How Fastly’s history of flexible work is shaping our future

The last year and a half have been a crash course in flexibility and adaptability, as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the ways we live and work. For us, flexibility has been a core value from our inception, central to our ethos and baked into our DNA. We’ve spent years cultivating a connected community and culture, united without regard to location or a requirement to be office-bound. 

Prior to COVID-19, about 40% of Fastly’s workforce were geographically distributed and remote. Although we continue to be a fully remote team — and expect to be through the end of 2021 — about 60% of our team members are not assigned to an office, and we only expect that number to grow as our family of employees becomes even more dispersed. 

The pandemic presented us an opportunity to continue building on our core foundation of distributed teams and flexible work structures. Our goal is to create a future-of-work environment that fosters a rich and compelling employee experience predicated on collaboration and engagement, regardless of location.

And it's no secret that workers are now prioritizing this flexibility more than ever. Gartner®’s 2021 research on “Digital Workers Say Flexibility Is Key to Their Productivity” shows that:

  • 43% of respondents said flexible working hours increased their productivity

  • 30% said less or no time spent commuting raised their work efficiency

  • 59% would only consider a new position that allows for remote work

  • 64% would opt for a role with flexible hours over one that did not

We’re committed to cultivating a work culture that adapts to changing priorities and embraces modern worker needs. Our history of flexible work guided our decision making during the pandemic and helped us tune into what our employees needed to feel safe and supported. Now, as more discussions are taking place around the future of work, it’s also informing our vision of how Fastly’s work culture will continue to grow and evolve. 

Our priorities for the future of work

As we move forward, we’re heavily invested in refining our remote-friendly practices, applying lessons from the past and present to advance and improve our flexible work culture to match what our employees need. 

We recently established a new Director of Employee Experience role and launched an Employee Experience Champion program, both charged with understanding employee expectations as we structure a coordinated return to work built around a hybrid model and designed with our employees in mind. Our Employee Experience Champions hail from every org outside of HR and provide valuable insight and feedback as we reimagine processes that impact workers in their day-to-day roles. 

Our mission is to create and deliver a consistent employee experience for those who opt to come into the office as well as for those who will continue remote work from anywhere across the globe. Our top priorities include:

Designing adaptable policies. At Fastly, it’s not just about accommodating different work schedules across time zones and international regions — it’s also about fostering a culture of trust and respect that allows people to get their work done as they see fit. We want our employees to understand that we value their lives both inside and outside of work, and support their need to attend to family obligations or household emergencies. During the pandemic, this mindset was incredibly important, and we implemented initiatives like monthly wellness days — which we extended through 2021 — to help our employees deal with the stresses of the pandemic. 

We train our managers and business leaders to support different working styles and to create an inclusive culture of belonging. At the same time, we provide frameworks and tools to support better decision making, including guidelines that outline consistent corporate expectations along with areas where it’s okay to tailor work arrangements based on departmental needs. To ensure our employees have a great remote working experience during the pandemic, we have provided new hires with a wellness stipend, as well as a monthly internet reimbursement benefit. We measure performance in outcomes, not in how long someone sits in an office or how many hours they log online.

Leading by example. Our CEO is remote and international, which helps set the tone and solidifies the expectation that leadership doesn’t come by way of proximity, but rather by the work accomplished and ongoing performance. Leaders are readily accessible to the Fastly crew — we have regular fireside chats where employees can anonymously ask questions, offering direct lines of communication to the C-suite and executive management.

Championing team building. We take the need to build a connected community very seriously, hosting regular virtual team-building events, including happy hours over multiple time zones. We have dozens of social Slack channels where like-minded colleagues can bond over shared interests such as parenting, fitness, gardening, and dogs. We also recently launched five employee resource groups (ERGs), such as WAGE (Women and Gender Equality) and FACT (Fastly Asians Coming Together), to develop even richer communities of engagement.

Going forward

We know that when we take care of our people, we are that much closer to staying true to our mission of delivering amazing products for customers. The lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic and from our years of experience building a remote workforce will continue to help us better serve our employees, and in turn, our customers. If you’re interested in learning more about our company culture or browsing open roles, check out our careers page

*Smarter with Gartner, “Digital Workers Say Flexibility Is Key to Their Productivity” June 9, 2021. [].

Gartner Disclaimer:
GARTNER is registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Doniel Sutton
Chief People Officer

4 min read

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Doniel Sutton
Chief People Officer

Doniel Sutton is the Chief People Officer at Fastly. She is a values-driven human resources executive who brings more than 20 years of strategic and global human resources leadership experience at Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, including PayPal, Prudential, Bank of America, and Honeywell. Her career has been hallmarked by partnering with business executives to transform organizations, implement new business models, design and execute global people strategies.

She formerly served as SVP of People for PayPal, overseeing all aspects of human resource functions for the company’s global workforce of more than 20k employees. Among her crowning career achievements includes being recognized by Black Enterprise in 2017 as one of the 300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America and being awarded the 2018 American Business Award’s Bronze “Stevie” HR Executive of the Year.