Remote Work At Five Q
* As of February 2020
Five Q Remote Company Q&A
Wes Ward, VP of Strategic Growth - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
Five Q serves (primarily) non-profits and Evangelical Christian ministries with digital strategies, web and mobile development and solutions, branding, marketing, and content strategy.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Yep. Saw this puck moving in this direction and just skated there a long time ago.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Certainly, if we went brick and mortar, we’d still thrive, I believe. But, this model allows us maximum flexibility in growing our team plus being oh-so nimble when it comes to face to face work with partners and new opportunities.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
Definitely, it’s the people. Being able to grow the team with the right players no matter where they live.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
As a digital company, at the outset we were natives hiring natives to use technology like this. It allowed us to scale up at a reasonable pace with no traditional overhead. Now, we’re able to grow our talent base and in the cities that make the most amount of sense for where our existing and new partners are.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
We’re looking for productive, good-spirited, balanced, adaptable, learners and service-minded colleagues who will become friends too. Life is too short to not work with people you like. Also, we want folks to truly like this work style and not strain against it.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
Our process is fairly rigorous — and “standard” — but, we do really want to ensure that new staff can thrive well in a remote environment.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
The full team meets together at least twice a year. There are meetups by various teams based on need and geography throughout the year.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
All of us have yearly “people plans” that tie us to our goals and what’s required. Every one of us tracks all of our time so that we can measure ourselves and keep on track. Again, this is about Leadership 101 in some ways. Meaning, every worker needs to have clear expectations and clear feedback — no matter where they work.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
Our leaders are continual learners in what good leadership truly is. Ultimately, we keep ourselves moored in our mission, the continual development of a warm and thriving culture, and in helping people enjoy work and grow. Intentional communications is paramount. Daily video conferencing is a must. We have fun. We work hard at connections.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
Pretty standard. If you need a tool to do your job right, we want you to have it. We aim to service people with what they need for their tasks. Still, we do aim to standardize for greater efficiencies in communications and service.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
Nothing atypical here. Typical holidays and vacation time and sick days.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Since we’ve always done it, it’s been a bit of both. It’s dynamic and continuous improvement is a must. We must adapt to the best communication platforms and consistently be growing our team’s EQ. It’s who we are, so when someone new comes on board we need to help them adapt easily and comfortably into this “world” if it’s new to them.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
You must excel at “human” connection. Dispersed workers still need nurturing. Find ways to reach through the technology and make people feel like people. You can’t just think about the tasks. A “people first” mindset always wins.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
Certainly, communication is vital. When you’re in the same office together, you have more natural, unplanned meetings and from those come some of the best ideas, solutions, healing, and updates. So, in a remote company, I do believe you have to work, perhaps, harder at having amazing relationships and growing everyone professionally. In an office, you must be intentional. I think in a remote ecosystem, you have to be much more intentional.
What is your personal remote work environment?
For me, we’ve converted an upstairs guest room into my office. My wife home educates our four kids — so this is a productive, happening home. Often, I’ll pop into the car and go to a coffee shop or the front porch. Variety. Keep the spark.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
In a results-oriented culture, no matter what kind it is, you’ve got to work in balance, inspiration, and humanness. This is as much responsive artfulness as it is planned. But, again, at our core: we want people to walk away and have amazing families and be whole people. There’s some fun things we do — but at a simplistic level, we just encourage depth of friendships and balance of life.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Bad wifi no matter where you are is the worst. My best thinking is probably on airplanes or I’ve really enjoyed blending some work and family. So, I’ve had some productive moments in long car rides with my wife driving and me tethering into the team. It’s a mindset, really. Make every moment count.