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Science-tech firm pursues global growth by going remote-first

Cactus Communications (CACTUS), a technology company accelerating scientific advancement, has announced its transition to become a remote-first company for all its 1,200 employees across nine locations globally. It is one of the first companies in India to join a small but growing list of firms across the globe embracing remote-first — referring to companies that have office locations but do not require their employees to work from them. The move will see CACTUS expand its recruitment reach globally and pioneer new, post-pandemic working practices including virtual whiteboards, asynchronous communication and more.

“320 people from across the world joined CACTUS in the seven months leading up to October 2021, and 50 per cent of our new hires were from locations where we don’t have physical offices,” said Yashmi Pujara, Chief Human Resources Officer at CACTUS. “Remote-first does not mean we will not have offices or that our people can’t work from an office. It means that in everything we do at work, we will adopt a remote-first mindset, making sure everyone regardless of where they are working from has equal voice and visibility in the organization. 

“Becoming remote-first opens us up to a global talent pool,” continued Pujara. “We are no longer restricted to a specific geographic location, and we can provide opportunities wherever we find the right talent. In fact, our people are spread across 14 countries and 165 different cities.”

“While the world was forced into an 18-month experiment with remote work, we’ve been thinking about embracing remote-first for a long time,” said CACTUS CEO and Co-founder, Abhishek Goel. “Our primary reason behind the adoption of a remote-first culture is our evolution as a global company. When too many people are concentrated in a specific office location, the loudest voices are the ones closest to you. With customers in over 160 countries, we want to be close to them and responsive to their needs. We also want all employees across the globe to equally contribute to the direction of the company.”  

To develop a remote-first model, the company surveyed employees to better understand their work preferences and challenges. Leaders found that 86 per cent of employees wanted flexibility in how and where they worked, with 38 per cent wanting full-time remote work. A core team then benchmarked other remote-first companies and spoke with industry thought-leaders to learn best practices.

Several pilots on various work practices were introduced to gain insight on what would work best for the company. This covered everything from the introduction of a virtual water cooler and virtual whiteboards to a communications charter, the use of remote champions, asynchronous communication and a remote-first handbook. The company also created a new role for Head of Remote-First, hiring Jason Morwick to lead the company’s transition.

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“For many people, working remotely during the pandemic has highlighted just how much of a rethink working practices need going forward,” said Jason Morwick, Head of Remote-First at CACTUS. “Businesses cannot replicate what they used to do face-to-face over a video call. Take brainstorming, for example. It used to be that people would gather in a room in front of a whiteboard, but that rarely works over a video call. Instead, if everyone comes up with their own ideas first, they can then meet with the team online and share them in real-time, perhaps with the help of a virtual whiteboard. Not only is this more efficient, it also improves the quality of ideas and of those shortlisted, accelerating innovation.”

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About Cactus Communications

Founded in 2002, Cactus Communications ( is a technology company accelerating scientific advancement. CACTUS solves problems for researchers, universities, publishers, academic societies, and life science organisations through innovative products and services developed under the brands Editage, Cactus Life Sciences, Researcher.Life, Impact Science, UNSILO, Paperpal and Cactus Labs. CACTUS has offices in Princeton, London, Aarhus, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, and Mumbai; a global workforce of over 3,000 experts; and customers from over 190 countries. CACTUS is considered a pioneer in its workplace best practices and has been consistently ranked a great place to work over the last several years.  

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