Remote Work At Inpsyde GmbH
* As of February 2020
Inpsyde GmbH Remote Company Q&A
Alex Frison, Co-Owner & Project Manager - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We create Plugins, Websites, Themes or any solution based on WordPress.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Yes, we did start right away as remote.
How important is remote work to your business model?
It is essential! No remote, no Inpsyde!
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
We’re able to hire people all around the world, not only within a certain area. Also flexible working hours.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
Because, we as the founders already live in different places and have the possibility to find the best WordPress developer all over Germany or worldwide. Location shouldn’t be a boundary to work at Inpsyde.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Lean toward a remote position, a person who can manage themselves, be focused at work and able to work on their own, make their own schedule and being communicative. Leaning away, a person who is the opposite of the previous points, who needs someone who gives him always instructions what to do now, a disorganized person, who has difficulties to focus.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
First we ask for their code, if the quality is great or has potential, we have a telephone call where we ask all relevant questions for this position.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
All people we are interviewing know that we are working remote. For many of them it is one of the main reason to work for us.
How do you conduct onboarding for remote workers?
They get all tools, instruction how we work, get to know our team and projects and they already are invited in our social slack channels before they have their official first day.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
We do have some weekly meetings set up, if someone is leaving his work, then he has to tell it in a channel, preferable with a time frame when he/she is back. Everyone is saying “Good Morning” or “Done for today – ready for a beer!” Or if he is leaving for a short time: “Lunch” “AFK 10 Minutes” “shortly AFK” or “gone for 2 hours – have some errands.”
Do you organize remote team retreats?
At our team meetings, we do organize loads of stuff, which are fun and supports team building. Most of the time we are away for a whole week and just enjoy the time together without work.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
Yes, we do, at least once a year we have a team meeting, but without internet or computers. We just want to have some fun and good talks outside of work. Many times we also meet one another at WordCamps in Europe or Germany.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
We are not actively measuring the productivity of our workers, but if someone is being lazy or not concentrated, we will recognize it and have a talk with him.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Trust is critical.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Sometime it would have been good to go after work in a pub or somewhere else and talk about a project and come up with some solutions or also find out what’s the real problem of the worker, is it private or business. Reading between the lines is much harder in a remote team.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
Keep everyone in the loop, whatever it is. Also talk to them about private things and regularly ask how they are doing! Because it is hard to tell, if you don’t see them.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
They have their own devices and can also decide what they want, a pc, a mac or whatsoever. We take care of the tools or apps they need for work. Sometimes we do also pay for equipment, if we see it make sense for their work.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
Since our working hours are pretty flexible, we don’t really have a time off policy, but we prefer, that everyone is at their computer between 10am – 3pm, but if they have some errands, they just have to tell us in a Slack channel and that’s ok.
What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?
Never really had a fear, if you fail in managing remote workers, it is not the system causing the failure, it is you.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Sure, if you start with it on yourself as a good example, then everyone is doing the same.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
Live, breath, think, love remote. Don’t do it because others are telling you it is the best. You have to be convinced it is, with all the caveats that come along with remote teams.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
Finding the right people, who can manage themselves, be focused at work and able to work on their own.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
We primarily use Slack, Telephone Conferences and JIRA.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
We are using better tools, less email, thank god – less Skype. 🙂 We are a great running team, everyone knows how the other one is ticking and what is the best way to communicate. So the communication between persons has been approved but also the tools we are using. Slack is a great tool and JIRA is also a main tool we are using for PM. But this is not the end of the road, we are still not at 100%.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
Not really good, I’m always available, so many times I don’t completely separate between work and life. But if I really want to, I do and switch everything off and enjoy quality time with friends and family.
What is your favorite business book?
There is no one favorite business book, in each of many books is some wisdom in it.
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
“Fear is a bad advisor” and “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job……wait until you hire an amateur.”
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Worst: In Cuba, having only a cell phone, bad internet and at a bus station. It was raining as hell and we had an emergency, which we finally fixed but I was completely wet at the end. Best: Also in Cuba, at the beach with a laptop, good internet reception from the hotel and a cold beer next to me. 🙂