Monday. 7:30 am. The alarm sounds and you hit the snooze button. You make breakfast a little quicker to be ready for a virtual meeting and then focus on an important project. After a homemade lunch, you go to a co-working space to meet a client and head back home to walk the dog while checking your messages at a collaboration tool.
Imagining yourself doing this every day? Then remote work is for you.
In a Landing.Jobs survey conducted in 2015 amongst 379 tech professionals in Portugal, 93% said they were interested in remote work. It’s a worldwide trend and on the rise in some countries like the UK and the USA and according to US Department of Labor, 24% of employees reported doing some of their work remotely in 2015 (it was 19% in 2003). Some of the reasons why remote working is becoming such a trend are because it reduces or even eliminates commute time, increases productivity and contributes to a better work-life balance.
Publishing startup Reedsy is one of the companies that embraced that model, with a remote team of 12 people (soon to be 15) in Europe, US and Canada. Since it was founded, in 2014 in London, it helped produce more than 1500 books by connecting independent authors and freelance pros, (like editors, designers and marketers), and providing collaborative tools for the self-publishing process. We talked to co-founder and CEO Emmanuel Nataf about his remote work experience and he gave us some tips and insights he learned along the way. Ready for some remote-work know-how?
According to Nataf, here are some things you should think about when creating a remote company or joining one:
1. Make a match between company and employees
Creating virtual teams in Reedsy was something that emerged naturally since the beginning. Actually, it was so natural that the first remote worker was one of its co-founders and CTO, Vincent Durant, who chose to stay in France instead of going to London where Seedcamp’s HQ is located (a tech startup accelerator who funded Reedsy). Remote culture is truly in the heart of their company.
With a lot of experience in hiring people, not forgetting some mistakes on the way (we all do it, right?), Nataf says remote workers should be autonomous, know how to manage their time and be motivated. If you need to be in a room with someone telling you what to do, remote work is not your cup of tea. This is so important that one of the questions Nataf makes sure to always ask during job interviews is if the candidate has experience working remotely and whether he/she likes it. If your answer is “I love that. It’s how I’ve been working for a few years and that’s how I want to be working” you’re good to go.
2. There’s a remote company culture after all
According to Nataf “It’s not because you build a remote company that you are against any kind of human interaction. It just means that you want people to evolve in a better environment next to people they want to be next to”.
We all know that being remote can make you feel a little detached from your team. However, it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Reedsy tries to arrange some get-togethers to do fun activities and they even planned a ski trip this winter! Check out some of their team buildings. We know you’re drooling right now.
3. Tools, tools, tools. Have I mentioned tools?
When you work remotely, not having your team next to you can sometimes create some stressful moments but there are a lot of ways you can reach out to everyone. Just to name a few, at Reedsy the place to post things like good morning messages or jokes is Slack’s general channel. They also use a Basecamp feature that every day around 5 pm sends a notification to everyone asking what they’ve up to today. “I found that employees love that. That transparency about what everybody’s doing. One of my employees recently told me that he didn’t expect the company’s CEO or the co-founders to actually write what they had been up to” says Nataf. However, it’s important to find the right balance between being too noisy/disturbing people and contributing to the team.
4. There are always some guidelines to help you along the way
When creating a remote company, one of the things that most helped Nataf was the book “Rework and Remote: Office Not Required”, by Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. According to Nataf “They explain very clearly how they’ve grown a company entirely remotely and it’s really cool”.
Although there are still many companies that are not adopting that model, the ones with young and creative workforce are more into that culture and we at Landing.jobs are right behind it backing it up. Remote work has its advantages and disadvantages but knowing all you need to know about it will help you see if it’s something you really want to support and do.
Thank you so much, Emmanuel, for all your insights and advice! If you want to know more about him make sure to follow him on Twitter.
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