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Nashville Hub: Building Personal Connection in a Remote-First Company

Introducing our Nashville Hub - a beautiful shared office space where we can collaborate and strengthen relationships as often as desired.

Ashley Bassett
Ashley Bassett
4 min read
Nashville Hub: Building Personal Connection in a Remote-First Company

For 2024, we resolve to prove that remote work doesn't mean remote relationships with the launch of our Nashville Hub and unlimited trips for the team.

At XMTP Labs, communication is at the core of all we do and believe. We know that our ability to communicate effectively is rooted in strong, high trust relationships, understanding that they are fundamental for collaboration and innovation. While we embrace a remote design, we also recognize the irreplaceable value of face-to-face interactions in forging these bonds and improving our communication. So, in the spirit of our company ethos, we are continuing to challenge the way things have always been done in service of something better and reinforcing our remote-first culture with the introduction of an innovative co-working benefit. This benefit underlines both our commitment to individuality and the power of in-person connections by providing unlimited access to a beautiful collaboration space in Nashville.

About 8 years ago, I made a conscious decision to work remotely while it was still novel and unique, and long before the pandemic forced everyone’s hand. At that point, job options were primarily constrained by geography and time zones and most WFH jobs were scams. When I found a Nashville based start-up willing to hire me to lead Operations remotely from Philly, it represented a huge shift in my life and career, breaking what had been a decade long pattern of a commute and typical 8-6 grind of city life.

Shifting into this new fluid and flexible lifestyle, so much changed. I gained all of this time to reinvest in myself - into my wellness, my growth and other things no longer prohibited by my work-life schedule. Though I quickly adjusted to this new way of life, I also perceived a loss; the strong relationships I had cherished with my team over the years, forged from the spontaneous coffees and lunches, the bond from sitting next to each other every day, the camaraderie and the daily personal connection quickly faded out. And when Covid hit and caused a rapid shift to remote culture, It only exacerbated and proved the delicate balance between flexibility and the quick erosion of trust and interpersonal connections within teams.

Amidst all of this, at XMTP Labs, we consciously chose to design a remote-first team. Well aware of the challenges of diminished connection and trust, we refused to believe that having a remote company meant we had to sacrifice strong relationships. And because of that, we knew that building a remote team would not be easier, more convenient or more cost effective; that it in fact it would require significant intentionality, investment, and a commitment to doing things differently. Despite many of our own experiences, we have been so bold as to believe that if done right and with the right amount of work, it is possible to have both.

And over the last few years, we have learned so many lessons and iterated on many different versions of how we do this. We have executed carefully curated bi-annual retreats and they have been amazing for laying the foundation across the company - with relationships having been built while hiking in upstate New York or building bikes for charity in California. We innovated on a “meet-up” stipend to enable team members to have their own budget to spend time IRL. We have taken our learnings, turned them into principles and used them to structure how we operate.

A mantra I've learned in remote work is "Take it to a higher fidelity." This means escalating the mode of communication for clarity and effectiveness – from Slack to a phone call, from a call to a video chat. But we believe in-person interaction is the highest form of communication. It's crucial for nurturing healthy relationships and fostering trust. Our goal is to ensure every team member has the opportunity for these invaluable face-to-face connections, reinforcing the foundation of our remote work culture.

As our team and our ambitions have continued to expand, so has the need to go even further with our approach.

For 2024, we are introducing our Nashville Hub - a beautiful shared office space where we can collaborate and strengthen relationships as often as desired. This initiative stems from our CEO's vision of Nashville as a 'Switchboard City,' ideally located for easy access from various major cities. A place where people can come together easily, have a great time and experience the energy of Nashville all while building their trust and connection.

We've gotten an incredible co-working space at The Malin, and partnered with Graduate Hotels to provide easy lodging accommodations. Ben Weprin, CEO of AJ Capital Partners, said:

It's amazing to see some of the best tech companies & VC firms in the world investing here in Nashville. Nashville brings together music, arts, and tech in a way that nowhere else does while still being so connected to every major city. The Malin is also one of the most beautiful spaces to work that I’ve ever seen. - Ben Weprin, CEO of AJ Capital Partners

We encourage every team member to experience the Nashville Hub as soon as possible. Share your ideas, collaborate on projects, or just enjoy a coffee with a colleague. This space is yours to explore and grow in and we want to hear more about how it works for you.

Images courtesy of The Malin, in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee

Balancing Community and Individuality in Remote Work

At XMTP Labs, we're more than a team; we're a community. A community that values individuality, fosters trust, and thrives on innovation. The Nashville Hub is our latest step in ensuring each of us can find the perfect balance in our professional and personal lives.

We can't wait to see how this new chapter unfolds for all of us.


Ashley Bassett

People @XMTP Labs