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'100 percent distributed': 12 companies that only hire virtual workers

Posting in Technology

The virtual workforce isn't some feel-good concept cooked up in the corner of some consultant's brain. It is reality, and there are already a number of organizations that have mainly virtual workers, meaning they only connect and interact digitally, versus having physical offices.

Brie Weiler Reynolds of  FlexJobs has compiled a list of "virtual" companies that operate with remote workers or distributed teams. "These cutting-edge companies embrace a new way of working in a forward-thinking way," the report's authors note. "They don’t see virtual working as a perk, but as a necessity, as standard operating procedure—as THE way to do business. The companies below truly represent the future of work."

Here are some selected companies from Reynolds' list that pride themselves in having entirely virtual workforces:

appendTo: This web development company describes itself as “100% distributed.”

Articulate: Online learning company is distributed, "and happily so."

Automattic: Web-services company has "235 Automatticians working in 29 countries, 174 cities, and 36 U.S. states—all working from home.".

Basecamp: At this project management tool provider, “many of us love working remotely."

Batchbook: Small business services provider "has a few rigid requirements: 'Must love the Internet, having a flexible schedule, and donut cake.'”

Buffer: Social media management tool provider doesn't care where its employees live. 

Fire Engine Red: This marketing and technology company says it has "no committees or bureaucracy of any kind," and that "team members can live anywhere – and they do – in 18 U.S. states and Canada."

FlexJobs: The authors of this list also have their own completely virtual team -- "40 staffers working from home offices throughout every time zone in the U.S."

Genuitec: A cloud software development company with “100% work-from-home” opportunities.

inVision: This software design firm states right up front: “Who says you need to move to work at a great company? Not us. We know there’s great talent all over the place and we are a completely distributed company. Do great work from an environment that you’re comfortable in.”

Mozilla: This open-source provider of the Firefox browser and Mozilla Thunderbird email client says, “We have 13 global offices and people working in more than 30 countries. If you work best from home, that’s not a problem. We can support you anywhere.

Upworthy: This new media company says employees can “work from home, from a coffee shop, from a coworking space—anywhere with good enough Internet to do a Google Hangout.”

Of course, there are many, many more organizations in the world offering flexible or virtual work arrangenments. FlexJobs also says it offers a Guide to the Best Companies for Flexible Jobs, a searchable database of over 29,000 employers that embrace and offer telecommuting and other flexible work options.

(Thumbnail photo: Michael Krigsman.)

— By on March 25, 2014, 11:57 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure