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I have been familiar with remote working for many years before it became the buzz of the pandemic. While I have worked remotely, on site and then remotely again through my whole life, there was always an office where I knew I can refuge if need be. And last week I met a person whose company was operating truly remotely. I was in awe because this is a company that is not a 2-people company and working in the same geographical location.
Meet Alex. He is the co-founder and CTO of a SAAS company. He is working with 25 people in his company – some of the team members are working full time, some are freelancers, some are virtual assistants. The team members are spread around different continents and are working fully remotely since the inception of the company more than 10 years ago. So not something that was mandated by the pandemic but a matter of choice by the founders.
Choice is a well selected word because the idea of the founders was that their business should support their nomadic lifestyle. And long before the digital nomad life became a thing, they created a fully remote company for themselves.
How does it work?
There is a meeting with the leadership team on a weekly basis.
The different teams in the company decide themselves how to organize the way they work – Alex is the CTO and he is in charge of the development team. They have only 1 zoom meeting per week to review what has been done the previous week and to outline what needs to be delivered in the week ahead. The rest of the tasks is handled individually – e.g. the onboarding of new team members, upskilling, managing the team and their tasks is happening over Slack (more) or Zoom (minimal).
Team members prefer to have the time to focus without distraction and this model works for them quite well. “I want my team to take it easy. They can take a day off as long as they deliver. Usually, the pressure comes from the deadlines but other than that the time is flexible”.
And then there are the company’s off-site events which happen 1 to 3 times per year where people meet to socialize but also work and create together.
The pros of working in a fully remote company
And one word to capture this all – “Freedom. When you give freedom to people they give back. They are motivated.”
The challenges of fully remote work
All these challenges needs to be taken into consideration and company needs to find time to address them. The retreats are perfect for this socializing. It is about fun but lot more about being and working together in one space.
What would make you choose in-person job vs remote one?
“Love?” Alex smiles. “I thought that I would say nothing. But thinking about this… I’d consider it if the company becomes unmanageably big, but probably this would not happen before we become 500 people.” Even then his preference is to rather continue with working hybrid than fully on site.
Contact us if you are curious to get other insights on how to address the challenges of working remotely, boost your creativity and build a greater team spirit.
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