Atlassian has begun an Australia-wide assessment of its employees to gauge their suitability for remote working.\nThe move comes in response to an internal survey which found 95 per cent of staff would be keen to change the way they work if it meant they could work from home more often.\n \n\u201cWe know that this is the future of work and our employees have caught on to that so there\u2019s a growing demand for this inside our company,\u201d says Atlassian\u2019s head of talent Bek Chee.\n \nThe assessment questions are focused less on the individual and more the team they are part of, and cover four areas: configuration (e.g. how many roles are on the team? Is it cross functional?); operations (what collaboration tools are in use?); communication and team health.\n \n\u201cYou get an overall assessment of \u2013 hey your team\u2019s ready to lean in to remote, you\u2019ve got a lot of the practices down and you\u2019ve got a lot of people and roles that are ready to go into remote. In other cases we\u2019d say \u2013 not quite ready yet, you need to beef up your practices, or there are some teams that are just not suited for remote work and we need to call that out when we find it,\u201d Chee explains.\n \n\u201cAssuming all those check-boxes go then absolutely we want to promote people to work remotely,\u201d she adds.\n \nThose making the move toward remote working \u2013 be it for most of the time or a few days a month \u2013 will be provided with guidance and \u2018hacks\u2019 to help them do so, including a design kit suggesting how to set up a desk and workspace at home.\n\u201cLittle things perhaps you don\u2019t think about hellip;but they\u2019re really worth it in the end if it makes you feel more part of the team,\u201d Chee says.\n \n\u201cWe\u2019re not going to ship lunch to you every day. [But] we really care about the experience. So we\u2019re looking to enhance the at home experience for somebody in ways that as best as possible can make them feel some of the good stuff you feel in the office,\u201d she adds.\n \nBroader pool\n \nThe company hopes the effort will appeal to its more than 1,000 Sydney-based staff, and give it access to a broader, and potentially cheaper, talent pool.\n \n\u201cWe\u2019re growing really fast \u2013 we\u2019re really fortunate as a company \u2013 and one of our biggest challenges is recruitinghellip; This is an approach for us to expand the talent pool right the way across Australia and to do it in a way that really matches Atlassian\u2019s values, which is to allow people to harmonise both their personal and professional lives,\u201d she adds.\n \nEarlier this year Atlassian recruited externally for its first fully remote team in Australia \u2013 a Jira service desk team \u2013 and found it got 25 per cent more interest than for alike roles based in its Sydney office.\n \nChee said the move will show people a career in technology is viable without \u201cnecessarily having to move to Sydney\u201d.\n \nThe skills crisis affecting the technology industry locally, even big names like Atlassian, is also front of mind.\nFlexible working is ranked as the third most important factor in Australian millennial workers\u2019 loyalty to a company, the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 found, after culture and pay. Other research has found up to three quarters favour a workplace that offers flexible working when considering a role.\n\u201cThe reality is millennials are the largest workforce now, the number one thing that they\u2019re asking for is flexibility so we know that the trend is moving in that direction,\u201d Chee says.\n \nRemote risk\n \nAlthough there are many benefits to remote working \u2013 research indicates telecommuters work the equivalent of an additional day per week compared to their office-bound colleagues \u2013 it is not without risks, both to the company and individuals.\n \nChee says Atlassian is taking a cautious approach to the roll-out, having seen similar initiatives fail elsewhere.\n \nDespite initially encouraging remote working, Yahoo famously banned employees working from home; IBM Australia last year called on workers to spend more time in the office; and a few years ago Reddit reversed its home-working policy with then CEO Yishan Wong saying the \u201cseparation has kept us from effectively being able to coordinate as well as we needed to\u201d.\n \nGoogle has long had an anti-remote working stance, executive Jonathan Rosenberg once saying the approach \u201cjust doesn\u2019t work very well\u201d as developers \u201cneed to be serendipitously bumping into their coworkers\u201d.\n \n\u201cWe\u2019ve watched other companies go aggressively at remote and in some cases they\u2019ve had to peel back their efforts,\u201d Chee says.\n \n\u201cThat\u2019s probably the worst case scenario; we don\u2019t want to be in that position. We want to take a crawl, walk, run approach and really be thoughtful. Employees are super eager but they also don\u2019t want the whole company to move in a direction that would affect the teamwork,\u201d she adds.\n \nThe company is also keen to avoid some of the personal problems remote workers face, including isolation and increased stress levels.\n \n\u201cThere are issues for some people if they are working from home in terms of burn out, a sense of isolation. We see that and that\u2019s a threat to it working well for somebody, so there\u2019s lots of different things we have in our practices and playbook we\u2019re working on to help a team and individual make sure that\u2019s not happening,\u201d Chee says.\n \nExcited eyes\n \nRemote working is on the rise in Australia, an International Workplace Group (IWG) study finding almost 70 per cent of Australians work remotely each week, in keeping with global trends.\nWith its latest initiative, Atlassian is hoping to \u201clearn a lot\u201d about remote working and how its collaboration and workflow tools \u2013 including Jira, Confluence and Trello (which it acquired in 2017) \u2013 can enable it.\n \n\u201cWe\u2019re looking at how we leverage our tools, and other tools we use, to help facilitate that connection, that\u2019s an exciting space for us,\u201d Chee says.\n \nAsked whether the effort would result in new enterprise software tools, Chee says it was too early to say.\n \n\u201cYou can get excited eyes about it of course,\u201d she adds.\n\nSee next page for Bek Chee's top hacks for successful remote working...\nPage Break\nHomeworking hacks\nChee works every Monday and Friday from home and has some \u201ccool fun hacks\u201d for others.\n \nMany remote working Atlassian staff dial-in to a video conference and publish their status on Slack for people to dip in for an informal chat, creating a kind of virtual water cooler.\n \n\u201cYou just get on the line and people dial in and say hi,\u201d Chee says. \nShe adds that it\u2019s more important when working remotely to document your activities.\n \n\u201cWe call it working out loud, so basically sharing what you\u2019re up to on those remote days, maybe opening up your calendar or setting up your status on Slack saying what you\u2019re doing, just so people know what you\u2019re up to,\u201d she says.\n \nBosses should be made aware too, so that you have \u201cthe ability to be anxiety free and know your manager and team is totally cool with you working one day a week at home because of how that helps you,\u201d Chee says.\n \nFor those that go to the office less frequently, Chee recommends maximising the social element of visits.\n \n\u201cMake sure you get dedicated time in person at intervals through the year, where you can focus that time on connection and bonding,\u201d she says.\n \n\u201cThere\u2019s no point in flying all the way into the city to spend seven days in a conference room just doing what you could do virtually. So you really want to take advantage of the time and make that be a social experience and create trust.\u201d\n \nAnother tip is to simple \u201cjust go outside\u201d once in a while, Chee says.\n \n\u201cGo outside, check your mail, walk around for a minute and take a fresh air break,\u201d she adds.