High-speed internet and powerful apps make it possible for just about anyone with a desk job to work from home. Yet today most companies still insist that employees endure the sometimes soul-crushing commute to an office.
We get it. Face time is important: great for team-building, collaboration, and navigating the nuances of communication. However, as the companies below demonstrate, you don’t need a physical office to be successful.
In fact, one might argue that going fully remote with a 100% distributed team–with no company offices at all–actually makes businesses more successful. Hire the best talent (wherever they are), eliminate expensive office overhead and distractions, and play a big part in reducing our carbon footprint. As Automattic’s Matt Wullenweg has said:
We focus on two things when hiring. First, find the best people you can in the world. And second, let them do their work. Just get out of their way.
Companies as large as Microsoft, as fast-growing as Slack, and as upstart as Help Scout, allow team members to work remotely, if needed. But that could lead to missing out on a remote environment’s best benefits. With no headquarters or corporate offices, completely remote teams keep everyone on the same playing field, avoiding the unequal balances of power that can easily arise if some of the team still works in the office.
Companies that offer remote work care most about what team members produce–not whether they’re in the same room together. And they trust their employees to do their best work even if no one’s looking over their shoulders.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your job to one that gives you more time in your day and supports better work/life balance, consider the 25+ companies below who have fully embraced the remote work way of life. They’re hiring for tech jobs, as well as roles in marketing, customer service, project management, and other positions. You might want to bookmark this list for future reference in your next job hunt!
“The best talent isn’t found in a single zip code, and an international clientele requires a global perspective.”
Web design and development consulting service 10up describes their 120+ person team as “one big happy family”–a family that’s distributed worldwide and stays connected with Slack, Google Hangout, and plain old text.
If you’re looking for a remote job in web strategy, design, and engineering, take a look at 10up. You can apply even if you don’t see a current opening: The company says they’re always looking for talented strategists, project managers, engineers, designers, systems administrators, and advertising specialists.
“We have a set of tools to make this kind of working possible. You won’t miss anything important even if you’re working in weird hours. In fact, some of us do.”
Arkency is a consulting agency that builds business software, trains programmers, and produces books and webinars. They’re always hiring talented coders who communicate well and can prioritize their work (both invaluable skills for remote workers). And they’ve built a culture and environment to help distributed team members thrive, centered around the concepts of “anarchy, async, and remote”:
Anarchy means flexible work hours, choosing your own priorities and coming up with the initiative (we love that!). Remote means you are working from everywhere in the world – home, your coworking office, whatever. And async means all communication is not meant to be done instantly – we avoid meetings and long discussions.
In fact, Arkency founder Andrzej Krzywda told us that “More than remote, we value async, which means work at any time you prefer. The whole process is constructed around it. Asyc/remote is part of our DNA. I think it’s now part of our lifestyle too. There’s a lot of freedom with such approach.”
The company welcomes you to contact them if you have the programming skillsets they’re looking for. In addition to flexibility, one unusual perk employees enjoy is access to a team server for Civilization 5 games, also available for other async teams.
“Work where, when, and how you want. There’s no corporate office, no corporate B.S. Nothing between you and your best work.”
Software development company Articulate creates tools to author e-learning courses for the web and mobile. Founded in 2002, Articulate’s main operating principle is to empower its employees–and a big part of that is allowing staff to work wherever they want. Along with telecommuting, the company offers an equipment and technology stipend for setting up a home office, flexible paid time off, and annual retreats.
As of this writing, Articulate is looking to hire web and macOS developers, as well as a site reliability engineer.
“We care about the work you produce, not the hours you put in.
You’ve likely used or at least heard of one of the apps Automattic has produced. The team is the genius behind WordPress.com, Longreads, Simplenote, Gravatar, Polldaddy, and other tools many rely on day-in and day-out. “Automatticians” work from anywhere they want, and their current team of nearly 500 employees are located in over 50 countries. So how do they do it? Automattic Happiness Engineer Andrew Spittle shared with us:
To wrangle all those timezones we rely on Slack alongside a network of real-time blogs running the P2 theme. It can feel like chaos at times, but it works well for us. Text is our predominant communication mode and we look for strong writing skills in applicants. On the support side that’s key since text is not just how we communicate with customers but also with each other. Our interview process is all done through text chats, too, as a way to evaluate that ability.
