Team Anywhere is Atlassian’s approach to distributed work. Since 2020, Atlassians have been able to choose where they work, every single day. This decision means our workforce has become highly distributed: instead of being contained to our 12 global offices, Atlassians now collaborate from 10,000+ locations.
Given that we’re so distributed, it’s mission-critical that we get really good at collaborating online. We don’t have everything figured out, but we’ve made it a priority to use data to inform our decisions, and we’re starting to run experiments focused on improving how we work.
We’re already seeing clear business benefits to our evidence-based approach.
- 92% of Atlassians say our distributed work policy allows them to do their best work. 91% say it’s an important reason why they stay at Atlassian
- Representation of women has doubled in certain geographies
- Despite the fact that we have no in-office mandates, 80%+ of Atlassians visited one of our offices at least once each quarter over the past year
We’ve learned a lot since 2020. And since we’re in the business of collaboration, we’re sharing the insights we’ve uncovered so far in our latest report, Lessons Learned: 1,000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian.
See an overview of our key findings below, and download Lessons Learned: 1,000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian to learn more.
5 key takeaways from the past 3 years
To dive into everything we’ve discovered over the past three years, download Lessons Learned: 1,000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian. Here are a few learnings that really stood out to us:
Most teams are already doing distributed work
We believe the insights we’ve uncovered will be useful to any leader or team, regardless of their company’s in-office policy. The reality of modern work is that everyone needs to be able to collaborate online effectively. Even if you go into an office five days a week, chances are you’re still largely working with people spread across different locations and time zones.
When we surveyed Fortune 500 executives, every leader told us that their teams work in a distributed way, whether they have an in-office policy or not. And almost all (99%) agreed that work will only become more distributed in the future.
Distributed work describes how work gets done, not where. Distributed work is done online (vs shoulder to shoulder). Most knowledge workers use the internet to collaborate across a distributed network, most of the time, regardless of where they’re working.
Executives also agreed that how teams work is more important than where they work. That makes sense: the biggest obstacles to effective teamwork are things like vague goals, confusing processes, and useless meetings. None of these problems are magically solved when employees head into the office. In fact, our research shows that only 1 in 3 executives think that their return-to-office policy has had even a slight impact on productivity.
To boost productivity, innovate on how work gets done
Fortune 500 executives rate low productivity as their #1 challenge. At Atlassian, we’re focused on solving for some of the biggest barriers to getting great work done fast. To do that, the Team Anywhere Lab, a group of dedicated behavioral scientists, plans to conduct several experiments each quarter.
Molly Sands, Head of Team Anywhere Lab, on using science to validate best practices for distributed work:
In a recent experiment, the Team Anywhere Lab focused on how to help Atlassians more intentionally structure their workdays around their most important work.
Participants were split into two groups: both received guidance on how to timebox their top priorities, and one group was also encouraged to track their top work priorities at the end of each day to improve goal clarity.
The main results? Timeboxing around top priorities works, and tracking progress daily adds an additional productivity boost. 65% of individual contributors and 71% of managers who took part in the experiment said they made more progress on top priorities than in a typical week. And compared to Atlassians who only restructured their time, those who also made it a point to track how they were doing every day reported a 36% improvement in how sustainable their workload felt.
In-person time is critical – it just doesn’t need to happen every day
Teams at Atlassian meet at one of our offices about three times per year to bond and advance important projects.
Our research shows that these intentional team gatherings lead to a 27% increase in feelings of connection, especially among new graduates and new hires, and that this boost lasts for 4-5 months.
We also try to host team gatherings at the same time, in the same office to make it easier for Atlassians to connect with a broader set of colleagues. In fact, 67% of people who attend a team gathering connect with at least five Atlassians outside of their team during the event.
You don’t need an office to do great work, but offices still matter
At Atlassian, our physical spaces serve three purposes: connection, company belonging, and a place to get work done. We created metrics – visitor engagement, costs per visit, and utilization – to assess whether our offices are meeting the needs of Atlassian, and to help us make necessary improvements.
Annie Dean, Global Head of Team Anywhere, on how to use data to reimagine offices:
Our metrics informed our decision to close some office space in 2023. We reallocated those funds to innovating other spaces and opening new offices to meet changing employee needs. For example, our Austin offices, which opened in September 2022, were specifically designed and optimized for team gatherings. They feature several spacious meeting rooms and a conference center where Atlassians can connect and collaborate.
Employees should be able to understand your culture no matter where they sit
As more and more collaboration shifts online, work and how it gets done will become more of a cultural constant than offices.
We live our values by making sure they come through in daily work. Take, for example, “Open company, no bullshit.” To bring this to life, we often share information via Confluence pages and encourage others to leave comments if they have questions or suggestions. This enables us to have rich, two-way discussions that ensure we’re cultivating something useful and inclusive.
Take another value: “Build with heart and balance.” The Team Anywhere Lab helps us experiment with better ways of working. Their mission is to help Atlassians get more done faster, feel more confident and connected, and be less exhausted at the end of each day.
We’re still learning! Over the coming year, we’ll be focused on supporting new graduates, helping new Atlassians onboard more effectively, and rolling out guidance for how to best work across time zones.
To learn about and implement the insights we’ve uncovered, and to get more details about where we’re headed this year, get your free copy of Lessons Learned: 1,000 Days of Distributed at Atlassian today.
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