Flexible Work Arrangements
Being fully remote is a decision we made early as a company, and the freedom and joy it provides our teammates is a core part of our values and philosophy.
Teammates work from home, from coworking spaces and coffee shops (we’ll pick up the tab for these!), and even from trains, planes and more. Have a family event coming up and need to travel on a Friday? No problem. Want to take off to Bali or Gran Canaria for a few weeks and work from there? Awesome – please share photos :) These are regular occurrences within our distributed team. It’s the little things too, like being able to avoid a commute and spend more time with family.
Additionally, we don’t have working hours, we don’t measure hours at all, and our only rule about time off is that you take enough of it (a minimum of 3 weeks, please!). We try to keep communication asynchronous so teammates can set their own schedules according to their own energies and rhythms.
We believe working to develop a great remote culture is an investment that will pay off for decades to come. That’s why we deliberately make time to scale remote work. We’ve been grateful to see the rewards already: many significant advantages to the way we work and great freedom for us as a team.
Actively Practices Inclusion
At Buffer, we ask teammates to bring their authentic selves to work, and we focus on cultural contribution instead of culture fit.
We believe there’s no such thing as “nontechnical,” and many of our teammates are self-taught or have nontraditional backgrounds. Our team is made up of developers who hail from startups to the theater – we're united by Buffer's values, and we celebrate our unique differences.
In hiring, we ask questions like:
- Does this person offer a dimension that our culture might be missing?
- In what ways might this person challenge our thinking and processes?
- Will this person bring a viewpoint or context we may be missing?
We ask ourselves what perspectives we’re lacking as we make a decision or build a product. We also ask how we can make Buffer a better place to work for parents, LGBT teammates, those with disabilities, those for whom English is not their first language, and other aspects of identity.
Inclusivity (along with collaboration, generosity and respect) is a big part of our code of conduct, which we’ve open-sourced to make it easy for others to use or build upon.
At work, we deliberately make space for introverts as well as extroverts, and make sure that no one dominates a meeting or decision-making process. We recognize threats to teammates’ best work and growth, like impostor syndrome, unconscious bias and stereotype threat, and we regularly talk them through as we seek to improve.
Fosters Psychological Safety
Have you ever walked out of a meeting and messaged someone who was in that very meeting to say something that you didn’t feel you could say in front of the group?
That’s a symptom of a lack of psychological safely, and creating a workplace where we all feel safe, heard and included is something we take very seriously at Buffer.
Clear communication, transparency, open-mindedness, empathy and patience are just a few of Buffer's cultural values. We actively focus on trust, vulnerability and authenticity through open communication and team exercises.
Teammates have a variety of channels to share what’s on their minds. Quarterly reviews allow individuals to share feedback directly with their team leads, and annual 360 reviews provide the same opportunity with peers. Our monthly all-hands meetings always include the opportunity to submit questions either personally or anonymously.
Our People team supports teammates’ individual needs and concerns as they arise and polls the team periodically to help develop specific programs and policies related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging, learning and development, and overall workplace experience. We also use OfficeVibe to offer teammates a safe, confidential and consistent feedback channel.
When things go wrong, we we don't point fingers or blame people for mistakes. Instead, we focus on the root of the problem through the 5 Whys process. We build trust by being transparent and open with one another, and we create space to be vulnerable, say “I don’t know” and admit our mistakes.
Team is Diverse
As a worldwide team spanning 15 countries, 11 time zones, and 42 cities (and counting!). Diversity in its many forms is a huge part of the Buffer experience.
We believe teams need a diversity of perspectives and experiences to make products as good as they can be. We are actively working to create an inclusive environment and value diverse and non-traditional backgrounds. Our team is made up of developers who hail from startups to the theatre - we're united by Buffer's values, and we celebrate our unique differences.
Teammates at Buffer regularly grow their allyship by sharing resources and challenging themselves. They create change by consistently asking about diversity and inclusion as a prerequisite for pitching, sponsoring or speaking at events. They’re willing to be uncomfortable and even corrected as we all learn together.
As a team, we’ve taken steps like:
We still have plenty more progress to make and work we can do, but joining Buffer means joining a team committed to action on diversity.
EQ > IQ
Clear communication, transparency, open-mindedness, empathy and patience are just a few of Buffer's cultural values.
