Want to innovate? Go remote!

Lately, there’s been lots of controversy regarding working from home. It’s a known fact that Yahoo remote workers were let go.

At Toggl, we rely on hard facts only. Is working from out of the office less productive? For a week, we decided to try and find out.


Basically it boils down to the simple fact that it’s impossible to innovate in the office.

The aim of the experiment

To tap in to the unused potential deep down inside us, and break new ground in the time tracking world. Sounds lame? We know.

The action plan

1. Rent a villa in Italy and fly the team there;
2. Put everyone together in one room for one week;
3. Provide the house with ample pizza, pasta, wine and beer – and most importantly – unlimited cups of espresso.
4. Let the magic fly in!

The result

On day four the amazing hilltop views from our villa to the beach have magically melted into code and we already have some working prototypes! Instead of using ancient technologies like Ruby on Rails etc, we’re using the best technology stack out there: Postgresql for data storage, Go for backend APIs and Coffeescript for the front end. Yikes!

Le conclusion

While there are doubts about working remotely, that people don’t fulfill their potential, slack off or cheat their work – we have proved exactly the opposite so far.

Remote is the only way to work when you want to create something inspiring, original and visionary! Unless you’re a company lying in ruins, it’s essential to provide remote workplaces.


By On May 5, 2013

  1. Hi Tanel,

    Wow, you guys went to Italy? Must have been quite the experience! Anyway, I’d like to point out that there’s more to remote workers than simply people just “working from home” since, by definition, it isn’t; it’s just the most popular version of the concept, I guess. Also, that villa in Italy isn’t exactly home (although it would be great if it were!).

    Remote working is working from anywhere but the main base of operations/head office. That’s the concept our company is pushing for more companies to recognize so that employment options are limited to people who want to work where they live. In fact, our company (Bolton International) provides its own office for remote staff here in Manila, Philippines, and everyone is as productive and driven as their counterparts in their respected company’s home base. Check us out if you want more details at

  2. I also agree, that you need to take a break – and you did the right thing….you sparked imagination from your developers. I work everyday in the office and use Toggl. I love it. It keeps me from drifting from projects and forces me to stay focused and complete my tasks.

    I’d love to work remotely, but then again, I’m glad I don’t. You’ve got to be pretty disciplined and not stare out the window thinking “the grass needs cut today, I’ll go do that instead”. Having to go to the office, keep everybody on track and 100% productive.

    When I need a break, I take a vacation or a day off to refresh the brain and creativity.

  3. Howdy!

    We’ve been experimenting with working remotely for a while now. I’ve been working from home, from Germany, from Netherlands and other places and find it super productive. But this time, I decided to take the whole team with me.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Neumarkt Web Design:
    “But, of course, I realise this post was essentially a grasping at straws to encourage the uptake of toggl since without home workers youd essentially have no clients.”

    Not true — I work from an office every day, where at least six of my colleagues including myself actively use Toggl. A person can “work for the man” and still realize the benefits this service.

    And while I do “work for the (wo)man,” she encourages us to work from home, coffee shops, coworking spaces, etc. — and it makes all of us more productive.
    To me this post is about realizing how important it is to step outside of your usual routine to truly get a breathe of fresh air, and rejuvenate your mind. Happy employees = happy work.

    My American 2¢

  5. I know this isnt meant to be a serious experiment, but it really doesnt prove anything. Its a completely different scenario and really has little in common with working from home.

    But, of course, I realise this post was essentially a grasping at straws to encourage the uptake of toggl since without home workers youd essentially have no clients.

  6. Hi.

    Sounds like a fun experiment, and a very nice trip for the crew.

    I do however not agree, that flying the crew to a house in Italy is the same as working from home.

    I love working from home, and it makes me very productive. I also would love a trip to Italy working with other great guys, but to me that’s a whole different scenario.

    Just my €0.05 worth.

    /Søren Berg Glasius