Automattic is currently hiring for over a dozen positions in the engineering, business, product, marketing, and support departments. Employees enjoy an annual week-long retreat and department retreats, paid sabbaticals every five years, home office and coworking allowances, and an open vacation policy.
“At Buffer, we’ve experimented with new elements of work: titles and no titles, managers and no managers, office and no office. We don’t work on a fixed schedule or from a fixed location.”
Buffer is also a fully distributed team, with more than 80 employees working in several different countries (see this employee timezones map, which is pretty interesting). The company’s social media management tools are used by over 60,000 paying customers (including Zapier) because it makes sharing on social networks a breeze.
Courtney Seiter, Buffer’s Inclusivity Catalyst, shares that instead of having a hybrid remote and on-site environment, Buffer “does everything 100% remote first to create that feeling of inclusivity and equality across the board.”
Buffer is also one of the most transparent SaaS companies, sharing hiring practices and salaries, revenue details, product roadmaps, and more on their transparency page. When you join the Buffer team, you’ll know what you’re getting into. In addition to telecommuting, employee perks include unlimited vacation, free books and Kindles, and annual international retreats (the last one was in Waikiki, Hawaii!).
“We don’t bother with office politics, both because that’s way too cliche, and also, because we don’t have an office. (So, you can wear stretchy pants to work and no one will judge.)”
Edgar is “the social media queue that fills itself.” Edgar lets you add social media updates to categories in your library, then posts it according to your category-based schedule. When every update in the category has been posted, Edgar will re-post updates so more new audiences can see them.
Started in 2014, the company currently has team members spread across the US and Canada. They seem like a talented bunch of folks, too, with employees who play the ukelele, write comedic haikus, design interiors, and more. See Edgar’s careers page to find an open position.
Fire Engine RED
“Being able to hire the very best people without having to consider geographical restraints is key to our company culture – and to our clients’ continuing success.”
Fire Engine RED provides marketing, technology, and data solutions to the education market. They’ve done so as a 100% remote company since their founding in 2001, with 70 team members spread out over North America. Fire Engine RED has over 500 clients, including 350 admissions offices, who turn to them for student search, predictive modeling, CRM, software products, and creative and digital services.
Fire Engine RED’s Communications Director Chuck Vadun shared a few interesting facts about their remote work culture. They use Skype (audio only) and Trillian Instant Messenger on a daily basis, and their team tends to be highly entrepreneurial—”thinking like owners, not employees.” And employees even get to take time outs:
If needed, our employees may take up to four hours of ‘out’ time on a particular day – without using their vacation time. We offer ‘out’ time to exercise, attend school functions, pick up relatives from the airport, drop off kids at soccer practice, and more.
“Throughout our hiring process, we are specifically looking for people who are great at communicating, who are drawn to the mission-driven aspect of our company, and who show an ability to collaborate with a team, as well as work independently.”
FlexJobs helps job seekers find legitimate flexible jobs–telecommuting jobs, part-time jobs, and freelance work. So it’s no surprise that the company itself is 100% remote and has been from the beginning, since CEO Sara Sutton Fell founded the company while looking for flexibility in her own career.
The current FlexJobs team spans from Maine to Hawaii and crosses 6 different time zones, so they rely on tools such as Slack, Sococo, Google Apps, join.me, and Pivotal Tracker to collaborate efficiently. In addition to working from their home offices across the United States, employees enjoy unlimited vacation time, virtual fitness classes such as yoga and bellydancing, monthly happy hour trivia events, and surprise packages delivered to their homes a couple of times a year.
You’ll need a FlexJobs membership ($15/month) to see opening for the company, but that also includes access to hand-screened flexible job listings from thousands of companies in over 50 career categories–and there’s a satisfaction guarantee.
“This unique environment allows us to maintain a low overhead, while attracting the most talented employees from around the globe.”
Genuitec is a software development company that helps enterprises streamline their development lifecycle. A founding member of the Eclipse Foundation, they provide technologies for 16,000 companies worldwide and are a fully-distributed workforce.
The company relies on Skype for work and as a virtual water cooler, mandating status usage so team members always know when people are available or out. Genuitec telecommuters are located in the US, India, Mexico, Africa, and Europe.
See Genuitecjob openings.
“The flexibility that remote working brings makes that we don’t have to worry about living life at the end of the day.
“The platform for modern developers,” GitLab is a code collaboration platform built for the enterprise. In fact, it’s used by programmers in Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and other organizations, including NASA. GitLab is also a community project.
