CloudBees works from home?

Written by: Michael Neale
3 min read
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CloudBees was formed as a distributed company. For the longest time we had no offices - now we have some (east and west coast USA were first real offices).

We didn't, and still don't think of people who work remotely as "working remotely" - nor is there "telecommuting" - they just work in an office that may be located in space not adjacent to another person at this point in time.

This hasn't been difficult or controversial for us so far, it wasn't really a deliberate move, but purely a practical one.

Some things that have kept us (and me, mainly) sane:

  • meeting up in person when you can (conferences are a good excuse)

  • co-working with other people when you can, not being alone all the time

  • getting really used to every single IM/chat/video chat tool out there (never really liking any, but trying then anyway)

  • IRC

  • learning timezones (timezones are possibly the most challenging aspect) - moving with the seasons (some time of the year places have more overlap than others) **

  • share experiences (virtual water cooler chats about national holidays, events and whatnot)

  • have a sense of humour

  • open source participation - many of us have spent years in various open source communities and companies, which are intrinsically distributed, this was excellent training.

IRC is an interesting one - so ridiculously old fashioned - but it is cheap to run - can be run pretty securely, and there are a variety of clients. It is also lets you easily have group chat, 1 on 1 chat, or form ad-hoc rooms for specific discussions (the whole company, however, is not on IRC, seems to be an engineering thing).

I won't even try to enumerate the places we live in - as I will forget one and probably get death threats, I will point out however that it is illegal to enquire about criminal history in Ireland - just putting that out there ...

As to the future - who knows what it holds. As companies get big and boring they may have to grow ugly hairs like "policies" for things, would be nice if we don't.

Well here are some photos of various members in action:

Nicolas hacking up a storm:

Nicolas doing customer service - so eager to get to work first thing he forgot to put pants on:

Home offices:

Bring your pet to work days:

** Did you know Australia and New Zealand can get half a day or more of overlap with the west coast of the USA? (especially in summer), in winter Europe and SE Asia are very close (except people like to sleep in in Europe!)

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