Remote Work At Equivity
San Francisco, CA
* As of February 2020
Equivity Remote Company Q&A
Eric Wall, CEO - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We provide virtual assistants for marketing, paralegal, and administrative support.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Our teams have always been remote.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Vital. Our entire model is based on the simplicity and instant engagement made possible by the Internet.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
The ability to work with talented people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to or interested in working in an office. There are many talented people who benefit greatly by being able to work from their homes, avoid long commutes, and balance work and personal obligations.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
We never integrated remote work—we started there! All of our employees have been remote since day one. Remote work made our business possible, not the other way around.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
We lean towards candidates who emphasize their fit for the responsibilities of the position, rather than how working remotely would benefit them.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
We conduct resume reviews, require applicants to submit information about their skills, and conduct detailed phone interviews, background checks, and reference checks.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
During the recruiting process we embody and describe the characteristics we prize in our company. We are honest to the candidate about the nature of the position and the work we do for our clients. In so doing, we describe the relationships between the virtual assistant (VA) and the client, and amongst VAs. In explaining how we operate, we convey that we value both autonomy and responsibility, in that VAs are ultimately responsible for the relationship with a client and are given freedom to manage that relationship without constant supervision.
Do you use third party testing or evaluation services when hiring remote workers?
Yes, we conduct both reference checks and background checks.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
Yes. Employees must respond to communications within an hour.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
We monitor both hours worked and hours billed to clients. Virtual assistants describe the work they do each day, which allows us to assess productivity.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Constant communication. This requires the use of text, email, voice, and video communication platforms and shared expectations regarding availability.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
We connect virtual assistants (VAs) with other VAs to provide training, integrate VAs in team environments, offer performance feedback, monitor workload and availability to take on new clients, and regularly provide VAs an opportunity to discuss problems.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
First we developed the idea for our business model, then we implemented our plans by hiring a workforce of talented employees from all over the country.
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
We maintain a healthy company culture by constantly seeking new ways to connect employees with other employees over a variety of different media.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
Trust your recruitment process and your employees. Set goals for your employees to reach, but give them flexibility in how they reach them.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
One challenge was developing a project management system to provide clients with information about work that their virtual assistant performed. We ended up developing our own system from scratch. Another challenge was that, when we were just starting up, we had to establish trust amongst potential hires even though we didn’t have a track record.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
We use standard phone and email channels, and we also use file sharing apps and project boards like Trello.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
As the number of employees has increased, we have increasingly standardized procedures. With a smaller team, communication often occurs organically, but as the size of the team increases, we’ve introduced standardized practices for keeping in touch and soliciting feedback.
How does your team address different time zone challenges?
First, establishing ahead of time when team members will be available. Second, hiring individuals who are willing to be flexible when necessary to coordinate with team members and get work done.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Worst: Economy class in an airplane.
Best: A quiet coffee shop at 6 a.m.