MustHaveMenus Remote Company Q&A
Dan Garrett, Director of Customer Success - Interview with Remote.co
We design digital marketing software for restaurants.
Remote work makes our business model possible. We can find talent all over the world.
Increased employee control over their workday, creating greater job satisfaction and productivity.
We started this way and have only increased remote work over the past decade. Many skillsets, like graphic designer, work exceptionally well from home. Remote engineers allow us to accomplish systems work outside of U.S. hours, increasing our productivity. And much more! CEO lives in central Oregon but can still maintain constant communication with the team.
Absolutely. We are drawn to people with great verbal and written communication skills, plus attention to detail. Everyone who is hired spends some time either creating a menu design or conducting a usability audit of our software. We get to see how they think in our world. We lean away from candidates who don’t demonstrate career progression or who lack enthusiasm for the restaurant industry.
We do a short set of video calls, starting with a hello call, then proceeding to a call with the direct manager or perhaps the team that is in charge of the job. Full-time jobs will always get a chance to talk to somebody in senior management before an offer is made. We try to make sure the candidate sees MustHaveMenus as a good fit and vice versa.
We set communication norms by job function. Some team members, like customer service, are connected to the chat system throughout normal business hours. Others, like designers, may check in a few times a day, including our main team call. Communication also fluctuates with current events. During our busy season, there may be much more communication required of everyone. The same is true during major product launches. As a general rule, the team members who stick with the company for the long term are very good communicators and very responsive. If a remote worker is a poor communicator or a slow responder, and this is not remedied after some discussion, then those people tend to leave the business.
We try to do annual company summits for 1 week in Oregon. This has been a great bonding experience and a chance to get to know each other more on a personal level.
We talk all the time. A short, daily all-hands meeting allows everyone to understand the what and the why. We make a point of being transparent about the state of the business to everyone. We frequently talk about the state of the industry and where we want to go.
Remote work process has been part of our DNA since inception.
This takes intention and effort because it is easy to let the days roll by focused on projects and milestones. The team should have a way to communicate that is not overseen by management, e.g., Slack, to foster team spirit and letting off steam. Management should view casual conversation as healthy. The team is frequently encouraged to share vacation and family photos in the main company thread. Encouraging discussion about company culture also creates an atmosphere of openness and good ideas. At MustHaveMenus, our culture is centered around entrepreneurship and innovation and the belief in a brighter future. We serve restaurant owners who are some of the hardest working and most creative people in the world. They provide us with inspiration every day.
Go for it! Do audio calls instead of draining video calls. Do daily all-hands meetings of no more than 15 minutes. Make your schedule conform to 30-minute limits. Encourage everyone to learn a screen capture video program, like Loom, so that they can communicate thoughts about the business using on-screen references. Ask team members to make slide or video presentations of their business projects so that others can really learn the justifications and thought process behind the projects.
Dealing with adverse situations like COVID or a software outage can be difficult in a remote company because it’s harder to feel that close camaraderie when we are not in the same room. Fire fighting, so to speak, takes more than just communication of the problem to the right people. It takes motivating them and supporting them through trying times.
We lean on 4 systems: flexible project management software like Asana, Slack for more casual office communication, Skype for audio meetings, and Loom for video walk-throughs and presentations. We engage these systems every day, some of them all day long. Finally, in our daily all-hands meetings, we do a run-through of critical issues and daily priorities, even if they are well known, just to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Being in different time zones is an absolute advantage for MustHaveMenus. Most of our engineers are nine hours ahead of the rest of the team. This means we can submit project specs or changes to them at the end of our day (Pacific Time), and they will most likely have it finished by the time we come back to work the next day.
It’s very difficult to do, but extremely important. I try to have time with my family and friends as a regular part of my day that doesn’t involve technology.
Hawaii was the worst, ha! It was bad because the daily calls were at 7:00 a.m., and who wants to be on the phone that early! Also, the reception wasn’t great. Europe can be great for remote working. Being online and catching up before the workday allows me to feel more prepared when we have group discussions.