It’s no surprise that remote work and collaboration has become an indispensable component of many businesses. In many industries—including tech— remote work has become the go-to model. Even companies that are not fully remote may have some remote elements or support teams that are remote or off-site from their main headquarters.
So, how much have we learned in the past few years about this new way of working. Is it possible to succeed with remote hiring and remote teams? Remote team management is now a central topic among growing companies looking for the best way to manage teams in different geographic locations.
Covid hurled the reality of remote work into many people’s laps without proper warning or adequate preparation time. For others, however, remote work had long been a reality, as many remote companies had already established successful remote work models and were on the frontier of this new type of work arrangement.
CodersLink has been a remote company since day one. We’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. Since that time, hundreds of companies around the world and across various sectors have explored the world of remote work and defined its terms, set new parameters, and set standards that served as the foundation for the new work paradigm.
Let’s look at some leading experts and their advice on working remotely.
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Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, on Remote Work
Founded in 2013, Slack hit the market and quickly became a defining component of many remote teams. During the covid pandemic, the use of remote communication tools like Slack was at the center of the debate and the myriad of questions that arose about the future of work.
Stewart Butterfield has done plenty of press wherein he discusses various aspects of remote work, virtual team collaboration, and how the tools his company develops play a role in enhancing productivity. As he mentioned once in Forbes magazine, the dream [referring to Slack’s new video conferencing features] is to turn video calls into a space that actually creates something of value.
1 Notable Piece of Advice From Former Slack CEO and Co-Founder: Avoid Meeting Overload
Interestingly enough Slack was not originally a fully remote company. In one interview, Butterfield discusses how had he been asked whether the company could operate fully remotely and obtain the same level of productivity he would have said no. Then, covid happened.
One of Butterfield’s main drives in the creation and improvement of Slack is to make better use of everyone’s time and re-create the kind of diverse and dynamic communication settings that happen in the office. One of his biggest battles is the fight against Meeting overload. To solve this problem, Slack is working on new features like Slack Huddles and new ways to organize resources. His vision is to create a feature that organizes and synthesizes what was discussed in meetings so that it is easily digestible and understood by people who were not there.
Handling meetings in an effective way is key to remote team management and productivity.
Sid Sijbrandij, from GitLab, on Running a Fully Remote Company
In the remote work world, GitLab is considered a pioneer. That’s because the company decided to build a fully remote company from the start (2013) and went on to become a fully remote workforce with more than 1,300 people spread across 60 countries. The company is one of the biggest all-remote organizations. Sijbrandig talks about how remote work is just work and employers should invest in the employee experience. It’s not about handing them a laptop and sending them home, he says, there is a lot more to it than that.
Sijbrandij has spoken about how remote companies have the liberty to hire from anywhere, which means reaching a much broader and extensive talent pool. This, he discusses, has allowed them to hire talented people with diverse backgrounds that integrated quickly into the company culture.
1 Notable Piece of Advice from GitLab Co-Founder: Organize Company Culture Effectively
In a podcast with Harvard Business Review, Sijbrandij discussed how his company went about creating a strong company culture. The GitLab co-founder discusses how he broke it up into two elements.
1. Think about culture as how a company works, i.e the work processes and how they are defined and organized. They structure everything based on these ideas, from their Slack messages to their documents.
- Have well-defined and clearly articulate values. They see values as the foundation that holds the team together. The company considers transparency and iteration.
This approach manifests, for example, in how the company structures every document based on its values. Their communications are also structured on these grounds and that includes creating a company songbook that can be used to share news or recognitions.
Jesus Lopez, from CodersLink, on Remote Work
We thought we’d ask our own Jesus Lopez for his viewpoint on this. CodersLink began as a remote company more than six years ago. As a startup in the early days, the company found itself at the center of what was an era of rapid growth and innovation around the tech sector. CodersLink was also in a unique position because it was working across borders with employees in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The company has grown considerably in the past two years, almost doubling staff from 2021. This is in large part because the remote work revolution has facilitated the hiring of workers in different geographical areas and shown companies the advantages of working with diverse remote teams.
1 Piece of Notable Advice from CodersLink Co-Founder: Be Aggressive with KPIs
In addition to emphasizing the company culture and having an open-door policy for all employees, Lopez pursues Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aggressively. The idea behind that is to measure both leading and lagging metrics to understand both activities and the results of those activities. More so than that, the KPIs form part of a shared language and structure that the whole team falls back on when it comes to measuring progress or implementing new ideas.
In his view, team’s set specific SMART goals from the get-go. Learning how to measure the outcome of those goals through objective measures is key, and that’s where measuring KPIs comes in. It allows for an objective measurement of his team’s goal completions. Teams should learn what metrics represent their business drivers and how the work impacts them.
Working with KPIs is a philosophical framework as much as it is a functional tool. It sets a direction and defines a vision for how the company wants to get there. The company uses a morphed system of OKRs with agile scrum methodology principles. Lopez says that “ensuring that remote teams are clear with what their roles, responsibilities and KPIs are is paramount for good remote team execution. That, alongside making sure that communication is clear and understood by everyone is what I visualize as the pillars of a great remote team.”
Learn More About What We Do & How We Support Your Remote Team Management
A solid hiring process is part of successful remote team management. Whether you are hiring one remote developer or a remote development team, it’s good to know that there are methodologies and structures that have worked for people in the past. Every company is different, but hiring remote engineering teams requires a lot of thought about how to structure communication, one-on-one and group meetings, as well as goal-setting and performance management.
As a talent solutions partner, we’ve helped with hundreds of U.S. companies that are looking to hire remote tech talent in Mexico. A lot of these companies are spread out across different geographies. Learn more about how you can hire your all-star remote development team or let us know how we can help you by finding the right talent.