Dimagi, a New England-based software company that creates mobile healthcare apps for developing countries, recently embarked on a six-week remote working experiment in which most of its team headed to Brazil. Was this working vacation a hit or miss?
It certainly helped that Dimagi had the infrastructure already in place to facilitate remote work. Fifteen employees worked out of the home office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while another 14 worked remotely from places like South Africa and India. The team used cloud servers, Skype and email to save their work and stay connected.
The Dimagi team members who participated in the remote working experiment began their journey at the end of January; those who stayed the longest were there all six weeks. They noted an increase in collaboration and productivity. “There was a lot more casual asking questions across the table,” said Cory Zue, Dimagi’s chief technology officer. “And we tended to work later in the day than we would at home, since we were having dinner together almost every night.”
Even CEO Jonathan Jackson made it down to Sao Paulo to check things out. “We’d done Skype chats, so I knew they were being productive, but the second I saw them, it was clear they had a really cool level of bonding,” he said. “There was a ton of great energy. People really wanted to prove that the idea of an away month was feasible, and they were very productive.”
Jackson says that a key success factor for their Brazil experiment was that employees, not management, took charge of the logistics. Would you ever take advantage of a monthlong work trip abroad if you had the chance?
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(Photo credit: Carter Powers/Inc.)