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Remote Work at Knack

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*As of August 2017
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Knack Team

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Brandon Griggs, CEO - Interview with Remote.co

The implied foundation of trust. We give our team the autonomy to figure out how they can do their best work. This can only happen when you trust them to do that effectively. That foundation permeates everything as that trust is returned to the team and company where, as a CEO, I have zero concerns about motivation, politics, titles, etc.

My co-founder and I had previous experience collaborating remotely, so as we bootstrapped we never even considered a physical office. Knowing we were always going to be 100% remote forced us to develop all of our operations around working remotely.

Written communication is an absolute must. This isn’t just about grammar, it’s about succinctly communicating your ideas and the ability to express your personality through writing.

They are all done over video hangouts, so we can immediately see how comfortable they are with this. I do an initial one-on-one, then we have a second group interview with the broader team.

Very deliberately. A big component is daily one-on-ones with a different team member to talk about the job, but more importantly, about the culture and how we work remotely.

We have an overlap policy where we expect everyone to be generally available for conversations and video chats. Remote does not by definition mean time independence. We still feel synchronous communication is important, and want to remove friction by simply having real-time conversations with each other.

Not only do we all meet twice a year in person, we live together in a giant house for a week to work and play. We’ve found these critical in cementing the bonds you form over chat and video.

Actually having one. A relationship doesn’t mean reading standups in a Slack channel. You have to put in the work to meet regularly with each worker. One-on-ones are vital to get insight into everything you’re missing.

Always the communication. This is this the hardest part for any workforce; remote just amplifies the stakes.

There are no tricks here—you engage with them and make them a part of the bigger picture. This means transparent communication, distributed decision-making, and simply treating them as human beings.

Early on it was very organic, but as we’ve scaled we’ve experimented with just enough formal policy to ensure we’re retaining the remote culture we value while still building a world-class product.

If you don’t trust your team, work on that first.

We’re all still figuring out the best way to do this, so little has been codified on how to do it well. Every challenge is an experiment where you have to put in the time to figure it out and write most of the rules yourself.

Video hangouts where you actually can see each other is still the most effective way to communicate around complex topics, establish human connections, and benefit from non-verbal communication.

I specifically bought a property with a giant room of windows overlooking nature that I love working from each day.

Not being bound by other’s definition of when I should be doing my best work or my best living.

I have a wife, two kids, and live on an old farm. I love all three, so it’s never felt challenging to carve out time for life and give it my 100% focus.

The OG: Andy Grove’s High Output Management