Remote Work At Mavens
* As of February 2020
Mavens Remote Company Q&A
Paul Battisson, Technical Architect - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
Mavens is a healthcare and life sciences focused team whose mission is to connect people to cures using cloud technology.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
The company has always had a strong remote working culture.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Remote work enables us to hire and retain the best and brightest within the industry, as well as provide the required flexibility to deliver highly complex global projects.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
People are happier and more motivated as they are able to make work fit their other personal commitments while enabling the team to be more diverse. Without the remote working culture, we would not have some of our team.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
The organization wanted to ensure that team members had the flexibility to work in the way they found most productive, as well as open the organization to a wider and more diverse pool of talent.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Someone who has worked remotely before is beneficial. Someone who is less experienced in general and has only worked in an office will be identified as perhaps needing more support to start out.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
From the first call we explain to candidates that the organization is remote and the important role our values play in our culture.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
Candidates all follow the same process that includes building a mock application in Salesforce and meeting some team members in person.
How do you conduct onboarding for remote workers?
For every new employee at Mavens, they are given a two-week hands-on training and orientation session where they are taught about the healthcare industry, Mavens’ best practices, and the company’s culture.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
We don’t and leave it to the individual employees and project teams to determine if there is any specific cadence they want to build around communication.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
We have an all company summit every year where the entire organization gets together for 3+ days. Regional team members are encouraged to cowork and meet whenever possible to stay connected. On a project level, the team is also encouraged to spend some coworking time together during any client site visits.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Trust is a key element; you have to ensure that every member of the team trusts each other to do what they have agreed to. Tools for communication and sharing can help build and enhance this, but a base level of trust has to be in place for success to be possible.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Ensuring that there is a common understanding of practices and procedures to help everything run smoothly.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
We have regular coworking sessions regionally, as well as an annual company summit where everyone gets together. Regional team meetings and a company call occur monthly as well to share any key information and ensure everyone is kept informed.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
Every team member is provided with a laptop and can then use their own mobile phone with the company paying up to $150 of the employee’s phone and Internet bill monthly. With BYOA, no restrictions are placed on what people can use during the day to get their job done as long as there is no sensitive information being stored or shared on a non-approved application/platform. Want to use your own task list manager? Great. Want to store sensitive documents somewhere separately? That’s a no.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
The organization has always had a strong remote working culture, which is formally acknowledged from the beginning of the hiring process.
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Yes definitely, but communication is key. As a group we all understand the culture of the company and what that means, what our core principles are. People are then encouraged to ensure that this culture is maintained and developed at every opportunity, whether from simply taking five minutes at the start of a call to say hi or ensuring they have a meal together when meeting.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
You have to embrace remote working fully—you cannot do it as a half measure or this will inevitably lead to a bad experience for everyone.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
We focus very hard on hiring the right individuals and then training them to a high standard. This leads to a large investment of time and effort from many of the team members, which can be tough.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
We utilize video conferencing, collaboration, and chat software heavily. All decisions are recorded in the collaboration tool and people are all provided with a chat and a video conferencing account so they can discuss items and jump on a call anywhere in the world at any point.
What are the biggest benefits of being a remote worker?
The flexibility and the ability to focus on things without distractions. If I need to get my head down I can close the door, mark myself as busy in the calendar and on chat items and just focus without distractions. Similarly if I need to walk away for an hour it’s easily doable.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
I try to do a core set of hours daily to help people with predictability of where I will be, both at work and at home. I have a separate office space out of which I try not to take my laptop unless necessary. If I have a late call or have something that needs doing during the day, I will just try to shift around my hours to make it fit and let people know if they are going to be affected.
What tips do you have to disconnect when working remotely?
Have a separate space and avoid using your work laptop for anything except work. When you have finished work, close the laptop and, if possible, leave it somewhere out of sight.
What is your favorite business book?
ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by David Heinemeier Hansson, Jason Fried
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
“Why do race cars have brakes? To help them go faster.” (Slowing down and taking a moment to assess the situation can often help you go a lot faster in the long run, but you shouldn’t stop dead.)