Remote work tips from the leaders of global remote companies

10 min. read

Many great companies operate 100% remotely, for example Product Hunt, GitHub or Zapier. These companies have better profitability, team satisfaction and productivity compare to operating from major tech hubs like San Francisco, New York or London. We have collected the best tips from the CEOs, top-management and teamleaders from these companies down here.

The challenges in team coordination described by Metcalfe’s law are magnified for distributed teams as people work different hours and lack more of the serendipitous collaboration that happens in an office. For this reason, it’s even more important that people have clarity in their responsibilities and autonomy to make progress without dependency on others.

Ryan Hoover
CEO & Founder of Product Hunt

All hard conversations happen face to face (in person or Zoom). Never email, text or Slack.

Bryan Harris
Founder of Growth Tools (Videofruit)

Slack emojis and giphy gifs are my best tip. They bring the human factor that could lack if you didn’t have these small ways to express yourself.

Ryan Seamons
Co-founder of Sprintwell

Pay attention to your habits and design your day around your peak productivity.

Sarah Daily
Digital Marketing Programs Manager at GitLab

Biggest thing to vet for is the impetus for why someone wants to “go remote”. People normally fall within two buckets: 1) Wanting to do less/little work, 2) Wanting to live a more dynamic/flexible life enabling them to achieve more (both inside and outside of work). Work-life balance is important, but it’s about finding people who are excited to improve with extended flexibility (ie: design their lives for the better).

Steph Smith
Head of Publications at Toptal

There are two types of people. Those who are 3x more effective than in a busy office – and there are those who quickly become isolated or distracted working from home. Be careful hiring middle managers from big companies into a remote role on your team as they will rarely work out. Remote teams need less talk and more rock. Look to recruit former entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers – people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, work hard, and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Zack Onisko
CEO of Dribbble

The best types of remote candidates are strong communicators and proactive self-starters who care about delivering quality work. They know how they work best and don’t need a hovering manager to tell them otherwise. To me, remote workers are kind of like the rebels against the 9-5 and the industrial revolution. So beyond best practices in how to recruit for remote, it’s really more about getting to the root of who you are as a remote company – what your culture is – and how you’re communicating that out to the candidates. Create a cause that’s authentic and true for your company and the right kind of candidates will follow.

Justine Shu
Marketing Manager at We Work Remotely

Everyone wants to work remotely, but not everyone should work remotely. It’s the job of the hiring manager to sniff out who would be a great remote teammate and who just wants to travel the world while working remote. When interviewing it’s important to be up front about some of the challenges of remote work to see how your candidate reacts. Not everyone sees those challenges as negative, but those that do may start to ask more questions along those lines. Follow that line of questioning and see where it leads.

Nicole Warshauer
Director of Communications at Dribbble

I used to work very long hours (up to 10 or 12 a day), but eventually, I burnt out. I realized that being a workaholic didn’t actually let me accomplish more than the average person working the standard 8-hour day. I thought of myself as being a perfectionist of my craft, but in reality I was just wasting time fixating on inconsequential details. I realized I needed to be more efficient. It may sound clichéd, but sometimes good enough gets the job done.

Will Mitbrodt
Engineering Lead at We Work Remotely

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