Before I jump into the remote team, remote culture, let me start by telling you a little bit about what we do at LaterPay. Our main job is to convert users of digital content and digital services into happy customers. We do this by giving users a frictionless way to read, use, watch or play now and leave the frustrating stuff that people don't want to deal with, like registering a new account or paying until later after they've consumed content worth $5 or €5. That combined with the possibility to aggregate or collect content over different websites, is what makes our product pretty cool.
We're 50 people distributed over 13 countries right now, across different cities in Germany, Denmark, France, Poland, Italy. We have people in Canada, Brazil, the US, we have quite a big range.
We went remote pretty much from day one. Our two co-founders started off in Munich and they pretty quickly started working with an engineer who would later turn out to be our CTO. And he is working from the UK. That's kind of how it started.
So let's talk about what it means to go remote.
These days, you hear, see, and read a lot about how it's so popular to let your team members work from home. They say that remote is the future. And yet I hear a lot of resistance and maybe also fear about going remote as a company.
The main concern is that managers will lose control: you won't know what your team is working on, if they're working on the right thing, or even if they're working at all. That's just because you can't check on your team members just by walking by their desk or their workstation. So other things management teams worry about are that distractions at home will result in lower levels of productivity, worry that people will disconnect from the team, and won't have good collaboration with the rest of the team. And they worry that they won't be able to build or maintain a proper culture.
These fears may seem reasonable at first, but there are a lot of strong reasons to at least consider going remote and they're definitely worth it.
I think we know most of these already, so basically through hiring remotely, you access a wider talent pool as well as a more diverse talent pool. The added flexibility attracts highly talented people. You have reduced office and commuting costs as well as commuting time, avoid office restriction. It's been proven that people working remotely actually have higher productivity levels than people working in a traditional office setting. That added flexibility often combined with a better work-life balance also reduces employee turnover. Sounds pretty great, right?
So with those amazing benefits in mind, what should you take into consideration when you're building a remote team and thus a remote culture? I've got 5 key learnings that I'd love to share with you.
The first one is to define your values and establish your culture.
So if you want to build a strong company culture or even team culture, your values will serve as the foundation of that culture. You can go remote, build a team and hope for the best. And it might turn out well, if you're lucky. But if you want to build a culture, or perhaps even keep a culture that's grown to live organically, it's time to define your values.