Neither a remote-first nor an office-first company

By Felipe Ávila da Costa


Recently, a friend asked me if Infraspeak was a remote-first or office-first company.

My answer: neither of them. We are a people-first company.

Let me explain. 🤓

The COVID-19 pandemic made a paramount boost to the remote working concept. Even companies (and of course people) that were “remote-friendly” before the pandemic, like Infraspeak, had to do major adaptations to their processes, systems, and cultures to keep productivity and team dynamics. I cannot really imagine how hard it was for the companies that were remote-unfriendly before.

Now that the pandemic is converting into something endemic and our attention is redirected to other priorities, one thing is clear: we are not going back to how things were before. And that is actually a very good thing.

The remote world” has so many advantages: you don’t lose time commuting, you can spend more time with your friends, pets, and family, transactional meetings are (way) more efficient, communication is much more structured and written lowering the risk of miscommunications, we are more productive/effective in heads-down kind of tasks, and so much more.


But… There is always a “but” right?

The “office world” also has its perks: innovation runs faster and better due to the informal cross-pollination of ideas happening in serendipitous ways, junior and mid-level folks learn and develop faster via osmosis from their peers, cultural engagement and a sense of belonging happens more organically, we are more productive/effective in heads-up kind of tasks, and so much more.

Sidenote here: the remote advocates out there say you can achieve it all in a full-remote context, and it’s true, but it’s way harder and demands more resources to happen properly.

So, what should companies do to adapt to the post-pandemic context?

Should the companies choose to be remote-only or remote-first? Should the companies demand everyone to go back to the office every day or even be remote-friendly but with an office-first mindset? Or choose one of the many variations of the hybrid context?

At Infraspeak, we don’t believe there is a single solution for every company as we don’t believe there is a single solution for every Infraspeaker/employee, so we chose to be a people-first company.


What the hell does that mean?

Glad you asked. 😄

A people-first company is a company that gives the space for each person/team to decide if they – individually or jointly as a team – want to be remote-first, office-first, or hybrid, giving them all the autonomy and responsibilities associated with that decision.

For some people, going to the office is really important – sometimes because they lack the space or the privacy necessary to be productive at home, sometimes they just prefer to be around their colleagues during the day. For others, the idea of going to the office (at least regularly) is so 2019 that they can’t even imagine themselves stuck in traffic for commuting anymore. Some people want to balance the best between both worlds.

That said, and considering Infraspeak has now more than 160 Infraspeakers and growing, we don’t believe a centralized approach to choosing where people work makes any sense, so we prefer to trust each person and team to decide what is best for the company and for each person – at each point in time in a decentralized way. At the end of the day what really matters is preserving a fruitful, healthy culture and the results we achieve as a team. By the way, it’s working 😉


Does that mean the company has to put up the resources to answer the demands from the remote and office worlds? Is it even possible to answer both demands at the same time?

Well, yes. It’s more expensive (not a lot, I must say) than choosing a side in a centralized way, but the gains in productivity and quality of life of our team deliver an outstanding RoI.

At the end of the day it’s all about following our mission – and team motto – of being a source of a good life to everyone around us, including, of course, our team — one Infraspeaker at a time.