More staff, more remote, and still Vermont
We’re bigger, and yet the office is less crowded.
Like many companies, Green River has spent the COVID-19 pandemic navigating the rise of remote work, transitioning from a workday that once played out in an historic, downtown Brattleboro edifice to a widely distributed staff that commutes to our Slack and Zoom spaces from 12 states and multiple countries. At the same time, our work has significantly expanded—also, in part, because of COVID. The result is one of the most dynamic couple of years for Green River’s size and shape in our 22-year history.
Green River staff size and location, 2008-2022
In effect, we’ve doubled everything. Since the pandemic’s onset, our staff has more or less both doubled in size and doubled in geographic diversity.
We have both the success and stability of our longtime partners as well as COVID to “thank.” Open Path, our open source platform for homeless services, is now at work in cities and states from Boston to Michigan to Texas and elsewhere; we continue to support Starbucks’ ethical sourcing programs; and our nonprofit clients working in education, affordable housing, and other fields have forged ahead despite COVID’s myriad challenges.
One COVID-influenced growth driver has been our work in health, particularly the public health dashboard we built and maintain for the State of Delaware: My Health Community. Originally conceived as a platform for a range of neighborhood-level health indicators, the project quickly pivoted to simultaneously serve as Delaware’s pandemic dashboard and reporting platform. My Health Community continues to expand, with new portals and topics forthcoming (e.g. climate change and health equity), and serve as a venue for innovative technology and visualizations that deliver granular, up-to-date health data while preserving citizen privacy (see, e.g., our white paper on Green River’s disease prevalence “heat maps”).
The engineers and data scientists joining our team to do this work hail from far and wide. Vermonters, long the majority of our workforce, now make up just a third of our company—originally founded on the banks of the Green River. Massachusetts residents comprise another third. (We maintain a second office in Northampton, Mass., just south of where the Green joins the Deerfield River.)
Green River staff geographic distribution, 2020 and 2022
To be sure, the move to a distributed staff was underway well before COVID-19, but the pandemic forced a certain intentionality about how we, as a company, would manage an increasingly remote staff. And in so doing, the process affirmed we remain very much Vermont—by founding, yes, but also by values. (As we’ve argued elsewhere, we write pure Vermont software and consider ourselves a part of a Green Valley tradition that sets Vermont tech apart from Silicon Valley.) We believe “going remote” involves not just questions of convenience, office space budgets, and (inter)national talent pools, but challenges of company culture and equitable office life experience. How can we ensure all employees, be they in-person, in Vermont, or in California, maintain meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients? And equal opportunity for advancement and professional satisfaction? And collectively true to our mission?
These days we may joke about our shrinking tile sizes, but we are not giving up the all-staff meeting: