Here at Good Words, we have remote work in our DNA. We’ve been a remote-first company since we were founded in 2017, long before the pandemic upended the conversation about where and how we work.
Remote work is so important to us that we made it one of our core values. Here’s how we define it:
Remote First for Social Good
We believe that where a person lives must not limit the opportunities that are available to them, and we believe it’s unethical to deny opportunities for career growth, education, and wealth based on a person’s address. We believe that people work better when they can live and thrive in their own communities, and that those communities benefit when their citizens have access to rewarding and lucrative careers, wherever that may be. We believe that hiring talented people from diverse places makes our work better.
Good Words currently has over 20 employees around the world, including in four countries and over a dozen US states. Here’s why we committed to a remote-first model and our top tips for success.
In Good Words’ case, the work we do is well suited to remote work. Writers and content developers spend much of their time working alone. Most of our work can be done using remote-friendly tools and software, from Google Docs to GitHub. We can connect with our colleagues easily through video calls, email, and chat tools.
In fact, busy office environments often distract writers and content creators from the creative elements of their work. Lauren, Good Words’ COO, echoes this point. “When working remotely, I feel my productivity has increased and overall focus has improved. I didn’t realize how much constant interruptions during the workday in an office setting negatively impacted me.”
Donna, one of Good Words’ consultants, agrees. “[Remote work] allows me to create a work environment more conducive to my work and learning styles.”
When we founded Good Words, we simply saw no reason why the team needed to be co-located for us to do good work. After more than four fully remote years, our consultants consistently produce high quality results for our clients.
Because we can work effectively on a remote basis, Good Words has never needed a physical office space.
Let’s do the math. Here in Seattle, where we’re headquartered, office space costs about $28.00 per square foot per year, on average. Most people recommend providing at least 100 square feet of office space per person. For us, that would come out to over 2000 square feet, at an average cost of $56,000 per year!
Instead, we decided to use those funds to provide benefits to our consultants, including health, dental, and vision insurance; charity donation matching; and a 401k with a 4% match. We pass the rest of those savings on to our clients.
Our remote work model acts as a cornerstone to help us live our other values.
As our value states, “We believe that where a person lives must not limit the opportunities that are available to them, and we believe it’s unethical to deny opportunities for career growth, education, and wealth based on a person’s address.” We believe in remote work because, for us, it’s the most ethical choice for our business, supporting our other value of Ethics Above All.
Additionally, we’re able to employ people who aren’t able to work in a traditional office environment, such as people with disabilities or people with significant caregiving responsibilities. Melissa, one of Good Words’ consultants, tells us, “[I’m] in the ‘sandwich generation’ phase – taking care of aging parents and a young child at the same time. I just didn’t have the bandwidth for full-time work. However, I love working and I also want my daughter to see her mother happy in a career.”
Remote work gives employees like Melissa the opportunity to stay engaged in their careers and contribute positively to their own wellness, families, and communities. All that supports Good Words’ values of Sustainability and Wellbeing Over Work.
Finally, we believe that every person does their best work under different circumstances, including from different places in the world. Our remote-first model gives our employees the flexibility to travel, live near family and friends, and contribute meaningfully to their communities. Remote-first allows us to make our Flexible Work value a reality for our whole team.
We’ve been at this remote work thing for a while. We’ve learned a few things along the way about how to build a successful remote team. Here are our tips:
Have questions about how to make remote work work for your team? Comment below or shoot us a message!