May 28, 2024
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Aleph Beta: Exemplar for Remote Work Organizations

In addition to regularly demonstrating the possibilities to discover fresh new insights in the Torah, Aleph Beta makes another important contribution to the Jewish community, by serving as a vibrant example of a midsized organization that functions quite effectively together while all its staff works remotely.

CEO Immanuel Shalev, who lives in Teaneck with his family, explained that while Aleph Beta was initially based in the Five Towns, “we were using Zoom before it was cool, and we were a blended [part in-person, part remote] company before it was cool.” After COVID hit the region in spring 2020, the organization decided to go entirely remote. And judging from the subsequent growth of Aleph Beta, and the reactions of a few staff, that decision has been a big hit.

Product Director Sarah Rashba, who lives in Israel, stated: “Being online at times when very few other employees are online creates the awesome opportunity for deep-focus work. I also love that with my team spread across the world, we have a diversity of experiences and thoughts that we can bring to problem-solving. Remote work does require, though, the self discipline to turn my work communications off when I don’t want to be working, and that’s not always easy.”

Audio engineer Hillary Guttman, who lives in Wisconsin, said: “Working from home is a tremendous gift for a frum mother of four children. I can adjust my work hours to fit the school schedule and Shabbos and Yom Tovim, including working hours on a Sunday which takes some of the stress off of my shoulders…. And of course my commute is short.

“We were strongly encouraged to use voice notes and Zoom meetings for conversations rather than just leaving text messages on the internal messaging systems,” Guttman continued., and I have noticed that I have begun to build relationships with my team members. “Aleph Beta puts a huge emphasis on developing a really supportive and employee-centered company culture. And I can tell you that when you feel cared for it makes the work joyful. … I have a smile on my face when I sit down at my computer to work.”

Animator Arthur Birnbaum, who lives in Romania, remarked: “A totally geographically dispersed organization is not being constrained by location, so you have a larger pool for talent. Today’s technology allows you to go to your co-workers desk and see what they are up to, or to be part of a water cooler chat, even if you are on different continents. An extra bonus of being part of a geographically dispersed organization, it means you can travel and work from anywhere.”

By Harry Glazer

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