We started building Flexiple, a community of top freelance developers and designers, towards the later part of 2016 and ever since we have been big proponents of remote work.
Staying true to our model, we have been working extensively with freelance developers and designers located across the world over the course of the past three years.
Our current marketing website, remote.tools, Resume app and a host of other apps have been designed and developed by remote freelancers. One of the three co-founders is at least always involved in coordinating with remote developers and designers.
Additionally, I was working remotely for over six months, post-marriage, as a remote co-founder until recently.
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We set out to build an exclusive community of top freelance developers and designers at Flexiple. Additionally, since mid-2018, we have been working on building a platform for remote working professionals at remote.tools where they can discuss and deliberate on remote-working products, resources etc.
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We stick to the routine office hours in our respective time zones. This, we believe, helps us stay the most productive individually.
I start my day at 10 AM in the morning (when we have our daily standup) and finish off by 7-7:30 PM in the evening.
I usually try to minimize the breaks during the day so that I can wrap up early. However, I make it a point to look away from the screen, break for coffee or sip water at regular intervals.
We have actually documented the principles we follow as a team to maintain discipline and productivity in this video.
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Definitely! It helps me get in the right frame of mind for working and staying focused throughout the day. It is just about two miles away from my home, so I don’t spend a lot of time in commute as well :)
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I personally feel if I adhere to a regular sound schedule including sleep, meals, and workout, it helps me stay at my productive best at work.
My routine usually gets disturbed when I am travelling and I have to put in the effort to stay focused at work consciously.
In essence, I try to keep it simple - stay as much on schedule as possible while getting sound sleep, proper food, and a healthy workout!
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At an individual level, I spend very little time in commute and get to stay close to my family :)
As a manager/ lead, I get to work with the best talent and not settle for local alternatives. This goes a long way when you are building robust, lasting products.
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There’s nothing I dislike about remote work. However, I do miss the frequent in-person conversations (in a meeting room or at the water cooler).
Also, there’s a lot of writing (mails, documentation etc.) that needs to be done in a remote setting and can be quite painful at times.
However, once you get into the habit of it, it becomes second nature to you.
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There are quite a few:
Figure it Out (FIO) gives me a quick visual representation of the different time zones, my teammates work in.
Take A Break is my favourite - reminds me to take regular breaks.
My work diary and pen are always handy for notes and tasks :)
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I have observed and realised over time that remote working requires a lot of self-discipline to achieve productivity.
This aspect is often overlooked by many and is typically the most significant factor leading to a successful remote engagement.
Adhering to a proper work routine while setting aside enough time for sleep, meals, workout, and meditation is super critical if you want to succeed as a remote worker.
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The challenges are multifold. It begins with hiring the right set of people who can comprehend extensive documentation and communicate (in written form) effectively in a remote setting. Once you have them on board, it is critical to have the right alignment from the beginning.
Synchronous, as well as asynchronous modes of communication and the corresponding rules, need to be defined.
For example, at Flexiple, we use emails primarily to communicate with each other. Only if there is something that warrants a discussion, do we go-ahead to schedule a meeting (mostly on Skype). This makes sure you respect the other person’s time.
We still need a channel where we can expect a response quickly. For this, we use Google Hangouts and Whatsapp for mostly personal chats. However, everyone is aligned that this channel needs to be used sparingly and almost always as a fallback after you haven’t received a quick response on email.
It is also critical that you still have in-person interactions whenever possible.
Most of the freelancers that we work with also travel to attend meetups in other cities. We make it a point to meet up with them whenever they are in Bangalore.
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I strongly believe that you need the right processes and alignment in place when building a remote team. If you are indeed successful (we are still in the process), the benefits are huge.
You now get access to high-quality talent across geographic boundaries. Additionally, remote work is a boon for your employees, and they will surely appreciate this and have a great stickiness to your team or company.
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