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GoPro's Winning Formula for Distributed Team Success

Are you interested in learning how successful companies embrace distributed work? Look no further than GoPro! Their innovative approach is a masterclass in building a happy, productive team that thrives outside the traditional office setting.

The People & Places team dressed up like Tim for the 2023 virtual Halloween party

The People & Places team dressed up like Tim for the 2023 virtual Halloween party

Living the GoPro Lifestyle

Tim Betry, GoPro's Vice President of People & Places, emphasizes that any major change must align with a company’s mission and values. Going fully remote wasn’t just a fad for GoPro; it was a strategic decision that empowered employees to embody GoPro’s mission: be a force for positivity, celebrating all things awesome in the world while inspiring people to pursue their passions. 

GoPro’s work philosophy reflects this by allowing employees to choose their work environment – a GoPro office (“landing pad”), home office, or a bit of both.

Freedom and Flexibility

GoPro recognizes that there’s no one-size-fits-all policy for work preference. The company prioritizes flexibility to empower employees to live their best lives.

Imagine carving out mid-afternoon mountain bike sessions like Tim, then crushing late-night tasks to collaborate with colleagues in Australia. This level of freedom empowers individuals to design their workday for maximum productivity and happiness.

"We don't care where work happens. We care about output. Employees are encouraged to embrace the GoPro lifestyle and share videos with each other of themselves living their best lives."

Tech Bridges the Gap

GoPro uses cutting-edge tools to keep everyone connected. The expectation is that employees are available for critical meetings while also allowing flexibility to accomplish job requirements at their discretion. Much of this flexibility relies heavily on manager and employee engagement, so tools such as Jira, Asana, and Lattice have been instrumental in ensuring alignment on tasks, projects, and OKRs. GoPro also focuses on training specific to change management, remote employee engagement, and performance management and accountability. To maintain employee connectivity while remote, GoPro utilizes Workplace, a collaborative and enterprise-appropriate social platform (from Meta). Through Workplace, GoPro not only shares important business updates but has created communities where employees can share their experiences with colleagues, further reinforcing the remote-first work philosophy and creating a sense of connection amongst GoPro employees.

Putting People First

GoPro cares about their employee’s well-being. They check in regularly, organize fun virtual events, and offer support for mental health. This makes distributed work feel less lonely and more enjoyable. GoPro has also provided ample mental health support and services such as access to 1:1 therapy, training to help managers support their teams, and a large offering of parental support services. They also embrace their work philosophy in support of employee well-being. If employees have time to break away for a quick hike, bike ride, surf session, or family time during the day, they are encouraged to do so. "We’ve adopted remote and flexible work arrangements to support work at GoPro alongside our commitment to supporting employee wellbeing, belonging, and connection with one another."

Stay Agile and Be Iterative

GoPro doesn't just set it and forget it. The company actively solicits feedback through surveys and “brown bag” sessions to understand employee needs and preferences. By asking employees what they prefer, GoPro learned that most people like working from home at least part of the time. So, the company doubled down on flexible work options to support happy and productive teams. This approach extends to many different organizational changes across the globe. By soliciting the voice of the employees and making changes based on their feedback, GoPro has experienced a heightened level of engagement, purpose, and loyalty to the organization.

Fairness Across the Globe

Compensation for all U.S.-based roles is aligned to the company’s California-based offices, with a similar regionally-based philosophy extended to the global offices. GoPro compensates employees based on skills and contributions and does not mandate a pay reduction in connection with moving. The goal is to make sure everyone feels valued and is treated fairly.

Does this mean that all global GoPro policies are the same? Not necessarily. GoPro aims to be as globally consistent as possible but recognizes that they may need to tweak policies to be locally relevant to the team members across 20 countries with varying cultural needs and expectations. For example, employees in China, Australia, and France are more frequent office goers, while Netherlands, Philippines, Romania, and US employees tend to work more remotely.  GoPro has maintained flexibility in its approach to support employees and meet them where they are. 

"There's never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to supporting a global organization. We aim to keep policies globally consistent, but also regionally relevant."

Embrace the GoPro Way

GoPro's success story demonstrates that a thriving distributed team isn't accidental. By aligning with your company's mission, prioritizing data-driven decisions, fostering a people-centric environment, and continuously iterating, your team can flourish, no matter where they choose to work.

Inspired by GoPro's approach? If you’re looking to implement a successful distributed work model, I'm here to help!

  • Schedule an "Ask Me Anything" micro consulting session to get personalized advice

  • Purchase a Remote Work Playbook to accelerate your progress

  • Advisor to your leadership and people team to build a strong people operations foundation and best-in-class employee experiences


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