The 37signals Employee Handbook Everything you need to know about making a career at 37signals.

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  • Move Getting Started
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    Getting Started

    Getting started at 37signals involves a lot of little details, a number of big tasks, learning the details of your new job, meeting new coworkers, all while working remotely. Your teammates, your manager, your 37signals buddy, your Ops buddy, and our People team are all here to help as you navigate your first few days and weeks.

    Your First Few Days

    Before you start, the People team will order you a new Apple laptop with the specs you request and any accessories you need like an external keyboard, mouse, or display. Get what you need, while keeping in mind the demands of your work when choosing specs.

    A day or two before you start, your manager will email you instructions for your first day. Your manager will be your point of contact for your early projects and activities. You’ll also work with a member of our Ops team who will help you as you set up all the accounts you need to work at 37signals.

    On your first day, you’ll log into Basecamp to see a project

    Getting Started 529 words
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    Health Insurance

    Detailed information about all 37signals insurance policies and other benefits can be found in Basecamp.

    Medical Insurance

    In the United States, medical insurance is provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. The company pays 75% of the premium and the employee pays the other 25%. Open enrollment is in November every year, with new coverage beginning December 1. Marriages and domestic partnerships are covered. You’re eligible for coverage on your first day of employment. If you are terminated or resign from 37signals, your coverage will end on the last day of the month of your separation date and you may be eligible for continued coverage after that (COBRA).

    Each pay period, you’ll see a payroll deduction for medical insurance:

    • Employee-only medical coverage: $78.46
    • Employee-partner medical coverage: $160.22
    • Employee-child(ren) medical coverage: $167.23
    • Employee-family medical covera
    Benefits & Perks 2,169 words
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    Working Remotely

    37signals is a fully distributed company. Our team works from all over the world, across 5 continents. We don’t care where employees choose to live and work, just that they’re here to do great work on exceptional products, alongside a world-class team. We’ve been remote since we started, and our founders literally wrote the book on the subject.

    You can work from anywhere, but please be sure to inform your People Ops team when you move – especially across state or country borders. It may affect your or the company’s tax situation.


    We work in 6-week cycles at 37signals. This fixed cadence serves to give us an internal sense of urgency, to keep projects from ballooning, and to provide us with a regular interval to make decisions about what we’re working on.

    Our cycle structure is particularly important for the product teams, since they approach feature and product development with scope and budget in mind up front. For more on

    How We Work 896 words
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    Your First Year

    Congratulations! You’re part of the team!

    In your first few weeks, you’ll get aligned with your manager and team on approach and expectations. You’ll get up and running, doing real work. It’s your manager’s responsibility to give you proper opportunities to demonstrate your skills and fit for the job. This includes your technical expertise, your engagement with coworkers, and your ability to take feedback and adapt to the 37signals culture. Similarly, it’s on you to take advantage of those opportunities and to show that you’re capable of meeting the team standards.

    When you start, you’ll receive an outline of expected performance metrics. Those standards will be clear and attainable, and your manager will give you frequent, candid feedback on how you’re doing meeting them, as you go.

    You’ll have formal performance reviews with your manager at the 3-, 6-, and 12-month marks. On occasion, despite our collective best efforts, it’s not a fit. We don’t do full-scale performance improv

    Making a Career 1,008 words
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    Our Rituals


    The entire company gathers in person twice a year. We meet up in a different city every time. In 2022, we traveled to Miami and Amsterdam. In 2023, Barcelona and New Orleans. Most of the planning is taken care of for you; you just need to book your flights. Lodging, meeting space, agenda, and social outings will be planned and communicated well in advance.

    There are some scheduled talks at every meet-up, like the All Hands session on Monday morning, lightning talks, and peer appreciation. Occasionally, we bring in outside speakers or trainers. Other than that, the meet-up is intentionally loosely structured. Teams huddle in a breakout room for a strategy session, groups go out for coffee or to explore the city, or managers meet 1:1s with employees.

    Meet-ups are 1 week long. Most people arrive Sunday, we meet Monday through Thursday, then travel home on Friday. Everyone should come to every meet-up, but skipping one here and there is okay if you have an engagement y

    Our Rituals 309 words
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    Managing Work Devices

    Everyone receives a new Mac when they join 37signals. We centrally manage and secure these devices with Kandji which reduces our exposure to security incidents. Kandji applies a standard configuration to every device (e.g. enable disk encryption, firewall, password rules), it installs essential apps (e.g. EncryptMe), and it will ensure the apps have the latest security updates applied. Kandji also allows us to remotely wipe devices should they be lost, or when an employee leaves the company.

