Remote-first culture: LogMeIn's CIO on how to do it and why

LogMeIn has decided its future workplace will be remote-centric. This opens up new flexibility for individuals - and new talent pools
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So much about work and the workplace has changed over the past year. At LogMeIn, we’ve taken time to reflect on those changes and consider how certain opportunities fit into our future-of-work vision. 

We’ve experienced tremendous success in a remote work environment, for example, and are choosing to sustain the model beyond the pandemic. As a result, this will allow us to considerably reduce our office space needs and tackle a perennial problem that many CIOs face – hiring top tech talent. 

While these exciting changes present many opportunities, we’re quite aware of the challenges, both in security and culturally, that this new operating model presents. Nevertheless, we’re excited to watch our future of work unfold.

[ How are leaders prioritizing as they craft a model combining remote and office work? Read also: Hybrid work model: Qualcomm IT, HR execs share 6 priorities for leaders. ]

Reducing physical space, increasing flexibility

Working remotely has been a tremendous benefit for both our employees and the organization at large. Our company has been resilient in tackling challenges of working remotely and yet remained productive. Employees have enjoyed having the flexibility to enjoy lunch with their family or walk the dog during their breaks — so much so that very few show interest in returning to the office full-time. As a result, we’ve transitioned to becoming a remote-centric workforce giving employees the option to come into the office full-time, part-time, or not at all. We will maintain a physical presence in certain hub regions, but every office will transform in some way. Some locations will be closed and others will be reconfigured to allow for more collaborative space as our employees embrace a remote centric work style. 

We’re testing our reopening plans with our office in Sydney, Australia, which recently began welcoming employees back. We implemented temperature checks, rearranged desk spaces, and have placed social distancing markers in the office to ensure that people are adhering to health and safety best practices. We’re also prepared to shut down if coronavirus cases flare up.

We’re expecting there might be a sudden surge of people wanting to return to the office, given the tight-knit nature of our culture there, and we’re curious to learn if that excitement wears off

One data point we’re tracking in our Sydney office is attendance over time because we’re interested to see how often the office is being used. We’re expecting there might be a sudden surge of people wanting to return to the office, given the tight-knit nature of our culture there, and we’re curious to learn if that excitement wears off and more employees ultimately choose to work remotely, or whether office spaces will remain valuable. What we learn will ultimately set a precedent for how we approach other office re-openings. 

Tapping the global talent pool

Fully embracing a “work from anywhere” culture has opened the door to a global talent pool, which has already supplied us with some terrific talent. We’ve hired a new CFO, CMO, CISO, and head of engineering – none of whom have ever visited a LogMeIn office.

We’ve hired a new CFO, CMO, CISO, and head of engineering – none of whom have ever visited a LogMeIn office.

Traditionally when we hired, we’d advertise a role within the city in which it was located. Now we have more options. Our strategy has us focusing on candidates in high-density countries in which we have an entity. This includes, among others, Germany, Canada, the United States, Guatemala, Australia, and India. And while we’re no longer focused on hyper-local candidates, we do have some location restrictions. For example, the candidate has to fit the time-zone of the role to accommodate the business.

While this is helpful for financial and benefits purposes, we’re also focused on time zones to build a remote sense of community. No one wants to be the only person on Greenwich Mean Time serving a remote organization, but if you have five, 10, or 50 people in that same time zone, you build a virtual community with a shared corporate culture as well.

Tapping the global talent pool has also helped drive diversity in our organization because we’re no longer tied to the demographics of the cities in which we work. This has helped us make progress with our diversity and inclusion goals.

Sustaining security

While moving to a distributed workforce offers opportunities, we’re careful not to let our security guard down. Throughout this past year and into the future we plan to sustain our security training. 

One way we did this was by migrating our “security escape room” events from in-office to online. We also baked those trainings into our onboarding process. These trainings are fun and bring to the new home office reality the importance of good security hygiene, which is important for everyone regardless of whether you’re working remotely or not.

Driving our future of work

As our future of work unfolds, we’re staying flexible and open. We always want to consider new ideas, test them, and make adjustments. For these reasons, we assembled a dedicated future-of-work think tank led by our CEO’s chief of staff.

This team drives the work around our future plans and ensures that we’re approaching it in a thorough, well-thought-out way with input from all corners of the business. For example, they bring in HR to work on the culture piece of our transformation, the IT team to review tools and processes, and the legal department to verify that our plans are valid and workable on a global scale. They also collaborate with site leaders around the world for input on how our plans fit within the culture of individual offices or locations with high-density teams.

Our organization has adapted to all the curveballs the last year has thrown at us. With thoughtful planning, a flexible approach, and the right talent, we’re eager to see what the future holds.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

Ian Pitt serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at LogMeIn. In this role, he is responsible for Cyber Security, Governance, Corporate IT, Business applications and Product Operations for the global company.

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