告別固定的辦公區域,初創公司Doist推出遠程工作方案

2015年07月24日 37556次瀏覽
告別固定的辦公區域,初創公司Doist推出遠程工作方案

八年多前,當Amir Salihefendic開發Todoist時,并不是想建立一個供員工大范圍使用的網絡。

 

Salihefendic在Bosnia長大,他在開發這個任務管理工具的時候還只是在丹麥念書的大學生,主要目的也只是供自己使用。幾年后,他決定全心投入在這個工具上,他發現自己需要雇幾名員工,而且經濟情況不允許他對工作地點挑三揀四。

 

現在,這家正式名稱叫做Doist的公司已經在20多個國家有了40多名員工,遍及白俄羅斯、巴西、加拿大、德國、意大利、日本、葡萄牙、俄羅斯、韓國和西班牙等等,在美國還有五名兼職員工。這個團隊為100多萬用戶提供服務。沒有依靠任何風投,公司僅通過訂閱內容,從一開始就保持著穩定的盈利能力,每天新增注冊用戶大約有1萬人。

 

這樣的經歷讓Salihefendic變成了遠程工作的傳道者。他不是一個人在戰斗,開發了WordPress的Automattic以及Buffer多年來都一直在宣揚分布式勞動力的好處,但有趣的是Doist出于自身利益做到了遠超過其他公司的程度。它為遠程工作者提供工具,并且能將這一過程中學到的東西都充分利用起來。

doist-ltd-1-638

 

遠離科技城市

Salihefendic正通過Skype從葡萄牙波爾圖和我聊天,他和他未來的妻子幾年前決定搬到這個城市。Doist有九名員工都在葡萄牙安家,Salihefendic也在一次游玩中愛上了這個國家,所以他們理應在這里建一個辦公室。但他們并不需要呀!

 

Salihefendic說Doist采用分布式勞動力主要是出于必要性。在臺灣為社交網絡Plurk工作時,他突發奇想地申請了智利的初創公司孵化器,一獲得批準他就打包離開了,從2008年起他就不太重視的Todoist重新得到了他的注意。在開發這個應用的第一個移動端版本時,Salihefendic開始遠程雇用員工。

 

Doist的第一名員工來自Salihefendic在孵化器中同事的推薦。為了更好地擴大隊伍,Doist采取了“游擊戰術”,從Hacker News、Github和Reddit之類的論壇上招兵買馬,至少在公司發展到足以吸引求職者之前都是這樣做的。

 

“在圣地亞哥并不是我出去轉一圈就能雇到厲害的安卓開發者的,”Salihefendic說,“可能是有一些,但是我找不到?!?br />
 

很快,Salihefendic發現遠程工作還有其他好處。不算辦公室和管理費用,光是雇用費用和在舊金山這樣的科技城市相比就只要二分之一到三分之一,而且還不用擔心Facebook和谷歌這樣的科技巨頭挖自己墻角。

 

“這不僅僅是開銷的問題,還有人才?!盨alihefendic說,“如果你去舊金山,你就是在和擁有數百萬投資的大公司競爭?!?br />
 

不過,最大的好處大概就是Doist能按自己的步調發展,一點一點地學著怎樣建立一家遠程公司。和其他創業者相比,Salihefendic對來自硅谷的投資以及它給公司帶來的壓力非常謹慎 。

 

他說:“這種投資會迫使公司非??焖俚匕l展,但卻無法真正地去建立一個優秀的團隊或去發展企業文化及經歷所必要的過程?!?br />
3

完善及推廣遠程工具

Doist的發展過程和其他宣揚遠程工作的公司相比并沒有很大的不同,它也一樣在招攬新員工,其中包括一項能看出求職者在獨立工作的情況下將如何表現的測試。員工津貼中包括員工的辦公場所費用和團隊偶爾見面需要的費用。Salihefendic還強調了書面溝通的必要性,并且每過一段時間一定要達成特定的目標。也就是說,雇主必須要完全投入這種遠程工作的模式,否則這種工作方式就注定失敗。

 

但在這些年來建立遠程公司的過程中,Salihefendic也發現所需的工具并不完備,而隨著Doist的發展,它可以制造更好的工具。Todoist本身就已經開始了這方面的嘗試,因為公司首先要迎合自己員工的需求。

 

比如說,遇到支持不同語言的問題時,Doist就因為在中國有一名財務經理而讓問題簡單了很多,他幫著解決了日期表述的復雜問題。Salihefendic說:“對一般的公司來說,我覺得他們可能不需要為中文日期花費大量的時間來改進、測試,但對我們來說這都是很正常的?!?br />
 

Salihefendic認為如果一件產品是由世界各地的人制造的,那么它就更有可能和全世界的用戶產生共鳴。他說Doist在臺灣有一個設計師,提供的觀點就和歐洲的設計師很不一樣。他補充說:“現在這個時代,我們制造的產品必須面向整個世界而不只是富有的白種人?!?br />
 

除了待辦清單軟件,Doist受自己的分布式勞動力的經驗影響,正在研發全新的產品。Salihefendic認為它有點像Slack,公司已經在用Slack了,不過新軟件更注重線程通訊。

 

“我們正在研發這個通訊軟件,我們內部也在使用它,并對它進行優化,讓它更符合我們的結構?!盨alihefendic說,“在Todoist身上也是一樣的,我們優化我們的產品使它們符合我們的要求,很可能最終它們也能滿足其他遠程公司的要求?!?br />
 

雖然遠程工作有一些成功的例子,但規模都比較小。并沒有足夠的事實能證明大型公司也能采用遠程工作。但Salihefendic想試一試。

 

“我不覺得擴大到幾千人的規模是不可能的?!盨alihefendic說,“我們想做的事之一就是制造出支持遠程工作的工具。你會看到我們在這些工具上的許多創新,它們能幫我們溝通、分享以及在一個龐大的團隊中安排活動?!?/strong>

 
WITH 40 PEOPLE IN 20+ COUNTRIES, THIS STARTUP WANTS TO MAKE PHYSICAL OFFICES IRRELEVANT
A network of far-flung employees wasn't what Amir Salihefendic had in mind when he created Todoist more than eight years ago.

