Atlassian makes remote work permanent, to “create the future of work by living it”


Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

Aussie startup stalwart Atlassian is allowing employees to work from home permanently, if they choose to, in light of COVID-19 accelerating a flexible working experiment.

Employees will no longer be required to return to the office when an easing of coronavirus restrictions allow them to do so. Instead, they will be able to choose where they work — whether that’s in the office, at home, or some-and-some.

On Friday, Atlassian co-founder and co-chief Scott Farquhar explained in an internal blog post that while the COVID-19 crisis has “turned our worlds upside down”, it has also accelerated the tech giant’s move toward remote work.

“For years, we’ve been working as a highly distributed global company, experimenting with fully remote teams, and iterating on practices that are essential for building diverse distributed teams,” Farquhar wrote.

The mass move to remote work, caused by the coronavirus, presented an “amazing opportunity” for Atlassian to further explore the possibilities of flexible work “and stretch our imaginations to build what work could look like and how we can clear barriers for us to do the best work of our lives”, Farquhar said.

“We will no longer be held back by the old way of doing things — being cautious, fiercely protecting our norms and not reaching great talent beyond our offices.”

Atlassian becomes the latest tech company to announce it is making remote work a permanent option.

Back in May, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey announced employees were welcome to work from home forever. Later that month, Dorsey’s fintech Square put the same measures in place.

Facebook and Google are also reportedly allowing employees to work from home until at least the end of the year.

The COVID-19 crisis has quickly normalised remote work by necessity, removing any stigma or perception that employees at home would be less productive.

The pandemic has also ushered in an era of Zoom meetings and Slack brainstorming, and led to a boom for businesses facilitating remote work and team communication.

Atlassian is one of those to reap the benefits. Between mid-March and early-July, the tech giant’s stock price jumped by more than 60%, from US$120.6 to a high of US$195.6.

The permanent move to remote work represents the software company putting its money where its mouth is, Farquhar said in the blog post.

“We can’t coach from the sidelines, we need to walk the walk — one mile in front of our customers. We need to run into the obstacles before they do, and clear them by building world-class solutions.

“We have an exciting opportunity to create the future of work by living it. But we can’t do it with half-measures and wait-and-see approaches.

“Now is the time to be bold.”

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