At Chorus One, we have been a distributed company since the start. I was a fan of this model from the beginning. And over time my appreciation of the benefits have only grown.
Three benefits stand out to me the most:
- Limitless Talent Pool
We have people from Brazil to India. Aside from requiring some time zone overlap, we can hire people all over the world. The quality of the team we have been able to build at Chorus One is extraordinarily high. There is no way we would have been able to get anywhere near this if we restricted ourselves to hiring in a particular location, even a bigger city like Berlin.
There are other benefits to hiring globally like increased diversity. But the benefit that you are able to draw on a talent pool that is likely between 100 and 10'000 times bigger than what you find locally can't be overstated.
- Enable Autonomy and Freedom
Crypto is creating a new economic and financial system. It is tearing down the gatekeepers and increasing freedom and autonomy for individuals. We strive to contribute to that by securing decentralized networks and allowing people to participate actively. Being a distributed company allows us to maximize autonomy and freedom for team members.
It does so by minimizing the degree to which the company constrains each team member's life. Do you want to live in a more tax or crypto-friendly jurisdiction? Enjoy better weather? Be close to the beach? Divide your time between places? We are fully supportive.
This also applies to working hours. People are in different time zones anyway, so fixed working hours wouldn't work. And tracking hours would be similarly impractical. We don't see that as a limitation but actively embrace it. Some scheduled commitments like recurring calls are necessary. But we keep those to a minimum so everyone has the maximum freedom possible to structure their days.
This also applies to holidays. We don't keep track of that. People are encouraged to take at least the ~5 weeks that is legally prescribed in many locations. But it's their own responsibility to do so and there is no system of requesting, approving or tracking time off either.
- Focus on Outcomes
Since we don't know how much time or effort people put into their work, we don't focus on it. Instead we focus on outcome. What are we trying to achieve? How do we measure success? On a company level, there are is no project management software or task list. People can use whatever they like. But we do as an organization invest a lot of time and energy into the OKR process.
OKRs are purely about objectives and measurable key results to understand how we are doing. It is a natural fit with being a distributed team.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic distributed work has become much more common. To fully benefit from the advantages of a distributed team, you have to adopt practices and values that support it.
But the benefits are enormous. And I am convinced that the most effective and successful companies in the future will be distributed.