One of PayFit's top priorities is the fulfillment of our team members.
In September 2020, we launched our 'Work from Anywhere' Policy: while we still consider offices as great places to interact, PayFiters can now choose to live and work remotely, anywhere in France, Spain, Germany, UK, or Italy.
If you too are considering switching to a WFA policy, this article lists the benefits that we reaped almost immediately.
A seamless transition
PayFit already had a flexible remote policy until we put the WFA policy in place. People would typically come to the office 3-4 days per week, and work from home 1 or 2 days a week.
It was a great mix between having regular face-to-face interactions, reducing the commute time (or not having any commute at all!), being able to add personal activities to one’s schedule, etc.
Hence, when the pandemic broke in Europe and we suddenly decided to close our offices in March 2020, several days before the official lockdown, no one was taken by surprise. From our IT department to our HR team, everyone had everything in place in order to ensure continuity, and all PayFiters had what they needed to stay creative -- albeit, sometimes on a dinner table next to a kid drawing giraffes.
When you already have a flexible remote policy, going the “work from anywhere” route is almost seamless. There was nothing disruptive in that decision for us. But in hindsight, it had the potential to change a lot of things...
From hiring nearby to hiring anywhere
Let’s put it bluntly: 67% of our recent engineering hires have joined thanks to the Work-From-Anywhere policy we put in place in August 2020.
PayFit’s Engineering group has hired 15 people since August 2020, 10 of which simply do not live near a city where PayFit has offices. Fabien lives in the North of France; Lionel, Mathieu and Visoth live near Marseille; Alejandro lives in Andalucia, etc.
For their parts, several PayFiters have decided to move away from the big city: Jordan in Nice, Marine in Lyon, Anne in Dijon, etc. Some are looking for literally greener pastures, others are getting closer to their families… There are many reasons to move somewhere else, and “because my job is here” doesn’t exist with this policy!
Without the WFA policy, they simply would not have considered PayFit.
From major-city salary to national salary grid
Some remote-first or full-remote companies adapt their salaries depending on criteria:
- Work-related criteria: position, seniority, performance, etc.
- Life-related criteria: kids, country, type of city (ie. you get a bonus if you live in an expensive city).
At PayFit, you won't make less than your peers in the capital city for the sole reason that you work from a smaller town with no kids. Since we value your work more than where you live, we offer the same wage regardless of location.
In short: get a Parisian/Londoner/Berliner/Barcelonian/Milanese salary, while living anywhere in France/UK/Germany/Spain/Italy!
In addition to that, we used 2020 as an opportunity to build career paths for most of the roles at PayFit, defining what seniority means and what a certain “level” means in terms of responsibility -- and eventually, what kind of salary you could expect along your career path.
With that in mind, managers will soon know exactly what to answer for that dreaded salary question, and hirees will have instant feedback on their expectations, whatever their location.
From having to be there, to being where you’re most needed
It’s the simple things. For instance, since we put the WFA policy in place, PayFiters’ pets have never been happier! :) Others in my team have used that free time (no commute!) to stay longer with their loved ones in the morning, or to cook a real meal at noon, to errands nearby, or to walk around the nearby park to clear their heads.
Working from anywhere is a question of trust and accountability. Expectations have changed for both managers and employees. WFA reinforces trust on one side, accountability on the other side. What speaks for your work are your results and outcomes, not your presence or your schedule.
At the end of the day, we want the same thing: that the job gets done in time, and in the most efficient way possible. The where and when it is done is left to the employee and her team.
We are also aware that, with all our offices in Western European countries (for now!), we avoid the issue of time zones. All PayFiters share roughly the same time zone, with more or less 1 hour of difference because the London office is in a different zone than the Barcelona, Berlin, Milan and Paris ones.
WFA gives PayFiters the autonomy they need. When one misses hanging out with their teammates, they can use the allocated budget to go to the office and hang out with them. It’s really the best of both worlds.
The paradigm has thus shifted to an impact and result-driven culture. Working from anywhere expands our mindset as well as our hiring possibilities. It’s mind-boggling to think that we used to work without that policy, and it opens so many possibilities that are yet to unfold.
From FOMO to written culture
In many companies, those who attend meetings remotely are all too often second-class citizens: the ones in the room pay more attention to each other than to the ones in the screen (if any), trying to make themselves heard. Should one miss the meeting because of technical issues or agenda overlap, and they also miss the opportunity to have a say -- or be part of the decision process, at least. “You had to be there” has never rung so true.
Hence, remote employees try to make it to as many meetings as possible, even at the cost of their daily productivity, so as to be part of the conversation. That’s a kind of FOMO: the Fear of Missing Out.
At PayFit, we have long had a strong culture of written content: Slack is used for daily communication that’s not meant to last, and Notion is where our long-term memory resides (along with other, more specialized tools). But we still had that habit of having meetings where being in the room was deemed important.
Ever since switching to remote work for all due to the Covid situation, and then expanding our remote possibilities with the Work From Anywhere policy, remote is the new normal. By default, all meetings now feature remote faces prominently, and we make sure all voices are heard, even from afar.
And for those who can’t make it, these past few months have been a real stress-test for our culture of content: slides are shared, videos are recorded, summaries are made available, next steps are listed, written questions are answered either on-the-spot or later on, for all to see in the dedicated changes. Whether you were able to make it to that meeting or not, we all make sure that everyone is on the same level of knowledge about the discussed topic.
All this content, together with project updates, can make for a lot to read, understand, and digest, which can take its toll on concentration and productivity. That’s why we take special care on not overburdening PayFiters with mandatory on-the-spot feedback, and make Slack and Notion best-practices widely shared, starting with learning how to best manage notifications on these two central tools. For their part, we make sure that Pull-Requests are handled in a timely manner.
Continuing on the more Engineering-centric side of this, our teams have traded their habits of side-by-side pair programming with dedicated remote-sharing tools, such as the Live Share feature of VS Code. It has proven its worth for developers on a daily basis, and has also been very useful when onboarding new developers from afar!
From there, where next?
It is now up to PayFiters themselves to write their own story! Some have chosen to keep coming to the office everyday; others have decided to finally move to the countryside and visit the office once a month thanks to the allowance; others will probably try the nomadic lifestyle for a while, maybe?
When you can work anywhere, what really matters is what your employer stands for, and what working there can bring you in terms of fulfilment.
We believe in excellence, humility, passion, and care, along with inclusion and diversity. If that resonates with you, join us!
-- Arnaud Lenoble, VP of Engineering