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WWR Team: Reflecting On Adapting to Changes in 2021




WWR News



The world of work has officially changed — and we've been lucky to have you by our side as it happened!

One of the perks of working here at We Work Remotely is to be able to connect with people from all over the world through our shared experiences (job hunting and hiring are challenging... no matter who you are). Whether it's helping companies find their perfect candidate or providing job seekers with access to meaningful work with great companies to people in all of the corners of the world, working in this space means we're connecting with you during times when you are going through some sort of change. Which is pretty special, don'tcha think?

As we put a wrap on 2021, we wanted to do something that we haven't done much of before. With all of the personal, structural and cultural changes that have collectively happened during the last year, we realized we had a lot to reflect on.  And, why not share this with you, our dear community?

We've gone through some internal changes... and on top of sharing our gratitude to the WWR community, we wanted to relay our learnings.

The WWR Team (top, left to right): Asim Baksh, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Will Mitbrodt; (bottom, left to right): Suresh Bist, Justine Camacho, Justine Shu

As always, thank you for your support and for being part of the WWR community... we sure do appreciate you!

CEO

✍️ Kevin Kirkpatrick
📍 Lake Chelan, Washington
🌎 WWR Since: May 2021


When I started working remotely over a decade ago, I saw the extraordinary potential for employers and employees to live and work in a new way. In those days, there were a handful of companies leading the charge and experimenting with new ways of working — and We Work Remotely was right with them. The company stepped out early and laid the groundwork for the remote work movement that has now been mainstreamed. Now, in 2021, I can't help but feel like this is only the beginning for us.

As I look ahead, I am humbled to lead this incredible team, and have the opportunity to help shape the future of work in a more equitable, flexible, and meaningful way. For the past 8 years, WWR has been delivering remote work opportunities around the world. We've helped millions of job seekers connect with forward-thinking employers, and vice versa. This year alone, we've hit some incredible milestones, including:

  • Hit our all-time high of 20k jobs posted
  • 3k+ new companies (up 75% from 2020)
  • Held our first job fair
  • Launched employer accounts
  • Launched Candidate Accounts and Curated Jobs for job seekers
  • Launched new partnerships for employers

We've (finally) entered the remote work era. Over the last 18 months, we've seen a tremendous change that will reverberate for years to come. And, for the first time, it's not just employers who are driving the changes. Employees are assessing their values and asking employers to step up to meet them where they are — and, from what we've seen, employers are up for the challenge.

But before we put a wrap on another landmark year for remote work, I want to briefly reflect on where we're going at WWR. For many, the journey to remote work was unintentional. Circumstances changed and people found themselves looking for a way to adapt and make things work, at work. And while this may not have been the way we planned, we always hoped you'd meet us here. Wherever the winds of change may blow, at WWR we remain steadfast in our vision to provide the best tools, resources, and access to meaningful work with great companies.

As a firm believer in this new way of working, I write to you while nestled in a remote location in Washington state, Bernese Mountain dog laying comfortably at my feet as I glance at the beautiful snow-capped mountains outside my window. Don't think this can happen for you? Don't think it's possible for remote work to transform the world? As Scott Sagan reminds us, “things that have never happened before happen all the time.”

Product

✍️ Justine Shu, Product Manager
📍Victoria, BC, Canada
🌎 WWR Since: March 2019


Like for many of you, 2021 has been about adapting to change. Within the span of seven months, we hired four new team members to fulfill the departure of three people and the growth of the company. With any sort of transition like this, it’s common to worry about unknown factors. It’s also an opportunity for everyone directly or indirectly involved to operate with transparency, care and clear communication. Thankfully, those values were already embedded within our culture; this foundation allowed me to roll with the changes a bit easier and trust the process without bypassing my concerns.

While this was all happening, I also shifted from my Marketing & Community role into Product Management. As the company’s first hire for product, it felt like we were starting from ground zero in a lot of ways. And it felt like I was starting from ground zero in a lot of ways.

Learning a new role on top of implementing new frameworks and systems + collaborating as a new team, during a time of organizational change was very challenging.

We tackled roadblocks together by communicating openly, focusing on small wins, and looking at our business and culture through fresh eyes. With the guidance of our new CEO, Kevin, we were able to set a brand new slate without forgoing contributions from the previous teammates.

One of the biggest things I learned during this period was around the intersection of timing, action and discernment. I can see how easy it would be to tear everything down and build from scratch. But, just because it felt like we were starting from ground zero, it didn’t mean we actually were. Taking a methodical and thoughtful approach allowed us to prioritize a sense of calm while focusing on one challenge at a time, excavating what was only needed at that particular moment. There’s a time and place for jumping in with guns blazing or stepping back to reflect or tread lightly -- this also applies to when to have a conversation, adopt a new tool, push out a feature release or test a new process. Having that kind of discernment is invaluable.

It feels fortuitous to go through a team evolution during a time when so many other people and companies around the world are too. The conversation around remote work may have shifted from “is it possible?” to “how do we make it work for us?”, but don’t forget about the underlying influence and impact of how working remotely has consistently encouraged us all to revisit our overall values. Remote-first? Check. ✔️ Freedom to work & when how I want? Check. ✔️ Leaders who trust me and don't micro-manage? Check. ✔️

This value alignment helps me prioritize hashtag self-care and balance, and maintain an easeful connection with my teammates - especially during these times of extreme change.

