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Case Code: CLHR059
Case Length: 6 pages 
Period: 2014-2020
Pub Date: 2020
Teaching Note: Available
Subject : Human Resources/ Organization Behavior
Organization :Toggl
Industry :Technology & Communications
Countries : Estonia

Toggl`s Fully Remote Operating Model



In 2014, Toggl, an Estonia-based provider of cloud-based time tracking tools, online project planners, and team calendars, decided to make its operations fully remote and to have no brick and mortar offices. The primary reasons that drove this change were: a) to have a happier, satisfied, and more productive workforce, b) to capitalize on the opportunity to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world, c) to reduce costs incurred on renting or buying brick and mortar offices, and d) to offer seamless customer support to clients across the world.

Toggl adopted The Results-Only Work Environment™ (ROWE), a proven, modern management strategy that focused only on measureable results, to run its remote operations model. As per this model, employees were free to complete their tasks whenever and from wherever they wanted, but, they had to adhere strictly to the deadlines. The ROWE model focused on results and not on traditional metrics such as number of hours logged in. Toggl’s management was very particular about hiring the right people for the remote working environment. People who had previously worked in a remote environment and were independent were given preference.

A culture of open communications, trust in fellow workers, and accountability were encouraged to ensure smooth operations and appraisals were based on results achieved and not on the number of hours logged in by the employees. The fully remote operating model helped Toggl to expand around the world in terms of clients served and employees hired. The management also witnessed a rise in the overall wellbeing and productivity of employees.
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  • Understand the importance and benefits of autonomy in employee motivation.
  • Learn about the Results-Only Work Environment™ (ROWE) concept.
  • Be aware of the factors that aid in implementing a fully remote operating model.
  • Explore the possibility of fully remote operating models in future.
Toggl, a provider of cloud-based time tracking tools, online project planners, and team calendars that helped managers in making and changing plans, was established in 2006 in Tallinn, Estonia, by Alari Aho (Alari) (current Chairman) and Krister Havv (current CEO). The company served clients in different countries such as Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, the UK, and the US. In 2014, Toggl’s management decided to discontinue their brick and mortar offices and turn the company into a fully remote one and also to adopt the The Results-Only Work Environment™ (ROWE) approach..


Remote Working; Employee Autonomy; Results-Only Work Environment; Trust; Employee Productivity; Performance Management; Job Design; Virtual Teams; Motivation; Job Control; Work Environment; Future of Work

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