Doist: Where Asynchronous is part of the DNA

This feature is part of our “Well-Distributed” series where we highlight some of the companies whose people-centricity and approach to remote work we admire. Doist was one of our premier sponsors at last year’s Oyster Bridges event.

We talked to Andrew Gobran, People Ops Generalist at Doist, on asynchronous work, tools, and Doist’s remote roots. 

Andrew has been with Doist for three years, after stumbling into remote work three years before that. His six years working in a remote environment is evident, as most of our interview was conducted asynchronously, a nod to the efficiency of how things work at Doist. 

During my virtual coffee chats with Andrew, his passion for all things “People” jumped out of the Zoom screen. 

“I’m passionate about helping people and teams thrive and develop. As a people operations generalist at Doist, my work spans a wide variety of areas that all work together to accomplish this.”

Andrew on his role at Doist

While learning more about Doist, it became apparent that they truly eat their own dog food as a company whose tools “promote a more fulfilling way to work and live.” It is for that reason Doist earned a spot as a “Well-Distributed” company. 

On their Remote Roots

Doist has been a remote company from the very start in 2011, when Amir Salihefendić, the CEO and Founder, decided to hire a remote freelancer to help him manage support tickets for Todoist.

Today, according to their website, “Doist is a remote-first team of 93 people representing 41 nationalities in 39 countries and 75 cities.”

Andrew shared a fun fact, that the freelancer is still a member of the team! From there, the company continued to grow and everyone was hired remotely. 

When chatting about how remote work has evolved, especially as many companies have been thrown in the deep end with the COVID-19 pandemic, Andrew shared:

“Although the circumstances that have shined a spotlight on remote work have been unfortunate, the way this has challenged the status-quo surrounding work has been an important part of normalizing remote work.” 

For Doist it is not just normal, it is part of their DNA.  

Tools 

Doist’s mission is to “Create tools that promote a more fulfilling way to work and live” and this mission shines through not just in their core values and processes but in the fact that the core tools they use day-to-day are also their products. 

“At Doist, we’re dogfooders of our own products, so we use Todoist to manage tasks and projects, and Twist for team communication.”

Andrew Gobran

Outside of their core tools, each team has the flexibility to find ways that work for them, based on the specific needs of their work.

On Asynchronous Work 

Taking “remote” a step further, Doist is a champion of asynchronous work environments. Simply defined as a company where communication is shared in a way where no immediate or real-time response is required.

“At Doist, we default to asynchronous communication, so there aren’t any fixed hours or times where people are expected to be working.”

Instead, they set clear expectations that everyone works 40 hours per week, employees  communicate what their priorities are that week and are accountable for delivering. 

“We operate on trust” boasts Andrew on how this works. 

That is not to say that collaboration is stiff or limited at Doist, in fact quite the opposite.

“Although we default to asynchronous communication, collaboration takes place in a variety of ways at Doist through team and cross-functional projects. Through threaded communication in Twist, we’re able to have transparent discussions where everyone is able to contribute. When a more “live” conversation is needed, we use video calls to connect, check-in, reach alignment, and distribute responsibilities.”

All in all, it is obvious that Doist has aced efficiency and flexibility in a remote environment, and are here for the long-haul.

“We’re committed to building a company and culture with a lasting impact on the world that is fully remote and driven by our core values.” shares Andrew. 

Want to join a remote team like Doist? You need 2 things according to Andrew:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Self-motivation

There are many important skills that can enable someone to thrive in a remote work environment, but communication and self-motivation the two most critical skills.” – Andrew


To learn more about Doist, check out: https://doist.com/

Know of another “Well-Distributed” company? Leave us a note in the comments below👇

Published by Ali Greene

Head of Culture and Community at Oyster. Ali has ten years of startup experience and four years leading remote teams and implementing frameworks for organizations while traveling full-time. From rolling out benefits for U.S. based teams while slurping ramen in Tokyo, to managing an organization re-structure from beaches in Spain, her unique point of view and solution-oriented mindset is focused on supporting the success of distributed organizations. At Oyster, Ali is the liaison between internal culture and best practices and external education of the wider Oyster community.

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