We’re proud that Vista has been officially named a “Best Remote-First Company to Work For” in Built In’s 2021 report. We’ve come a long way, having made the decision in August 2020 to move to permanent remote working, and the best iterations are yet to come. We’ve launched (while still building) a company handbook, we’re learning how to shift workflows to asynchronous, and doing our best to build in public as we join a thriving global community of remote-first organizations.
Here’s a look at how we’re defining the transition, how we arrived at today, and our direction of travel, which was shared today internally as well.
Remote working is a once-in-a-lifetime reinvention of the workplace, the largest since the industrial revolution, and we want to embrace it. That is why so many team members in Vista and Cimpress central teams are moving to remote-first working. “Remote-first” means that, even after team members can safely return to working together in person following the pandemic, their primary place of work will be somewhere other than a traditional office.
We see enormous opportunity in the shift to remote-first. For team members, it’s the opportunity to work more flexibly and collaborate in ways we never have before. In terms of acquiring new diverse talent, it enables us to recruit and hire from a much broader set of geographies. In terms of investing for the future, reductions to our real estate footprint will enable us to invest more in other areas that support our team members and our growth.
Remote-first is a big shift from where we were at the start of 2020, but fortunately it directly supports pre-existing priorities such as our Vista-wide objective of becoming a high-performing organization and our foundational basic of being magnetic to talent.
Our office locations will become collaboration centers with a mix of spaces where team members can meet to work in person with others when needed. Policies, practices, tools and technology are being reviewed and, where needed, re-designed to optimize each for the most productive and engaging remote working experience.
Our Founder & CEO Robert Keane’s challenge to us: Make how and where we work a towering strength of our culture and a competitive advantage.
Remote working is no longer a novel concept to Vista, Cimpress or the world, but our experience so far pales in comparison to remote-first’s potential. Imagine the world after pandemic, when it’s safe again for us to gather in person: that is the world when we will take advantage of all the benefits remote-first can offer us, and that is the world we are building for.
Our remote-first model will raise the bar in many ways. From workplace flexibility to overall team cohesion, this evolution of the way we work will empower each of us to be more productive in places that are individually meaningful, and to contribute collectively and individually to Vista’s success. Work is about what we do, not where we do it, and we want to be an employer of choice because of how we organize to work together. Below are the fundamental elements of our vision.
Extensive input from existing team members
The decisions we are making are based on team member input and feedback and are grounded in our mandate to create a team member experience that makes remote-first a towering strength of our culture.
Hiring new team members
We are actively recruiting, and we already have found that our commitment to remote-first gives us access to a much wider talent pool and thus greatly increases ability to recruit top talent. No longer constrained by geography, we have a larger pool of people with the specific skills, qualities and diversity we want to attract.
In a remote-first environment, virtual communication, project management and knowledge sharing tools give team members the ability to work together and to move work forward asynchronously, across locations and time zones. Physical collaboration spaces will be available for times when needed for face-to-face interactions and in-person collaboration will remain an important part of how we work (and have fun) together.
The global nature of our team is already part of our culture but collaborating across locations and time zones hasn’t always been efficient. In an asynchronous way of working, your location is no longer an advantage or disadvantage. Team members can respond to messages and consume information as they are available, with gaps of communication in between to accommodate a non-linear workday and periods of deep work and focus. This is enabled by moving to a “document everything” culture that makes time zone irrelevant to the ability to collaborate, make decisions, share knowledge and learn.
Better business outcomes
Our remote-first strategy creates an environment and culture in which team members can thrive and be more involved, productive and engaged. This translates to becoming the high-performing organization we need to deliver better business results.
Joining the Remote-First community
Throughout the transformation, we’ve leaned on other firms. Organizations like GitLab, Dropbox, Mural, Zaiper, HelpScout, Buffer, Firstbase, Facebook, Remote, Doist, Automattic, Basecamp, Distribute Consulting, Remote Work Association, and Remote-how have created a community of voices which are collectively pioneering the way forward.
Operators like Darren Murph, Chris Herd, Laurel Farrer, Brian Elliott, Shane Mac, Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Annie Dean, Nellie Hayat, Samantha Fisher, and Ryan Anderson have contributed in person and through their published wisdom, much that we are able to build from, and hopefully at some point, add to.