Remote Work At Eyeo GmbH
VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS
Eyeo GmbH Team
% of All Employees
Maren Böger, People Operations Manager
What does your remote-friendly company do?
Eyeo GmbH is the company behind the world’s most popular open source browser extension, Adblock Plus. We have so far 100,000,000 active installations worldwide. Even though we run Adblock Plus, this does not mean that we hate all ads; however we believe that online advertising needs to become better and less intrusive. That’s why we’ve developed the Acceptable Ads initiative to encourage advertisers and publishers to produce less annoying ads which even Adblock Plus users will allow. By the end of this year we will hand the Acceptable Ads initiative over to an independent board in order to improve transparency and concentrate more on the development of our tool and the mobile solutions Adblock Browser for Android and Adblock Plus for iOS
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
Yes, actually we started with remote work in our early days and never regretted it.
How important is remote work to your business model?
We have an international product available to users all over the world so we believe it to be important to also have an international team of employees. Since not every colleague is able or wants to relocate to Germany, remote work is essential for us and our work.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
HR-wise one of the biggest benefits is of course being able to access a much bigger hiring pool. From the employee’s perspective remote work offers flexibility which can add to the motivation and happiness of the colleagues.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
We want to attract and hire the perfect candidates/employees for our team. In order to achieve this goal we cannot just hire on a local level.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Yes; there are some traits we look for in remotees that are even more important in remote employees. We are looking for people who can work independently as we are not micromanaging people.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
Over Skype or BlueJeans. Whenever it’s possible, the last interview is an onsite meeting.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
We always aim at painting the picture as realistic as possible. Usually, every candidate has to speak to one remote working colleague during the process.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
We have the same amount of interviews. If we are hiring remotees and they are not able to come to Cologne/Berlin for an onsite meeting, we hire them without having met them in person. Other than that there is no difference in the hiring procedure.
Do you use third party testing or evaluation services when hiring remote workers?
Every tech candidate has to complete a questionnaire including a code challenge. For (some) other positions we ask for completion of a case study. However, we do not believe in personality tests.
How do you conduct onboarding for remote workers?
We invite every new remotee to come to Cologne for the first week and up to a month for the onboarding. During that time we’ll have a bunch of different trainings in order for the new team member to learn as much as possible about the company. If the new colleague is not able to come to Cologne then s/he will have to join the trainings online.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
No. We have an absence management tool so that we can manage every kind of leave request, such as vacation, parental leave, etc.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
Minimum twice a year for summer and Christmas Event
How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?
When looking at developers the code quality is essential. We focus on output, not on working hours.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
Agree on communication channels and style of communication.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Keeping everyone happy and connected, not forgetting people.
How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?
First of all, we invite new colleagues to our headquarters in Cologne for the onboarding process. Then we have weekly team meetings which the colleagues working remotely can join via Bluejeans. Also, we invite everyone to the office twice a year for our summer and Christmas events. In addition to that, we encourage employees to attend conferences and meet with their colleagues but also to network with their peers. The remotees can also keep track of what is going on by visiting our internal forum, where all our departments update the team regularly.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
They can choose their own hardware from the company or can bring their own device.
What is your time off policy for remote workers?
26 vacation days plus Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; unpaid leave is possible.
What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?
We were not afraid.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Yes, absolutely, but this includes a lot of work. You have to agree on values and hire for attitude, not (only) for skills. An in-depth onboarding and good communication tools will support a healthy company culture.
How do you nurture your company’s culture in a remote work environment?
Make sure that everyone feels they belong to the company. Ensure that every employee has what he or she needs to feel comfortable at work (allowance for good quality office furniture, free choice of hardware, covering costs for office visits etc.)
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
I would advise them to set up good communication tools and implement rules that keep everyone involved. Another important point is that I believe for remote work to work well a flexible company culture adds to the benefits.
What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?
Setting up and evolving communication mechanisms that work for both remote workers and people who prefer to work in an office with their colleagues.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
IRC, code reviews, BlueJeans, Discourse. We have a video conference set up in every meeting room and announce meetings upfront as well as make the meeting notes available for everyone afterwards.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
The team is constantly growing, so communication changed. We need to make sure to stay as transparent as possible, for example by sharing meeting notes with the team. Also we try to build and sustain trust in our fellow employees.
What is your personal remote work environment?
Dedicated study under the roof (far from the family noise) with relevant books nearby, a decent monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair. Docking station for company laptop, personal desktop PC and a KVM switch.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
Stick to relatively fixed hours. Communicate personal time (e.g. through the calendar).
What is your favorite business book?
Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
Hire for attitude, train for skills. And never be too inflexible in role descriptions. Felix: Software is not hard, people are hard.
Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?
Worst: On the sofa with my own kids nearby. Best: In my garden, when the weather is good.
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