Inspiring examples of remote-first companies: how to establish remote work
Remote work has long ceased to be something strange and extraordinary for us. Many corporations with millions of dollars in revenue work quietly from home, moreover, they even hire employees from different countries. People dream not only of a career in a prestigious office on the top floor of a skyscraper, no. Now their dreams are spinning near a cozy studio apartment or house with a large well-kept garden.
And for the moment their dreams came true - many companies are temporary forced to work remotely because of COVID-19.
The same thing happened with MassMedia Group. Now we work remote, despite the fact that we remain committed to working in the office. It helps us maintain transparency and sincerity in relations with customers.
The experience of recent months has shown that most of our customers, both old and new, have also become a remote companies. Some of them even began to think about moving the business online permanently.
First of all, we advise each of them for successful business digitalizing to develop a custom IT-solution, which will fit perfectly into the business needs of each individual enterprise.
Second is the correct organization of the remote work process. It, we have seen this from our own experience, also affects the success of the company at this time.
In order to adapt our business the new state of affairs quickly and painlessly, we studied the examples of remote-first companies that inspired us. We are are now ready to share with you the tips that also can be useful for your business.
Remote-first companies that inspire us
A fast-growing company that creates software for managing social media accounts, which team consists of 85 people from 15 different countries. This company is remote-first since its inception, and this gives it additional benefits.
For example, the fact that Buffer employees are in different time zones allows them to always be in touch with a client. The company identifies this fact as a critical element in its corporate values.
Of course, in order to stay afloat while working remote, they have to carry out quality team building in their ranks. This process begins by providing employees with access to easy-to-use software (for example, Timezone.io, to know at what time zone are their employees; or Hipchat for convenient constant communication). In the remote work with people from different countries, the salary plays an important role. Buffer has it built in such a way as to remain worthy without a discount on the country in which the employee lives. But above all communication remains the most important component of such structure.
Buffer does not hesitate to openly talk about their company values. They consider trust and mutual respect as the main elements of coordinated remote work.
Zapier, a company that makes soft for automating the use of web applications by the user, defends the fact that they were remote-first company since the very inception. Their founder, Wade Foster, even wrote an article confirming this. In his text, he says that even though he and the other founders were from the same city, remote work was more convenient for them.
“We worked on Zapier in every spare moment we each had, but those moments didn't magically line up at the same time where we could work in the same room. Plus, side projects can't afford offices. So we just worked from our apartments, coffee shops — wherever we could get things done.”
An online school that teaches web design, game development, web and mobile development, has over 100 employees on remote work. This company earns an annual income of about $ 8,000,000 and is constantly growing. Treehouse explains their success by focusing on a policy of loyal and trusting relationships both with customers and employees. For the employees, Treehouse introduces pleasant bonuses, such as paid creative leave or a four-day week, to ensure their loyalty and willingness to work on remote at 100%.
It's no secret that most remote-first companies work in the IT field. However, now companies that are far from this niche are also forced to switch to remote. And we are sure that this is the change they can go through.
Examples of successful businesses which started from work at home prove that a company can become successful regardless of where it operates - at home or at the office.
Who has not heard of the famous sandbox game with endless crafting possibilities? Someone hates it, someone is crazy about it, but there are no people left in the world who would not know about the existence of this international indie game. Its developer, Markus “Notch” Persson, sold the project to Microsoft for $ 2.5 billion, and by then the game had already earned him $ 700 million.
Few people know that for the game developer this was an additional project while he worked on Jalbum photo-sharing. He did not give up permanent work for a promising project, and his success story is the story of a man who knew how to organize his work process correctly.
Amazon founder billionaire Jeff Bezos came up with his future revolutionary project when traveling from New York to Seattle. Only later online platform made the lives of millions of people more convenient, while its founder became billions richer. But at first an unknown New York based banker launched a risky project in 1994 from his garage.
The change in the work field has fully paid off, and all the risks associated with it have completely covered the profits of Amazon, which still keeps its founder among the richest people in the world.
If you are thinking of starting a business from home, remember the example of a billionaire who changed the world from a garage, and you may have confidence in your abilities.
The creator of GoPro Nick Woodman, had the idea for a new technology appeared completely spontaneously. While traveling between Australia and Indonesia, he thought that being able to attach a tiny camera to his wrist while surfing would be a good idea. Inspired by the local beauty, he returned back to his home in California, where he began developing a miniature camera, which was destined to conquer the world.
The first prototypes of his device were created manually, using a drill and a sewing machine of Nick's mother. He bought cameras and modified them at home. All this work from his own room was done so that after ten years the company received a resounding success.
What lessons from remote-first companies can you apply to your business?
There are many definitions of what it means to be a remote-first company. Someone says that it means giving priority to work remotely, someone - that this is a whole philosophy.
We believe that in difficult conditions (for example, self-isolation of each employee due to the COVID-19), any company may face the need to become remote-first.
Switching to remote work is not easy for every organization, because under such stressful conditions miscalculations in the team are most noticeable.
What we can learn from the experience of companies with established remote work is:
- Employees need access to all the necessary information
If you want the work process to remain the same as before it became remote, provide employees with all the necessary information to understand their tasks.
- Don't take it on trust alone
Trust is good, but a little control will not hurt. Use special software to track the remote work of your employees, monitor how tasks are distributed and check the quality of projects handed over.
- Quality software
Many remote-first companies use custom software to manage both the organization and projects. It adapts better to the business needs of the company, more flexible and is able to cover all pain points. Also, you can modify to custom software, adding new features, which are needed in the changed working conditions.
We paid special attention to communication with employees and control of remote work processes.
Use convenient tools for remote communication. Despite the fact that your employees now work from home, they still need updates on the current situation and live communication, which usually are granted in the office.
We use such software solutions for communication and control over the remote work of employees:
- Hubstaff for tracking work time.
- Zoom for video conferencing.
- Google Docs for working on documentation and marketing processes.
- Skype for daily personal communication of employees.
- Telegram for chats.
We used the same tools while working in the office, and when preparing for remote. Of course, besides those, we also have a number of online tools for development and management the company and individual cases.
At first, this change seemed frightening to us, but it had practically no effect on the work process. Many of our employees became even more productive in home environment (100% it's the cats doing), and we do not lose productivity speed.
Therefore, do not hesitate: your business will handle the remote work with the correct organization of the process and the choice of a good technological solution.