People will often ask us if we have an office or when we plan to get one. Our immediate response is that we have no plans to get an office for TeamGantt. The reason is that we wouldn’t get anything done! Ok, maybe we would get some things done, but we wouldn't be nearly as productive as we are now.
Why we first started working remotely
We first started working out of our homes out of necessity because we bootstrapped our company and didn’t have the cash flow to justify the big expense of an office. Instead, we wanted to build the product ourselves and be as productive as possible with our limited resources. This is how John and I started back when we had 0 customers and just an idea for a web based gantt chart. Almost five years later, TeamGantt has grown faster than we ever would have expected and has helped thousands of companies all around the world manage their projects. Today, we still work from our homes and have hired one of our friends, Meredith to help us teach people how to use TeamGantt. All three of us work from home and love it.
Offices are full of distractions
We all know what it's like to work in an office. While it can be a lot of fun, there are meetings to attend and countless interruptions from coworkers with questions, small talk, etc.. Just one meeting placed in the middle of an afternoon can make the entire afternoon unproductive because it doesn't leave enough time before or after the meeting to really get in the zone. Plus if you have a co-worker or two stop by during these periods, there is even less of a chance that real work can happen. I think that some employees who work from home could get more done in one highly focused, uninterrupted two hour stretch of work then some people would be able to get done in 8+ hours working in an interruption filled office.
I think an argument can be made that 3 people working from home could be just as productive as 6 people working in an office. Especially if those three people are good at prioritizing and focusing on important work that has real impact on the business.
Long stretches of focus
One of the biggest reasons that we are able to accomplish a lot with just three team members is by working remotely. We get big stretches of work done with no interruptions. That’s no meetings, no people walking by our desks for small talk, or asking us questions. We focus for hours at a time. Each morning, I try to pick my most important task for the day and work on that before checking email or anything else. I usually work for about 1.5 hours, then take a break, respond to some emails, and maybe grab a quick snack. Then I’m ready to go at it for another hour or two before lunch. Getting an hour or two at a time of uninterrupted work is critical when doing things like designing new features or if John is coding a new part of the app. A small 5 minute interruption can easily cost 1/2 hour of focus counting the time it takes to finally get back on track and figure out where you left off. It can take a little while to get back in the zone. Plus, once that focus is broken, it can be easy to get distracted and decide to check the news, surf the web, etc.. once the interruption has occurred.
There are other awesome benefits of working from home such as no commute, better work life balance, being available for family, etc. However, for us, getting multiple chunks of uninterrupted work sessions every day has by far had the biggest impact on our productivity as a company.
Yes, offices can provide the ability to collaborate, brainstorm, and have good face to face communication. However, we still have ways of doing this, which we will discuss in an upcoming post!
Also, we have decided to try writing and sharing more about how we as a company function and how our company culture has developed over the last five years. We have read a lot about how other companies function and we would like to contribute by sharing the things that work for us at TeamGantt. We are a rather unique company in that we have thousands of customers but yet we are a team of only three people. We have never raised funding. We try to focus, work hard, and do our best to build a product that teams from all around the world can love and use everyday to simplify their projects.
Let us know if you enjoy this type of article by commenting below and we will write more articles like this in the coming weeks.