 

Salihefendic, who fled Bosnia when he was six years old, was just a college student in Denmark when he designed the to-do list manager, primarily for his own use. When he decided to work on it full-time a few years later, he realized he needed employees, and couldn't afford to be picky about their locale.



Todoist creator, Amir Salihefendic
 

Today, Doist—that's the official company name—employs more than 40 people in more than 20 countries: Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and elsewhere—including five who work in the U.S. at least part of the time. This team serves more than one million active Todoist users. Through optional subscriptions, it has remained profitable from the beginning without any venture capital, and is adding roughly 10,000 new registered users every day.

 

The experience has turned Salihefendic into something of a remote-work evangelist. He's hardly alone—companies like WordPress creator Automattic?and Buffer?have been preaching the benefits of distributed workforces for years—but what's interesting about Doist is the extent to which it's powered by its own self interests. It's a distributed workforce making tools for remote workers, drawing on everything it learns in the process.

 
WORKING OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE
Salihefendic is talking to me via Skype from an office space in Porto, Portugal, where he and his wife-to-be decided to move a couple years ago. Nine of Doist's employees list Portugal as home—Salihefendic fell in love with the country during a visit—so having an office makes sense. But no one is required to be on the premises.

 

Doist's distributed workforce arose largely out of necessity, Salihefendic says. He'd been working from Taiwan on the social network Plurk, when on a whim he applied for a grant from a startup accelerator in Chile. He packed up and moved upon acceptance, and Todoist, which had been on the backburner since 2008, became his focus once again. Salihefendic started hiring remotely while building the app's first mobile versions.

 

Doist's first employees were recommendations from Salihefendic's accelerator colleagues. To build the workforce further, Doist used "guerrilla tactics," he says, recruiting through forums like Hacker News, Github, and Reddit—at least until the company was large enough to attract applicants directly.

 

"It's not like I can go out and hire great Android developers in Santiago," Salihefendic says. "There were probably some, but I could not find them."




Salihefendic quickly figured out that a remote workforce had other virtues. He estimates that his employee costs are a half to a third what they would be in a tech hub such as San Francisco—not counting savings on office space and other overheads—and he doesn't have to worry about tech giants like Facebook and Google stealing his best employees.

 

"It's not only about expenses, it's also about talent," Salihefendic says. "If you go to San Francisco, you're competing against companies that have a lot of millions in investment."

 

Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is that Doist was able to grow on its own schedule, learning how to build a remote company as it went along. By comparison, Salihefendic seems wary of Silicon Valley funding, and the pressure it puts on companies to rapidly staff up.

 

"This kind of thing forces you to grow really fast without having time to really build a team, build a culture, build a process," he says.





FASHIONING THE TOOLS
Much of Doist's process doesn't sound drastically different from what's being preached by other remote-work evangelists. The company's screening for new hires, for instance, involves a test project to see how well the candidate works independently. Employee perks include an offer to pay for co-working space and the occasional team meet-up. Salihefendic also stresses the need for written communication and an emphasis on achieving specific goals over time. In other words, employers must go all-in with a remote-work mindset, otherwise they'll fail.

 

But in building a remote company over many years, Salihefendic has also started thinking that the tools are incomplete, and that Doist can build better ones as it grows. Todoist itself has already been part of that process, as the company adapts it to the needs of its own employees.

 

When it came to supporting different languages, for instance, Doist's job was made easier by having a financial manager in China, who helped deal with the complexities of date parsing. "For a normal company, I don't think you would focus on implementing Chinese date parsing, and spending a ton of time on improving and using and testing it, but for us it's just natural," Salihefendic says.

 

More broadly, Salihefendic believes a product stands a better chance of resonating with a global workforce when it's created by people around the world. He points out that Doist has a designer in Taiwan, who provides a different perspective on design than someone in Europe. "In the current world, the product that we need to build has to target the whole world, and not only white rich people," he says.

 

Beyond just its to-do list product, Doist is working on something completely new, borne from its own experience as a distributed workforce. Salihefendic describes it as somewhat similar to Slack—which the company already uses—but with an emphasis on threaded communications. It's in early alpha, but the plan is to eventually release it publicly. Not unlike Todoist in its dorm room days, it could be another self-serving tool that ends up being useful to millions.

 

"We are doing this communication app, and we are using it inside our team, and we can evolve it and fit it to our structure," Salihefendic says. "And the same thing with Todoist: We can develop stuff that solves our needs, and maybe in the end will solve the needs of other remote companies as well."

 

While remote work has plenty of success stories, most of them have head counts in the dozens, not hundreds or thousands. There's not a lot of proof that a massive organization can have a fully distributed workforce. Salihefendic wants to try.

 

"I can't really see why you should not be able to scale to thousands of people," Salihefendic says. "One of the things we want to do as a company is create tools that enable remote work. You will see a lot of innovation in the tools that we have access to that enable us to communicate, share thoughts, and organize thoughts inside huge remote organizations."

 

Source:Fastcompany
您可能感興趣的文章
香蕉手机网