Red Guava’s first hire convinced the founder that a distributed team could help his company succeed. Now the majority of work is done remotely and the founder is an advocate for the future of work and employing remote teams.
“We work smarter, not harder. We think work/life balance is important and we work a 30 hour work week with full-time pay as standard” says Joel Friedlaender, founder of Red Guava.
Red Guava is a small, bootstrapped and profitable software company based in Melbourne, Australia. They are the team behind Cliniko – a healthcare practice management system launched in 2011 and now used by thousands of healthcare practitioners worldwide.
When Joel began recruiting, he advertised for a Melbourne-based Ruby on Rails developer, and even specified in the ad he wasn’t looking for a remote worker. But he found one anyway – Bartosz from Poland – who convinced Joel a distributed team could help his company succeed, and set Red Guava on the path as a leader in remote work.
“Initially I thought I needed someone to work right next to me, but Bartosz was really good and it worked out so well with him, it made sense. Why try to find a person close to our office when we could look anywhere in the world to hire the best person available?”
These days Red Guava does have an office in Melbourne, with some local staff working on site two days a week, but most of the work is done from home or wherever staff choose. Team members are based in the UK, USA, Canada, Poland, Brazil, Portugal, and New Zealand.
Joel gives his team complete autonomy to make their own decisions, with flexible working hours, 30 hour weeks on full time pay, no job titles or meetings, and unlimited annual leave.
“We have no level of management, no measurement of productivity or review. We trust when we hire someone really good that they want to do good work, and we let them do it.”
Red Guava also rewards staff with a box of organic fruit delivered fresh to their door each week. Joel says it’s a token of appreciation and genuine care for the health and wellbeing of his team.
The Red Guava team is made up of developers and support staff, operations engineers, and specialists in finance, growth and design.
Although their fields are different, Joel always looks for one common attribute when hiring.
“Technical skills can usually be learnt, so what we look for is people who are passionate about what they do. Nice people with a sense of humour.”
The Red Guava team relies on Slack for internal communications, GitHub for code and ZenDesk for customer support. The suite of online software allows staff on different sides of the globe to work seamlessly across time zones, providing 24-7 support and an impressive average response time of just seven minutes for Cliniko users.
Having the support of a growing team has allowed Joel to shift his own focus, including becoming an advocate for the future of work and employing remote teams.
In the video below, Joel talks more about how he built Cliniko from his lounge room and grew Red Guava with a remote team.