When looking at remote companies to work for, you should consider a few qualifying aspects before you plunge head first into one of them. For job satisfaction in a remote position, finding a team with a good culture is just as critical, and much more difficult.
With an in-person team, you can just walk into the office and feel it—that vibe that tells you whether you’ll like the place. With a remote team, you can technically join their slack and look around, but we all know it isn’t the same.
How can you tell if you’ll get the environment and challenge you need from a remote job? When you interview, ask these three questions.
How remote is it?
Many remote positions are for companies that have a critical mass of people who are working in an office, with a few located elsewhere. You do not want to be in a company like this. If the majority of workers are in one place, they likely haven't built the systems to support their remote workforce. It also means that there is a culture that the remote team doesn’t get to participate in; an existing in-person office culture. You really want to be working with a company that doesn’t have a central hub—or if they do, one with systems that are set up so that everyone could work remotely tomorrow.
Did they start remote, or are they transitioning?
It’s been documented that if you want to go remote, you should start remote because it’s hard to change tracks. Based on my experience working in a company in the middle of a transition from centralized to remote, I can agree. Companies that have always been remote have a more authentic, intentional culture that is set up for teams distributed around the country or globe. If they are in the middle of moving to a remote team, I’d tread carefully.
Is the team impressive?
Some companies go remote because they know it’s the option that attracts more millennials and Gen Zers. At the same time, millennials are attracted to remote work so any company offering remote positions seems immediately more attractive. This is dangerous.
When looking at remote companies, make sure the team is impressive and the company is going somewhere. You don’t want to join a team just because they are remote, because for many, it’s a way to attract talent without having many other redeeming qualities.
Nine of the best remote companies to work for
Automattic is the company behind great brands like Wordpress, Woocommerce, and several others. Automattic is arguably the OG of remote work, starting out that way in the mid-2000s. Matt Mullenweg, their CEO, is a thought leader on remote work, technology, and open source.
Invision is a platform that helps teams design beautiful and functional user experiences. This company is the market leader in this space, covering everything from prototyping to gathering feedback. Among other things, Invision enables remote teams to work together more easily.
Close is a modern CRM that enables salespeople to do more work in less time. From lead management to predictive dialers, Close probably has what a sales team needs. They also integrate with hundreds of other apps to create a collaboration between tools.
Github is the best place on the internet to develop an app. It supports open source projects all the way up to business plans. It’s arguably the industry leader in its category and one of the biggest remote companies currently.
Doist is the company behind the popular app Todoist. They build tools to help people be more productive. As a user of Todoist, I think it’s one of the best to-do list apps out there.
Buffer is a social media management tool. It makes running and managing your social media presence quick and easy. PubLoft uses Buffer as well, and it’s just a pleasure to use. Buffer is an advocate for work-life balance, as they bought out their series A investors so they can grow at their own pace.
Buffer journeys (even their terminology is cool!)
Ghost is the best place on the internet to host a blog or publication. Their design is impeccable and the platform is fairly easy to use. In fact, the blog post you’re reading right now is powered by Ghost!
Zapier is a product that helps people connect 1,000+ different apps and their APIs, but it’s built for anyone! In a building block fashion, anyone can connect APIs on Zapier, which puts the power of development into the hands of those wanting to learn. Zapier is also a remote powerhouse, creating one of the original guides to remote working in their rise..
Toggl is a time-tracking app that helps business owners track their own hours and the hours of their remote team. Toggl itself is a remote company, but is also powering many remote companies around the world.
Regardless of the remote company you choose to work with, make sure you ask those three questions listed above and you'll be happy with your decision. Happy job hunting!