    This doesn’t mean you are being monitored or tracked! Kandji is a configuration management system, not a panopticon.

    Access to code and secrets

    Knowing our devices are safe and secure allows us to entrust our work computers with access to sensitive systems like Queenbee, and our internal VPN and remote servers. Thi

    Managing Work Devices 297 words
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    Internal Systems

    Besides the customer-facing applications, like the different versions of Basecamp, we have a number of internal systems that help us support, report, and operate the company. They are as follows:


    Dash is the main hub for everything that has to do with logging (like finding why a request is slow or whether an email has been delivered), reporting (everything from number of support cases handled to split of devices used to access Basecamp), application health (response times, job queue exceptions etc).


    Queenbee is our invoice, accounting, and identity system. Here you can look up any customer account, see whether they are comped, refund an invoice, or even login as a customer.

    That’s an immense amount of power and we take its use very seriously. We only ever login as a customer after having been given explicit permission to do so, never preemptively. Our customers expect that their information i

    Our Internal Systems 401 words
  • Move Moonlighting
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    On Moonlighting

    Moonlighting means working other professional, paid jobs outside of your work at 37signals. It’s not a black and white topic. There are one-time gigs, other pursuits, or opportunities that help you grow and make life interesting. We want to support that. But we want to make sure professional endeavors outside of 37signals don’t create conflicts of interest or affect your time, dedication, or performance at 37signals. So it’s a delicate balance.

    With that in mind, here are some examples of what we’d consider OK and what we would consider a conflict of interest and not OK:


    1. An occasional side gig, free or paid, for someone you know. For example, if you want to work on a friend’s website, or a design or writing project for something you’re involved with, that’s fine.
    2. An occasional speaking gig, free or paid. Someone’s going to pay you to give a talk somewhere? That’s fine as long as it doesn’t involve multiple days off for travel (unless you use your own personal vaca
    Moonlighting 616 words
  • Move Code of Conduct
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    Code of Conduct

    We expect all active 37signals employees and contractors to:

    • Assume good intentions. Approach work relationships defaulting to trust and positivity.
    • Work “in the open” and be open to teaching and learning from others.
    • Be respectful and empathetic, especially when it comes to differing viewpoints and experiences.
    • Gracefully accept constructive criticism and direct feedback, and offer feedback in the same spirit.

    We expect 37signals to be a healthy place for all staff. 37signals prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment.

    If you experience or witness something that violates our Code of Conduct, please report it to your manager or to your People Ops team via email or chat. All reports will be reviewed and investigated, and your confidentiality will be as protected as possible during the investigation.

    If an employee is found to have violated our Code of Conduct, it will be permanently documented in their personnel file. Depending on the severity of th

    Code of Conduct 413 words
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    State Leave Provisions

    Below are states that offer state-sponsored Paid Family Leave and in which 37signals has employees. If you work in one of the following states and contribute to these programs, you may qualify for leave.

    California Paid Family Leave

    • Residents of California may be eligible for continuous or intermittent leave to care for a child or family member. CA-PFL does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits.
    • Paid Family Leave for Bonding can be taken for up to 8 weeks within the first year of the birth of a new baby or the placement of an adopted or foster child.
    • Paid Family Leave for Caregivers may be taken for up to 8 weeks per year to care for a seriously ill or injured family member.

    Colorado Paid Family Leave

    • Residents of Colorado may be eligible for continuous or intermi
    State Leave Provisions 449 words
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    If your employment or contract with 37signals is terminated, you may be eligible for a severance package. In most cases, if you’ve been with the company for less than 1 year, you’ll be offered a lump sum payment equivalent to 4 weeks pay. If you’ve been with the company for over 1 year, you’ll be offered an additional 2 weeks pay for every year of employment, with a maximum of 4 months of severance pay.

    The package will also include health insurance for you and your dependents if you’ve been on our policies for the same time periods, compensation for unused vacation time, and compensation for unused sabbatical time if applicable (1 year look back).

