A glimpse into a 100% globally-distributed and remote tech company
The previous article in this series introduced JonasKröger, who works remotely as a solutions architect at Platform.sh, a 100% remote and globally distributed tech company that offers a multifunctional cloud hosting solution. In the last two years, he’s worked from more than 30 countries.
"I'm worried for him when he travels in countries that are usually considered unsafe. But am I worried about his work performance? No, not at all," says Guillaume Moigneu, Jonas’ manager.
Guillaume has been working as the Director of Customer Success for nearly five years. Being based in San Francisco, he starts his day at 5:30 AM to accommodate team members separated across 9 time zones.
According to Guillaume, one of the reasons Jonas excels in his job is the ability to adopt his work with his personal lifestyle. "Jonas is getting to know new cultures and different kinds of people from all over the place. Through that, he has developed amazing relational skills with our customers, who also come from all over the world. He can accommodate any situation and I’m happy he does what he does."
How to build an environment of trust and reliability with self-efficient employees
Managing a remote team is not always easy, but Guillaume says he wouldn’t have it any other way as his team is highly performant. Trust and communication are the pillars of remote management. In many cases, it is the lack of trust in the work ethic of remote employees that keeps companies from embracing remote work. However, the exact opposite is more often true.
"It’s a misconception that remote workers are less productive," says Jonas. "If ‘being productive’ means a manager sees you sit on a desk in front of a computer screen, it’s illusional, to begin with. There’s definitely more pressure on remote workers to deliver outcomes. When you’re remote, a manager can recognize the lack of output very quickly. Whereas in an office, you can always appear busy while not actually delivering results."
Several studies have shown that in fact remote employees are more likely to burn out from working too hard as they feel the need to be available at all times. Managers have to make sure to define boundaries and communicate properly on what’s expected and what isn’t.
Remote work quickly identifies the more autonomous workers and the ones in need of more guidance. Good management can address the different professional needs of individuals and create a self-efficient environment relatively quickly. A multitude of communication and task management tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, Trello, and Jira are useful in creating and maintaining productive workflows. However, simply moving a meeting from the office to a Zoom call will not make an organization a successful remote company overnight! The key to a successful remote environment is to support individual workflows and help employees to flourish in their own ways.
"It’s important to know yourself and how to best support your individual workflow. When working remotely, it helps to develop a schedule that works for you, set up the workspace you need, take breaks, shower, and put on pants," Jonas says.
Finally transforming the physical office and embracing change
In times of digitalization and Covid-19, the physical office is challenged as never before. Yet, businesses now have an opportunity to pivot toward a more flexible, more efficient work culture. Instead of regarding remote work as an emergency circumstance, companies might appreciate working remotely as an opportunity for growth, especially when it comes to scaling the business globally.
Companies that have already embraced digital transformation are the ones least affected in these trying times. What Covid-19 can teach many companies is to invest in innovation as innovative companies are the ones that respond best to change the best after all.
"The world is constantly changing and puts all kinds of different obstacles in our way," says Jonas. "Companies, managers, and employees have to adapt to changing circumstances for their business to survive. Remote work enables employees to work however they work best and is adaptable to any situation and obstacle. What that means is different for everybody, and that’s the beauty of remote work."
As "social distancing" has become a vital practice during the pandemic, it can be deadly for a business that is not prepared to convert to remote practices and tools. Companies like Platform.sh were able to keep people safe by maintaining already existing business practices.
As more companies switch to remote policies to weather the pandemic, they may begin to see what Platform.sh has long recognized: working outside the office can be healthier for the body, the mind, and the bottom line.
About the author: A guest article by Cati Mayer from Platform.sh, the PaaS with continuous deployment built-in that combines a robust cloud hosting solution with modern tools to enable developers to build, evolve, and scale applications faster and more efficiently. As 100% remote and globally distributed company, Platform.sh currently employs people from more than 30 counties, across 13 time zones.
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