“Do You Need an Office?” My Mother-in-Law Wants to Know

remote work Aha! product management roadmap team

My mother-in-law was recently in town visiting. When the conversation turned to work, I filled her in on how things were going with Aha! and how our fully distributed team is rapidly growing. She looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you need an office?”

She is not the only one — I hear it so often that I can recognize the question before it is fully formed. And my answer is always the same, “Nope.”

This response usually throws people off. They often fire back, “Sure, that might have worked for a while, but what about now that you are getting bigger? How do you know what everyone is working on?” And there is a simple answer to that as well.

When you hire intrinsically motivated people and give them a framework for success, they can contribute from anywhere — no office required.

This is why Aha! has never rented office space. We hire the best people regardless of where they live. And they are welcome to work anywhere in the U.S., along with a few select international locations.

I write extensively about our distributed team in my new bestselling book Lovability. It is one of the things Aha! was founded on — the premise and promise of remote work. We hire outstanding people, challenge those people with meaningful work, rapidly grow the business, and save money in the process.

Here is why we will never need (or want) an office:

Talent
Remote work gives us access to a much larger and deeper talent pool. We hire the best candidates in a few countries — without disqualifying anyone just because they do not live in the “right” zip code. As a result, we have an awesome and diverse team.

Happiness
Research shows that remote workers are happier overall. But even more convincing than the statistics? My own personal experience. Over the past few years, I have seen what working from home has given back to our team — they have more time with family and friends, the chance to take on new hobbies, and freedom from a stressful commute. Each teammate is doing important work while also being more available for the things that matter most to them.

Money
Office space gets expensive fast. This report says that if we were to rent space in Silicon Valley, it would cost around $13,000 a year per employee. On top of the rent, there are the operating costs — utilities, furnishings, insurance, and signage. Instead, we can put all that saved money back into growing the business and our profit sharing program at the end of the year.

It does not matter where the work gets done. As long as people are bringing their best each day, putting in meaningful effort, and are happy doing it.

So for everyone who keeps asking me the question — sorry, I will not be holding office hours anytime soon. Why would I? Our team is growing incredibly fast. And the phenomenal growth of Aha! is proof that you can be anywhere and achieve your best.

What do you think are the benefits (or drawbacks) of remote work?

About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product roadmap software — and the author of Lovability. His two previous startups were acquired by well-known public companies. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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Comments

  1. Vaidehi

    This is an amazing way to give back your employees rewards for their hard work put it. The thought of you trusting them for the in a way helps them grow both professionally and personally. Trust and relationships if cherished between an employee and employer brings great benefits to both the organization and an individual automatically without any extra efforts being put in by either. Deep respect here and an excellent move.

    Reply
  2. Patrick

    Great article. I’ve been working remotely for 6+ years, and I love it! My wife and I have three young ones, and it’s wonderful to get to spend time with them rather than commuting. But it isn’t for everyone, and it absolutely takes focus, motivation, and clear boundaries.

    Reply
  3. Stephen Murray

    HI Brian

    Love the approach to work. Just wondered if you ever have face-2-face time. I have previously been home based and after a couple of years of it I started to feel a little isolated. Humans are social animals and while technology can address many of the communication requirements of modern business, can business be run without any time in the same room as tea mates?

    Interested in your thoughts.

    Stephen

    Reply
  4. Shirley Dawson

    People are more invested in what they perceive is “their own” so it makes sense that remote workers would have an entrepreneurial sense about this and so dive in more. Great read, thanks!

    Reply

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