Mitch Malone
3 min read4 days ago

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Atlassian has been Working From Anywhere for 1,000+ days and the experiment has been a resounding success. Please try very hard to imagine the complete lack of shock on my face.

After 13+ years of being a remote worker it is incredibly clear to me that if companies focus on implementing the right ways of working, remote working is awesome. I love it and I want others to love it too.

Atlassian just released a report called Lessons Learned: 1,000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian and not only is the report gorgeous, it clearly outlines their successes in implementing a remote-first working culture.

The opening quote sums it up well for me, because as modern day thought workers everything we already do is in the cloud anyway.

Being distributed is not controversial. It’s just a word that describes how almost all work gets done today: on the internet.

Here are my top takeaways from the report.

Atlassian Lessons Learned: 1000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian. Image from Atlassian report.

You have to be all in

When Atlassian announced their change to Working From Anywhere they went all in. They made a conscious decision that if they wanted to enable a remote-first culture they needed to adopt it across the entire organization all the way up to the founders.

For companies — processes, rituals and collaborations need to always start online, inside established systems to be inclusive of everyone. This means documentation becomes the most critical thing a team can do and everything start with documentation.

For individuals — if your company, or a prospective company you’re interviewing with, isn’t set up for a remote-first way of working, your role will frequently be a struggle. Anyone, at any level, can begin creating remote inclusive ways of working but be mindful that not every company will make the commitment of being all in on remote.

Collaboration: intentionality vs spontaneity

This line in the report really stood out to me:

We’re optimizing for intentionality, not spontaneity.

One of the things I often see companies do is confused collaboration with spontaneity. When talking about remote work I frequently hear leaders say, “we want our team in person for collaboration.” My argument is that remote work is just as collaborative, but generally less spontaneous.

Companies that are likely to succeed with remote work are ones who optimize themselves for high quality intentional collaboration over “quick” and distracting meetings to hash things out.

Don’t confuse collaboration with spontaneity.

Remote is key for attracting top, diverse talent

If you’re an employer who wants to tap into the best talent in the world, don’t assume they live in the city you’ve chosen to base your operation. Atlassian show that they’re attracting 2x more candidates and are hiring more readily by being a remote-first company.

It also shouldn’t be a surprise that it has had a roll on effect into diversity.

There will still be challenges

Remote work isn’t a silver bullet for a positive team culture, you still have to work at it. While it might seem that having a team of motivated intelligent individuals who are able to work in ways that suit them is a sure fire method for culture success, it’s just not that simple.

Companies still need to make sure there is a fully inclusive environments, you likely will still need some office space and some in-person time for relationship building, and your company culture will require just as much effort and attention as ever.

Conclusion

I’ve read a lot of reports about remote work work, 4 day work weeks, and other flexible arrangements over the lat few years. Every time I read these reports, and the evidence that we should be working in better ways becomes clearer, I obviously feel heartened in my own journey.

However you might personally feel about remote teams yourself, it’s hard to deny that it’s here to stay. As Atlassian likes to say — work from anywhere! ✌️

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Mitch Malone

Product and engineering leader (prev. CTO @ Linktree, Head of Eng @ BlueChilli). Nomad, remote worker, writer, photographer.