Remote Work At Hubstaff
* As of August 2015
Hubstaff Remote Company Q&A
Dave Nevogt, Co-Founder - Interview with Remote.co
Hubstaff is time tracking software designed to make remote team management more effective and efficient. You just have to sign up, download our intuitive desktop app (natively designed in Mac, Windows and Linux) and push the start button to begin tracking time. In addition to the core function of time tracking, the software records each user’s activity levels (measured by keystrokes and mouse movements), has optional randomized screenshots, URL tracking and application monitoring. We also offer automatic payroll and payments so you can streamline administrative tasks like creating timesheets and calculating payments.
Our company started out as a completely virtual business.
Remote work is vital to our business model, because our company caters to remote teams. We are a completely virtual team using our own software and practicing what we preach. Our valued team members from all around the world wouldn’t be part of our company if we didn’t have a remote business model.
We believe that a remote workforce may actually be better for startups (especially for SaaS businesses) than the traditional office because you get access to a larger pool of talent, it’s surprisingly cost efficient, and onboarding new employees is easier.
Here’s a list from a blog post we did recently.
- Larger pool of talent – hire a marketing genius from India or Peru
- Cost efficiency – eliminate overhead costs of an office
- Flexibility – you can assign work as needed
- Freedom – work when and where you want (our team loves this perk)
- Easier hiring – freelancers can hit the ground running w/ their own tools, no office orientation needed
We don’t waste time – our remote team is well-trained and efficient. We do not waste time b/c it’s our time that we’re spending on the company, not time that we’re forced to be in an office.
Remote work is part of our core beliefs and the foundation of what we built our company upon. We value the freedom and flexibility that comes with remote work, as well as the ability to work with talented professionals regardless of geographical boundaries.
After skills and qualifications, we look for previous remote work experience in our candidates. It’s good to see that someone has been able to succeed at remote work before. We also look at personality traits and the candidate’s ability to multi-task.
After a few exchanged emails our founder, Dave interviews the applicants via Skype. It’s a casual discussion about opportunities, skills, strengths, weaknesses and any questions/concerns each party may have.
The people we hire all understand that Hubstaff is a completely remote company, so there is no question of whether they’ll have to come into an office or not.
We do not, but we have our own freelancer/business connection service called Hubstaff Staffing that takes care of fielding top freelancers from experience.
We try to avoid too many emails, instead using Trello to communicate, Skype for IM, Jing for training, etc. On weekdays due to the timezones we like to see responses within the day.
We don’t host meetups, but the Hubstaff team members who live in the same areas often work together. For example, both Dave and Jared live in Indianapolis and can swing by each other’s houses and work on the porch with a beer.
The Hubstaff software has useful features like activity levels and randomized screenshots, so we can see how productive our team members are being while tracking time, as well as gain a clear picture of what we’re all working on.
Sometimes remote workers just don’t have that much time for your company. They may have multiple clients, be traveling the world (you never know with digital nomads–they could be in Alaska or Sydney) or simply not want to work that many hours in the day.
We make sure all of our employees understand our strategy and core beliefs, so we all know what we’re working to achieve. We also have group chats, like the Hubstaff marketing chat on Skype, where we can share articles, ideas and comments.
Our employees are all virtual and free to take time off as they want. We work with responsible team members who will be reasonable with this, ie. no leaving for a year-long vacation with 5 minutes notice. As long as the work is covered and we’ve had ample notice, we all understand the perks of the digital nomad lifestyle.
Our work policies are more organic than formal. Part of the reason we love remote work is because we can work whenever and wherever we want, which means if a team member wants to disappear for a few days, as long as he or she makes sure the work gets done it’s fine with us.
Jump in, but don’t lose your lifeline.
You need to start somewhere, and many of the skills that remote workers need to succeed can only be developed and cultivated with experience. Disciplined working habits, an understanding of your own most productive hours, whether you work better with ambient noise or not, etc.
If you want to try it, go ahead and do it. Take some freelance jobs and see if you can hold your own. Make sure you have enough savings, and don’t do it because you think it’ll be a big vacation. Responsibilities exist whether you are at the beach or in an office.
We’ve had some bad experiences with remote workers. There are freelancers who try to work on other projects while billing time to Hubstaff, and we worked with a developer who was actually using another team to complete a task assigned to him. Once someone becomes part of our team they’ve earned our trust, but when someone is just starting out you have to watch them a little more closely.
We published a free ebook on how we manage to overcome these challenges; ”No Excuses” Definitive Guide to Building a Remote Team.
Our team uses Skype, Jing, Trello and Pivotal Tracker to communicate. We try not to use email, because information tends to get lost and inboxes get cluttered.
For me personally, my workspace has a lot of natural light and is minimalist. I don’t like clutter and I need clean angles and bold colors to work (my office has some red and turquoise, which I didn’t think would look good but it pans out).
My home office is awesome and I don’t have a problem living where I work because I set designated spaces for each task (eating, reading, working, sleeping, and exercise).
I try to make sure I get at least 5 solid hours of productive work in every day. Outside of that I’m lucky to have friends, colleagues and family who are all available to hang out, work out, eat out, etc. so I’m not at a loss for human interaction.
I value efficiency above all and will not work with any company that wastes my time.
The Philippines has awful Internet, but I have a lovely home office set up there so it’s both the best and worst place I’ve worked for different reasons. I also enjoyed working in Japan.