Buffer: The King of Remote Work Culture

Feb 23, 2016 | Freelancing, Remote work

When we’re asked if there’s a company that epitomizes our idea of excellent remote work culture, the first one that comes to our minds is Buffer.

What started in 2010 as a young man’s bedroom idea, Buffer has now grown to 65 employees, and promotes an awesome offsite culture that’s just as authentic as its roots. Buffer’s original two members, Joel and Leo, were profoundly impacted by Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and from that book, they created 10 values to guide the Buffer organization. These 10 values have shaped Buffer into what it is today.

Buffer’s 10 Values

  1. Choose Positivity
  2. Default to Transparency
  3. Focus on Self-Improvement
  4. Be a “No-Ego Doer”
  5. Listen first, then listen more
  6. Communicate with Clarity
  7. Make time to reflect
  8. Live Smarter, not Harder
  9. Show Gratitude
  10. Do the Right Thing

Buffer empowers their workers to better themselves, their fellow colleagues, and their company each and every day by encouraging each other, sharing concerns, and stretching their perceived limits – and by living the 10 guideposts above.

One of the most intriguing parts of Buffer’s work culture is its commitment to transparency. In fact, everyone knows how much everyone else’s salary is and what the company brings in as a whole. The public can take a look at those figures, too. Even their email is 100 percent transparent.

They’re also committed to being crystal-clear with their clients and community – their blogs are full-disclosure and brimming with useful information – and they even break down how much of your Buffer subscription goes to salaries, tools, culture, and profit in a nice looking infographic, no less.

Best of all – the Buffer team is doing all of these amazing things in their apartments, vacation homes, and neighborhood coffee houses. It sounds impossible, but this tight-knit team is operating in multiple countries and continents on all cylinders.

As their “About Us” page states, “living in a place that makes you happy is one of our core beliefs, and has stayed with the company since the beginning.” Buffer team members live in South Africa, Italy, France, Ukraine, Canada, and US cities like Nashville, San Francisco, and Maui.

Contrary to popular belief, Buffer’s CEO says that their international remote setup has been a major advantage, because they’re super productive, have a better work/life balance, and feel a unique sense of freedom and trust that comes with working with such an elite group of committed freelancers.

Work hours don’t matter, either. They don’t even count hours. All that matters is that Buffer has a happy, productive, talented team—and that team includes 65 world-class data analysts, developers, researchers, customer service pros, and product designers. There’s even an on-staff Happiness Hero. Simply put, anyone who thinks remote teams can’t work hasn’t met Buffer.

How Can Your Remote Team Be More Like Buffer?

We’re not surprised that, like us, you’re inspired by Buffer’s remote work culture. To create your own productive, inspired freelance paradise, follow these tips:

  • Spend less time criticizing team members, and spend more time giving genuine appreciation. And when you do appreciate someone on your team – invite the entire group to do it together! Group appreciation has so much more of an impact on the person being honored and the group as a whole. Morale building is critical in remote work environments!
  • Cultivate a climate of honesty and sharing. Initiate a weekly online sharing session so anything that’s bothering one of your team members can be dealt with promptly. Let there be two rules – that everyone tells the truth and that each piece of truth is honored and respected.
  • Recruit team members that have self-awareness and a high sense of accountability – so the trust is even stronger, and no project skips a beat.
  • If you’re a team leader or business owner, always seek to foster a great culture by setting the example, focusing on listening first, rather than responding immediately, seeing your remote worker’s point of view, and seek to understand, rather than just to get your point across. These virtues go a long way.

And finally, don’t forget time for self-reflection, introspection, and rest and renewal. This allows you to keep the great culture alive!

Breaking News: Buffer just acquired Respondly, a leading Social Media Customer Service tool. Guess they’re into Buffer’s awesome work culture, too!

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