Buffer evolved from co-founder Joel Gascoigne’s desire to tweet 3 times a day with minimum of fuss. The company’s eponymous tool now enjoys huge popularity among marketers, bloggers, and anyone else who needs to maintain a consistent social media presence. Here at Workfrom, we appreciate the ease with which Buffer allows us to manage our multiple social profiles.
We had the chance to speak with PR Specialist Hailley Griffis about the 100% distributed team behind Buffer’s success.
How many employees and contractors do you have?
Please tell us about the importance of location independence at your company.
One of Buffer’s core values is “Live Smarter, Not Harder” and within that we talk about choosing the place on earth that makes someone the happiest and most productive.
Did you start with the intention of having a distributed or nomadic team? If not, when did you decide to support people working remotely?
While I wasn’t around at the start, I’ve heard this story a few times. Joel and Leo (co-founders) were in San Francisco at the time and after raising funding, their visas expired and they moved to a few different locations (Hong Kong, Israel) to keep working on Buffer. Buffer being remote happened naturally after that.
What are some of the challenges you face as a team without a central location or office?
Brainstorming can be really tough when we’re all in different locations. I think we’re doing great getting around that by having weekly brainstorming sessions and starting threads in Discourse.
What’s the upside that comes with not having a central location or office?
Other than getting to travel, which I am quite fond of, a huge benefit on the customer support side is that there’s almost always someone awake and able to help on Twitter or via email. This benefit of having customer support be 24/7 has been very crucial for us.
Are there important non-office workspaces in the history of building your company—a favorite coffee shop, bar or similar space?
I know Joel and Leo worked from quite a few coffee shops in San Francisco in the early days. On my end, I’m a big fan of this small coffee shop in a furniture store near me. Super fast Wi-Fi and it’s always empty
What % of your company regularly works remotely?
Any advice or best practices for supporting the work styles of your teammates from a distance?
We have a very strong focus on communication. I think it’s been key to communicate how I work and think so that I can better work with my colleagues.
What types of places do your teammates choose to work from when remote?
Coffee shops, coworking spaces and a lot of people from home.
What qualities do you look for when hiring for a distributed team?
- Alignment with the 10 Buffer values
- A bias toward action
- Buffer use and understanding of the product
- Skill and experience in the role
This blog post has lots more info: https://open.buffer.com/how-we-hire/
What are your thoughts on Workfrom’s role in the way work is getting done—now and in the future?
Love it! I do think remote work is the future and that having easy to find, peer-reviewed spaces along the way will make it that much easier for individuals and teams.
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