Remote Work At Must Have Menus
* As of June 2021
Must Have Menus Remote Company Q&A
Dan Garrett, Director of Customer Success - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We design digital marketing software for restaurants.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Remote work makes our business model possible. We can find talent all over the world.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
Increased employee control over their workday, creating greater job satisfaction and productivity.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
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.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
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.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
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.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
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.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
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.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
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.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Remote work process has been part of our DNA since inception.
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
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.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
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.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
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.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
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.
How does your team address different time zone challenges?
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.
What tips do you have to disconnect when working remotely?
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.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
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.