How to Build a Remote Company

Since startups started popping up, remote companies have also been on the rise. A few years ago it was a privilege to work remotely, but nowadays even full-time office employees expect some degree of home office benefits.

We at Intellyo operate as a semi-remote company. We have offices in multiple countries and employees can work remotely 3 times a week, so we needed to come up with an effective solution for working with each other remotely.

The benefit of running a remote business

Cost efficient

Startups are limited in terms of money, which is the main reason why supporting a remote workforce is a wise step. It reduces costs like office rent or travel compensation, and also allows you to hire the most talented employees around the world.

Greater productivity

Work-life balance keeps employees happy. Working long business hours leads to burn out. Having a strict 9-6 working schedule is an antiquated approach, while requiring co-workers to work more than 8 hours a day actually tends to become counter-productive. Overwork stresses out your employees, which can trigger health issues like heart disease or depression.

Give your emplyoees the freedom to choose when they work, and trust that they will finish their tasks and achieve their goals on their own time.

Lower fluctuation

Employees seeking work-life balance are more likely to leave within 2 years if their expectations aren't met. On the other hand, remote workers tend to be more loyal if workplaces are more flexible towards their lifestyle needs. Employee loyalty is an important factor for companies, as recruiting and training newbies is expensive.

Better Company Image

Remote companies are smart and cool. They let you work anywhere. You can lead an exceptionally exciting life and travel the world. The company structure is human-centric.

Github, a modern startup-turned-company, believes that everyone should work wherever they are the happiest. This, combined with an awesome product and mission, helps them entice the most enthusiastic and innovative programmers in the world to join their team.

How to build a remote team

The most important thing to keep in mind is that remote work isn't for everyone. Some people prefer to be told what and how to do, rather than taking initiative. Some would rather go to the office every day and be a part of a workplace social circle than sit alone in a room (5 minutes from the beach, in Bali).

Define exact qualities

Before recruiting new hires, decide what skills and qualities the job requires. Both hard and soft skills are very important. Be specific, so that you can avoid disappointment later on.

Ask the right questions

You can choose high impact employees by asking questions about their skills. To do so, you need to understand what adjectives actually mean in a workplace. Taking initiative and great time management should definitely be on the list of traits you're looking for in job applicants.

Trust the employees

Believing that co-workers actually work when you don't see them is a must. There is absoutely no way to micromanage remote employees and preserve everyone's sanity. And why are you thinking about micro-managing everyone anyway?

Assume the best in others and believe that the new hires will be proactive and do their job in the most efficient way possible.

Task assignment

The most up-to-date companies invite candidates to their offices as part of the recruitment process. They assign them tasks, to see whether their know-how and the company goals align. This also gives potential new hires the opportunity to meet their future colleagues, to see if culturally the company is a good fit.

Now you can't do this in a remote workspace, but you can still apply best practices from this process. Ask the candidates to accomplish some assignments to see the if they are skilled enough for the job, and possess the know-how that they claim to.

How to manage a remote team

Build a great company culture

Remote companies attract talent thanks to their great company culture. Transparent communication and ensuring personal development are vital to maintaining a good virtual office.

Show your team that you appreciate them

Don't punish anyone, but reward good performance. It'll motivate your co-workers.

Treat your remote workers with a retreat every now and again. Book a retreat camp for your co-workers so that they can bond and exchange ideas IRL.

Ensure constant cmmunication between co-workers

Communication between remote employees and employers is one of the most important aspects of running a successful remote business. Working in the same time zone is often a requirement. If someone can't assure you that they are available when the others need them to be, then it's just not going to work.

Provide your team members the tools necessary to communicate in the most effective way. Using the right tools is the heart of collaboration within a remote company.

Tools we use at Intellyo:

Slack - the online office

Slack helps remote team members chat in real time. At intellyo we use different channels to talk about different topics between different teams such as #marketing, #sales or #product. We also have a #wow channel to celebrate achievements.

Google Hangout - face-to-face chat

Video conferencing to connect with remote workers is necessary to build relationships and discuss things. Written communication lacks non-verbal elements like intonation, facial expression which might lead to communication misunderstandings.

Face to face communication is easier, faster and more efficient, so encourage people to choose this form of communication especially when they need to work together on a complex task.

Intellyo - managing blog content

We use our own content collaboration tool to create and distribute articles on our blog. Using Google Docs and Trello at once can be confusing, and important information often slips through the cracks. With Creator Engine, we can easily invite writers and assign articles to them. The editor and the writer only get access to the articles they've been assigned to, which keeps the content creation process exclusive.

Github - collaboration and version management for developers

Our devs use this development platform to collaborate and review code. Keeping track of versions is important to see what was done. To build a great product, you need a great platform to rely on. Do your research and find the best tool for your team's needs.

Looking to learn more about scaling and managing remote teams?

We have a tip for you.

The Running Remote Conference will take place on June 23-24, 2018 in Bali. If you happen to be in Bali (you are really lucky) you shouldn't miss this event.

Remote work conference in Bali

remote conference Bali

This great initiative by Running Remote conference is gathering the leaders of successful remote companies including Buffer, Github or Gitlab.

The speakers will talk about how to manage and scale your remote team. This conference is a great opportunity to network with like-minded leaders and learn about digital HR and project management.

Topics you can except to learn about:

  • Scale to $100 million: instead of running an office invest more wisely
  • Build a decentralised, collaborative company
  • Learn to handle different currencies
  • Be spiritual to bring peace and compassion to the team

Keynote Speakers at Running Remote Conference, 2018:

JOEL GASCOIGNE - CEO of Buffer

SARA SUTTON FELL - Founder, FLEXJOBS & REMOTE.CO

DOMINIC PRICE - Head of R&D and Work Futurist, ATLASSIAN

AMIR SALIHEFENDIC - Founder & CEO, DOIST

LARA K OWEN - Director, Global Workplace Operations, GITHUB

DMITRIY ZAPOROZHETS - Co-founder & CTO, GITLAB

Not convinced? Check out the full list of remote conference speakers here.

Get your Early Bird ticket until 15 April to get $300 off and hear from the best thought leaders in the industry, on how to build a successful remote workspace.