4 Atlassian workers share how work-from-anywhere spurred them to move
Although some companies still debate the benefits of remote work and hybrid work to their employees, many others have adopted a more flexible approach that allows them to work from anywhere.
Atlassian is an Australian software company that employs around 738 people. In August 2020 it introduced its “Team Anywhere” policy. This allows the 7,388 Atlassian employees to move to any country or city where they have an established presence.
Fast two years later and nearly 300 employees are now in a different country. Hundreds more have also relocated inside their home country.
CNBC Make It heard four Atlassian employees talk about their experiences with the new model of work-from anywhere.
Atlassian reports that over 10% of the 3,000 employees in the United States have relocated states since the outbreak. Most of the workers are leaving California and Texas, which is expensive.
Amanda Gitahi is the product marketing manager. After graduating in 2019, she had moved from Phoenix to San Francisco to be with the company. This meant that she was able to travel long distances to Seattle to work alongside her husband Lemmy.
Covid had everyone working remotely so she decided that it was time to relocate to Seattle in order to be reunited with her husband.
Gitahi has also been able to reunite with other family members — an aunt and uncle who have “become mentors and really important people in our lives,” she says.
Gitahi said that working from anywhere is difficult because it means you lose some personal interactions. But, he is positive the company will do everything in its power to rebuild those connections as the Covid risk subsides. The company, for example, has not lost its physical offices. It is building one in Austin this summer. A new Sydney headquarters will be built in 2026.
Christina Bell (26 years old) is a software engineer. She was born in New Zealand and moved to Sydney in 2018 for her Atlassian job as an software engineer. Covid made Bell feel homesick, and she also wanted to be near her grandmother who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Bell made the decision to return home, and she now intends to remain there. Bell states that she lives in a rural area and her quality of life is significantly better. I can see the sheep right in front of me. It is very New Zealand.
Bell says she feels comfortable working from home and isn’t worried about missing water cooler conversations. This has allowed her to build relationships with other coworkers. She says that being remotely enables her to be more open and connect with coworkers. It’s possible to capture conversations, giving everyone the opportunity to read what was happening. It doesn’t matter if your are not at the “watercooler” during the conversation.
Other people find the most difficult part of working remotely isn’t the work. Helen Xue (30), a communications leader, moved to Portland in order to be closer to her family. They moved to Seattle after the policy was in effect.
Xue points out that being able “opens the doors for me to eventually return home,” as I can work all over the globe. “My partner and me would both love to go to Europe or Asia together before coming home to Australia.
However, moving around can prove difficult for individuals. “Leaving family and friends behind every move is heartbreaking,” Xue said. It doesn’t get any easier, no matter how many times it happens. You can also experience new cultures and make new friends you would not otherwise be able.
Alex Riegelman (35), moved internationally six years ago to work as an experienced architect. He met his wife, also American, in Australia. They came to realize that the decision to get their Australian citizenship was up to them.
“As Team Anywhere was growing, we realized that it was the right time to return to the States while still staying at Atlassian,” Riegelman said. In February 2022, he and his wife moved from Colorado to Boulder. They may move again in the near future to the Southeastern U.S.
According to him, the flexibility offered by the company gives him the freedom to visit different areas without worrying about how much he will make. It’s comforting to know that I do not need to worry about finding work if I want to move. I can simply focus on choosing the right location to suit my needs.
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