Barely days after laying off 135 staff, Andela announced plans to become a remote-first company and expand the network to include top engineers from across the continent, and eventually around the world.
In a Medium post published by Andela’s CEO, Jeremy Johnson, he revealed that the recent layoffs were a necessary measure aimed at safeguarding the future of the tech company. He cited the weight of the economic downturn on Andela’s customers as a sign that there will be attrition from the startup’s customer base and lower than expected growth. Hence, the need for the trim.
Mr. Jeremy further revealed that there’s more to the matter than cutting costs.
In 2014, our first office in Lagos, Nigeria was a critical component of developing talent, because being in person accelerates the confidence-building and networking abilities of junior engineers. Tens of thousands of engineers applied from cities outside of Lagos, but they weren’t able to get in unless they could relocate. On the other hand, Andela Egypt, which we opened in 2019, has never required engineers to come to an office. As a result of this, within the first few months, we had exceptional engineers working from multiple cities other than Cairo.
What’s the difference? In 2020, the same office approach that helped us create an opportunity for brilliant minds when we first started now restricts the opportunity for talented engineers who can’t (or choose not to) relocate. As such, requiring offices is now part of the problem we are working to solve.
This week, we announced at an all-hands that we are going to be a remote-first company. While we’ve always been a leader in distributed work, we’ve now proven that we can operate fully remotely by delivering excellent work to our customers over the past couple of months. We will continue to ensure that our engineers have the infrastructure needed to operate at a world-class level.
With all these shortcomings raised in the above statement, Andela is now shifting gears with its business model to remote working to address their shortcomings. This new model will accommodate talent that would otherwise have missed out because they can’t (or choose not to) relocate.
In addition to remote working, the CEO also stated that they won’t require engineers to be full-time employees to apply for opportunities.