Rob Reeve, CEO LexTego
It’s more than just having great Internet
LexTego started during the early phases of Covid when lockdowns started gripping the World. Workers were beginning to get used to the idea of remote working and slowly realising that the flexibility it gave them to work around their own lives was far better than fitting their life around a commute to the office.
Junaid and I had been fortunate to have already been remote working in some form or another for the previous 5 years and so our decision to make LexTego a remote working first company was not a surprise. It would also enable us to get access to the best people, irrespective of their location. Regardless of our experience of remote working, we had to think and work through a few challenges:
* how to get communication working effectively
* how to make sure the team are productive and were able to get support as needed
* How to ensure the team are able to build a good team dynamic
In the early days of the company we had people as far apart as Kenya and El Salvador. We realised the only way fully remote would work is by introducing an asynchronous approach to communication. For many used to the always on world of Social Media, this approach allows the development team to focus on the task in hand, without being distracted. We still use the same communication tools as many other start-ups, but do not have the expectation of an immediate response. This has changed how we look at delivery of tasks on a monthly basis along with daily tweaking through stand-ups (stand-ups also ensure everyone “checks-in” with their colleagues).
But it introduces its own challenges, for example how do you get hold of a person in an emergency? We decided to use WhatsApp exclusively for emergencies and so when something does happen, they react quickly. It’s not perfect, especially as we become more operationally focused, but we have a starting point as we evolve and grow the company.
We also have to remember the impact remote working can have on the Team and the Individual. As a species we are very social, remote working allows the introverts to escape, but it also means they are not building the social bonds that establishes a team that supports each other.
We mentioned in the last blog, our “weekly win of the week”, where the team get to share their personal as well as business wins. This has become a core part of the company and has been great in helping to establish bonds. We also encourage the team to go to events near them, where they can get time to interact with other people. One of our team actually commented they had not realised how much that interaction gave them a “buzz” that they had not noticed they were missing. It is also why as a company we insist on the team taking holiday time. We would rather they are refreshed and able to enjoy what they do, than have the team feeling they have to complete a task because “they have to”.
Finally as a consequence of starting a company in lockdown and being fully remote, we have not had the opportunity to get the whole team physically together, other than a Teams call. It’s incredible to see the bonds form within our company despite the majority of the team have never actually met each other! We hope to do this sooner rather than later because we think it’ll help to reinforce the bonds and team unity that has been formed. Hopefully we can work through the logistical challenges!
How has remote working been for your Company? Have their been novel idea that have worked in helping the team bond? If you have any thoughts or ideas, please feel free to share them with us!