Stability and flexibility: Why Tremendous is a great place to be a parent
Parenting is full of chaos and uncertainty. Parents crave both stability and flexibility. As it turns out, Tremendous is a parent-friendly workplace, both by design and in practice.
Why a company of great writers is crucial for flexible work hours
More and more workplaces are telling parents it’s OK to take more time at home, or adjust their hours as needed. That’s great moral support but isn’t sufficient.
At many companies, a lot of work happens in meetings, phone calls, or other scheduled events. Caring for a sick kiddo or chaperoning a field trip often forces parents to choose between family and missing important work opportunities.
Companies that shifted from in-person to remote often keep the habit of chatting live through issues. The result? More meetings. Microsoft found that since March 2020, the average white-collar worker is in 2.5x more meetings than they were prior.
That’s rarely an issue at Tremendous. Most of our communication is written or recorded via:
- briefs in Notion,
- discussions in Slack,
- weekly updates in Asana, and
- all-hands presentations recorded in Loom.
As much as possible, communication is public by default. It doesn’t much matter if you do your work at 2 PM or 2 AM. When everything’s a click away, you can be with your family when they need you.
Funny enough, the founders designed this system for a persona quite unlike parents. “In our mid-20s, our sleeping patterns were inconsistent and we worked odd hours. And we liked to work out during the day. We thought others would also value the flexibility,” our CEO, Nick Baum, told me. On Slack, at 11:30 PM his time, of course.
To maintain this culture, we hire good writers who like writing. More written knowledge means less time bothering people for information. Thorough documentation makes teammates more self-sufficient, including choosing when they work best.
In one another we trust
Kids crave process, routine, and the continual presence of a caretaker. That’s not what you get at Tremendous, to the relief of the parents who work here.
Instead of rigid procedure and close oversight, we've chosen to trust one another. It’s typically up to you whether to seek input, when you’ve gotten enough, and what decision to make.
“We hired you for your judgment, so use it,” said COO Kapil Kale in my first week, when I came to him with a relatively minor decision. Leadership and colleagues who grant you autonomy are a welcome contrast to pint-sized perfectionists who freak out if a sandwich is cut at the wrong angle.
It’s also up to you when and how much time to take off. As Ben in Business Operations puts it, “No one has to 'get permission' to take time to deal with sick kids or other issues. I just add a baby icon to my Slack status, tell my immediate team that I’ll be out, and that’s it.” Except your teammates will surely check in to see how your kids are doing. Same goes for vacation, just give the people you work with ample warning, enjoy your time off, and prepare to share a few photos in #tremendous-banter.
What’s more, our culture truly does not care how few hours a day you work, so long as you meet your commitments. I know I’ve become far more effective per hour since becoming a parent!
Just enough camaraderie
We write everything down. We often work odd hours. You won’t be surprised to learn that we are a fully remote company, which means you can live wherever’s suitable for your family. But this isn’t to say we’re asocial beings. We spend a good amount of time together. Just intentionally.
We call our workstyle “semi-async,” loosely organized around 12 to 3 PM New York time as collaboration hours. That’s when you can typically expect most of your colleagues to be at the keyboard (from Hamburg to Honolulu!) with a speedy response to any question or to riff on a comment thread. Scheduled meetings are rare and reserved for topics that benefit from live discussion; we usually record anything that might be important.
Practically, this means that I’ll try to schedule a pediatrician appointment for the afternoon (I'm on the West Coast). Or if it’s a nice day, I’ll take a brisk walk outside of those hours, without the anxiety of leaving anyone in the lurch.
There’s one big exception: the offsites. Twice a year, the whole company gets together to have a lot of fun and do a minimal amount of work somewhere lovely. The dates are planned months in advance, with our next in September in Mexico City. I think every parent who goes confesses that offsites are a welcome break from family life. (I promise, I encourage my wife to travel on her own in at least equal measure!)
Stability and growth
When I worked at Google, then-CEO Eric Schmidt was fond of saying, “Revenue solves all known problems.” There’s a lot of truth behind the hyperbole.
Tremendous is in a rare and privileged position in terms of money. We’re self-funded and plenty profitable. We don’t have any VCs holding us to a timeline, nor do we have to worry about raising our next round to stay afloat. Nobody is caught up in the find-some-data fire drills or short-term number-juicing that increases stress and can demand long hours.
Also, our clientele spans a range of industries and business models. Customer diversity is built into our metrics: we measure success by “capped run rate,” limiting the contribution of any given customer to our health assessment. With this prudent approach, we are confident we can do fine if not even grow during a recession.
Being a parent is full of worries. It’s quite a relief that my ongoing employment isn’t on that list.
The next steps
Most of our internal docs are works in progress, so it’s common to find a Next Steps section at the bottom. Let’s do that here.
For us, it’s to continue building on what makes Tremendous a great place to be a high-performing working parent. We’re working on evolving our policies and benefits to better support our many current or future parents.
For you, it’s to take a peek at our Careers page and get in touch. As it happens, Amelia, our lead recruiter, has an infant and another on the way.