Have you had to transition your business to remote work recently?
In this article, I will share with you how we have successfully ran a hybrid remote agency for the last eight years.
How I first learnt to work ‘remotely’
I started my career in a remote-only job way back 2007. I was an e-commerce website administrator and I was very fortunate to have experienced both as a remote worker way before working remotely became a big thing.
But now today, I run and manage a team of just shy of a dozen remote workers. Our office is located in the Fishburners co-working space and our team is spread out across two different time zones in two different countries.
Why we chose to run a remote agency from the very beginning
My work in a remote-only company from the early days greatly influenced my decision to employ remote staff. I saw the advantages that it had. I’ve always believed that commuting is just a completely waste of time. And it allowed me to do more work or spend the time that I would otherwise spend remoting and producing work and that’s an ethos I’ve carried over to how I started and run my company today.
In the world that we live in, it’s somewhat of a fool’s errand to limit yourself geographically to the talent that is available out there in the world. If you can drop the geographic borders and open up the entire world of talent to your business, it will allow you to find and source the very best talent to produce the very best work for you as you got a much much much greater and wider talent pool to source from.
How to keep yourself and your team accountable
For Web3, we’ve got a fairly strict routine. I found that remote work succeeds when a good routine is put in place and the team becomes consistent and you create positive work habits around it. So for us, we really do believe meetings are toxic so we try to avoid internal team meetings absolutely whenever possible.
At the start of the week, Monday morning, myself and my Co-founder spend time reviewing the business internally and understanding what the overall direction and goals that must be achieved for the company for the week ahead.
This is immediately followed by a business strategy meeting where we’ll have a 30-minute “all hands on deck” call where we brief the entire team. We discuss the following:
- What has been achieved and accomplished last week
- What challenges, issues and roadblocks stand in our way
- How we can overcome the challenges, issues and roadblocks
- What are the priorities and objectives to achieve for the week ahead.
From Tuesday morning to Friday morning, we then maintain a very short, sharp, and sweet 15-minute stand-up where we quickly go through the following:
- What’s been accomplished
- What roadblocks are in the way
- How those roadblocks are going to be overcome and resolved
- What are the objectives to achieve that day.
So we move very quick and very agilely and really avoid spending too much time in meetings. This allows our team to focus on the deep work so they produce the best work possible and really leverage the advantage of being in a remote work team. This is proof that as long as your environment is setup to allow that type of work to happen, your team can really focus in and do their best work without distractions.
Addressing common misconceptions about remote work
I think there is a bit of misinformation that’s going around about remote work.
Some people or some outlets say that you can’t have what would be called the half-pregnant remote company, that is, a company that’s not 100% remote and not 100% in office. It’s called a hybrid remote team.
Actually, we’ve tried all different variations of remote. We’ve obviously done non-remote or in-office. We’ve tried 100% remote. Where we are today is a hybrid remote team. So our management team is at Fishburners and our technicians or our technical executors, so to speak, are remote and they all work from home.
We have found that this setup is the absolute very best that works for our business and what produces the very best work for our team. Due to the high velocity of information that’s coming out from the management team, we need to be able to strategise and adjust the course to correct on the spot minute-to-minute. Whereas our technical execution team needs to be left alone for a full entire day to produce a high quality piece of work that they can then deliver.
And so we find by separating those two out allows the management team to move quickly and agilely to overcome challenges which then influence and inform our remote team. And then being remote allows them to focus and not be distracted in producing the best work. So it is a hybrid model. It absolutely works for us, and I know it works for a number of businesses, too.
So just don’t think that you can only run a business 100% remote or 100% in office. It’s not true. You can make it work between a hybrid combination of both models.
Quick tips on how to start managing a team remotely
Here are some tips on how you can manage a remote team:
- Have a team calendar. It doesn’t have to be fancy or sophisticated. Google or iCal or whatever products that you’re on. Have everyone share their calendar between each other. This works for teams about a dozen or less. If you got more than a dozen then you have to adjust the strategy to division or management team level.
Have the team input their time then have everyone check in to see where they are and address any issues on a day-to-day basis. This way, everyone knows exactly what everyone’s doing. The course of the company is set at the start of the day. Everyone can be left alone to do their own best work.
- Know what you need to do. This goes back to good business planning. Know what the company has to do and empower each individual person to become a master of their own time – a master of what they need to do to achieve the business goal that you set the direction for as a manager and leader of the business.
- Put good systems, processes and tools in place. This give you the ability to have almost the type of visibility that you would have in an office environment but in a complete digital environment. If you’re smart and strategic about it, and you lead by example to empower your team then they’ll be able to produce the best work for you.
We have found that Fishburners is a great resource and a great community that has a lot of information from a lot of industry experts who come in and provide classes, provide content and educational know-how to run a modern agile remote company. They also provide tools and technology that you can use to have these systems and processes in place to run a successful remote business.
So, if you want to find out more information definitely check out fishburners.org. Contact the team, get in touch and see how they can help you make sure your business succeeds in this modern remote world that we live in.
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