What are some companies hiring remotely

Helpful tips from three companies where remote work is part of everyday life

This customer story is part of an on-going series that explores how companies are promoting remote work during the Covid-19 crisis. We hope these stories can provide helpful tips and inspiration and help companies make the transition smoother.

As you learn new skills, it is very natural to draw on the experience of others in the process. Since many people - including Slack employees - are suddenly working from home for the first time, we think this is a good opportunity to learn from more experienced people.

To make the transition more successful, we asked three companies, Automattic, Zapier and Glitch, which have either been working entirely from home or promoting remote work for a number of years, the following question: How does your team deal with the greatest challenges of remote work -Everyday at?

The great importance of everyday routines at Automattic

Automattic is the company behind one of the world's most popular content management systems: WordPress. The approximately 1,800 employees at Automattic work from anywhere in the world, regardless of location. Founded almost 15 years ago, the company has always supported remote work, but took the decisive step in 2017 to shut down its headquarters in San Francisco due to declining usage.

People who have not previously worked in the home office are often faced with the challenge of staying in contact with colleagues despite being at a distance: How do you manage to feel part of a team and at the same time do your work independently take care of?

According to Josepha Haden, Executive Director of the WordPress project at Automattic, in order to establish a strong home office culture, it is important to remind everyone to adhere to rituals and routines. She greets her team at the beginning of each work day, says goodbye at the end, and encourages everyone else to do the same.

"It's important to develop a routine, otherwise you won't notice when something strange or unusual is happening."

Josepha HadenExecutive Director of the WordPress project, Automattic

Haden emphasizes how important an individual morning routine, including breakfast and getting ready for work, is - even if the office is only a few meters away from the bed. The first interaction in the morning can then set the tone for the rest of the day, she says. At the beginning of each working day, the teams at Automattic take part in stand-up meetings via the Slack app Geekbot. Each team member briefly informs the team about their daily routine so that everyone knows each other's priorities and managers can keep an eye on the team's progress.

How Zapier Remote Management works

Often leaders report the difficulty of overseeing a team that is not physically in front of them (and possibly spread across multiple continents).

Zapier knows about remote work. The eight-year-old automation software company with around 300 employees has never rented office space. So how do leaders manage to oversee their teams?

"Knowledge work produces results that any manager can follow without bothering the individual employees."

Wade Foster CEO, Zapier

According to Wade Foster, CEO of Zapier, executives should especially pay attention to the finer details, but the whole thing is not rocket science. It starts with tracking the results or small updates and notifications sent by the apps.

  • For software engineers, these are the alerts that indicate contributions made or submitted code.
  • For marketing copywriters, it can be comments and changes in Google Docs.
  • In sales, it's orders and sales generated.
  • With the customer care team, the customer tickets are crucial.

Zapier routes most of these results to Slack (much like our previous post on auto-generated channels), where executives can review updates and see their teams' progress.

Another important aspect of remote management is to jointly define goals and expectations. According to Foster, most executives plan with their team members every Monday of the week, with progress often being reviewed on Fridays. Managers initially consult with newer employees on a daily basis until they have familiarized themselves with the situation.

Foster's team follows a few other routines that keep everyone on the same level, including:

  • Weekly one-on-one interviews between managers and their team members via video conference
  • Using open channels in Slack so everyone can see questions, help answer them, and learn from other team members

How Glitch mastered the location-independent meeting culture

Glitch is a platform for building web applications to be shared with a larger community. Behind it is a 50-person team who have made location-independent work the heart of their daily work.

Since half of the workforce works in the home office, Glitch has written a guide on this topic for its employees and made it available online to the entire home office community. It describes tips for getting to know colleagues, expectations with regard to working hours, recommendations for the workspace and much more.

“I don't know if someone is working in the home office until he or she says so in Slack. Otherwise I don't know whether the person in question is at the end of the hallway or in another corner of the country. "

Anil DashCEO, Glitch

One of the innovative activities that Glitch is organizing for the entire company is remote-first meetings, where care is taken not to focus solely on the experiences of the employees at headquarters.

Each meeting is carried out via the Zoom video service and all employees in the New York office also take part. Unlike in normal offices, however, Glitch employees do not go into a conference room, but instead participate from their office or their private workstation, so that the experience is the same for all participants.

Since Glitch is a service that creates and hosts apps, employees rely on multiple apps that run on the company's platform. They even published a list of their favorite apps on their remote work website. Here are a few highlights:

  • Remote hands, with which you can send non-verbal signals to all participants via simple buttons. For example, participants can raise their hands when they have a question or send a thumbs-up emoji to the speaker without interrupting the person concerned.
  • Meeting rolls, which randomly assigns the participants roles such as minute-taker or time-stopper. The use of a simple number generator is fair for everyone involved and ensures that everyone, regardless of seniority and position, can be assigned any role.

For all three companies, open communication channels are the key to successful collaboration despite the great physical distance. Slack plays a role in every company.

If your team suddenly had to go to the home office, don't worry; Here are a few recent blog articles with various helpful topics:

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