Remote Work At OpenSnow
* As of February 2020
OpenSnow Remote Company Q&A
Joel Gratz, CEO - Interview with Remote.co
What does your remote-friendly company do?
OpenSnow.com makes weather forecasts for outdoor athletes.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
We started remote from day one.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Remote work is essential to our business model. We want our forecasters to live where they forecast because local knowledge leads to more useful forecasts. And our full-time employees who are not forecasters should be free from commuting, which wastes time and energy.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
Happy employees, responsible employees, no commuting, and no money paid for rent.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
It was happenstance as we developed a solid team and no home office. Now we can’t imagine having a home office.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
We are conducting the first one now by mix of email and video chat. If we happen to live close to some of the applicants, we might meet in person.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
We simply said on the job description that the position is remote and we have no set work hours. This nicely self-selects people who thrive in this environment.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
We’re a small team that has only hired remote workers, but haven’t often had the chance to see their work product and work with them on a part-time basis before a full-time hire.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Weekly calls are important, as is setting and communicating realistic and exciting goals.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
Everyone gets unlimited time off. If goals are clearly communicated and employees are responsible, we don’t need to babysit with restrictive PTO policies.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Organically. We trust people to get their work done when they need to do it.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
Every company has different needs, so it’s not one size fits all. If you are thinking that remote work could be good for your company, give it a chance!
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
Sometimes I take things for granted, that everyone is working happily along. That’s why weekly check-ins are useful so that things are NOT taken for granted and any issues can be communicated and addressed.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
Phone calls are useful. As are group chat tools like Slack, and email too. It’s a mix.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
We only added weekly calls after about five years. We found that hearing each other’s voices was very helpful when discussing more difficult topics, and it also made us feel more connected.
How does your team address different time zone challenges?
Thankfully this isn’t a big issue, but as our team grows, it will become a challenge. More clearly communicating goals and aligning team members will be the way that we try to address this challenge.
What are the biggest benefits of being a remote worker?
I work a lot, but I don’t have set hours, so it’s less stressful when planning meet-ups with friends and family. This is the biggest benefit.
What is your favorite business book?
It’s a personal finance book called The Simple Path to Wealth. Take care of your own financial house and it will free up your mind to focus on building a great business.