Simon Griffiths cares deeply about his 120 staff, but doesn’t give a crap where they live

Simon Griffiths Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap co-founder and chief executive Simon Griffiths. Source: Supplied

When we started Who Gives A Crap, we wanted to prioritise doing good in all aspects of the business. It’s why we make our products with the planet in mind. It’s why we donate 50% of our profits to clean water and sanitation charities. It’s why we’ve always treated our people as, well, people – human beings with lives, families, dreams and goals. 

For us, part of that means encouraging our team to live where it makes the most sense for them.

We have hubs in Australia, the US, The Philippines and China, but at any given time, we have team members across the globe. In fact, our vice president of supply chain just moved his family to Bali so his kids could attend an amazing school focused on sustainability. I mention this because it’s relevant, but also because I’m pretty jealous of those kids.

There are plenty of reasons why recognising your team as whole individuals is the right thing to do. Perhaps the least important reason is it’s good for business. But since this is a business publication and I’m a business guy, I’ll talk about that one. 

Finding the best talent 

It would be a real shame to let location get in the way of hiring the best person for the job. That’s why Who Gives A Crap recruits globally for as many roles as possible.

It also means we’re more likely to have a team with a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences — all things that make us a stronger business. 

Boosting productivity 

We want to make it as easy as possible for our team to take time for themselves. Burnout is terrible for people and for business, which is why we’re focused on implementing strategies to ensure our team never gets to that point. As well as supporting the team to take time out from work (including a surprise, extra weeklong holiday amidst the pandemic), we’ve also introduced meeting free days called slow blocks.

Remote work allows flexibility for people to take time when they need it, whether it’s to run an errand or take a nap.

Happy team, happy business 

We reached a 91% Culture Amp engagement survey while nearly doubling our headcount in the past year.

While we’re incredibly proud that our team is connected to our mission and purpose, a hell of a lot of effort goes into maintaining these scores. We have a bigger people and culture team than most businesses of our size and strong company values that guide people-first decision making every day. We know this has been invaluable to us sustaining overall engagement and the exceptional work our team does daily.

For anyone who thinks remote work is impossible (although after this year, I’m not sure how you could), my co-founders and I started Who Gives A Crap in 2013 whilst living in three different countries. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how to keep people feeling connected and supported from afar, and have applied those learnings to grow to a team of over 120 people in seven countries. Here are some of the tricks we’ve picked up along the way.

  • We have four key timezones that we work across. We ask everyone to choose one to align with. This allows for some consistency around when people are online.
  • We’ve embraced asynchronous work, especially when it comes to feedback or sharing general information. We try to keep the windows where our timezones overlap free for collaboration, brainstorming and problem solving. 
  • We do have dedicated office spaces for those who are based in the same city. There’s a split between those who want to work from home and those who prefer to go to an office, so we’re committed to providing space for both. Right now, we have an office in Cremorne for our Melbourne hub to utilise and are currently looking for spaces in Los Angeles and New York for our team members there after we gave up our existing office spaces at the start of the pandemic. We don’t mandate work in person, it’s optional if people want a space to work away from home.
  • We leave our calendars open and transparent so everyone can know who’s doing what, and when. We don’t have the luxury of seeing each other walk in and out of meeting rooms, so this is the next best thing. We encourage our team to put personal non-negotiables in their calendar – things like gym sessions, picking up kids or heading out for surf in the middle of the day. We recognise everyone has something that needs to take priority over that 3pm meeting that can actually be moved to 1pm or done asynchronously after hours.

Ultimately, running a remote business isn’t always easy. But the decision to prioritise our employees’ wellbeing certainly is.

We’re lucky to have an incredible people and culture team that has led us to innovate and push the boundaries of the traditional life/work (not work/life) balance. It’s led to higher productivity, better business and more opportunities. And most importantly, it’s led to a fulfilled team.


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Not surprising really
Not surprising really
1 year ago

Who actually gives a crap! Sorry it’s pretty easy to organize remote work for those employees not requiring to be involved in actually making or physically distributing anything unlike those people who need to be actually tied to a DC or manufacturing site. I’m sure organising containers loads of imported products can easily be done anywhere without an actual office and it actually saves money by not having to have physical assets. Of course those employees will embrace it especially with traffic and travel times in this day and age and the ability to spend more time with family as well.

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