Company Updates

Introducing Flex First, Instacart’s Future of Work 

Max Mullen

Max Mullen

May 6, 2022

Since Instacart’s earliest days, we primarily built our culture in-person. We designed beautiful offices in San Francisco, Toronto, Atlanta and New York, hosted epic events and thought of our employee experience as a series of moments where “you had to be there.”

But overnight, everything changed.  

During the pandemic, Instacart quickly transformed from a convenience to an essential service for millions of families. During this time we worked tirelessly to support the whole Instacart community while our employees adjusted to the “new normal.” From makeshift home offices, to laptops on kitchen countertops and dining room tables, we saw firsthand that our teams can innovate and drive impact from anywhere.   

Introducing Flex First

While remote work was not perfect, many aspects resonated with our employees — time saved on long commutes, extra moments with loved ones and the flexibility to work from wherever is best for them. When we heard this feedback from our team, we knew we wanted to create a new model for remote work that maximized flexibility for employees and combined the best of remote work and in-person collaboration.

As we look to the future of work, we don’t want to return to the way things were. Instead, we’re creating a new remote work model that we think will be the best of both worlds. We’re calling this model Flex First.

Flex First is based on our belief that a job is just one of the ingredients for a full life. Flex First provides employees the autonomy to live anywhere within the country they’re based, while participating in regular in-person gatherings — and it allows us to find and hire the best talent, no matter where they call home. 

Flex First is based on three core principles

  1. Flexibility 
    Flex First provides the flexibility to make the most of your life at and outside of work. We’re offering the best of both worlds with in-person gatherings and the ability to work daily from the location that’s best for you, with no expectation of how much time you spend in the office.
  2. Connection 
    We know we can build community virtually, but the value of in-person interaction can’t be replicated. I deeply believe that it’s also fundamental to our culture and how we continue to build a sense of belonging and connection to one another. This is why we’re offering meaningful opportunities for our employees to get together throughout the year. 
  1. Equity
    No matter how they choose to work, Instacart is committed to providing a level playing field for everyone. Employees will have equal opportunities for career growth, development, and the benefits they need to be productive and successful. We’re removing office-centricity and proximity bias in everything we do, and providing consistent opportunities for all employees, regardless of where they’re based.   

What Flex First means for our people

We will continue to be intentional about building our culture and keeping everyone connected across time zones and geographies.  

  • Team & Company Jams: Our philosophy is that team building is best served in person. Team Jams provide plenty of opportunities for employees to gather in person with their teams. Jams can be organized at the department, team, or company-level to deepen relationships and build a sense of community. While the events are optional, we encourage everyone to attend.
  • Open Office Policy: Our offices are open for employees to come in every day or whenever they choose, to work, attend meetings, grab lunch with coworkers, or hang out after work hours. We welcome employees to schedule ahead or make a last minute decision to use our offices for the day.
  • Reimagined Offices: When teams do come into the office, their experience should be awesome. So we’re transforming our office spaces to meet our evolving teams’ needs with more creative collaboration spaces. We’re building lounges, areas for cooking classes, auditorium spaces, brainstorm areas with digitally connected whiteboards for remote collaboration, and more.
  • Team Days: Larger teams will choose regular optional in-office days for those who want to go into the office to be together. By designating a specific day of the week per team, people can more easily organize themselves to work from the office when their colleagues are around.
  • Benefits: We’ll continue to provide exceptional benefits for every employee, including a stipend to outfit your WFH setup and Internet connection reimbursements so you can be productive no matter where you work.

Our future is Flex 

We’re constantly learning and iterating to provide the best work experience for every member of our team. We want our workplace to provide everyone with a level playing field no matter how you choose to work, so we’ll continue to evolve our workplaces and policies over time. For us, Flex First is the answer to create opportunities for each of us to do our best work and to build relationships that last a lifetime.

I’m excited for this new chapter at Instacart and look forward to charting the course of the future of work, together. – Max

We’re hiring across North America, learn more about Flex First and explore open roles on our team. 

Max Mullen

Max Mullen

Max Mullen is Instacart's Co-Founder. He’s focused on scaling the company’s culture and employee experience. 

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