While some companies continue to debate remote and hybrid working for their teams, others are taking a more flexible approach to working from anywhere.
Atlassian, an Australian-based software company with employees around the world, introduced its own “Team Anywhere” policy in August 2020, which allows its 7,388 employees to relocate to another city or country where the company has an established presence and a suitable time zone.
Nearly two years later, nearly 300 employees have moved to a new country and hundreds more have moved to their own country, according to the company.
CNBC Make It heard from four employees about how Atlassian’s new work-from-anywhere model has changed the way they live and work.
Get closer to family
Atlassian says more than 10% of its 3,000 employees in the United States have moved during the pandemic, with most of them moving from expensive cities in California and Texas.
This includes Amanda Gitahi, 28, product marketing manager. She had previously moved from Phoenix to San Francisco in order to join the company straight out of grad school in 2019, which also meant going long distance with her husband, Lemmy, who took a job in Seattle.
In March 2020, with everyone working remotely due to Covid, she made the decision to move to Seattle to reunite with her husband without having to worry about traveling long distances again.
Gitahi was also able to reunite with other family members – an aunt and uncle who “became mentors and really important people in our lives,” she says.
Gitahi says the hardest part of working from anywhere is losing some of those in-person office interactions, but hopes the company intends to restore them as Covid risks diminish . For example, the company has kept its physical offices and is investing in building one in Austin to open this summer and a new headquarters in Sydney for 2026.
Christina Bell, 26, works as a software engineer and is originally from New Zealand but moved to Sydney for her Atlassian software engineering job in 2018. When Covid hit she was homesick and also wanted to be closer of his grandmother, who was diagnosed with cancer.
She moved home and now plans to stay put. “I live fairly rurally and my quality of life has improved dramatically,” says Bell. “I can literally see sheep in front of me right now. It’s very New Zealand.”
Bell feels she’s adapted well to working remotely and doesn’t think missing out on fresher conversations has limited her ability to communicate with co-workers. “Honestly, I think being at a distance evens the playing field,” she says. “We can now capture these conversations in a written format, giving everyone the opportunity to see what’s going on. You don’t miss a thing if you weren’t at the ‘water cooler’ when the conversation took place.”
For others, the biggest challenge of working from anywhere has little to do with the job itself. Communications manager Helen Xue, 30, was living in San Francisco when the pandemic hit and moved to Portland to be near her partner’s family. With the permanent policy in place, they recently moved to Seattle.
On the positive side, being able to work all over the world “opens the door for me to eventually return home” to Sydney, Xue says. “My partner and I would also like to take a trip to Europe or Asia before returning home to Australia.”
Getting around can be difficult on a personal level, however: “The heartache of leaving family and friends every time you move is really hard, and then having to settle into a new community and find your new routines,” says Xue. . “It doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you do it. On the other side of the coin, you can experience a new culture and meet amazing new friends that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet.”
Alex Riegelman, 35, moved overseas for his work as an experienced architect six years ago when he left the US for Australia and met his wife, who is also American . Over time, they realized they had to make a decision whether to get their Australian citizenship or return home.
“As Team Anywhere grew, we realized it was the perfect time to return to the US while remaining at Atlassian,” Riegelman says. He and his wife moved to Boulder, Colorado in February 2022 and may move to the southeastern United States again in the future.
He says the company’s flexible option gives him the ability to explore different locations without having to worry about his income. “It’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about a job if I’m looking to move,” he says, “and can just worry about the location itself that’s best.” to my lifestyle.”
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