The fully remote company has staff located in three continents. Their remote manifesto highlights the team’s values, which include bonding in real life when possible and giving credit when credit’s due (in a special #thanks Slack channel, even).
As of this writing, there are over a dozen open positions for engineers, product managers, account executives, and more.
“Our headquarters is the internet. If you have a wifi connection, we have an office near you.”
Elegant blogging platform Ghost is the tool behind the publishing efforts of organizations such as NASA, Square, and Graze. Ghost is open source, free, and customizable–and created almost entirely by volunteers.
The non-profit Ghost Foundation runs and organizes Ghost, and the team of developers and other staff works online “from all corners of the internet.” Benefits include flexible time off, support for personal development, office setup allowances, and meetups a few times a year.
“We don’t have an office, and our entire team is remote. Do your work from absolutely anywhere with an internet connection.”
Groove provides simple help desk software to over 4,500 small businesses. The customizable web app makes managing support tickets easy for teams. Launched 3 years ago, the company consists of 9 staff across 9 cities. And currently has 2 open positions.
What do they look for in their remote workers? Here’s what CEO Alex Turnbull shared with us:
“The number one thing we look for in a remote employee is the skill of working remotely. Too many businesses who go remote don’t realize that remote working is a skill, just like design or coding, and you need to hire for it. Of course, the lucky ones figure it out pretty quickly after their first few hires.”
“One of the ways that we look for this skill is by asking questions like ‘what does your work setup look like?’ in interviews. If someone hasn’t put much thought into their setup and works from their couch 100% of the time, or worse, ‘doesn’t know yet,’ this signals that they might not be ready for a remote position yet.”
(So set up your home office for productivity before applying!)
“The company’s office space is virtual and no one misses commutes or the overhead costs of having an office.”
Time-tracking tool Hubstaff is used by over 8,000 remote teams to not just track time, but also help with automatic payroll processing and attendance scheduling. The company was founded in 2012 by two entrepreneurs who wanted a better way to manage remote freelancers—so it’s only fitting their product is built by a remote team.
Employees enjoy both the freedom to work from anywhere and flexible hours, because Hubstaff believes remote work is the future.
Currently, Hubstaff is comprised of 10 team members and is hiring for roles in marketing, development, customer support, and PR.
“The best thing about being 100% distributed is that our pool of potential talent is as big as it can possibly be—there are no geographical barriers keeping us from hiring someone.”
How-To Geek is an online tech magazine created by geeks for geeks. There are few tech subjects this instructional site hasn’t covered in depth and in easy-to-understand language. The team is also completely remote.
Founder Lowell Heddings says:
Having a better pool of talent was really important, and really the primary reason we chose to do everything distributed. As we grew bigger, we looked at the idea of having an office, but it didn’t make a ton of sense. The reality is that Northern Virginia is extremely expensive, so hiring everybody here would cost us a fortune, and office space is really expensive… but more importantly, we never found any good writers in this area. The best ones ended up being all over the country.
The small team relies on Slack as their central communication tool and gets together usually about once a year for major events like CES.
Editor-in-Chief Whitson Gordon say that even though they’re not currently in the hiring process, he’s always on the lookout for potential new hires. If you join the team, you’ll get benefits such as a flexible schedule, generous vacation time, and–highly unusual these days–fully paid health insurance.
“With a distributed team, we can hire the smartest people no matter where they live and keep them if they decide to relocate. Have WiFi, can travel 🙂 “
InVision provides a design collaboration and prototyping platform that’s used by companies such as Evernote, Adobe, Airbnb, and Salesforce. With InVision, teams can design and user test products using an intuitive interface from anywhere—just how the InVision team of 220+ staffers in 14 different countries works.
Avi Posluns, InVision Director of Team Happiness shares:
Being 100% distributed is intentional and comes from the top. Our CEO Clark Valberg wants his staff to work wherever they want, whenever they want. Working remotely gives InVision team members authorship over their lives in a way many people can’t have if they’re working a tradition desk job. We place the emphasis on outcomes, not physical presence. Being remote also lets us tap into talent that isn’t limited by physical location. We’re able to bring on team members who are great at what they do regardless of where they’re located.
The startup offers broad personal medical insurance, free gym memberships, equipment allowances, conference and travel stipends, and even unlimited Starbucks drinks. Weekly checkins and anonymous surveys help ensure employees are satisfied and supported.
