Working remotely

Remote team leaders answering questions about their daily life in a remote team regarding communication, tools and more. They also share tips for companies planning to start working remotely.

Why remote?

Remote company managers are talking about why they are running a remote team and how did they start. They also share ideas about what are the biggest benefits of remote work and why it's here to stay.

Hiring remote

Remote team leaders about building a remote team and how are they hiring for remote jobs in their company. They also share tips about how to stand out when applying for remote jobs.

Managing remote

Practical tips from remote companies about managing a remote team – how to measure productivity, where to work from and about planning company retreats to bring the remote team together.

Working remotely

Remote team leaders answering questions about their daily life in a remote team regarding communication, tools and more. They also share tips for companies planning to start working remotely.

How do you communicate in your remote team?

Remote work is what led to the development of our publicly viewable handbook, which captures everything you'd need to know about the company. That's where we keep a list of our best practices for communication within our team: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/communication/ Making social connections with coworkers is important to building trust within any organization, but especially when your team is remote. We're intentional about designing informal communication at GitLab: https://about.gitlab.com/company/culture/all-remote/informal-communication/
We communicate via emails, Mattermost, and Zoom for video calls.
We use Slack for our day-to-day communication. We also use video and voice calls on an ad hoc basis as well as for regularly-scheduled team meetings, weekly check-ins, and a monthly companywide AMA. Lastly, we want every process and workflow documented. The answer to every question should be found with a search of internal Confluence knowledge base. :) Team members don't have to watch Slack constantly while working. They are able to set themselves away if they need some time for focused work.

How do you handle different time zone challenges?

The main challenges are time zones and cultures. You need to make sure projects run smoothly and that nobody is stuck waiting for someone’s reply in order to do their part. Different cultures can interpret a comment, a tone of voice, or even a joke in a different way than the intended one. Luckily in our organization, we all have a good relationship with one another, so things are not misinterpreted.
We work asynchronously, so most of the time time zones don't really pose much of a challenge. Only when we need to have a video conference do we coordinate schedules to arrange a time to meet.
About half our team is able to set their own schedule. While we ask everyone to pick and keep consistent hours, many folks are able to set their own hours and use flex time at their discretion (and in coordination with their manager and coworkers). The other half of our team does have to work fixed schedules because they're doing things like providing customer support and monitoring our infrastructure. For those folks, we fix their schedules to UTC to ensure we have consistent coverage across time zones and changes. In addition, they use scheduling tools like WhenIWork so that everyone on the team can see everyone else that is working at any given them.

What are your most used tools in your remote team?

Our most-used tools include the GitLab tool, Slack, Zoom, and G-Suite products.
We use YouTrack for all our project management, and we also use Mattermost channels for things that may need immediate attention, and daily and weekly meetings with the whole team happen via Zoom, sometimes meetings may need to involve people from other teams.
We use Twist for team communication and Todoist for task/project management.

What's your advice for companies planning to go remote?

As we've grown, we've learned a lot about how to collaborate effectively and strengthen our culture, all while working remote. We're sharing what we've learned to help other companies embrace remote work as well: https://about.gitlab.com/company/culture/all-remote/tips/
I’d say it’s the best opportunity a company can have to work with talented people from all over the world—you’re not limited to post and hire people locally. If your positions are open to the world, then the sky’s the limit.
If you haven't already, develop a strong set of core values that will be the foundation of your remote culture. From there, identify the practices, processes, and tools that will enable your team to work and collaborate effectively as you pursue your mission.

How did you came up with a remote work policy?

It was built on the go from day one as we were born remote.
It kind of just evolved. We have a formal update to that almost quarterly now.

How do you nurture your company’s culture in a remote work environment?

We have defined the culture we want to nurture in a document called the Kinsta Ethos. This document defines how we think about ourselves, our customers, our coworkers, and our work. Our team comes back to the principles in this document regularly as a set of guiding principles that should define how we act and make decisions. At a more practical level, all of our management team members talk about company culture on a regular basis and if we see any sort of toxic behavior we do our best to address it as quickly as possible. We genuinely want Kinsta to be the sort of place people love to work and never want to leave.
Company retreats, video game days, AMA's

What challenges have you encountered building a remote team?

The main challenges are time zones and cultures. You need to make sure projects run smoothly and that nobody is stuck waiting for someone’s reply in order to do their part. Different cultures can interpret a comment, a tone of voice, or even a joke in a different way than the intended one. Luckily in our organisation we all have a good relationship with one another, so things are not misinterpreted.
Async issues, communication issues, very little information on large scale remote team deployments.

What has changed about how your remote team operates today?

This could be a 10k word answer. Everything constantly changes. Remote work always changes and that's why I've organized www.runningremote.com to figure that out.