Remote-first: Turning a skill into a superpower

A guest feature, written by Wefarm's VP Operations, Michelle Davies

3rd Dec 2021

*This was originally published as an email to the internal Wefarm team. “You” refers to Wefarmers.

Being remote has always been a part of Wefarm. Even pre-Covid, we were used to hosting distributed meetings, celebrating on Zoom, and hiring remotely. But the past year has taught us that if we truly own remote work, we can turn a skill into a superpower.

This is why we are now - officially - a remote-first business. 

Everyone needs different work settings to be successful. We’re giving each of you the freedom of choice to maximise collaboration, happiness, and output. From now on, it is up to every one of you to decide where you work from. We will enable connection and coworking spaces to collaborate and see team members, but we will also enable and protect working from home, and commit to doing so going forward. 

So if you want to work from a remote beach town, if you want to work from your local coffee shop, from home or from a co-working space with other team members, it’s up to you - whatever makes you feel most comfortable and do your best work!

The past year hasn’t been a poster-child of remote work

Covid threw us in the deep-end of remote work. As a company, we coped well - we were set up for it, anyway. But we were forced into remote work rather than remote by design. Now, our obligation to be remote ends and instead we begin a new phase where we are remote first by choice - where we plan our future with this in mind.

Working from...anywhere? Really?

Yes! As long as you…

  • Have a stable internet connection, and sufficient bandwidth for clear video calls
  • Can fit your day into UK/EA working hours (without working a graveyard shift to do so)
  • Can perform your role effectively (some roles need you to be near members and retailers)

If you want to relocate to another country, for more than 30 days, please talk to the People Team and your line manager first. This is important - there may be tax requirements we need to sort out. But we’ll work with you and try our best to make it happen :)

Remote first or fully remote? 

We’re not going fully remote. We recognise the value that time together brings to building the team, so we offer flexible office solutions globally (through the support of Desana). These are locations people can come together to collaborate, but there will be no Wefarm branded space where you see the same people every day.

Remote first also means that we will make sure every meeting can be attended virtually and work is available for asynchronously: E.g. when brainstorming something, we’ll use an online whiteboard rather than a physical one. We need to ensure that information isn’t missed just cause you weren’t in the office or in that meeting. This will empower us all to do our best work and know what's going on across business!

The challenges of remote working 

Office work can be challenging (think of all the time we’ve spent commuting on crowded public transport!). And similarly, working from home comes with its difficulties. It’s hard to work where you live (or as some might say… live where you work). Making a separation between your personal life and your work life is much more difficult when things aren’t compartmentalised physically. So please - draw lines and set boundaries, for yourself and those around you!
Another obvious challenge we’ve all experienced this past year is that we miss connecting with each other as a team. We will do our best as a business to create space for you to connect, but we believe spending time together in-person is important. We’ll get back to making this happen for everyone as soon as possible.

Coordinating everyone’s freedom is going to be hard

We’re giving everyone more freedom to do what they feel is best for them, their teams, and their work. Inevitably, there will be clashes. We’re spread out across a few timezones, we’ve got people blocking out lunch hours at different times, and we’ve got more meetings in the diary than we did before. It’ll take some flexibility to get this right, so please be prepared and open to learning together. It won't be easy but it will be worth it!

This is a big step towards undoing ways of working that aren’t serving us anymore, and empowering you to make the best choices for you!

Let’s keep building our vision together - wherever we are.

Read the original article by Michelle Davies, on the Wefarm blog.

If you'd like to learn more about Wefarm and their approach to Flexible Working, be sure to check out their Company Page!

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