If you're still having big offices in your company, making your employees to come at 9 AM every morning to the office and stay till 5 PM, you're doing it wrong. Modern technologies have given us the freedom to work from any part of the world and be more productive and happy. It also helps you to hire quality people, no matter where they live. Usually, no one wants to move from their country, especially if they live there for decades. Remote companies can find those people, hire them and build better products. Are you one of them?
Why should we go remote?
There are a lot of arguments about why companies should go remote. As people that work in the tech industries, we use a lot of online tools for communication, writing code, reviewing and planning. And at the same time, traditional companies force you to commute to the job, go through the traffic, spend 8 hours in the office and be online and communicate online. You'll probably say face to face conversation and planning meetings in the conference room is something that you don't want to change and that it makes you more productive, but that can also happen online, face to face. In the conference room you'll probably use the same online tools that you'll use when you work remotely, so physically being there doesn't make that big difference.
I recommend an article on Toggl's blog about Pros and Cons of working remotely: https://toggl.com/out-of-office-why-go-remote/
How to start?
So, you want to move your company to the cloud? Congratulations, you're one of the thousands that want to have a healthier and better company! 🎉
First steps are always hard. Always start small. Set a rule that everyone has to work from their home once or twice a week. It will be enough for the start, people will see how that suits them and you'll be able to track their productivity and see if working from home makes any changes. Then try to hire someone from other countries, remotely, and see how that works. If things are going great, you're starting to move your company to the remote world and you can just continue. After a couple of months, no one will be coming to your office and they'll be happier than ever. The same thing happened to Automattic, check it out here: https://www.businessinsider.com/automattic-closes-san-francisco-office-to-let-everyone-work-remotely-2017-6
If you see that your coworkers are happier to work from the office, you can keep it, but still allow them to work from their home, a lot of them will appreciate that. You'll also get used to that and hiring remote people will help you to get to qualified persons outside of your city or country.
Where to find developers?
Hiring is always problematic, but when you are starting with the remote company, you can work with anyone in the world. Your developer can live in Europe, a designer in the USA, DevOps engineer in Asia and you can work together. Many companies are struggling to find people that fit their team in their city and they are paying a lot of money to relocate people from different countries to their city. Hiring remotely allows you to hire a person from the whole world without forcing them to relocate.
There are couple popular websites that you can use to find people:
- We Work Remotely
- Working Nomads
- JS Remotely (I built this one 😎)
How to organize work?
This is the biggest problem that remote companies have. How to organize work across different time zones, with people that you never met? This is the place where tools can help you. There are some awesome tools that you can use for solving your problems.
Keeping track of peoples timezones is the biggest problem that you need to solve. I recommend one tool that will keep track of everyone's timezone can help you to easier organize meetings and everyone else can see where are their teammates living. That is https://timezone.io/. It's free and setup process is really easy.
There are not big differences between the project's organization when it comes to traditional and remote companies. You can use Trello, Jira, Pivotal or anything else. Although, it is important to plan together with your team and have at least one planning meeting a week or in two weeks.
The most important thing is to be agile and flexible. Split your work in one or two-week sprints and have daily standup. Pick a time that works best for most of the teammates, depending on their timezones. The most important thing when it comes to remote work is trust. You need to trust each other since you're not physically in the same room and you can't see who's really working and who's not. So just be agile, give people freedom but also make sure that everyone is really committed to their work and be there to help them if they have some issues.
Slack is the best tool for communication. It's fast, user-friendly and everyone will love it! You're probably already using it in your company so it won't be a big problem to continue with it, in a different way, from your home.
I recommend using Zoom for your meetings. It's a really great app! I was in a meeting with 200+ persons and it worked without any problems. For smaller meetings, Slack video calls should also work. They have good screen sharing functionality, it will definitely help your teammates to do screen sharing and help each other.
Working remotely is great! It's even better when you have the opportunity to allow people to work from their home, be with their families and achieve success. It will be hard, it will be tricky, it will require a lot of work from everyone to achieve trust and to create a good working environment, but when you succeed, you'll create a better workplace for everyone. I did it couple times and never regretted. If you stuck, I am here to help, just contact me 😄