Reimagining the traditional in-office work model, Virtual First empowers us to live our company mission of designing a more enlightened way of working. With Virtual First, though remote work is the primary experience for our employees, we also know that in-person connection is vital to a thriving workforce. Therefore, we also prioritize opportunities for quarterly in-person collaboration — whether its for team building, brainstorming, or strategic planning.
Virtual First allows us to focus on our impact and effectiveness, becoming a testament to the significance of how we work, not where we work. With Virtual First, we’re designing the work environment of the future, while simultaneously building the technology environment of the future through our products and tools to ultimately make work better for our employees and customers alike.
Designing a sustainable, thriving workplace for the future
An enlightened way of working
Our mission is rooted in the belief that modern work tools should take away the friction in our day-to-day work, allowing for more innovation and time spent on collaboration and creativity. Being Virtual First has given us greater perspective in understanding the challenges our customers experience in distributed work since we’re also experiencing it firsthand. Because of this, we’re able to lead with more empathy as we continue to evolve our products and practices to help people focus, stay organized, and collaborate in a distributed environment.
Flexibility and freedom
As Virtual First has expanded our geographical footprint, we have the added benefit of a more diverse and wider talent pool. In order to be successful in this environment we needed to make changes that would allow employees to have more control over both where and how they work. Therefore, we embrace “non-linear workdays” with defined core collaboration hours that overlap across time zones. Beyond that, we encourage employees to design their own schedules to balance collaboration with needs for individual focus. We’ve also moved from “all day syncs” to an “async by default” culture, reserving meetings for discussion, debate, and decision-making, and handling all other work in our deep focus hours.
Human connection and culture
Though remote is our primary way of working, meaningful in-person connection and collaboration is a critical part of sparking creativity, building community, and maintaining our company culture in Virtual First. Our culture has always been rooted in creating the most inclusive environment that we can, and a level-playing field is a key principle to our methodology in terms of how we work. Therefore we are decidedly not hybrid. We believe that when certain employees are in the office versus remote it could cause issues related to equity, performance or promotion velocity and this is a non-starter for us. Virtual First gives us the opportunity to holistically support our teams in order to foster the parts of our culture that truly set us apart.
As we’ve become more geographically distributed, we also offer all employees access to on-demand collaboration spaces and/or desk passes depending on their needs. And we connect Dropboxers through our the Dropbox Neighborhoods program, which supports community-building and a sense of belonging in a distributed Virtual First workplace.
Retain a learning mindset
When we made the decision to become a Virtual First company, we understood that our model would evolve as the world of work evolves. By adopting the same philosophy we use to develop our products - build, measure, learn, and adapt - we’re able to analyze areas that are working well, grow from lessons we’ve learned along the way, and iterate on our model with new information.
A learning mindset is woven into the fabric of Dropbox and we are committed to sharing our findings as we go.