Remote Work At Mokriya
* As of February 2020
Mokriya Remote Company Q&A
Luke Ryan, Marketing at Mokriya - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
Mokriya is a design-centric mobile development studio based in Cupertino, CA. Our apps for Craigslist, Sidecar, and many more have delighted millions of users.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Yes, Mokriya started off remotely and continued growing into a completely distributed team.
How important is remote work to your business model?
It is extremely important. Remote work has allowed us to build an amazing team of 40+ with people from all over the world.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
Access to a bigger talent pool and a happier and more productive team. This leads to a higher performance and greater employee retention.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
Greater freedom and flexibility for team members. Focus on craft rather than clocking in at an office.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Although not deal breakers, we do look for certain questions we look to answer affirmatively. Is there alignment with our values? Has she/he worked remotely before? Is she/he an effective written communicator? Does she/he have attention to detail?
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
Interviews will be conducted on Zoom and depending on the position we may then also have candidates complete small projects before a final decision is made.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
We try to convey as much as possible about our team and our culture on our About and Careers pages on mokriya.com. And by answering candidates questions about our culture as transparently as possible.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
There aren’t rigid rules in place for our communication. For example, we do not expect replies on Slack or email within any particular timeframe. We encourage daily huddles for team-based projects via videoconferencing.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
Currently this is on an ad-hoc basis. It is not uncommon for parts of the team to meet in person in all parts of the world. This could be triggered by personal preference or client projects bringing us together.
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
We are experimenting with OKRs at Mokriya. This is a simple way to keep the team aligned and measure progress on a quarterly basis. By having brief daily huddles, it is also possible to measure progress on a day-to-day basis.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Communication. Culture and values. Transparency. Authenticity.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Developing and maintaining culture as we grow. The larger Mokriya becomes the more important it is to stay true to our values and hold onto our culture.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
Encourage transparency and company-wide visibility of information on Slack. Stick to good engagement habits such as regular one-on-ones. Consider also using some type of employee feedback or pulse survey tools to ensure everyone on the team has an opportunity to feel heard.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
Mokriya has a flexible vacation policy. Meaning we don’t measure vacation time. We grant each team member the trust to take time off when they need it and encourage a healthy balance between work and life outside work.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Organically. We learn as we grow. Thanks to the generosity of the remote community, there is a lot of best practices being shared and we hope to contribute to that as we continue to learn and grow as a distributed team.
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Remote companies can often foster health and vitality more so than an office culture. By granting trust to your employees to choose their own, optimal work environment they are able to weave health into their routine as they see fit. As opposed to being forced into a stressful commute and rigid office hours.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
Be mindful of the importance of distinguishing between remote-first and remote friendly. If you go down the remote path you really want to build remote into your culture. Make sure there is transparency and visibility across the entire team. Avoid having a split culture between people in an office and people that are remote.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
Naturally, it takes time to optimize communication and collaboration methods across time zones, but with the great selection of tools we have available to us now we seem to be overcoming that challenge.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
Most communication at Mokriya happens on Slack. This is supplemented though with one-on-ones, team huddles and all-hands meetings on Zoom.
What is your personal remote work environment?
Currently I’m working from a co-working space in Sydney, Australia. I use a 13” MacBook Air. I’m surrounded by great coffee and a bunch of creative entrepreneurs and startups. I’m also very grateful to have Bondi Beach just minutes from my desk.
What are the biggest benefits of being a remote worker?
The ability to choose the living and working situation that works best for you. It sounds cliche, but a happier employee is a higher performing employee. I have found this to be true not only for myself but for other remote employees that I have managed.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
Personally I start by creating a separation between home and work. This just works best for me because I don’t have a home office. So I like to start my day early and tackle Most Important Tasks from my co-working space between 9-2pm. This is also the main overlap with my teammates, so any huddles or one-on-ones usually happen at this time. I like to break up my day with exercise and then come back in the afternoon to continue working on the more admin-related tasks on my to-do list.
What tips do you have to disconnect when working remotely?
If possible try to create a “space for work” that is removed from your life. It could be a co-working space, a home-office, a cafe or designated desk space in your home. Finding outlets to recharge your batteries are also important. Exercise, meditation, time with family. If you can pull it off, a good 7-8 hours sleep with your phone on airplane mode doesn’t hurt either!
What is your favorite business book?
An oldie, but a goodie, that can be applied to business and life, Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
“D.R.E.A.M. – Data Rules Everything Around Me”. I first heard this from the CMO of Zenefits at a growth conference in 2015 and it is the data-driven mindset I apply to all growth marketing initiatives.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
The worst (and I hate to say this because the place itself is magical) would have to be Bali. The WIFI was just not up to scratch when I last visited. The best would be an inspiring little co-working space in Stockholm, Sweden called Knackeriet.