What does “Remote-First” mean

Camunda is going to become a “remote-first” organization - not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for good. 

This will be reflected in the principles below:

  1. Our people work remotely.
  2. We do not hire for specific locations.
  3. We manage, collaborate, and socialize remotely.
  4. We optimize our offices for remote work.
  5. We carefully invest in physical Interactions.
  6. We do what it takes to win and serve our customers.

Those principles are aspirational, i.e. we will not be able to live up to all of them all the time, and certainly not right away. But they define our ambitions and the direction in which we are going.

In this document, we will explain the motivation for this transition and explain the principles in more detail. However, we will not answer all the operational questions that would result out of them - those are to be answered in dedicated documents. 

Our people work remotely.

Everybody at Camunda is entitled to work remotely, for example from home, as much as they like and whenever they like. This holds true regardless of the personal leadership style preferences of their manager.

The only exception would be roles that by definition require a physical presence in the office, e.g. at the reception desk. 

Being entitled to work remotely does not mean being entitled to work from everywhere though. These are the limitations that need to be observed: 

  • People can only work permanently from a country where we can employ them.
  • Working temporarily from other places can be possible, but only within bounds and with implications that need to be considered. 
  • Relocating to other places in order to work permanently from there can be possible, but comes with implications that need to be considered.

We do not hire for specific locations.

When we advertise jobs or select candidates, we do not communicate or consider the candidates’ location as a selection criteria. This holds true regardless of the personal leadership style preferences of the hiring manager.

This principle is limited by: 

  • People can only be hired in a country where we can employ them.
  • For market facing roles that are focused on a certain region, e.g. a local account executive, a local developer advocate, a local demand gen campaign manager, hiring for specific locations makes obvious sense.
  • Time zones - generally speaking, anything between ET and CET gives more room for synchronous interactions and can (not has to) be considered a preference.

We manage, collaborate, and socialize remotely.

Going remote-first is a profound transformation and it will only succeed if everyone is truly committed

Managing and collaborating remotely translates into specific measures we’re going to take, which will be defined in dedicated documents. 

Some key principles are: 

  • A truly helpful Company Handbook as the single source of truth for “permanent content” which guides us on how we can / should / must go about things. 
  • Embracing asynchronous communication as the primary way to clarify complex questions and to make decisions. 
  • Treating synchronous communication (meetings) as a scarce resource that we apply in a mindful way to get the most out of it
  • Developing our leadership and alignment practices further, in particular around OKR and the DRI principles. 

To socialize remotely will become one of two building blocks for a successful team building (the other is onsite socializing) which will both be further described in a dedicated document. 

We optimize our offices for remote work.

We will continue to provide office spaces to make sure that everyone who prefers to work from an office will have the ability to do so. 

The new primary mission for our existing offices is to provide distraction free, well-equipped, pleasant work environments for individuals. The primary mission is not to provide space for onsite collaboration.

In addition we will provide our people with the necessary tools to be productive while working from home by providing Remote Work Equipment to a reasonable extent. 

We carefully invest in onsite interactions.

Onsite interactions create a benefit we cannot achieve with remote interactions only:

The feeling of “truly meeting” someone builds trust and empathy. In a group, this leads to stronger identification, loyalty and engagement. 

We need to be aware that our options to bring people together, especially when they need to travel for that purpose, are severely restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We will set up a dedicated strategy for Onsite Team Building. 

We do what it takes to win and serve our customers.

Camunda is a remote-first company, but that doesn’t mean our customers are. 

If we feel that we should be onsite with a customer for sales, consulting, customer success, event marketing etc., we will go onsite.

Exceptions only apply because of acute circumstances (e.g., restricted travel due to pandemic)

Nevertheless, we do invest in our capabilities to win and serve our customers remotely, for example with 

  • the ability to use the remote meeting tools the customers prefer 
  • superior remote training experiences
  • engaging online conferences.

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Jakob Freund

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