Remote Work At GobySavvy
* As of February 2020
GobySavvy Remote Company Q&A
Ryan O’Connor, Co-founder & Dean Dutro, Co-founder - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We review client websites and apps to provide quick fixes to help convert more people and create more engagement from customers. This service is called User Experience Optimization (UXO). We consider our services a UX insurance policy, to detect early issues and build actionable solutions that increase conversions, cut customer support costs, and cut wasted re-development time. Delivered by our small team of User Experience experts, you can get one-off reports for quick wins OR ongoing monthly optimization to really build that compelling experience people talk to their friends about (i.e. word of mouth marketing!).
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
GobySavvy started remotely… in a coffee shop.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Critical. From a business standpoint it drastically cuts brick and mortar costs, allows us to work on projects around the clock, and hire the best talent without location restriction.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
One of the biggest benefits of a remote workforce is knowing that we have team members in India, in Australia, in Germany, in the UK, etc., that can pick up work for clients in their country or timezone, establish a deeper rapport with those clients, and then build compelling digital experiences for them. We also gain insights into the spread of global trends in our industry, which allows us to stay on the top of those trends.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
As a company, we are trying to be as progressive as possible. And in the tech industry, there are a ton of options to choose from. For us, staying current with tech innovations and trends involves establishing a global presence, creating and having access to a global workforce that can work in different timezones, and building work environments that lead to happy, productive team members. Not to mention the expenses cut compared to brick and mortar!
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Independence is a trait we lean towards. The ability for someone to take a project, and make it their own is key for our remote workforce.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
Most interviews are conducted via Skype, Google Hangouts, or Zoom. We have UX Designers send samples, portfolios, references, etc., then engage in 1-2 paid trial projects.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
When we start to talk about the digital lifestyle, the ability to work from anywhere in the world, and interacting with a multi-cultural group, candidates tend to be hooked.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
Everyone is expected to respond to both internal and client communications within half of a business day. For working with clients on long-term projects, 2 short weekly meetings are a must to ensure goals are aligned and designs are moving forward as expected.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
For each new project, we have a lead designer and 1+ team members that create proposals and timelines that match up with client expectations. We also have a peer review system to ensure high quality and out-of-the-box thinking. Finally, we reach out to clients to provide feedback on each of their projects. With all of these factors combined, each GobySavvy expert receives a score which allows us to measure and reward great performance.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
I think communication is the hardest part. We don’t have the power to walk into someone’s office and ask for an update or motivate. However with great applications like Slack, communication is becoming more seamless.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
We do require our remote team to work on their own devices. Some projects involve designing or optimizing an iOS app, some an Android app, and some a tablet or mobile product. And so we assign a project to the best fit on our team (i.e. an iPhone project to someone with an iPhone). As for apps, we have company subscriptions to common UX design tools, such as UXPin, LucidChart, and collaboration tools such as Zoom and Notable.
What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?
Quality. We feared that because we couldn’t see, in person, what someone was working on, that quality would drop. We have to trust that our team members are putting in the time to create a quality product. It hasn’t come true as much as we thought. We created a peer review system to hold everyone accountable.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Our remote work policy started organically when the founder, Ryan O’Connor, unexpectedly attracted clients from around the world–Australia, UK, India, U.S.– looking for help improving the User Experience of their apps and websites. As a small agency, it made perfect sense to recruit talent from around the world to support this global need for talent.
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Absolutely. Culture is something that we are constantly working on. For us, it started with a globally connected workstyle, an independent lifestyle, and pride in our work. We believe travel and intercultural connections are key to growing oneself and a business. These values resonate with our partners, and create a strong bond. In addition, recent tech innovations have propelled remote working forward. Within minutes, you can be face-to-face with a coworker to solve a design problem, or assign a peer a task to help you with in the click of a button. In just about every country, you can find a co-working space to share ideas, connect with other remote workers, and open your mind to any possibility the world has to offer.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
The path is not for everyone, however it is worth at minimum testing the concept internally for those who are interested. You might find that productivity boosts, and costs drop. Search for those individuals who value independence, their reputation, and fostering a global network. Those people will get the work finished whether from home or at the office (but they might not come into YOUR office!).
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
The easiest ways are through Slack, Basecamp, and email with a splash of Zapier (if you don’t know Zapier…please look it up now!). These tools are instantaneous, cost effective and easy to keep people accountable in real time.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
Automation. As the company has grown we have discovered and created new automation processes so our GobySavvy UX experts can stick to designing, and we can stick to growing the business. We are always on the lookout for a new tool or to create a new process that makes things better for our team and clients.
What is your favorite business book?
The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris and Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Hawaii was the worst place to work. Because everything about Hawaii is distracting ;). The best was Berlin- there’s tons of remote workers, unique cafes, fast wifi, and friendly faces everywhere.