The spring of 2020 marked a significant change in how many companies operate. As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded across the globe, millions of employees were asked to work for home.
Software companies that have so far worked in the office setting had to face a new set of challenges. Will we be able to collaborate as well as we did in person? What kind of tools should we invest in? How can QA specialists effectively test apps without having access to all the devices we store in the office? These are just a few questions newly-remote companies had to ask themselves.
Fortunately, there are many remote software companies that you can learn from. In this blog post, we want to list successful software teams that not only embrace the remote mode but also share their expertise with others. Go to their websites, social channels, or blogs to find some much-need insights about managing a remote company.
Successful software teams with a remote-friendly culture
Core services: Web design and development, hosting and maintenance
Code Enigma started as a Drupal-focused software house and grew into a full-project-lifecycle company. Their HQ is in the UK, but they run a distributed company with employees working from other countries or living the digital nomad lifestyle.
One of the things newly-remote companies may struggle with is maintaining the level of creativity their designers or illustrators could achieve when working together. Code Enigma proves that you can do it when you:
- adjust your design processes to the remote settings,
- use apps that support remote collaboration and creative thinking: tools like Figma or Trello may help here.
Core services: Frontend and backend development
X-Team specializes in IT Staff Augmentation—they provide top-notch development teams for the world’s best brands. With 14 years of experience, they had plenty of time to develop effective strategies for working remotely.
One of their signature ideas to strengthen the connection between X-Teamers is to organize regular X-Outposts. Every month, a couple of employees get a chance to hang out together in a beautiful destination (previous X-Outposts took place in places like Bali, Mexico, or Thailand). X-Team pays for comfortable accommodation, where team members can work during the week and enjoy the location after hours.
Core services: Product design, web and mobile development, machine learning
Remote work is part of Netguru’s DNA, and they’ve been committed to sharing their experience with other companies. You can find lots of interesting resources on their blog that will help you to improve your company’s remote strategy.
Not only do they strive to create a great remote working environment, but they also remember about employees who prefer to work, at least partially, in the office. In order to make people feel safe about coming back to work, they’ve provided their team members with disinfectants and headscarves but also extra gadgets like grippers for opening doors or operating the elevators).
Core Services: Product strategy and design, web development, quality assurance
DockYard’s workforce is 100% remote, yet they’ve managed to build effective collaboration and communication processes, delivering projects for Netflix and Apple in the process.
DockYard’s approach to managing a remote software team relies on trust and flexibility. Distributed team members may work in a way that fits them best, but it doesn’t mean they work on their own. DockYard utilized pair programming and pair design, plus they organize in-person get-togethers for their team. There’s also room for innovation: every Friday, employees get to learn new skills or share their expertise with others. This strategy is working—in July of 2020, Fast Company named them one of the 100 best workplaces for innovators.
Read more: How to build community in a remote workplace
Core services: Web and mobile development, design, blockchain
People at Clevertech have 10+ years of experience working remotely, and they strongly believe that when you start building a remote workplace, you have to go all in. Your strategy should be set up for remote employees’ success: they shouldn’t feel like they’re missing on something. This means investing in tools that support remote work and actively trying to make people build connections.
At Clevertech, they give employees a chance to discuss their favorite shows or share their top recipes using dedicated Slack channels (including a #covid-19_discussion channel). It’s a great way to foster team-building in times when in-person hangouts are not possible.
Read more: Need to go remote? Don’t forget this
Core services: Web and mobile development, UX/UI design
10Clouds is a remote-friendly software company. Employees can choose to work from one of their offices in Poland or remotely. As a software development house, they often have to organize remote workshops with clients from other parts of the globe. According to 10Clouds, the secret of successful remote collaboration lies in being prepared. They use tools that support remote ideation and communication, plus they clarify the agenda and test their tech in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Preparedness and effective communication are also helpful in remote onboarding processes. At 10Clouds, Confluence as a central source of knowledge for their new hires. They also remember about giving new employees a chance to meet their colleagues via video meetings.
Core services: Web and mobile development, AR/VR development, product design
While Apptension has always been a remote-friendly workplace, they had an opportunity to try out what happens when *everyone* is working remotely last year, during a 3-week office renovation. It turned out that only 30% of team members wanted to keep working exclusively in the office, and the rest of the team preferred to stay at least partially remote.
Apptension’s recipe for success lies in clear communication with employees. Remote work guidelines are codified and available for all team members in a Confluence workspace. The company also organizes regular virtual hangouts for employees as well as ask-me-anything sessions with the management. Since the pandemic started, Apptension has been sending out an internal Quarantine Newsletter every Friday to make sure all team members are on top of important announcements, and lighten their mood a little bit with photo challenges or hilarious gifs.
Read more: Remote work? Yes, please!
Adapting to the new reality – is your team going back to the office?
There is every reason to think that the remote work trend is not going anywhere. Companies like Google and Amazon have already signaled that their employees would work remotely long term. And even if circumstances allow people to safely return to their offices, many executives may decide against it as they see the benefits of having a distributed workforce. Employees themselves are likely to echo this sentiment: a survey conducted by PwC revealed that 72% of office workers would like to work remotely at least two days a week after the pandemic.
Do you consider staying a (partially) remote company? If so, we hope that our list of successful remote software teams provides you with lots of inspiration and access to valuable educational resources. Even if you consider remote work as a temporary solution for your company, you can definitely find useful tips in the blog posts and guides shared by the teams linked above.
Perhaps you have other software companies in mind that thrive in the remote setting? Let us know about them via chat!
You might also want to check out other resources about managing remote teams: