Remote Work at Time Doctor
- Team Members
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First, it allows us to be our best user for our product. Second, it allows us to source talent from all over the world. Not having a headquarters means that remote work is in our culture.
There are a few benefits to working remotely. We get the best talent regardless of geographical location. We also save money on overhead, making us a much more profitable company than if we had an office.
We integrated remote work for a few reasons. The founders met at a conference in Austin, Texas. However, they live on opposite sides of the globe. I live in Ottawa and my co-founder (and CEO) lives in Australia.
If they aren’t a self-starter then chances are they won’t fit in with the remote culture. Some employees need to be micromanaged. In a remote work environment, it’s almost impossible to micromanage anyone. Each person needs to know what their KPI is, and they need to know how to achieve it.
After the interview, we give everyone a small project that takes two or three weeks to complete. We don’t necessarily care if they succeed, but we want to see if the person is someone we enjoy working with, can handle working remotely, and we want to see how they approach the task.
Yes, we do. This is critical for us. First of all, you need to have a clear agenda with what you want to achieve during the trip. This may be the one time you meet with each other this year, so you have to make it count. Second, schedule some fun time. This is actually where you get to know each other as people, not just colleagues. Plan dinners, have excursions, and do activities together.
We meet once a year with everyone on the team. This requires Rob and I to travel to Miami, Florida, for a retreat for the Americas. And we travel to Southeast Asia to meet with team members in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Constant communication. This is by far the most important part of having a relationship with your remote team. As a manager, if I don’t communicate with the members of the team, I know that I run the chance of having them feel disenfranchised from the company. Even though we are all isolated, we don’t want our team members to feel isolated.
Surprisingly, one of the hardest parts of managing a remote workforce is that as the company grows, working across teams becomes a challenge. For instance, many members of the marketing team may not know any of the developers. Keeping an updated org chart is a must-have.
We give our team members flexibility. Just because they were hired for one particular job doesn’t mean that they can’t do other things that interest them. For instance, we just hired a blog manager who is very excited about social media. She has some pretty cool ideas that we want her to run with.
Every person in the company is responsible for their own laptop and phone. This hasn’t been a hinderance on hiring at all.
Of course! A few things that we do is have team retreats to get together where we all meet in person. This helps bring a new level of connection to the team. The other thing that you have to keep in mind is that remote work isn’t for everyone. Some employees can’t thrive in the remote setting for one reason or another. We work very hard to find people who thrive in a remote work environment.
Hire slowly and build your processes before you scale with remote hiring. You need solid processes in place to scale operations and without them you’ll fail.
Communication across time zones means things can take longer than you would like. For instance, if I send an email on Monday at 3 p.m. to someone in the Philippines, then chances are I won’t hear back from them until Tuesday morning. Even if I reply as soon as I see it, I am not guaranteed to get a response until the following day. So a simple conversation can take two days or more.
We use Skype, Gchat, and Slack.
Don’t work in your house all day long. Work in a coffee shop or in a co-working space if you can. If you can’t, then have a dedicated spot in the house that is only used for work. When you’re at that spot (basement, spare bedroom, corner of the kitchen), then that’s when you’re “at work”. When you’re not at that spot, then you’re not working.
From Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross