The corporate world’s pivot to remote work has seen mixed reviews. Some employees have found working from home enjoyable and surprisingly productive. Others saw employers exploiting their extra time or using questionable practices to track workflow. It’s been especially messy for those starting new jobs or trying to get a promotion. It’s hard to thrive at work when you only see your boss over Zoom and Slack.
Work flexibility was a growing trend long before COVID-19 made commuting potentially lethal. According to FlexJobs, a remote jobs database, remote work has grown more than 159% over the last 15 years. As such, plenty of companies already had tried-and-true WFH structures baked into their hierarchies, workflows, hiring and promotion practices, so logistics, communication gaps and discomfort with remote dynamics aren’t bogging them down. These companies were years ahead of the curve when the pandemic hit, as their peers scramble to pay rent on millions of square feet of empty office space.
Naturally some industries are more conducive to remote work, like tech, software and IT, but those companies need marketers, writers, analysts, customer service professionals and account executives too. Here 10 of the top companies that know how to hire and support remote workers.
Zapier is the platform that integrates your Gmail, Instagram, Twitter, Slack and a couple thousand other apps together, so that you can download a Google sheet from a Dropbox. Completely remote, their employees are spread across 28 countries and have always worked over services like Slack. Their remote team is expanding in engineering, marketing, R&D, operations and design.
Buffer, a social media management app, has had remote employees since 2011, but went fully remote and ditched their office in 2015. According to their PR manager, the switch was “to encourage teammates to live and work from wherever they felt the happiest and most productive.” Currently, their team spans 15 countries. A company of around 100 employees, they’re current hiring a new VP of product design.
Auttomatic is a 100% remote web development company best known for operating the blogging website WordPress. They’re also behind sites like Tumblr, Crowdsignal, Longreads, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote and Gravatar. The company started out remote in 2005 and has stayed that way, citing access to diverse talent. Their employees or “Automatticians” (har har) work in 77 different countries. Since the pandemic, they’ve probably cut their employees monthly coworking stipend, but they’ve been providing tips and best practices to help other companies transition to remote. Right now, they’re looking for project managers, engineers, product designers, marketers, legal counsel, human resources professionals and more.
Gitlab, an open-source code collaboration platform for web developers, has 100% of their 1,100+ employees working from home. It’s started out as a remote office in 2014, with one cofounder based in Netherlands and the other in Ukraine. Their engineering, G&A, product and sales teams are all expanding.
Dell is headquartered in Texas but its workforce was already 18% remote as of February. The company started their flexible work program in 2009 to promote sustainability and broad applicant pools, according to their director of human resources. Some of their own technologies helped them transition. Dell offers remote jobs to everyone from engineers to consultants to product managers to sales associates.
Appen, an Australian tech company that provides AI and language interface services that serves multiple Fortune 500 clients, has had a mix of remote and in-office employees since their founding. The parent company employes about 300 people, but they have employees from all over the world, working in roles including social media, consulting, project management, translation, HR and recruiting.
7. UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group is the largest healthcare company in the world by revenue. Headquartered in Minneapolis, they employ people who work from home all over the world to run the two prongs of their business: insurance coverage and tech-based healthcare products. Remote market analysts, product managers, software engineers, salespeople, IT specialists, pharmaceutical executives and quality analysts are all factored into their office structure.
10Up is a web design, development and consulting company with projects for TechCrunch, ESPN, Grantland, SurveyMonkey and Google on their resume, completed by over 100 fully remote employees. It’s been a remote company since day one, making them cost competitive and giving them access to the widest possible talent pool of designers, engineers and consultants.
Basecamp has been running a successful, fully remote software company for 20 years. It’s no coincidence that they make a project management and internal communications program that’s been a lifeline for going remote since COVID-19 hit. Obviously, they use their own product. It’s a smaller company the roles they’re hiring for like programmers or designers starting there can be assured those roles are well-managed and upward-moving.
Clevertech, a software design and engineering company, has been exclusively remote since 2005. They create bespoke software for corporate clients and, aside from engineers, designers and developers, they need project coordinators, analysts and recruiters, to keep up with their clients.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.