Thursday, April 26, 2012

Should your team be based in one office?

We're currently advertising to hire 5 new roles for Shoes of Prey and we've had a few people contact us to ask if the roles could be based in cities other than Sydney.

I've read about quite a few startups with people based in different cities all working together remotely, but I really struggle to see how everyone can be as effective working this way, there's so much additional value that comes from being physically located in the same space.

Startups are chaotic. The ability to move, react and change quickly is critical to success. Sitting in the same office together we get to hear each other's conversations, and we live and breathe what's working and what isn't in the business, allowing everyone to react quickly. Even having two offices, one in Sydney and one in China creates some barriers to reacting quickly and for the team working perfectly together. I think we do a pretty good job in managing this, but it's not perfect.

Thinking through our values and culture, much of what is core to our business would be very hard to do with people based in different locations. Recognising great work becomes harder if you haven't been able to witness first hand what someone has achieved on a project. Communication becomes much harder if you're doing it all over email, chat or Skype. It's harder to be inspired by the amazing colleagues around you, if there's no one physically around you.

Despite advances in communication tools like video conferencing technology, there's still nothing like sitting at a desk surrounded by a group of amazing colleagues all working together to achieve the same goal. So while we're happy to help an awesome hire relocate, all the roles we're hiring for will need to be based in Sydney.

What's your view?
Cross posted to StartupSmart.

1 comment: