Why we’re closing down all 3 of our offices
If you asked me about the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in life, I’d take you back to August 2012; when I signed the lease for boogie’s first office in Albany, NY. It was a scary decision, one that left me with $200 in my bank account, but soon after, I learned that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Today, nearly 5 years later, we’ve worked with some of the greatest companies in the world, we’ve hired some of the brightest talent in the industry, and have expanded to three office locations across the US; including Brooklyn NY, Los Angeles CA, and Troy NY.
We’ve been known for stirring the pot a little bit over the years. Inc Magazine once wrote an article that featured my viral wedding proposal in it. The Observer once wrote about how we pranked them… I mean, ‘how we pranked the internet‘. And Forbes Magazine wrote about our four day work week policy where our team takes Wednesdays off. Today, we’re going to be adding a new non-traditional milestone to the list above.
If you work in marketing and advertising (or any other industry for that matter), you understand the importance of having the sharpest and brightest talent in the game. That search for talent has led to us hiring employees from all over the world; from Argentina and Czech Republic to many states across the U.S. like North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and New York, of course.
As a result, today— 35% of our team works remotely while the remaining 65% splits their time between working from home and working out of one of our office locations. Over the years, we’ve learned that employees need flexibility and autonomy and this is confirmed in Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report, which also notes that employees are willing to leave great jobs if they don’t get the things they need.
We also developed an unlimited vacation policy at boogie, and many times, instead of taking long vacations, we find ourselves taking multiple work-cations (working during the day at another location and exploring during the nights/weekends). The average age of an employee at boogie is 25 years old, so many of us actually take time off because we truly enjoy traveling; whether it’s a weekend getaway to Washington DC or a 3-week work-cation in London.
Through all of this, boogie at some point or another, has worked and operated in many countries across the globe— like Costa Rica, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Canada, and London and many domestic cities like LA, Tampa, Newark, Miami, Philadelphia, Denver, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Albany, Honolulu, and more. All without affecting our team culture, productivity, and our client work/relations.
Our clients are also all over the world and recently we came to the realization that 90% of them have never even stepped foot in any of our offices. This is made possible, in part, because of team communication apps like Slack and Skype but also because we rely on companies like WeWork, Alley, Breather, and other co-working startups which make it easy for us to book office space to work out of near our clients. Plus it’s also very common to just meet at a coffee shop or a nearby restaurant.
“freedom to travel freely and work from anywhere in the world…”
So, after operating out of our offices for nearly 5 years, we’ve decided to officially close our office doors and become a 100% remote agency. This will give our team the freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world. This will also allow us to tap in to some of the best talent the world has to offer which, in turn, allows us to provide an even better service to our clients.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “How will this affect your current clients?”
Short answer: it won’t. Most of our clients are lifestyle brands or B2C companies that hire us to help them capture the attention of today’s generation. They too understand that the world has changed and many traditional business practices are obsolete. We’ve gotten the hang of having a presence in multiple places at once, when some of our team members travel to NYC for a week to work our clients’ show for NYFW, while other members of our team are live streaming at an event in Albany, and our development team is working online from Czech, New York, and London finalizing a website for launch.
When it comes to campaign kick-off meetings or offline activations, we’ll do what we’ve always done— provide our team with travel and hotel/AirB&B credits to be able to travel to and work from the area closest to our clients.
You’re probably also thinking… “How do you know this will actually work for your team?”
As with all of our marketing strategies, the first few weeks are designated as our testing period— and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. For the last six weeks, we’ve alternated each week working at the office then working from home. We tested client meetings, employee interviews, client pitches, and strategy sessions. During the six weeks, we observed out team’s work output, then at the end of each week, we surveyed each member of our team individually to find out their thoughts about working from home compared to working from the office. We addressed strengths as well as weak areas that needed to be improved. At the end of the six week testing period, we learned a lot about our team’s productivity, creativity and happiness. Ultimately, an increase in productivity while working remotely was what actually sealed the deal.
But don’t take our word for it, we’re not the first company to see success in being 100% remote. Popular companies like Buffer, 37 Signals, WordPress, and Invision are all 100% remote with teams all over the world. Taking a page out of those companies’ books, we’re going to continue to rely heavily on technology and software like Podio, Asana, Appear.In, Slack, Skype, Google, and WhatsApp to stay in touch with our team and our clients.
To finalize our transition to working 100% remote, we’ve started the process of getting rid of our office furniture. Some items will be sold, others will be donated to local organizations. Our last day at all of our offices will be March 31, 2017.
Some of us plan on moving closer to family, while some of us plan on traveling out of and around the country. As for me and my wife (our CMO), we will be spending the first two weeks of April in Jakarta, Indonesia and the last two weeks in Florida or Cuba. In May, we will be moving to New York City. And, when the Fall semester approaches in August, I’ll resume teaching Ui/Ux design at the University at Albany through two online courses.
Needless to say, our team couldn’t be more excited for boogie’s new journey!
If you’re considering transitioning to a remote team, here are 4 things to keep in mind:
- Use video calling as often as possible.
- Invest in virtual office software like Podio, Basecamp, or Slack.
- Make sure it’s a team decision (not everyone can survive in a remote company).
- Test over and over again.