Australian technology giant Atlassian will let its workers do their jobs from wherever they like, even after COVID-19 restrictions have passed, making a new commitment to focus on “outcomes, not clock hours” and to hire talent wherever it resides in the world.
In an internal blog post to staff members on Friday morning, co-CEO Scott Farquhar said the company would reinvent how it works, starting immediately, under a new policy called TEAM Anywhere (TEAM is Atlassian’s ticker on the NASDAQ.)
“Let’s face it, 2020 has been a year of huge change for all of us. How we work has changed forever and we must pioneer this change,” Mr Farquhar wrote.
“While COVID-19 has turned our worlds upside down, it’s also accelerated goals Atlassian has had for some time. For years, we’ve been working as a highly distributed global company, experimenting with fully remote teams, and iterating on practices that are essential for building diverse distributed teams.”
He said the pandemic had been challenging, but had also presented Atlassian with an opportunity to keep pushing further on its ideas of flexible ways of working, and to remove any geographic barriers to its efforts.
The company has pioneered its own collaboration software, so is obviously well equipped to work disparately. In 2017 it acquired US-based Trello, which had a significant part of its workforce working remotely, and embraced that culture rather than trying to change it.
“We believe that the post-COVID world will see an increase in distributed work in all industries, and we want to lead this for ourselves and our customers. Our products help teams collaborate from anywhere, and our practices and learnings can help usher our customers into the future of work with us,” Mr Farquhar wrote.
“But we can’t coach from the sidelines, we need to walk the walk – one mile in front of our customers. We need to run into the obstacles before they do, and clear them by building world-class solutions.”
The company posted an internal announcement explaining the different aspects of the TEAM Anywhere policy, saying it meant targeting the best new employees no matter where in the world they lived, and allowing staff members to choose where and when they could do their best work, providing it worked “within the constraints of their team’s routines and rhythms”.
The change in policy comes shortly after Atlassian announced a new Sydney headquarters, worth upward of $1 billion, which is planned to open in 2025. Asked if the company was rethinking these plans due to a flexible workforce, Mr Farquhar told The Australian Financial Review that there was no need to.
“The space that we are building will be highly sustainable and highly flexible. it will be purpose-built for the future of work, for tomorrow’s world, not today’s,” Mr Farquhar said.
“Even with a highly distributed workforce, we’ll need a place to come together. Now we can design this space especially for these new ways of working.”
Last month Atlassian’s Dominic Price, who has the job title of work futurist, told The Australian Financial Review’s Future Briefing event that employees needed to spend only about 20 per cent of their time together physically. Earlier in the year he told a conference in Melbourne that the traditional nine-to-five work day was a thing of the past.
The company said on Friday that it would need to continually work out how to change the way collaboration software and tools were used to be able to work on new ideas together.
“The way we collaborate will look different. We will shape our collaboration practices, skills, spaces and tools to master this next phase of work,” the company blog post said.
“We will find ways to create the magic of connection with the bonds of belonging regardless of where we are and share our learnings to help bring our customers along with us on the journey.”
Paul Smith edits the technology section and has been a leading writer on the sector for almost 20 years. He covers big tech, how businesses are using technology, fast growing start-ups, telecommunications and national innovation policy. Connect with Paul on Twitter. Email Paul at email@example.com
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