“Do You Need an Office?” My Mother-in-Law Wants to Know
May 22, 2017

“Do You Need an Office?” My Mother-in-Law Wants to Know

by Brian de Haaff

My mother-in-law was recently in town visiting. When the conversation turned to work, I filled her in on how things were going with Aha! and how our fully distributed team is rapidly growing. She looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you need an office?”

She is not the only one — I hear it so often that I can recognize the question before it is fully formed. And my answer is always the same, “Nope.”

This response usually throws people off. They often fire back, “Sure, that might have worked for a while, but what about now that you are getting bigger? How do you know what everyone is working on?” And there is a simple answer to that as well.

When you hire intrinsically motivated people and give them a framework for success, they can contribute from anywhere — no office required.

This is why Aha! has never rented office space. We hire the best people regardless of where they live. And they are welcome to work anywhere in the U.S., along with a few select international locations.

I write extensively about our distributed team in my new bestselling book Lovability. It is one of the things Aha! was founded on — the premise and promise of remote work. We hire outstanding people, challenge those people with meaningful work, rapidly grow the business, and save money in the process.

Here is why we will never need (or want) an office:

Remote work gives us access to a much larger and deeper talent pool. We hire the best candidates in a few countries — without disqualifying anyone just because they do not live in the “right” zip code. As a result, we have an awesome and diverse team.

Research shows that remote workers are happier overall. But even more convincing than the statistics? My own personal experience. Over the past few years, I have seen what working from home has given back to our team — they have more time with family and friends, the chance to take on new hobbies, and freedom from a stressful commute. Each teammate is doing important work while also being more available for the things that matter most to them.

Office space gets expensive fast. This report says that if we were to rent space in Silicon Valley, it would cost around $13,000 a year per employee. On top of the rent, there are the operating costs — utilities, furnishings, insurance, and signage. Instead, we can put all that saved money back into growing the business and our profit sharing program at the end of the year.

It does not matter where the work gets done. As long as people are bringing their best each day, putting in meaningful effort, and are happy doing it.

So for everyone who keeps asking me the question — sorry, I will not be holding office hours anytime soon. Why would I? Our team is growing incredibly fast. And the phenomenal growth of Aha! is proof that you can be anywhere and achieve your best.

What do you think are the benefits (or drawbacks) of remote work?

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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