    Compensation for unused PTO is calculated using your hourly rate. In return, you’ll be asked for a general release of liabilities and other standard employment termination terms. If you’re terminated for cause; such as misconduct, violation of company policies, insubordination or substance abuse while working, you will not be eligible for sever

    Severance Packages 174 words
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    Designer (L2)



    • Your design sensibilities align with the 37signals brand and guiding principles but occasionally need some correcting from more senior designers.
    • You’re able to write modern HTML/CSS or Javascript. You lack direct experience with Rails, but are comfortable working in the codebase, applying your designs and interactions to implemented code with oversight and feedback.
    • Your writing is excellent. You can find the sweet spot between expressive, clear, and brief with guidance and proofreading. You’re able to adapt copy to match the tone and voice of our products.


    • You have demonstrated a good technical understanding of the software systems and tools needed in your daily work.


    • You can run point on small-batch projects (2-weeks), taking them from concept to shipping alongside a programmer. Your work requires minimal review or guidance.


    • You can set scope and manage small projects with mi
    Titles for Designers 1,804 words
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    Junior SRE (L1)



    • Competent in 1-2 areas (e.g. networking, configuration management, containers, orchestration) and with common processes and procedures.
    • Assists with performing work on production systems with help from more senior teammates. Performs low-risk maintenance with help.
    • Shadows on call shifts and assists with triaging on-call issues.

    Tech and Tooling

    • Uses our most common tools & systems in day to day work.


    • Works independently on smaller projects. Shows strength in some areas of specialization, but lacks experience in all areas yet.


    • Manages projects with help scoping and planning.Demonstrates curiosity in their discipline and seeks out advice from more senior teammates.


    Ownership — Manager of One

    • Requires help setting a direction when assigned work. Asks questions when you need help, researches what’s been done in the past and why, attempts to so
    Titles for Ops 1,601 words
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    Programming Management

    On Web and SIP programming teams, Lead Programmers (L4) and Principal Programmers (L5) act as tech leads to Junior — Senior Programmers (L1-3). All Leads and Principals report directly to our CTO. Tech leads are responsible for:

    • Reviewing a report’s substantial PRs before they’re shipped.
    • Having a kick-off conversation with a report on every substantial project.
    • Reviewing a report’s on-call work and handoff after every shift.
    • Providing People Ops with the key input to annual performance reviews.
    • Identifying and escalating slips in performance or process to People Ops.

    A tech lead on the SIP team also acts as SIP Coordinator. They’re responsible for setting cycle priorities, liaising with other project teams, and maintaining general oversight of team resources.

    Our Mobile programming teams (iOS and Android) have 1 manager overseeing both teams who is responsible for technical leadership and people management.


    Titles for Programmers 1,582 words
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    Senior QA Tester (L3)



    • Demonstrates broad depth of knowledge of our products. Produces well-considered, high-quality QA reports beyond the happy path. Skilled in our entire testing toolset.


    • Consistent demonstration of applying the right balance of QA based on the scope and criticality of new features. Can assume responsibility for coordinating the testing work of third- party vendors.


    • Has a good understanding of our technical architecture as it relates to QA, providing technical insight when writing bug reports. Competence using browser dev tools. Runs apps locally, demonstrates good GitHub skills.


    • Proactively identifies QA problems, knows when to raise bugs on our issues board vs On Call, and when to raise an incident. Pays attention to detail and can demonstrate testing pragmatism.


    Ownership — Manager of One

    • Oversees feature QA end-to-end. Logs bugs
    Titles for QA 767 words
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    Junior Customer Support Rep (L1)



    • Communicates basic product knowledge to customers well and with enthusiasm.
    • Customer emails adhere to the style guide with occasional need for redirection. Able to work independently on routine emails, and doesn’t need help answering commonly asked questions.

    Tech and Tooling

    • Demonstrated good technical understanding of most of the software systems and tools needed in daily work. Technical knowledge of the products is limited and developing.


    • Works primarily on customer communication; no project work or limited involvement.


    • Capable of managing individual to-dos. Pitches in on project work when asked, with oversight.


    Ownership — Manager of One

    • Manages the individual steps to arrive to solutions once assigned work.


    • Communicates well on team calls and in Basecamp check-ins. Asks questi
    Titles for Support 1,410 words