InVision is currently hiring for a number of positions across sales, product, and engineering departments.
“We’ve been 100% remote from the beginning. Every decision we’ve made has been around how to best grow a team, do amazing work, and build a lasting culture in a 100% remote environment.”
Knack is a cloud-based database tool that makes it easy for anyone to manage, share, and utilize their data. Over 3,000 customers, including Harvard University and Tesla, use Knack for creating things like inventory managers and customer portals (and even a bee hive manager).
Currently a small team of 18, Knack’s headquarters is the internet. The team gets together twice a year at retreats and enjoys unlimited paid vacation as well as an annual allowance for learning credits. The company says they typically hire on fit over need, so if you don’t see an open position there, you’re still welcome to apply if you think you’re a great match.
“Our employees live and work where they want and manage the right work/life balance for themselves. As a result, some of the most amazing and talented professionals choose to work here.”
Rocana offers advanced analytic tools for IT departments. CIOs and technologists use Rocana to capture and see everything that’s happening in their IT environment.
The fully distributed company employs over 50 team members, who meet quarterly in person at all sorts of locations. According to Rocana’s website, the company hires talented team players (and there’s a strict “no jerks” policy):
We value analytical thinking as a first class skill and believe titles are used to reflect responsibilities, not status. We hire people who care, are engaged, and strive to deliver against aggressive goals. We hire people who are passionate about helping others and seek opportunities to ask for help.
“Open source is in our DNA, as is being 100% remote.”
Web-crawling experts Scrapinghub are behind Scrapy Cloud, a cloud-based web crawling platform that helps developers gather data from bllions of web pages. They also provide web crawling services and consulting.
Founded in 2010, Scrapinghub is a globally distributed team of 130 people (many, notably, engineers) from over 40 countries. Because the company is 100% remote, employees are welcome to be digital nomads: “Ever imagined working on sponsored open source projects while traveling year-round? At Scrapinghub, you can – and some do.”
Scrapinghub co-founder Pablo Hoffman shared with us:
I’m in Montevideo, Uruguay, a small country in South America. There’s only so much talent available locally. The same applies for Cork, Ireland (where my partner lives) and pretty much every other city you pick in the world. You either have too little talent or too much competition for it (case of SF and the valley) that only established and well-funded companies can afford to compete. With 100% distributed workforce, you have both: a lot of talent and little competition because there’s only a few companies doing 100% remote right (ie. remote-first), although more and more have been jumping into that boat since we started in 2010, leveling the competition up.
Job perks include 20 paid vacation days a year plus all local country holidays, a computer equipment allowance, and paid subscriptions to online courses for career development.
“We are designers, engineers, and communicators united by a common goal, not a common location.”
Millions of people use Todoist to manage their tasks and projects. Todoist sports a distraction-free, minimalist design and is available as a web app, desktop app, mobile app, and browser extension. The company behind Todoist, Doist, has been around since 2007, and their team members are spread across 12 different countries.
Todoist creator Amir Salihefendic says in an interview with Fast Company that Doist became a remote company out of necessity–to find and retain talent–but also that “a product stands a better chance of resonating with a global workforce when it’s created by people around the world.” So not only is Doist a fully distributed team, they’re also making tools to help other remote teams succeed.
Doist job perks include 25 paid days of vacation a year (in addition to national holidays) and a $3,000 per year stipend for self-improvement.
“We believe great people will make awesome stuff anywhere.
No need to move for your dream job. We hire globally. You work locally.”
Toggl is one of the simplest time-tracking tools–so simple, you’ll actually use it. As the name suggests, all you have to do is press the start button in the web app, desktop app, mobile app, or Chrome extension to start tracking your time. Toggl also might have the best home page video ever.
Media relations manager for Toggl, Dunja Lazic, shared with us a few interesting things about working at the fully remote company. The team spans 9 timezones and 5 continents, but was founded in Estonia, “a rather small European country with big ambitions.” Team members meet at retreats in places like a castle near Edinburgh and Recco, a small village on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Toggl encourages employees to travel, set their own goals, and take charge of their own work. You can learn more about Toggl’s company values here.
“No offices, no useless meetings, no mandatory hours. You’re recognized for what you do, not your time in a chair.”
