Atlassian’s head of talent on the 4 keys to remote working strategy success

Atlassian’s head of talent on the 4 keys to remote working success

Atlassian has adopted a comprehensive remote working program to help adapt to the future of work while improving talent acquisition and management outcomes, according to the company’s global head of talent, Bek Chee.

Atlassian’s remote working program is grounded in months of internal and external research, which has led the company to create an assessment of how ready someone is to work remotely based on their personality, role and team.

Atlassian has also taken learnings from some of the best remote teams around the world, as well as those which have failed at remote working and faced business problems as a result.

Chee explained that the business case for Atlassian’s remote working program was twofold: supporting a changing workforce and accommodating future growth.

An internal Atlassian survey found that 95 percent of employees would be willing to change how they work to enable more remote working.

Chee also explained that it was important for the company to lead the charge in changing practices to adapt to the future of work.

“The majority of our employees said investing in remote work is critical to fulfilling Atlassian’s mission and living Atlassian’s values,” she said.

Talent acquisition was also an important driver for the program “to help us scale at a fast pace and tap into a wider Australian talent pool”, said Chee.

Atlassian is the top employer of software engineers in Sydney, but Chee said that 63 percent of software engineers in Australia are located outside of Sydney.

“Impulsive implementation is a big risk to going remote, with 57 per cent of companies lacking a remote policy”

Earlier this year Atlassian recruited externally for its first fully remote team in Australia and experienced a 25 percent increase in inbound interest compared to similar roles based in the Sydney office.

“So, we know the demand is there,” said Chee.

Atlassian conducted extensive research across medium to large technology companies, and found that there are four key areas to focus on to improve the chances of remote working success:

  1. Team configuration
  2. Team operations
  3. Communication culture and tools
  4. Team health and wellness

“We’ve focused on these areas when building our assessment tool for remote,” said Chee.

“We also learnt that impulsive implementation is a big risk to going remote, with 57 per cent of companies lacking a remote policy.

“This is why we have taken a crawl before we walk approach and making sure we have things like practices in place to help reduce risk,” she said.

In implementing the strategy, Chee said it was important to focus on enabling employees to work remotely through maintaining the health and quality of teams.

To do this, she said the most integral part of the strategy was the assessment in order to determine if individuals and their teams were ready to work remotely.

“The majority of our employees said investing in remote work is critical to fulfilling Atlassian’s mission and living Atlassian’s values”

“We understand remote working is a spectrum, which means employees can be partially remote, working remotely on one or two days a week,” she said.

Atlassian also has a series of practices in place to help teams address loneliness, among other things.

“For example, there is a Slack room where remote employees can connect, based on a concept of ‘side-by-side open hours’ where anyone can log into a Zoom call and say ‘hi’.

“These are things that a lot of Atlassian employees are using today and have been successful so far in ensuring remote workers don’t feel isolated.

“We’re trying to work in lots of these practices to stimulate the in-office relationship and experience,” she said.

The program is currently being rolled out across the Sydney Atlassian office and Chee said there was already strong interest and readiness on the part of teams to participate.

Starting in one area of the globe and not being hasty in implementation has been really integral in our strategy to date,” she said.

“This is just the start of our rollout, which we plan on testing, learning and adapting.

“We’re hoping to see some more formalised learnings later on in the year and will be open sourcing our methods and practices for other companies to learn from also.”