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Becoming Location Independent

Remote

4 April, 2018

Ali Seyedmehdi talks about his experiences with his company becoming location independent.

Problem

Becoming location independent was important for our company, as we wanted to have a better work-life balance. It was important for us to be able to work at any time of the day, and not to be dependent on a specific location or time zone. We also wanted to be able to have employees choose their work environment, as we believed their environment was what gave them the energy they need, and that each environment need would be different. Some people are comfortable working from home, while others prefer more of an office environment. These requirements led us to start embedding our beliefs into the day-to-day running of our company.

Actions taken

When we first started out we had an office. It is useful for customers to be able to visit a company's headquarters, so we have one in Amsterdam, however, as we have grown the office has actually emptied out and only thirty percent of the company works there. I work with my direct reports across various countries. Our reporting is embedded in our system, and we have clear processes so that everyone knows what they should be doing and why. We embed the habit of writing things down in our employees, so that everyone is aware of what other people are working on and what needs to be done. We faced some obstacles when first becoming more location independent. Communication was difficult, because you can't as easily speak to colleagues, so we had to find systems and processes to assist with this. We also worked out company values, habits, areas of responsibilities and clear processes to ensure that everyone understood what was required of them, and what they needed to do.

Lessons learned

Making our company location independent has really been beneficial. It has helped to ensure I stay out of autopilot mode, as I can change my environment to keep mentally active. I can also manage my health better, by walking and doing exercise, which then allows me to do my work more efficiently. Have clear values, habits and areas of responsibilities, so you don't have to work right next to your employees to know whether they're doing their job. Hire people based on this, and embed your values in your coaching. Also, make it a habit to write everything you do down, and have one central source of truth where all tasks and the according progress is documented. Doing this makes becoming more location independent much simpler.


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