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Canonical: a world leader in remote first working

Hanna Neuborn

on 11 February 2022

Over the last two years much of the Global workforce has experienced remote working first-hand. Sound familiar? For many, this was a ‘career first’, changing their views on the effectiveness of remote working. The desire to be office based has reduced dramatically with people wanting to avoid time-consuming commutes. In a recent survey, a staggering 91% of US workers wanted home working to persist post pandemic. There is a consensus that remote working is now proven to be highly effective, with physical location no longer the key driver in creating an efficient workplace. The survey also identified 2 out of 3 workers feel that remote working will have no effect or a positive effect on workplace culture.  (Source: Gallup, 2021)

Today we have noticed that, in some organisations, opinions are still split. Employers are actively encouraging their people back to the office citing ‘true collaboration and culture’ as the justification.  However their people see things differently and are frustrated by the lack of flexibility. There is a great divide on how to attract, manage and retain top talent and companies often put themselves first.  

So why are we different?

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, was founded in 2004, with a vision to create a ‘remote first’ organisation bringing opportunities to people regardless of location, enabling a meeting of minds and true collaboration. This approach lies at the heart of our open source product; Ubuntu (meaning ‘I am because you/we are’) creating a ‘remote but together’ culture. A vision of the future of both products and work.

This unique approach embodies our values of doing things with purpose and reason rather than simply  following the crowd. An extraordinary culture has been created, allowing the brightest minds to come together from around the Globe.

So what does our environment actually feel like? 

Diverse and agile! We have no geographical location requirement, siloed floors or departments, no invisible barriers impacting how we collaborate. Personal growth opportunities are in abundance through the ability to come together and problem solve with teams across the globe: remote but connected!

Today we have over 750 team members based in 55 countries. We prioritise fluidity of communication without compromising on time together, continually evolving our remote first methods allowing us to connect in an open and efficient way.

We sprint too! We regularly bring our people together from across the globe to work on a specific project, initiative or agenda. And it’s not all work! It’s a fantastic chance to build on the strong relationships we have already formed virtually, and  to meet in person over dinner, coffee etc. The energy that these sprints create further feeds our team spirit and cohesion.  

So how do our people really feel?  

Our 2021 annual Employee Engagement Survey saw ‘team collaboration’, ‘a sense of personal contribution to company goals’ and  ‘feeling a sense of belonging to the team’ rank at the top.  We scored 18% above the tech industry benchmark on team collaboration and cross-team consultation. Over 85% of our people said they feel part of a team and are proud to work for Canonical. 

Here is what our people said when asked “What makes Canonical a good place to work?”:

“My coworkers here are excellent. Working on Ubuntu enriches the soul in a way that working for Twitter, Meta, or Alphabet, absolutely cannot.”

“I think the people are what make Canonical great. We hire highly able people who make working here a wonderful experience, especially for collaboration.”

“There are so many opportunities to grow and learn from some of the best people in the industry.”

“It is full of talented and great people to work with. It values employee growth, innovation and diversity.”

“Freedom to schedule your day and work in the manner which supports customer growth.”

“There’s a strong sense of community/team spirit and high morale. My colleagues are very talented and I think I’ll learn a lot from them. Working from home is great, my boss is very understanding and flexible when it comes to time off and childcare. I also like the direction of the company.”, yetIf you connect with our story and want to be part of our trailblazing remote first organisation we would love to hear from you. Please do visit our careers page to view our current  opportunities. We are excited to learn about your experience and what you can add to Canonical!

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