Remote Work At Lullabot
* As of February 2020
Lullabot Remote Company Q&A
Jared Ponchot, Creative Director - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
The simple answer is that we design and build websites.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Lullabot began as a fully distributed company from day one.
How important is remote work to your business model?
We’re a fully distributed company and have been since our founding, so it’s definitely “in our DNA” I think.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
We allow people to lean into their natural rhythms, have greater autonomy, avoid painful commutes, have ownership of their work environments and maintain the focus needed to do great creative work.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
We didn’t so much “integrate” it as we built on it as our foundation. We did so because our two founders were in different cities and already working together well without being in the same place. As we’ve grown, being fully distributed has been an advantage not by simply broadening our talent pool for finding the awesome people that make up our team, but also by creating a passion for and intentional focus on communication within our company culture and way of doing things that has served us well as a business.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
The fact that we’re fully distributed means we highly value strong communicators, both verbally and in written form, so that’s one of the first things we look at no matter what skill set or discipline we’re hiring for.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
Through a combination of phone and google hangout video interviews, with the occasional in-person interview.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
We’re a very results oriented company, but for client services work depending upon the contract type we do track hours and do things that are pretty typical business practices for keeping track of our levels of productivity.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Creating patterns around internal communication, being intentional with scheduling connection and investing in retreats and in-person time.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Finding the balance between asynchronous and synchronous communication. It is tempting to try to do everything possible with asynchronous communication (e.g. email, etc.) but there are so many kinds of things that hugely benefit either in quality or efficiency through synchronous communication.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
We provide a monthly stipend for these sorts of things via a prepaid debit (Pex card) and we offer to front-load it on hire if an individual needs to purchase a computer for example.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Formally, from the hiring process onward.
How do you nurture your company’s culture in a remote work environment?
Retreats are a huge thing. We have an annual all company retreat, but we also have more focused retreats pretty regularly for smaller teams within the company focused on particular things.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
It will make you get really intentional about a lot of things that are great to be intentional about, including communication. The hybrid model (or phase) can be painful for many companies though, where some are remote and some are collocated. When you have a collocated team with a few remote workers you often have a collocated team with a few alienated workers. There are a lot of advantages to embracing a fully distributed model.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
I take breaks and spend time with family at times throughout the day, but I also will turn off email etc. notifications on my phone at times as well when I want to make sure I’m not distracted. I have a day light basement office, so at the end of my work day I get to go upstairs and shut the door on the office. At times I go for walks after work to have a segway between work and home.