Hot! 37signals and Remote Working

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37signals, makers of the popular online collaboration project management, application, Basecamp, are great proponents for remote working, 37signals remotewith staff dotted all over the globe, from the UK to Idaho and Florida to Canada.  As a forward-thinking company, 37signals realized early on that they would need to stretch their net far and wide to get the calibre of personnel needed to develop their suite of collaborative applications into the market leaders they are. 

Operating an office-based working environment where people are recruited from the surrounding geographical area poses significant restrictions on organizations, particularly where they are working with new and cutting edge technologies.  Based in Chicago, 37signals would have struggled to get the complement of skills needed, if they had allowed themselves to be geographically challenged in this way. 

With a suite of products that are on the market to promote and assist collaborative working amongst geographically distributed teams, 37signals quickly put their own products to use, saying “The technology to successfully run and manage remote teams has never been better. We use Basecamp to keep track of our projects, Campfire as the virtual water cooler, Skype for calls and screensharing, and iChat and email to top it off.”

37signals offers a suite of four key products:

  •       Basecamp: on-demand, collaborative project management application
  •       Highrise: centralized contact management application
  •       Campfire: real-time collaborative chat rooms
  •       Backpack: online management of internal communications

What 37signals does with their own products and other complementary remote working applications, they say can be implemented easily by any organization that wants to manage their business with remote employees.  With the technology readily available and, in fact, many competing products to choose from, there are applications that will suit most businesses, whether small or large.  Added to that, the cost of many of these types of applications is relatively small and most software as a service applications, that are available over the cloud, on a monthly subscription, mean that companies only have to pay for their supporting software on-demand. If they don’t need it any more or want basecamp remoteto change to another application, they simply cancel their subscription. 

Although there are arguments for having team members co-located, with face-to-face remote meetings possible through technologies like Skype, the advantages of having the best skills for the job probably out-weigh the co-location benefits.

The world of remote working couldn’t be easier at this time and in a climate of rising travel expenses coupled with improvements in technologies, now is the time for organizations to branch out and give this a go. 

For more information on the entire suite of 37signals applications, please visit:




Jan Birley

Jan holds a PhD in computing and started out in software development and IT training. She built a strong career as a project and program manager focusing on IT in the Health Service sector. Jan specializes in taking greenfield and immature services/departments to effective business-as-usual operation and is currently responsible for the delivery of clinical assessment forms into a high profile clinical system. Jan has authored 100′s of articles on project-management related topics.


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