Work from anywhere

By Sam Garven — Published

Let’s start with the obvious - the world of working has changed forever. Particularly for tech companies whose only tool of the trade is a laptop and a decent internet connection (which I’m convinced doesn’t actually exist in Australia). Remote, hybrid, flex, whatever you want to call it, flexible working is here to stay. And we like that.

At Kinde, you can work from anywhere. You can work from home, from our office in Sydney, from a WeWork paid for by us, or anywhere else with internet. We don’t believe that tethering people to a fixed location is the secret sauce to productivity (cough*Elon*cough). What’s important to us is that people can work in a way and location that suits their individual needs.

We will always embrace this way of working - not just because it’s easier to attract talent all over Australia, but because it’s inclusive. For caregivers, they may choose remote work because they have children or other family members to look after. For people with disabilities, commuting into the office can be difficult and often stressful. For neurodiverse folks, working from home can accommodate for a more comfortable working environment. However, we mustn’t forget about the importance of having an office space. Not everyone has a home environment that’s suitable for working remotely. Some people may share a house and work from a couch or bed. Others may not have reliable internet access. In some cases, the office is a safe place away from domestic abuse. We need to be careful not to leave people behind when defining where work is done. One size does not fit all.

From day one, we have embraced a remote first and flexible working environment. This gave us the opportunity to hire the right people for the job, regardless of their location or personal situation. So far, we’ve hired:

  • Our Finance Manager, who was in France while her partner finished up a job overseas
  • Our Security Specialist, who was travelling around Australia with his family in a campervan and at the time of writing, is somewhere in Europe
  • Our Head of Marketing, who worked part time while coming back from parental leave

Speaking from my own experience, I joined Kinde knowing that I’d be able to work in Canada while visiting the family I’ve been away from for over 3 years.

While there are some limitations to how we work from anywhere, like you must be able to legally work in Australia and have a permanent home address here (that is, until we tackle the rest of the world), that’s pretty much it. We don’t have a formalised policy telling people when, how and where they must work. Maybe we will one day, maybe we won’t. For now, we find it works best to provide guidance on working asynchronously, how we share information, and what flexibility really means and when to show up (virtually or occasionally, IRL). Let’s break those down.

How to work async

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Asynchronous simply means that not everyone needs to be online and working at the same time. In practice, this means we don’t expect immediate answers to our Slacks and emails. It also means we can send those Slacks and emails after hours and not worry about using the schedule message feature. We also embrace the ‘No Hello’ because it just makes so much damn sense.

Yes, there will be times when something is urgent and needs immediate attention. We kick it old school in these instances and pick up the phone.

Open by default

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Wherever possible, we share information with each other. With the exception of the obvious things like employee contracts, personal information and top secret party plans, everything is accessible. We share updates and ask questions on public Slack channels dedicated to those topics. We also document everything (no really, everything) in Notion and shared Google files.

What flexible means

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This term can mean so many different things to different people and across different industries. For us, flexible simply means showing up for the important things, in work and life. If your child has a recital, your dog needs walking, you have a yoga class, or the surf is looking good, go do that. It’s important. When we have our All Hands, meetings with customers, team stand-ups, or 1-on-1s, show up for these too, they’re also important.

Above all else, the guiding light of our working style is centred around trust. If we can’t trust our people, we aren’t being the best Kinde we can be.

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