Before the pandemic, many of us had become used to seeing work and personal life as two different domains with a diving line between them. But the post-COVID-19 world has seen the working and personal lives collide – and mostly for the better. Working from home has created space for a culture where families can eat lunch together, where pets can enjoy midday strolls and where life can be a little bit calmer.
At Remagine, we have just decided to go fully remote. For us, this was about much more than just a practical consideration. Remote working is an intentional approach to work that can create greater efficiency, more geographically and culturally diverse teams and heightened transparency.
Remote is a way of working that requires intentional and perpetual care and evaluation — just as you’d expect in an office environment. Working well remotely (or in-office, for that matter) is not something that is ever done or accomplished. There are always new tools to consider, new workflows to integrate, and new expertise to ingest. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of three ways fully remote startups can ensure they maintain a strong working culture.
- Think holistically about remote working
In any startup, setting out to create and maintain a remote environment will require you to think strategically about what want to achieve and how to manage the expectations of employees. Going fully remote is a big step, so it’s important to start at the beginning. For many, the long-standing tradition of working in an office has ingrained some key principles that must be addressed, namely proximity, trust and legitimacy. By taking these principles and translating them into the context of remote work, you will begin to form an effective and natural remote work culture.
At Remagine, we’re establishing rhythms and rituals, like water cooler tools and team collaboration sessions, to help us stay connected. We’re approaching this as holistically as possible, always asking ourselves what we gain and what we lose by being remote. To make sure our employees feel supported, we’ve begun to incorporate mindfulness workshops and additional resources to support the wider wellbeing of the team.
- Integrate new technologies
From collaboration tools to the ability to work more asynchronously, going fully remote is an exciting opportunity for companies to rethink the technology we use to better foster collaboration and communication. First and foremost, it is crucial for each company to consider what remote working means for them. As you consider the various alternatives, remember to take the team along with you.
Fundamentally, technology can provide space for something new and different. How that ‘new’ looks is anyone’s guess, but startups should remain flexible in their approach. We believe that a new way of working can contribute to a new way of working, and maybe, just maybe, a new way of being.
- Create a healthy communication culture
One of the big benefits of working remotely is the concept of asynchronous collaboration, which, simply put, means that people can work on projects at their own rhythm and according to their individual schedule. This creates unbelievable freedoms for employees because they can plan their days in a way that is most effective for them. Everyone has time to think and respond to queries thoughtfully, and everything that is discussed is recorded online. You may feel, for example, that working through asynchronous forms of communication like live chats is a more effective way of working than meetings.
At Remagine, we’ve created a pyramid of remote team communications, with synchronous modes in the top tiers and asynchronous modes in the lower tiers. For fully remote companies, the asynchronous layers at the bottom can often be the most effective. For us that’s Slack, but this could be any platform. Asynchronous communication can provide the bedrock of all communications for fully remote startups. As you climb the communications pyramid, you reach document sharing, calendar platforms, and finally company get-togethers, conferences, and workshops. The very top is reserved for emergency contact only, for example in emergencies.
Remote working is a true learning process. Don’t expect to get everything right first time, but always come back to the reasons you decided to go fully remote and focus on the bigger picture. Remember to always listen to what your colleagues and team-mates have to say, as they are the foundation of all companies. Most of all though, remote working should be treated as an exciting opportunity and one that can bring startups so many benefits.