I'm seeing this in our community as well.

In general, candidates are more empowered in their job search, knowing the exact criteria for roles and companies they're looking for. And companies are doing what they can to adjust their structures and policies to ensure their work environment is desirable, safe, equitable and just.

Value alignment's where it's at.

In 2022, I hope you all find what it is you’re looking for -- whether it’s your dream remote team, calmer days or more time with family and friends. As always, we’ll be here learning and growing right along with you!

Justine runs product and works alongside two key members of our team, our awesome engineers, Will Mitbrodt (Victoria, BC, Canada) Suresh Bisk (Bangalore, India).


Marketing

✍️ Justine Camacho, Marketing
📍Schaanwald, Liechtenstein
🌎 WWR Since: June 2021

Yes, there’s another Justine in the team 😎. It was just meant to be!

This year, I was in the same position many of you are: looking for a new remote job. After some interviews, mails, and many hours of overthinking everything I had written and said, I joined the We Work Remotely team in the Marketing & Community role.

It was scary in the beginning, I won’t lie! To take over the largest community of remote workers in the world, I mean... it’s not a small feat. But luckily, I had a great team by my side at all times and tons and tons of support from everyone, including those in my Spotify Wrapped.

When I joined WWR, the team was going through many changes. Kevin had just become CEO. Justine was moving to a Product Manager position. The Head of Ops had just moved to a new opportunity. I had just gotten married.

While it might seem like joining a team in the middle of a transition would be difficult, it actually gave us all a chance to revisit what had been done before, if we wanted to keep doing it the same way, and where we needed to start fresh. In that sense, it was great timing!

Having used We Work Remotely before to find remote opportunities (I DID find this job at WWR), now I’m on the other side. It was amazing to help thousands of remote workers stay motivated in their job hunting, solve their questions, and find the jobs they were looking for. I also loved supporting remote companies in finding remote talent for their teams!

I celebrated when you shared with us that you got a job interview or hired the perfect person for your team. I got to feel the frustration and sadness of not getting a job offer or not finding quite the right candidate. I felt it all. Sorry, I’m a marketer with a heart.

During this year, we’ve got to know many of you. We’ve read your mails (and I’ve personally replied to many of them), and we’ve read your comments. It’s been a huge learning experience.

For that, I’m thankful.

Just like for many of you, 2021 was a year where I went through a lot of changes.

I moved to another country, I got married, and I had to start a new life apart from the people I had known my entire life. It was my decision, though. Working remotely allowed me to decide what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. In moments where things were just too much (and reader, there were lots of those moments), knowing that my work would stay consistent kept me grounded.

I’m hoping everyone can get that in 2022: the power of choice.

I hope we can keep supporting people in choosing how they want to work and where they want to work. I hope we’ll keep seeing job seekers choosing companies that have better practices. I hope companies will choose to provide better environments for their employees.

But overall, I hope in 2022 we’ll keep encouraging all of you to choose a career that aligns with the life you want to have. It’s about time.

Operations

✍️ Asim Baksh, Ops Lead
📍Stoney Creek, ON, Canada
🌎 WWR Since: September 2021


My journey with WWR started a decade ago, when I was working for a competitor of the then owners of WWR, Basecamp (37signals as it were). I watched as DHH and Jason Fried popularized and cultivated this culture of remote work. I was hooked. I got the books, read the blogs, and consumed as much content as I possibly could in relation to this new fangled culture of remote work.

My friends and family thought I was nuts and lived in a fantasy world where people didn't have to commute for four hours to the office (two there, two back) and spend 80% of their day behind a screen. They laughed as I said, "This could easily be the future." I distinctly remember a conversation with my late grandfather about work where he shared, "If you're not going into the office, then you're not really working." Many at the time shared the sentiment.

Then things started to change. Companies that promoted remote work culture started to emerge and began hiring fully remote employees. And when my employer at the time made the decision to go remote, it was no easy feat to convince the executive team. But it finally happened, it was a game changer. What helped us swing the pendulum was when one of our A-Players decided to move out of the city to some remote location. We had to decide whether we lose him as an employee or facilitate remote work. Within the months, our entire company went remote (for context, this was years ago, well before Covid). I was given the green light: let's hire remote employees!

The first thing I did was revisit We Work Remotely. I began posting jobs and getting the word out, "We're now a remote-first company!!". I also used WWR as a home base to network with other remote-first companies, and get access to remote first resources, best practices and more!

Leap forward a few years and my journey has come full circle. Now I'm part of the amazing team at WWR leading the remote movement amidst the pandemic. As part of my role, I currently manage partnerships, which means I get to build relationships and collaborate with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies around. Guess what? They're all hiring. So come on by, say hello, and drop an application or two!

The last few years were quite a ride, and the remote movement is showing no signs of slowing down in 2022 and beyond. More companies will join the movement, and remote work will become the de facto (if it isn't already). Employers will continue to expand their workforce well outside any one geographical region and workers will continue to demand location-agnostic employment. People across the world are starting to realize they can demand a better life with more work life balance, more freedom, and less traffic :) It's time you join the movement.


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