5 guiding principles from the most effective remote-first businesses: Part I


The global pandemic gradually stops showing its teeth and the world’s workforce is facing a Shakespearean dilemma: to be or not to be the supporters of remote work? 


At Teamway we are strong advocates of work-from-anywhere policies! This time we share insights from other well-established remote-first companies to learn how they implement different tools to make remote work a smooth ride instead of a scary challenge.


We have selected 10 guiding principles for running an effective remote-first business. They are based on internal processes and human capital. 


Continue scrolling down for interesting insights from amazing folks at Doist, Zapier, Gitlab and Github.

5 principles related to the internal processes


1.Trust over excessive tracking tools


For some companies, who originally were not remote-first, the global pandemic caused a huge headache in terms of employee management. “How will I manage my team? How will I know if  they actually work?”, many could have thought. The Doist crew, who are the ones behind the incredible productivity app “Todoist” and a communication app “Twist” have an answer: 


Make “trust culture” a default setting in your organization. Trusted employees will thrive and will be freed from the need to google “tips on how to pretend to be working”.

2. Productivity over saturated participation


According to Doist who hired their first remote employee a decade ago, “office cultures often reward the most visible, vocal workers, incentivizing people to “be visible and vocal, often”. The reason for that might be related to the absence of clear and transparent key performance indicators (KPI) which, instead of honouring the loudest workers, would celebrate produced results.


How to stay productive like Doist? Read about the suggestions from our team.


3. Adiós to the one-size-fits-all working schedule


Working from anywhere allows everyone to establish their own work rhythm based on their lifestyle. 

Are you an early bird or a night owl, a parent of three, a party animal or just a person who doesn’t feel like working from 9am today? Flexible work schedules allow you to optimize your day and focus on the results instead of strategizing your ways to be noticed by your manager.


Another way to make remote-first a success is transparency. 


Keep reading to learn why. 

All these companies are world-class advocates for remote-first workforce


4. Commitment to transparency


Transparency is one of the keystones for Zapier. Being veterans in a remote-first world, Zapiers must know what they are talking about.

You can’t build trust if you withhold key information or only share it with a select group of people. If you do so, some employees might feel left out and the company culture starts to suffer from it. 


Setting clear expectations and sticking to them is another value for Zapiers.

We have provided 5 tips on how to implement transparency in your organization here.


5. Asynchronous communication


Asynchronous communication is that magic wand that reduces stress and anxiety to respond immediately.

In a distributed company, async is vital for increasing efficiency and reassuring that every remote employee is familiar with processes and is updated with company news even if they’re sick or on vacation.

Gitlab, one of the largest remote-first companies in the world with over a thousand employees, recommends prioritising documentation for successful async communication. And not only when it comes to recaps of meetings, but also the company's culture, each and every aspect of it. 


Finally, asynchronous communication is critical for smooth and steady work and helps avoiding unnecessary stress related to endless pings from your colleagues. 


In a fully remote setting, there are no daily in-person interactions where cues are absorbed. It’s vital to over-communicate in detailing values that company culture is built upon”, writes Gitlab in their “Remote playbook 2021”. 


We also wrote a blog post about when to choose async communication. You can find it here


In the second part of this post we will look into the importance of human resources and community building for getting the best out of remote-first setup. Stay tuned!



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