If you’re looking to hire a talented freelancer, check out Toptal, an exclusive network of freelance software developers and designers. Toptal matches your talent requirements with freelancers in their network, and then you work with them first on a risk-free trial basis. The company accepts only 3% or fewer of freelance applicants.
And Toptal is also hiring for employees to join their completely distributed team. Employees are currently working from the US, Russia, Bulgaria, Spain, Argentina, Thailand, and several other countries across the globe.
Currently there are several tech positions open at Toptal and dozens of openings for the rest of the business. If you don’t see a position on Toptal’s career page that’s a match for you, you’re encouraged to contact them anyway.
“Proximity doesn’t influence productivity so we all work remotely.”
YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget, is a popular budgeting app available for the web, iPhone, and Android. YNAB helps users create and stick to a realistic budget through a unique method of categorizing spending. It connects directly to bank accounts and your budget syncs across your devices.
Currently, the YNAB team of 40+ employees lives all over the world (71% of continents have a YNAB employee, in fact). Generous perks include a minimum paid vacation day requirement of 25 days, annual meetups, 100% medical insurance coverage, bonuses based on profitability, and retirement contributions of 3%–even if employees don’t invest in the 401(k) themselves.
“We’re a 100% distributed team living and working all over the world to help you automate the most tedious parts of your day to day job.”
Last but not least, there’s Zapier, an automation tool that connects your favorite web apps, such as Gmail, Slack, MailChimp, and over 750 more. With Zapier-powered app integrations, you can move info between your apps automatically so you can focus on your best work. (By the way, Zapier rhymes with happier.)
The Zapier team of (currently) 80 people are spread across 13 countries. Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster explains why the company chose to be completely distributed, without any headquarters:
It’s a better way to work. It allows us to hire smart people no matter where in the world, and it gives those people hours back in their day to spend with friends and family. We save money on office space and all the hassles that comes with that. A lot of people are more productive in remote setting, though it does require some more discipline too.
Zapier employees keep connected on a daily basis with Slack for group chat, Google Docs and Hackpad for documentation, Trello for project management, Zoom for video conferencing, and an internal blog for team updates (what we use in place of team emails).
Job benefits include flexible work hours, unlimited vacation days, 4% company retirement match, profit sharing, generous health coverage, and 2-3 fully-paid retreats. (Most recently, the team got together in Boerne, TX. Wade says, however, that the most interesting retreat so far was to Timber Moose Lodge in Herber City, UT–the largest private log cabin in the US, “eccentric, maze-like, and amazing.”)
We reply to every applicant, even if it doesn’t seem like a good fit.
Bonus: Other Remote Companies That Are Hiring
The companies above are completely virtual teams–no headquarters or any official physical presence. But many other companies do have offices while still embracing the remote work lifestyle.
Basecamp, for example, consists of about 50 employees across 32 cities around the world. They’re the team behind the popular collaboration and project management tool. Around 14 members choose to work out of the company’s Chicago headquarters; everyone, however, is free to work wherever they want. Basecamp CEO and founder Jason Fried and partner David Heinemeier Hansson, in fact, wrote a book about remote work, called Remote: Office Not Required. Basecamp job openings, when available, are posted to We Work Remotely—a great site to watch when looking for a remote position. See current Basecamp job openings.
Harvest is an intuitive, simple time tracking app that also lets you create invoices and keep track of expenses. Headquartered in New York City, the 50+ person Harvest team is distributed across the globe. See Harvest open positions.
Trello similarly also gives employees the option to work at their office in New York City or anywhere they want. “We’ll set you up wherever you are so long as you’ve got a quiet place to work, a good Internet connection, and we can legally pay you where you live.” See current Trello job openings.
The Wirecutter and The Sweethome staff perform months of research and testing on products to help users quickly decide what to buy. They have a New York office where gadgets and gear are sent–and often tested or photographed–but no one on the team works there 9-5 and employees are free to work from anywhere. Here are the apps the team uses for remote work and the company’s jobs page.
There are too many other companies to mention here that support remote work (which is a good thing!). For further help finding a company that will let you work from home or anywhere else, see:
- This list of over 200 startups that hire remotely via Remotive.io
- A list of over 50 large companies that allow more than half of employees to telecommute fromWorking Mother. (Select the telecommuting filter to find those companies.)
- 25+ resources for finding a remote job, such as telecommuting-focused job boards, from Hubstaff.
Know of any 100% remote companies? Share them with us in the comments.