team members who might already have family commitments and no plans to move from wherever they are in the world.
“I would not have applied to work with a company that would require me to physically move to New Zealand, or anywhere else,” said a Company-X team member based in Canada. “I was searching for a job that allowed for flexibility in travel and being on the move. I also wanted to work for a recognisable firm with an international footprint.”
Flexibility around where he could work meant he could easily attend conferences around North America.
“Because I can work from anywhere in the world, I don’t have to spend massive rent dollars on living in places with sky-high prices like San Francisco, New York, DC, Hong Kong, or Singapore,” he said.
“Over the past five years, I’ve moved four times and lived in three different cities spanning two countries, but at the same time, I find myself wanting to plant some roots.”
His experience is not unusual.
“I wouldn’t have accepted a position at Company-X if it had been an office-based position,” said a Company-X senior developer. “I have family across three continents, and the ability to work from home, wherever I am in the world, is essential to me. An office-based job is not even an option given my situation.”
Another member of the Company-X team said he appreciated the flexibility offered by the company. It meant that the team could pick up their children from school, attend sports days and other significant milestones in their children’s lives.
“I want to thank you guys for allowing so many of us to be involved with our kids,” he told the co-founders and directors. “Without flexibility we would not get the chance to spend time with them.”
Company-X trusts its team members to deliver on their promises to customers. Having an unrestricted hiring pool not limited by geography means the possibilities are endless.
When self-motivated people get to choose where and when they work, without any unplanned interruptions they tend to be more productive.
Comfort, as well as efficiency, is paramount in the Company-X working environment, which means Company-X invests as much in equipment and workstation assessments for remote staff as it does in those working from the office.
Collaboration is enabled in the Company-X team by tools like Cisco Webex and Google Hangouts video-conferencing technology, Google Docs and Microsoft 365 office productivity suites and the Slack instant messaging platform.
Slack divides every project Company-X is working on into its own channel to encourage communication and collaboration between team members. Company-X even has a channel where team members are encouraged to socialise from wherever they are based around the world. This helps team members build relationships with one another outside of work projects.
While Company-X provides essential support to a range of essential services the Covid-19 lockdown still saw the Hamilton office close, and the co-founders and directors called on the team to work from home. This meant some of the team who preferred to work in the office set up at home but nothing else has changed for the company. Work continues on a variety of ongoing projects.
Software deployment through cloud infrastructure means the Company-X team can easily maintain the technology from remote locations, as well as continuing to develop innovative new software for clients in New Zealand and around the world.