We look for teammates who will thrive within a team that’s passionate about self-improvement, honesty and openness. It’s rare to hear words like “definitely” or “I know” in our Slack chat rooms or video chat discussions. You’re far more likely to hear:
- “Maybe we could …”
- “I wonder if …”
- “It’s my intuition that…”
- “I sense that we could…”
- “Might it work to…”
Maybe it’s because we’re an entirely remote team, working around the world with all kinds of beautiful language and cultural differences. We work hard to be clear and positive in our communication and to create a welcoming and collaborative environment. A few big benefits this approach gives us:
- We don’t always have to have the answer
- We can be wrong without being embarrassed
- We can ask “silly” questions without fear
- We can have time to reflect when we need it
- Even introverts can feel empowered to share thoughts
- We never have to give or take orders
- We can get lots of input without pressuring anyone
We try to be “No Ego Doers” who are aware of our assumptions. Joining us means you'll work together with the team in order to test and confirm our ideas. In our career framework, we choose to focus on the journey, the growth and evolution that is a career.
What if your job didn't control your life? This radical question has deeply influenced how we work at Buffer.
As much as we may love working, it’s not who we are. Our team includes musicians, surfers, RV travelers, yogis, parents, former Marines, bakers, activists, and so much more, across 15 countries, 11 time zones and 42 cities (and counting!).
At Buffer, we focus on bringing our “whole selves” to work, including our passions and strengths, flaws and vulnerabilities, hobbies and side projects – 34 side projects, according to a recent count.
We don’t have working hours, we don’t measure hours at all, and our only rule about time off is that you take enough of it (a minimum of 3 weeks, please!). We try to keep communication asynchronous so teammates can set their own schedules according to their own energies and rhythms.
The result? A team that’s empowered to have a life and a career. As our data engineering lead Michael put it: “I love my work, and my life outside of work: Why should the one detract from the other? Why can’t I have the best of both?… Why make this distinction between what you call work and what you call life? Can’t it all just be living?”
Ideal for Parents
Families of all kinds have a very important role at Buffer, and we work hard to support family in a variety of ways.
Anyone at Buffer who is becoming a parent through childbirth, surrogacy, adoption or foster care is eligible for paid family leave, no matter how long they’ve been on the team. All parents – regardless of gender or sexual identity – are treated equally at Buffer. We don’t limit the family leave time period and strongly urge at least 6 weeks. (On average, teammates (of both genders) take about 8 weeks.)
Additionally, we provide extra support for parents by making sure all managers understand how to work well with new parents and by matching returning parents with a peer who’s taken family leave before and can discuss challenges and provide support. As a remote team, we don’t track hours, and you can set your own schedule. If a team member needs breaks during the day for baby care, breastfeeding or anything else, this is welcome!
As your family grows, Buffer also provides an annual family stipend of $3,000 per dependent at the time of birth or adoption. You can also get some sweet baby and toddler swag!
We want families to feel a part of the Buffer team. Teammates are welcome to share family pics or moments in Slack (we have a family channel) or in our Facebook group. Guest appearances from family members are welcome and a common occurrence during our video syncs and meetings!
Partners and kids are also welcome at our company retreats! For primary caregivers traveling to a Buffer retreat in the first year of a child’s birth, we assist in making travel as seamless as possible. This might mean financial assistance to bring a caregiver with you or for additional childcare at home.
Open Source Contributor
The internet is very much built on the generosity of those who lead and contribute openly.
That’s why we have a value of transparency at Buffer, so we can contribute and help others. You can find all of our salaries online, open up a Trello board and see our product roadmap, or even go to a realtime dashboard showing all of our revenues.
Contributing towards open source is an extension of our philosophy of transparency: a duty we joyfully accept to give back to the community. We spend hours every day writing code, testing it, and thinking about it to make sure it solves real problems for people. Why not share it?
You can see all of our open source projects here and read a lot more about our philosophy around open source in this interview with our engineer, Jordan. We’re now defaulting to “build in the open”, and our new Buffer Publish and Buffer Analyze codebases are completely public and open-sourced.
We regularly ask questions like "What is the most helpful code to open source?" "How do we tell people about it?" and "How do we develop with an open source mindset?". Development is a community-driven task. No single developer has all the answers. Open source helps other developers work and accomplish great things, and we’re humbled to contribute to that effort.
Throughout the process we've constantly been reminded that the internet can be a very generous place.