Building remote teams is not exactly a walk in the park. It's choosing the best collaboration tools, hiring the right people and infusing a sense of purpose.
Let us tell you a story about an ambitious startup company called Adeva. Work here is remote and people are carefully chosen. There’s a sense of purpose and a feeling of doing something meaningful. Collaboration tools are plenty and communication is fairly easy.
But let us tell you something else: creating this haven of flexibility, trust & transparency wasn’t a piece of cake. We had our own fair share of challenges and we still do, only fewer. Those of you who are skeptics about the remote work concept or even better, who want to introduce remote work option to your company, might wonder: "How the heck did this company create a high-performing, united remote team without face-to-face interactions?"
Everything began on a bright sunny day with a smart idea about the future of work.
We Started by Hiring the Right People
Okay, let’s start with a real-life example. We have two job applications. On the left side, we have Petar, a skilled professional with years of experience. He has worked for several big-name companies and is amazing at what he does. But he lacks communication skills and is not really adaptable to change.
On the right side, we have Natalia’s application. She’s a recent college graduate that has done several internships before coming to us. Her experience isn’t as vast as Petar’s, but she possesses excellent written and verbal communication skills. She’s a positive person with a passionate attitude and is self-motivated.
Who do you hire?
Although we’re 100% sure that Petar will be very successful and have an amazing career, it’s Natalia who’s perfect for a remote work environment. She’s self-motivated, communicative, and has excellent time management skills.
Yes, surely, we’ve made plenty of mistakes in the past but we’ve also learned from them. Over the years, we’ve realized that people who possess technical skills but lack soft skills won’t fit into our company culture. What we’re looking for are passionate, communicative, and team-oriented individuals who love what they do.
If you’re a remote company that needs to hire people, we’d suggest hiring individuals who share the same values. This can lead to a more engaged team, a better product, and improved team cohesiveness.
In a nutshell, these are the skills you should be hunting for:
✓A person who is a great communicator.
✓A positive person who knows how to handle stressful situations and who can motivate other people.
✓Someone who is organized and able to manage multiple priorities.
✓A person who can take action and deliver what’s expected on time.
✓An individual who is self-motivated.
✓Someone who has excellent time-management skills.
✓A person who is able to work alone.
We Love Infusing Purpose Into the Workplace
People need a reason for getting up in the morning. If they don’t have one, there’s nothing preventing them to sleep all day in their pajamas, binging on Netflix and ordering Chinese.
A remote team that’s geographically distributed must have something to believe in. The purpose must be rational, but also emotional. It must excite them and engage them at a higher level. It must be big!
Let’s be real; work demands sacrifices in time, in effort and in individuality. There must be a good reason for your employees making these sacrifices. Only a sense of purpose and a joint vision can unite your team and motivate them to work at the highest level.
We’ve mentioned this quote before but here it goes again:
Finding purpose at work is a long-term, forward-looking intention to accomplish aims that are both meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self.
We at Adeva find our purpose in bringing exciting opportunities for growth to our employees. We invest in their professional and personal development. We’re also recognized as the most inclusive tech company that fights for equality and inclusion for women in tech. Adeva is one of the organizers of the global initiative Learn IT, Girl and initiator of many local activities aimed at creating a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem.
Cheers to that!?
We Make Sure The Way We Communicate Lines Up With Our Values
Without question, perks are a fantastic way for building remote teams that are engaged and productive. But the main ingredient for building high-performing remote teams is the way we communicate!
We strive not to micromanage employees by holding regular face-to-face video meetings. These happen once every week and tend to last for 20-30 minutes. The meetings are quick and we go through the tasks for the week and make sure the entire team is in sync.
Meaning, 90% of our communication is asynchronous. We have a centralized place with complete transparency around current developments, including decision-making. Asynchronous communication makes working with people in other time zones easier as they can get up to speed when they have the time and are available.
Here are our favorite remote communication tools:
- For us, Slack simulates the water cooler, where we gather to discuss everything from rocket-ideas to small talk or dev-jokes.
- We have our weekly meetings on Zoom where we come up with ideas, plan for the future, etc. We record all of our meetings, so anyone can go back to a certain meeting to get up to speed. The most amazing thing about video call tools is that it’s no big deal to fire up a call in order to have a 2-minute discussion. Plus, you get that human connection you’re striving for.
- We’re in love with Asana. It provides easy ways for communication and collaboration among our remote team.
- Google Drive is also our choice because it’s easily accessible from any device. It’s a safe place for storage and collaboration of our documents and files.
- We also like to use mind maps that help us get inspired during brainstorming sessions.
We Stay Perky with Our Great Work Perks
Yes, a nice paycheck can surely make an employee stick with the company long-term. However, we don’t want that to be the only reason for sticking with us through thick and thin. We want our remote team to stay mentally and physically healthy. And that’s why we’re committed to offering work-life balance and making our company a stand-out workplace.
Call us ideologists and dreamers, but someone once said:
A time for everything: A time to relax and a time to be busy, a time to frolic and a time to labor, a time to receive and a time to give, a time to begin and a time to finish. — Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Some of the perks we offer to support our ideology are:
Work from anywhere in the world on your own schedule.
Fancy working from your home office? No problem! Feel more productive at a coffee shop? Sure thing!
A competitive salary.
We know that flexibility and freedom are extremely important for our workers, but a good paycheck is always an added motivator.
This is the farthest you can go. If you can complete your work in less time, then you’re free to do whatever you please. When Saturday comes, we all turn our “do not disturb” mode on and enjoy the weekend. Some of us love hiking and others are party-goers. Everyone has their own thing.
Adeva's Community is built to empower developers to grow professionally. And, our Speakers' Network is one of our efforts to achieve that. Conference speaking can help our employees build their reputation as technology leaders, make friendships with amazing people from the global community, or just have fun.
Open source contributors.
Our employees are open source contributors. Open source contribution helps them learn a new technology, collaborate in a diverse, distributed team, and give back to the community. With our Adeva Labs platform, they can start with it in no time.
Any hardware/software you need.
If an employee feels like a new laptop will make them work more efficiently, we’re here to help. We also take the bill for any software we use for remote collaboration.
Trust and team building are crucial for distributed teams. This is why we organize annual meetups or events to let employees join and spend some time with their colleagues.
Creating the Future of Work
If someone asks us how we picture the future of work, this is what we’d say:
Emma wakes up in the morning with a smile on her face. Dreaming to be a writer since she was a child, her dream finally came true. She pours herself a cup of coffee and leaves to join other remote workers at a fun coworking place in town. After completing the tasks for the day, she goes to the gym and spends an hour doing pilates. She’s healthy and she’s happy. Actually, she’s never felt better. She and her friends planned a trip to the mountains this weekend. She’ll be taking her laptop, just in case. Oh, and she almost forgot; that conference on remote work in Copenhagen is soon coming up, so she better start prepping. Oh man, what a time to be alive!
And that probably sums up what we desire for our remote employees. The challenges might exist, but nothing is impossible. Hey, we put men on the Moon and we’ll soon colonize Mars, but we can’t create a positive working environment for our people here on Earth? We say we can and it’s going to be a joyful ride!
To sum up, these are the secret ingredients to building remote teams:
- Hire the right people.
- Infuse purpose in the workplace.
- Make sure the way you communicate lines up with your values.
- Offer great work perks.