Fully Remote, Flatfile and FluentStream Trade the Office for New Perks

Remote work is here to stay. For many tech companies, the question is: What perks and benefits they can offer to take advantage of the new shift?
Written by Anderson Chen
October 26, 2022Updated: October 26, 2022

As a fully remote employee, Amber Jones, business operations analyst at Flatfile, had a tough, and incredibly unique, decision to make: how to spend her $10,000 home office makeover stipend. 

“I’ve not seen something like this anywhere before,” Jones said. “Having a benefit like this means I can create a unique space to ensure my productivity as soon as I step into it.” Working with an interior designer, she was able to tailor her physical workspace to accompany her flexible remote schedule. 

As companies are trading in physical offices for a virtual workforce, remote perks have come to define a hierarchy of their own, ranging from baseline to extravagant. Some employees, like those at Flatfile, enjoy perks that facilitate their work, including a generous hardware equipment stipend. But that doesn’t mean they lose out on other offerings, such as ones geared towards mental well-being and physical health. 

Others take advantage of the intrinsic, intangible advantages that remote work allows. “Fully remote can sometimes be misconstrued as always available,” said Kala Pickett, FluentStream’s technical recruiter. “So we offer flexible scheduling, which means you work when you’re productive.” This extends to location and times away from the screen as well, whether that’s running errands or taking a midday break. 

From the rain-soaked jungles of Costa Rica and the spacious lounges of an Alaskan cruise ship to the plush-seated comforts of European rails, the office as defined for employees at FluentStream is as fluid as they want it to be. “As long as you have WiFi, you can work from anywhere,” Pickett said.

For examples of companies that have taken the full virtual plunge, Built In Colorado sat down with Flatfile and FluentStream. The discourse no longer revolves around how to establish a remote culture — it’s about how they can improve it. 

 

remote work fluentstream
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Kala Pickett
Technical Recruiter • FluentStream

FluentStream is a business communications platform that offers voice, video, text and analytic options to streamline operations for its users. 

As a fully remote company based in Colorado, FluentStream also recognizes the significance of internal communications within its now-virtual office space, especially when it comes to building rapport and connections. “We have to ensure that we are intentional in our communication but also allow space for natural and casual relationships to be built,” Technical Recruiter Kala Pickett said. 

 

Please briefly outline your role at your current job, including any unique challenges or opportunities presented by being permanently remote. 

I am part of the people operations team, so I recruit for all of our technical positions and help with employee engagement and culture. 

As with any remote workforce, it can be a challenge to build meaningful connections and relationships through a screen. We provide interactive cultural awareness activities and training initiatives. For example, we just held a virtual celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month with music, dancing, and discussion around the Latinx experience. 

We have a Culture Buddy program in which a new hire is paired with a more tenured employee outside of their department who truly embodies our values. This allows new hires to better acclimate to the fully remote environment, provides them with a point of contact outside of their direct manager and promotes cross-functional communication.

From a recruiter’s perspective, opportunities outweigh challenges. Because I can recruit candidates from across the United States, that allows us to add greater diversity to our team and not be limited to a specific geographic area.

 

As a remote employee, what has been your favorite company perk or benefit over the last couple of years? 

One of my favorite perks is a monthly work-from-home stipend. Each employee is given a virtual card that reloads each month and can be used for a variety of services, such as internet, office equipment, phone services and food. 

You can use it for a new keyboard, a ring light to ensure you’re always Zoom-ready, a more ergonomic office chair, a whiteboard for Scrum, DoorDash when you don’t feel like making lunch — the possibilities are endless. 

I use it to pay my internet bill, and I was able to upgrade to a higher speed, so no more Zoom lags. I have also used it to pay for days at a coworking space so that I can get out of my house and be in an office-like environment. Sometimes I’ll meet up with other members of my team who live in the area. Coffee shops and restaurants are great but can be really noisy when I’m interviewing candidates all day. Coworking spaces are a great alternative, and my stipend alleviates that cost. 

With what I have left over each month, I add funds to my Starbucks card and treat myself to a coffee. And that is really just a win for FluentStream because a caffeinated recruiter is a better recruiter. 

Most of us keep normal business hours, but we work across all time zones, and we allow for moments away from the keyboard.”

 

What are some other impactful perks or benefits that have helped you out as a remote employee?

We like to encourage a balance between work life and home life. Most of us keep normal business hours, but we work across all time zones, and we allow for moments away from the keyboard, whether that’s doctor’s appointments, picking up kids from school or when you’ve been staring at a screen too long and need a break, a nap or quick workout.  Employees have access to a fitness platform, obé Fitness, which offers varied workouts, some you can even do from your desk. 

We offer flexibility with where you work. We do require employees to be permanently based in the U.S., but we’ve had people work from the jungles of Costa Rica, cruise ships in Alaska and from a moving train across Europe. As long as you have WiFi, you can work from anywhere. 

We have team off-sites in which every team travels to a certain location to spend time getting to know each other face-to-face. The tech team just had our offsite in which we discussed our roadmap for the next two years while having a ton of fun watching sunsets on the shores of Whidbey Island, Washington.

 

 

Amber Jones
Business Operations Analyst • Flatfile

Flatfile is a data importer that aims to break down barriers between systems to streamline the data onboarding process. With a drop-in, file-importing platform that supports multiple formats, Flatfile wants to integrate a human-centric experience in data processing. 

Part of that work also involves applying a human-forward approach to its fully remote workforce. For employees like Business Operations Analyst Amber Jones who have to wear different hats, having proper support transforms a fast-paced environment into an exciting workplace. “Every day is so different from the last, which is part of what I love so much about Flatfile.”

 

Please briefly outline your role at your current job, including any unique challenges or opportunities presented by being permanently remote.

At Flatfile, I work mainly in people ops, but like most people at startups, I wear plenty of other hats and often do projects involving onboarding, purchasing and compliance. Since everything I do is driven by other people, working remotely means I focus on concise and accurate communication with other Flatfilers, plenty of asynchronous work and lots of spontaneous conversations. Things change quickly here, so plenty of projects require special attention. 

 

As a remote employee, what has been your favorite company perk or benefit over the last couple of years?

We offer a $10,000 home office makeover benefit, which is definitely my favorite perk. Flatfile pairs employees with an interior designer to help craft a space dedicated to them and their work. I’m an active person and lead an interest group at Flatfile to encourage healthy lifestyles. Thanks to the office makeover, I have plenty of room to move around, do some stretching, use my standing desk and encourage others to do the same.

Since everything I do is driven by other people, working remotely means I focus on concise and accurate communication with other Flatfilers.”

 

What are some other impactful perks or benefits that have helped you out as a remote employee?

Beyond the home office makeover, Flatfile also has supplied us with incredible hardware to make our job easier. Everyone receives a top-of-the-line, company-issued MacBook ready for their first day. In addition, we get great quality monitors, a keyboard, mouse, webcam, $300 toward a pair of headphones, a $150 internet and phone stipend and any other electronic equipment we need. We also have some perks for mental well-being and physical health that are free for all employees to use.

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