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

Want to learn how to run a successful remote company? Check out our blog post and find inspiration from world-class remote-first companies such as Zapier, Github, and Gitlab!

We already discussed the first 5 principles on how to run an effective remote-first company.

Now it is time to take a look at human capital and the importance of creating a sense of belonging in a distributed company. Again, we share the insights of well-established remote-first companies like Zapier, Gitlab and Github.

We are strong believers in the power of the community! It is critical to ensure that everyone feels included, especially in a remote setup. Continue reading to find out how Zapiers does that!

5 principles related to human capital

1. Employed automation

It’s easy to feel detached when working remotely. There are neither casual chats by the watercooler, nor small talks during the lunch breaks…

Zapiers incite watercooler conversations on Slack by using automated messages. They start conversations and help the team to get to know each other. They also share Netflix recommendations or grumble about the weather. That’s the most popular conversation topic anyway, isn’t it?

Automation is also a fantastic way to follow up with the workflow without falling into the micromanagement void.

Continue reading to find out the next key ingredient for a healthy work environment.

2. Celebrate mental health

Gitlab emphasizes that stress, isolation, anxiety and burnouts are common to many companies. It is regardless of whether they are remote or not. 

Remote work increases some of these symptoms.  For example, you might be in a risk zone, if you are new to it and haven't developed a working and resting routine. So blessed is a culture embracing mental health and encouraging a healthy lifestyle!

Gitlab recommends promoting a flexible working schedule. Non-linear, based on individual routine or peak productivity hours of each team member... It's your call.

Individual preferences are the core aspect of a successful remote-first setup.

Another important thing is to remember not celebrating long working hours. Sometimes we all push harder when important deadlines are approaching. But it should go without saying:


“overtime should never become more important than resting time.”

We have shared another 6 tips for taking care of your mental health here.

Continue reading to learn what Gitlab recommends to ease the shift from office based to remote company.

Remote does not mean replicating an in-office experience to the virtual world.

3. Hire a head of remote

If you are new to the idea of remote-first, there might be a few traps you want to avoid falling into.

First, remote does not mean replicating an in-office experience to the virtual world. 

Remote means that you adjusted your mindset for finding the best ways for everyone in your team to feel comfortable.

Also, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and so the change in your business won’t happen overnight either. Give some time for your team to adapt and provide them with resources they might need.

Consider hiring a Head of Remote. It is someone with experience in business and cultural transformation. Talent in this position can turn your remote transition into a strategic advantage.

We share insights from world known experts at Zapier, Github and Gitlab.

4. Cultural diversity

Github is one of the largest open source communities in the world. And they also believe that you should work from wherever you are the happiest!

Github promotes an inclusive culture cultivating diversity, creativity and a sense of belonging.

How do they do it?

They increased their investments in these elements and implemented a “Four Pillar Strategy”. The 4 pillars are People, Platform, Philanthropy, and Policy. To promote transparency, they share the progress in their regular reports.

There is one more important aspect for a successful remote-first business.

Last principle talks about that.

5. Foster professional growth

It is not a surprise that even though your university years are gone with the wind, you are still learning. Every day! 

What can still surprise, is that your workplace has a yearly budget to help you improve your skills!

Github takes initiative in offering a wide variety of courses. There is more to that, because you get a freedom to choose the individual way for improvement. Great way for employee retention, isn’t it?