We raised $2.1m to help you orchestrate remote work

Posted by Luke Thomas
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Today, I'm excited to share that we raised $2.1m in seed funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation by UnderscoreActive CapitalEl Cap HoldingsNew York Venture PartnersTLC Collective, and others.

In the rest of this post, I'll share more about our history and where we are going in the future. You can read the news on Techcrunch too.

Slowly, then suddenly

A little over nine months ago, we outlined that the future of work will be more flexible, empowering individuals to work where they want, when they want, and how they want.

A few weeks after we shared our vision, Covid-19 arrived in the United States and accelerated this shift by a decade in a matter of weeks.

Fast-forward to today. 33% of the US workforce is still working from home full-time and many don't want to go back to the office. Some would like to return to the office, but only for a couple days a week.

Despite the strain of the pandemic, we are staring at a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reconfigure the way we work.

With the opportunity at hand, we face obstacles that we need to overcome.

The challenges of remote work

In the sudden shift to remote work, most organizations were unable to prepare. Fortunately, we have excellent tools and the remote work community is always sharing new tips and tricks, but something unfortunate happened.

We created a work environment that was more brittle and inflexible than the office.

After going remote, real-time meetings increased by 10%. Leaders spent twice as much time pinging their teams over chat to try to understand what's going on. Zoom fatigue set in. People felt disconnected.

Does this sound like a more flexible workplace? Is this the bright future of work?

If remote work is about sitting on Zoom calls from a home office all day, count me out. For many people, the remote work experience right now is like going to a musical and hearing this:

People are excited and trying hard! But the instruments are not tuned. The musicians are out of sync. The conductor has no control. Chaos ensues at work.

But there's hope. You aren't the only one who has experienced this before. This is part of an evolution that happens when teams start working remotely. Gitlab and Automattic have written about this shift in more detail (part 1part 2).

At first, you try to replicate the office online. If a team meeting existed at the office, you will port it to Zoom. Over time, you start to shift towards a more asynchronous work environment that doesn't require constant presence to move work forward. The goal is to tap into the #1 benefit of remote work, which is a more flexible work environment that allows individuals to work when they are most productive.

Making this change takes time and a lot of manual effort though. Behavior change is tough for individuals. Behavior change is REALLY difficult for groups of people.

So what do you do?

The opportunity at hand

It turns out, most leading remote companies (like Zapier, Automattic, Stripe, and others) have created their own internal software to help their teams stay connected and productive. Many of them have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into these tools (or more).

These forward-thinking organizations understand that this shift requires intention, but they know technology can play a useful role in driving this workplace transformation.

You probably don't have time to build your own internal software though. You can't reinvent the wheel. You need to learn and adopt these best practices as quickly as possible.

You need to find a new normal, whatever that is.

How Friday can help

At Friday, we've built software to help you accelerate this transition towards a more flexible workplace in weeks vs. years. It's based on years of trial and error, best practices from the broader community, and regular customer feedback and constant iteration.

Think of Friday as a coordination layer that sits on top of tools you already use. We can help you orchestrate remote work success. Instead of the middle school band disaster shown earlier, you can create a symphony at work, no matter where you work.

What's next?

Moving forward, here's what you should expect from us.

  • We will work to solve the toughest challenges you face when working with others in various locations.
  • We'll focus on empowering you, then your team, then the rest of the organization. A successful remote work experience starts with you. It spreads from there.
  • We'll aggregate and share the best practices that we discover from our customers and the market. We're all trying to figure this out together.
  • Friday will be asynchronous. We won't have real-time chatter or virtual offices that create a more brittle work environment.
  • We will help you do your best work in a fun and lighthearted way. You can be productive and also have fun at the same time.

Also Announcing: The Daily Planner

Today, I'm also excited to share a new feature that's completely changed the way the team at Friday works - the daily planner. In short, the daily planner is like a secretary for your workday.

We'll pull your calendar, tasks, and routines together from tools you already use. Show up to work and see exactly what you need to accomplish.

The daily planner neatly integrates with the rest of the Friday suite of tools as well. For example, when sharing an update (like a daily standup) you can import your planner activity with a single click (see below).

It's almost like if your status updates wrote themselves. We think you should spend more time doing your best work and less time talking about it.

We have a few new planner features under development right now and can't wait to share more in the next few weeks 🤫.

If you haven't tried Friday yet, you can get started for free.

We're thrilled to share the news today about our funding, but this is just a small step on our journey to make work better.

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