No more Monday Blues. Wow! Sounds great? Of course, it would. Whether it is about purging the dissatisfaction amongst employees of being imprisoned and working in cubicles under fluorescent lights or cutting the cost and time engulfed in commuting, all of us deserve to stop relinquishing our freedom for the life we don't really want.
To render a better work culture to their employees, Doist has been working remotely since the time it was established in 2012. The company started with three people working from two countries. Today, they're 68 people working from 25 countries and counting. We'll take the insights of the company's remote operations from their Chief Operations Officer Allan K. Christensen.
1. The Remote First Policy At Doist
Before establishing a remote company, a set of policies are formed by the Board of Directors.
Remote work was a necessity for us because we wanted to hire the best talent to work with us. Since we were in a didn't know the labour market or the local language of the city our founders were in initially, they decided to use their network and hire people remotely. Later, we realized how this concept serves us in many ways and we decided to stick to it. And if you're starting as a remote company, it is easier to grow in that direction naturally.
2. Benefits of Working Remotely
Since the concept gives the utmost freedom, it surely has a lot of perks. Since the company works entirely remotely, they have access to hire remote employees from across the globe. Moreover, there are highly skilled and talented individuals that live in very remote locations and are unable to relocate (due to their family, or kids, or other reasons). It is an opportunity for them to make the most of their talents and also for Doist to utilize those talents and grow their company. Further, it is highly cost-effective and increases employee satisfaction.
3. Is too Much Flexibility a Downside to Remote Work?
Well, it depends on how individuals utilize this flexibility. Allan personally thinks it's amazing that he can travel whenever he wants and take his work along. But he cannot do it all the time, he does need a defined routine for his everyday work life. On the other hand, various digital nomads are efficiently travelling throughout the year and balance their work with it. So for a shorter period, flexibility can be great and highly satisfying but can become a downside if not managed well.
4. Overcoming Timezone Challenges in a Distributed Team
Since everyone working remotely resides in different countries and works in different time zones. It becomes like a challenge to work with synchronization in a distributed team all across.
If they have an important meeting, the team in Asia will have to stay up late, and the team in North America would have to get up early. But this structure isn't always best for the team members. So they encourage employees to take the day off early or start late the next day accordingly. This structure has helped them build satisfaction and culture within their team.
5. Ensuring Effective Open Communication in Remote Teams
Communication in any organization is a powerful process which connects the entire team.
Allan says that they believe in asynchronous communication as it enables them to build a traditional office environment for their remote teams. Knowing that you can quickly contact and receive information from your colleagues even in a remote setup, is an excellent way of ensuring transparency and open communication.
However, this does not mean they expect the team members to be 'online' all the time. They have built guidelines for open communication and encourage the team to follow it. For instance, every team member has to check Twist at least once a day, regardless of their workflow.
6. [Philosophy Behind Twist] Essential Communication Tools for Remote Teams
The better the communication takes place in an organization, the better the productivity is achieved. For the smooth transition of the company, it is essential to use the right communication tool.
Doist started by using various tools for each function. And soon they noticed a dip in productivity because too many tools cause chaos with too much information.
And that's when they built Twist, purely out of necessity. It allows them to combine both synchronous and asynchronous communication. It's like a combination of email and real-time communication that their entire team and users benefit from. And it has helped them solve a lot of the issues that they faced with other tools.
7. A Single Communication and Collaboration Platform
Using different tools for communication and collaboration purposes might sound very organized. Still, it takes a lot of time to maintain it properly and could collapse the systematic work structure if not appropriately maintained. So, to avoid taking the risk of witnessing chaos, Doist uses Twist which allows you to scan through all the threads in one channel at a single sidebar and makes it faster and more convenient. Further, Twist has features that enable you to schedule messages, set its priority, and more, which ensures you do not miss out on anything.
8. Overcoming Remote Communication Challenges Through Technology
Not every time you'll be able to keep the employees aligned to the communication process, sometimes you may face challenges in doing so.
Such as the problem with real-time communication is that it's so quick that teams are often loaded with information. And if it is not addressed right away, soon employees will have so much content in a single thread that they will lose track of the tasks.
With Twist, you can scan through the threads to avoid going through the information that's not relevant for you. Twist has helped them organize communication and easily collaborate in a remote environment.
9. Engaging Employees in a Virtual Setup
Since everybody in the organization is based in different cities and countries, it is essential to keep the employees engaging so that they don't get bound by loneliness or disconnected from their team.
Allan revealed that they follow repetition. Whenever a new member joins the team, they repeat all their processes, their cultural values, their team guidelines. And then they repeat it. It helps build transparency and helps engage new hires (and their existing team members too).
As we are reaching closer to the nearest milestone of Remote Work, we need to get the complete knowledge of the remote work environment not just as an organization but also as employees seeking flexible opportunities. To get the perfect insights into remote work, join The Remote Work Summit that covers the entire spectrum of discussion on Remote Work and become an expert today. Also, get to know Microsoft's flexible work culture.