Twilio is Now a Remote-first Company

May 11, 2022
Written by

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We’re providing Twilions with flexibility, creating more opportunities for connection, and redesigning our ways of working — together as one team

At Twilio, we're always thinking about the future — and the future of work. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we've relied on digital solutions to partner with clients and peers in ways that help us do our best work, especially when we're thousands of miles apart.

And because we believe that businesses should leave society better than it was found, we're intentional in the meaningful work we take on, the impact we make, and how we structure and support our teams.

So today, as part of the evolution of the Open Work initiative we launched in 2021, we're announcing that Twilio is now a remote-first company.

What is remote-first?

Our remote-first approach is focused on providing our employees with flexibility, creating opportunities for connection, and delivering tools and technology for new ways of working:

  • Flexibility: With our remote-first approach, Twilions have the flexibility to work remotely, and they can also work from a Twilio office.
  • Connection: To build stronger connections with one another, Twilio teams will meet in-person via purposeful gatherings from time to time. We’ll also continue to host events and experiences that bring Twilions together based on geographic locations. And, we'll continue to reimagine the role and design of our physical workplaces to support community building and in-person connections.
  • New Ways Of Working: We are redesigning our ways of working as a remote-first company to help us operate more effectively and equitably across teams, time zones and locations. We’re also investing in new technology to support virtual collaboration and the productivity of distributed teams across the globe.

Twilio’s remote-first approach will meet the evolving needs of employees who want the opportunity to integrate work into their other responsibilities and hobbies.

How we arrived at remote-first

In early 2020, we were in an accelerated-growth mode. We expanded to Bengaluru, India, and opened hundreds of jobs across our 27 Twilio locations in 17 countries. Then, like the rest of the world, the pandemic forced us to shut down offices and work from home.

Luckily, as a customer-focused company, we were already adept at virtual collaborating and problem solving, so day-to-day deliverables weren't impacted. Neither was recruiting. In fact, 72% of our employee base was hired during this time, many having never set foot in a Twilio office or met another Twilion face-to-face.

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As individuals, remote working was a global test of our flexibility and resolve. As a company, it was a test of our culture and our Twilio Magic values.

"When we began mapping out our return to the office in early 2021, we envisioned a hybrid approach," remembers Christy Lake, Twilio Chief People Officer. "We knew we wouldn't be reverting to the traditional 9-to-5, in-person work mentality, but embracing one in which each Twilion can excel, engage, and achieve from just about anywhere."

Our initial solution was an office-based model offering the flexibility of working remotely a few days a week. Anticipating a workforce eager to "get back to normal," we planned to retrofit spaces for social distancing and a more fluid way of working. But the ongoing pandemic had other plans, pushing our return-to-office date further and further.

Our listening-led approach

According to research recently published by ADP, nearly two-thirds of the global workforce have looked — or would consider looking — for a new job if their employers demanded they return to the office full-time.

It was clear that the hybrid approach we were planning was not the answer. So we went to the source and asked Twilions what they wanted from their Twilio experience. Our bi-annual Open Work survey would allow us to gauge sentiments on how Twilions work, how productive they felt, and if working from home impacted their connections with fellow employees.

"What we learned is that Twilio's global workforce has adapted really well to working remotely," said Lake, "and that Twilions have discovered that — for most jobs — work isn't something you need to be in the office to do."

The survey revealed that most Twilions (88%) feel productive working remotely and believe they can make an impact regardless of location (90%). More importantly, nearly all (99%) don't want to return to an office full-time and don't feel that working remotely will impact their growth at the company. That's excellent news since we want everyone to have long and rewarding careers here.

Remote work has been working fine

As an evolution of where and how Twilio works, a remote-first approach keeps us competitive. Remote-First will help us attract, engage and grow the best talent, ensure equitable experiences for all Twilions, evolve our location strategy to better support our customers, and drive a healthy, high-performance culture.

Specifically, Remote-First allows us to:

  • Seek out talent from regions previously overlooked due to distance from a Twilio office.
  • Use our physical spaces for intentional and purposeful gatherings — like client meetings, team collaborations, community building, and social events.
  • Provide ample time for Twilions to refresh and recharge so they can always be their best selves at work.
  • Provide all Twilions with uniform access to onboarding, career development, and growth opportunities unique to Twilio.

And as the future of work will increasingly take place in a digital landscape, Twilio is committed to making the investments needed to optimize the workplace experience, just as we always have. Still, Lake considers how far we've come in just two years.

"When I joined Twilio at the start of the pandemic, I was concerned about how we'd be able to build human connections and collaborate effectively from behind a computer screen," she said. "Today, I'm in awe of how quickly you can get to know someone and build camaraderie in this environment and how effectively Twilions embraced the situation and made it work."

Should you consider joining Twilio?

The answer is yes. Working at Twilio means you’ll be helping revolutionize how the world interacts and building things you wouldn't have the chance to tackle elsewhere. And since Twilio is still in builder mode, you'll be empowered to take risks and be a true owner of the work you do.

Job seekers want to work for a values-driven organization, specifically for one that shares a perspective on how to get work done. We feel that our Remote-First approach — coupled with our amazing opportunities — makes Twilio a great place to build your career.

If you're looking for a new challenge — or considering returning to Twilio after cultivating and developing new skills elsewhere — we'd love to have you check out our job openings and see why Twilio might be the place to build your career.