A few weeks ago, the entire phData team received an email from our COO, Mike Cleveland.
“We are nearing the one-year mark of our move to full-time remote work,” it began. “I am absolutely amazed at our team’s resilience and dedication.”
After a year of remote work — complete with all its flexibility and mute buttons — Mike had some news:
“After careful consideration, the leadership team had decided to transition phData to be a remote-first company.”
Today, we’re beyond excited to share this news with all of you!
What Has Work Looked Like for phData This Past Year?
phData has always had some remote workers — so what does this change mean?
Pre-COVID, phData operated as a remote-friendly company in the US — even as we maintained a heavy emphasis on the office. In India, we operated almost exclusively with an office-based work culture, therefore, this announcement represents a more significant change for our colleagues in Bangalore.
But as we watched COVID-19 turn into a worldwide pandemic, we knew we had to prioritize our employee’s health and well-being.
“We wanted to be among the first to close our offices, and we want to be among the last to reopen,” Mike told the team. phData has no plans to reopen our offices until a critical mass of the local population has been vaccinated.
Why Are We Switching To A Remote-First Culture?
COVID has changed the world and allowed us to prove how effective our business can operate while we are all remote.
Our entire organization has absorbed plenty of lessons this past year — chief among them being we can thrive as a community and provide a consistent and high-quality employee experience, regardless of everyone’s physical work location.
Ahmad Aburia, Senior Data Engineer at phData, shared his recent experience:
“Despite the challenges that come with working remotely, phData has ensured we have the necessary support to be successful and maintain a strong sense of community in the workplace. Our company transitioned exceptionally well under pandemic circumstances, and I’m proud to be part of an organization that values health and safety so much.”
Ahmad cites open Slack channels around common interests, open office hours from leadership, and virtual ‘coffee breaks’ with colleagues as some of the new initiatives that bridge the gap between remote work and strong work culture.
Once we realized that we could maintain that balance, the other benefits of moving to a remote-first culture became crystal clear:
- Removing the location barrier will allow us to continue to recruit the best and brightest individuals across the U.S. and India.
- Our employees will spend less time commuting to the office, and more time with their families or working on projects.
- Remote-first allows both the company and individual employees long-term flexibility.
- Employees will be able to design their ideal workspace in a location that best suits them and their families.
What Happens Now?
Remote-first means we will allow all current and future phData employees to work remotely (both within the US and India) permanently, but we will continue to maintain our offices in Minneapolis and Bangalore.
Because we’re social beings — and work thrives when humans thrive — we will also continue to encourage in-person interaction (once it is safe to do so).
Our leadership team has a few strategies to foster a healthy work culture as we transition to a remote-first environment. We will:
- Train our leaders on how to lead a distributed team effectively.
- Hire people who are ready and committed to working and collaborating in a remote-first environment.
- Keep an open mind, embracing new ways of working, and challenging conventional norms.
- Operate with a high level of trust, self-discipline, and integrity.
- Find creative ways to stay visible and build and maintain quality relationships as our team grows.
- Assume positive intent with our colleagues, interacting with humility and empathy.
- Provide a high-quality, engaging onboarding experience for all of our new teammates.
Again, remote-first does not mean only remote. As we maintain our offices, we will strongly encourage those who are local to Minneapolis and Bangalore to use them. We are huge believers in the value of meeting face-to-face — eating lunch together and sharing ideas through casual office conversations. Our remote-first culture will only add to this, not detract from it.
The upshot? We’ll continue to delight our customers and find creative ways to foster community while we maintain our commitment to supporting healthy habits and well-being for everyone at phData. As we have all learned, working remotely requires a different approach to self-care, and our community will strengthen when we share tips with and support each other.
We’re excited for the challenges, opportunities, and growth that will come as we embark on this new journey together.