Remote is Only the First Step


Fred Perrotta

This post is an extension of the On Your Terms Manifesto.

Being remote is necessary but not sufficient for building more human companies.

I write a lot about the remote work here, and we cover the topic extensively on Tortuga's Medium publication, On Your Terms.

Ending the tyranny of the office is only the first step.

I've already written about remote teams that still have the hangups of office culture.

You might even know someone who works from home but has to be at their desk for set hours every day. Allowing teammates to work remotely is a good start but doesn't go far enough. In these cases, the company is shifting problems from the office to your house without fixing those problems. Working from home is an incremental improvement, but we can do better.

For many people and some companies, going remote is head-smackingly obvious once they see the light. Yes, remote is a radical change from years of office-only work, but, once you question the assumption that work has to be done at the office, you open up a world of possibilities.

Keep pushing yourself, or your employer, to question more assumptions about work. What do you do because "that's how it's done" or because "everyone else works this way?"

Even after years of building Tortuga to be the company where we (all of us, not just Jeremy and I) want to work, I still have to remind myself that we can do whatever we want. Without outside investors, we really do get to call all of the shots. When we consider doing something radically different than most companies, I think about why something is typically done a certain way to make sure that I'm not missing an obvious reason and making a dumb mistake. Then I look at other forward-thinking companies that also work on their terms. How are they handling this?

Keep questioning assumptions.

What ideas do we have that are left over from factories and industrial-era workplaces? How can you make your company more human?

Most of the answers don't cost much money. They do require commitment to them and trust in your team. Often, they require decentralization of decision making or authority. These changes are uncomfortable for controlling CEOs. But when you give up some control, you get a better company back in return. You just have to trust the process.