Remote Work At Trade Conductor
* As of February 2020
Trade Conductor Remote Company Q&A
Soulaima Gourani, CEO - Interview with Remote.co
Tradeconductor works towards world peace through trade.
I have had offices for many years. But because I traveled more and more, it became clear that an office with no CEO is not good. So we went all remote. I see my team members 2-3 times a year. We use Skype, FaceTime, and mail. It is perfect and much more efficient.
It is critically important. We need to cover worldwide and all time zones. We need to give people flexibility in order to claim their flexibility!
Personal freedom, time optimization, global reach, lower costs (no offices), and fewer meetings (I really dislike meetings). And I like that we are constantly connected.
Because I want MY freedom. It is MY preferred work style. That impacts the way I design and lead my org.
I want to be able to work from where I want. I like/need to travel and do not want to sit in an office.
As an example, I have had the same PA for three years. She used to be in Copenhagen. This last year she has been traveling in Asia. I have no idea where she is. I really don’t. I have to go on Facebook or Instagram to see her pictures—to know where she is! She responds to my emails and that is good enough for me.
I do not need to see people to know that they work.
Over the phone.
I use my network to find the right people.
Everyone responds very fast. But again it depends on your time zone. For three months one of my employees was in HK while I was in Texas. It was not easy to communicate real time. But we managed it.
Clear goals and targets. And a time management system.
The right mindset. You have to stop thinking in “office hours” and forget all about witnessing physical presence. You have to understand that you all now work without walls. Be clear on goals and expectations and make sure you still talk to each other. People need human contact and it’s not easy to create a team spirit if you do not meet at least a few times a year.
I do not find it difficult. But you have to pay more attention to how you communicate. People don’t often see your face and therefore only see the written word. It is my experience that thank-you notes, short sweet messages, and birthday acknowledgments get much more relevant and important when you are all remote.
Well, by giving them a lot of responsibility. They need to feel needed and wanted.
You write me when you need (weeks of vacation). You do not have to tell me if you are sick, not working on Wednesday, etc. I only need that information if it is for a longer period of time.
Over the past 7-8 years I have been traveling more and more, and therefore I needed people to be more and more flexible. When I hire people I am upfront with this. It is all about finding the right people. With a little training most people love it.
Yes, sure. It is all down to how you communicate with each other.
The way I act impacts how people act. It is very simple.
You have to go all in. And you really have to be good about telling people what you expect from them. They need to be able to clearly understand what to do and have clear deadlines.
Not all people thrive working like this. I have had some employees who did not like it. They felt very lonely because they never saw me. You need to find the right kind of people. And make sure people do not work all the time. It is my experience that people easily work too much. Again, find the right people who can handle all this freedom.
It is my experience that people are much more productive working from home. But you have to trust your people. If you do not, it will never work out.
To find the right people who can live with having a remote boss.
Emails. We work in all time zones. Emails are great. People can open them as they wake up. Telegram Messenger is good for chat groups.
My “office” is my computer and my phone and my flight and my suitcase.
That I do not need to sit in a car and drive. As an example I can walk my 10,000 steps a day while walking around Lady Bird Lake in Austin while I am on a conference call.
I get up in the mornings and can have a really nice morning with my kids. I have hired my husband too. So it is a family business.
As a mom finding time for family, business, and leisure, it is a huge challenge. I used to travel four days a week—now a little less since I moved to the U.S. For over 7-8 years I have been working in over 30 countries a year. Technology is my best friend. It is creating opportunities for new forms of collaboration, changing not only where we work from, but how we work, and who we work with.
“I know how people work best. Give them their freedom.” – Soulaima Gourani
On a Greek island a few years ago. No Wi-Fi at all! Impossible. I was running around like a crazy person to find Wi-Fi. It was impossible.