Remote Work at OnTheGo Systems
- Team Members
OnTheGoSystems is the company beyond great WordPress ideas made into plugins like WPML and Toolset. Another part of the company is ICanLocalize, a professional translation service. I am lead developer of the Compatibility team; we are a team of seven developers and administrators, basically we help authors of other plugins and themes make their products compatible with WPML, meaning we help them achieve being multilingual-ready. We also help authors develop themes using our powerful Toolset plugin.
OnTheGoSystems started as remote.
Remote work is a main part of our company’s business model, it helps us work 24 hours a day and offer multilingual and cross cultural support to our clients, it also helps in recruiting the most dedicated talented people for our roles, no matter where they come from.
Apart from the obvious recruiting and timezone support benefits I’d add that people are happier when they are closer to their families and it reflects considerably the effort they’ll put back into work, also having a real multicultural company means getting more ’out of the box’ ideas.
No rules, but we are always replying.
We hold an annual meeting once a year somewhere in the world where we all meet in person. For us, this is a nice opportunity to connect personally and form bonds that make work more fun and collaborative. Building quality relationships in real-life makes a huge difference and positively influences our teamwork throughout the year.
I measure productivity by the number of important tasks we have managed to resolve per week. This is how I look at my team’s efficiency; important tasks in our case are either things that directly helped clients resolve issues they had or will make clients (and theme authors) lives easier, so issues will be prevented in the near future.
The biggest challenge, I think, is that working remotely means you need to be over communicative, and very verbal — when you work in an office sometimes only with a gesture or a few words information is passed to others, when you work remotely this whole form of nonverbal communication is very limited. This means you need to compensate for that with words. We try to always say the extra word, be very nice and attentive to what others are saying so things will go smoothly and work will be done effectively.
We have days per years worked in the company policy, days increase the longer you stay with us.
We have a nice peer review feedback system, we talk & meet a lot, once a year we have a company meeting, and when possible we meet in smaller groups (for example attending conferences together), we share hobbies and experiences, we help employees when we can with personal issues.
Choose the right people, create the correct work atmosphere for your business, and try to give your employees responsibilities and liberties so they can be creative.
I have a desk outside in a covered terrace that I use most months of the year (I live in the south of Spain, weather is usually nice). In winter, I work in the attic and when things get too noisy (in summer for example when kids are home), I set my office in a small caravan I have parked in the garden. I just have a desk, my laptop and an extra monitor that I use when I need to.
This is a big challenge in my case. With time I have developed a way to understand that work will not go away and that unless [a task is] really urgent, I need to stop working when time comes. Still, I find it quite impossible to not check my emails or new tickets way after working hours.