Designing a Great Place to Work for Everyone

December 3, 2020

Designing a Great Place to Work for Everyone

Be the best workplace on the planet

That is our most important value; our stake in the ground.

Everything else falls beneath that banner.

I don’t care about creating another company which is the best place in the world for a select few. Nor do I have any desire to extend the adult kids club culture that has emerged from within other companies. Table tennis tables, restaurants, laundry, and every other unnecessary gimmick companies employ to lengthen the amount of time spent at the office.

Who wants to work for that any more? Stuck in a high cost of living city, wasting our lives commuting, with no time left for ourselves or to spend time with the people we care about most.

Employees don't need ping pong tables or beer fridges at work.

Employees need the flexibility to do their best work and live.

Employees want more time, trust, freedom, and autonomy.

The best places to work give you the most time back. They empower you to produce incredible work by removing obstacles, bottlenecks, and unnecessary red tape.

That is where the most talented people in the world produce their best work.

That is what we are seeking to create at Firstbase.

At a time when hustle porn and the lunacy of never-ending workdays influence every channel online, the companies that dominate this decade will find new ways to work. This will empower them to attract and retain the most talented people globally.

I don’t want to build a company which is only the best place on the planet for young males and people who see work as an opportunity to ‘get out of the house’. We need to be the best place on the planet for anyone, anywhere, of every age, gender, color, culture, and orientation to work.

As a young, white, male CEO I am intimately aware of the experiences & perspectives I lack. Those blindspots mean I have to be more purposeful about the workplace and culture we design at Firstbase. This is something I can’t do alone and won’t happen if the company becomes homogeneous with people who share the same or similar life experiences & perspectives as me. I want to help build a company that:

  1. I am proud to serve.
  2. My family is proud I work at.
  3. Our teams are proud to work at.
  4. Our team’s family is proud they work at.

Firstbase will be the best place on the planet for:

By doing this we will:

  1. build the most inclusive company in history.
  2. build the most diverse company in history.
  3. be the best place for anyone to work at.

I want our team to have:

  1. the highest quality of life possible outside of work.
  2. time to be the best possible version of themselves.
  3. time to be great parents, friends, siblings.
  4. time for their own health and wellbeing.
  5. time for what matters most to them.

We will be accountable for this, measure, and report regularly on all of these things.

This will help us produce the highest quality work any of us have ever done in our lives, together.

To do this, a company has to be remote

You can’t have those desires and disqualify people from participating.

You can’t expect them to waste 2 hours a day sitting in a pollution emitting box traveling to an office to work on equipment designed to be used anywhere on the planet.

You can’t demand that they are instantly responsive and accessible every moment of the day while expecting them to produce great work consistently.

That is why we believe companies have to become more asynchronous. Your team needs the space to do deep focussed work without distraction. This can only happen when they are not bombarded with notifications. An office is a place of instantaneous gratification. My hope for remote is that it doesn’t replicate all the negative aspects of the office remotely and destroy the benefits before they have the chance to emerge.

This is how we are designing Firstbase.

This is what Firstbase does for other companies.

Swap worklife balance for lifework balance

Expecting people to be productive for the entirety of a 9-5 day is insane. Nobody can be productive all day, every day, but companies arbitrarily impose those limitations on their teams. We’re still living life by the standard and expectations of the industrial revolution. Instead of empowering our teams to do their best work and operate when they are able to do that, we employ a one size fits all model that fits nobody. Design each role for the individual rather than the collective, is the new modus operandi.

Technology has emerged, evolved, and transformed every area of life while cultural expectations handcuff us to the past preventing us from improving.

Give people freedom and flexibility. Let them schedule their days to maximize their happiness. Your team are professionals. They know how much work needs to be done. Measure that. Unshackle them to live their lives rather than sacrificing them for work. Do this and they will produce the best work they’ve ever done.

Why is this so important to me?

I needed to go remote because I saw the waste of my life between the points I spent time with my partner and children. They were growing up while I was growing away. I had to make a change before I lost the moments I knew I would never get back.

I founded a financial technology company and decided that it would be remote for the above reasons. I also knew I’d be able to attract far more talented people than having a physical location that meant I could only hire the best people I could afford in a 30-mile radius. In the process of that, I discovered how much remote changed my life and pivoted the company to focus on delivering that to as many people as possible.

Now I get to work out, read, and spend time with them each morning in less time than my previous commute. My daughters know their Dad. I can drop them at school, attend any appointment I need to, travel whenever I want, without permission. I get to have dinner with my partner each evening and share in moments that have become fleeting for so many. The future of work is really about the future of living.

Remote lets me live my best life while producing the best work I’ve done in my life.

Remote work’s the next operating system for living.