When I applied for my job at reInteractive, Mikel mentioned that all of reInteractive’s employees work remotely. It took me a while to fully grasp the concept that there was no actual office. Now, when I tell others about my awesome job, I get responses like “I could never do that” or “Isn’t it boring to work from home?” I look back to my previous job and think isn’t it boring to work from an office?
So, then what’s it really like?
Distractions and productivity
First of all, I wake up in the morning put on whatever clothes I want and get ready for my working day. I don't have to iron my shirt and have no traffic, public transport or pushy people to compete with. I can start my day as early as I want or I can use the time that would otherwise be spent commuting to do the things that make me happy, like go to the gym or have a long breakfast. So, I’m already in a better mood.
I work where I choose and where I focus best, without distractions. There are no kettles going off, people walking passed, meetings going on or phones ringing next to my desk. Less distraction means I’m being more productive. Even so, I often get asked, “Isn’t it hard to stay motivated at home?” Are people actually motivated when they step into an office? I can’t just turn up to work and say, "I'm here, so I must’ve done my job." No, I have to have something to show for each day I logged on. This means our team work hard to do the very best work they can, because we are trusted to. You can see this in Mikel’s recent blog post Trusting your team is the best productivity boost there is.
Our tools and policies
Here at reInteractive, we get to work flexible hours. While we can almost come and go as we please, we do have some policies around this. We all greet each other every morning to let the team know we have arrived at work for the day, and we let each other know when we are popping out or have finished up. So long as we are around when our team mates or clients need us, that is all that really matters. Outside of this we can work whenever we want from wherever we like, as long as we get the work done. While we have this flexibility, almost every morning most of our team is around from even before 9am, because we’re happy to be here and enjoy what we do.
We have a bunch of tools that help us run our remote office. When we step into the office everyday, we are stepping into FlowDock. We can chat about anything and everything in our main chat room, or we can tune out and close it to eliminate that distraction when we’re deep in thought and focus. We have separate chat rooms to discuss each client project and each division within the business.
We also keep track of what is happening at reInteractive by having a weekly team meeting. We use GoToMeeting and Google Docs for this. Of course, if someone is unable to attend, it is recorded and stored on Dropbox for them.
While we are remote, we do make an effort to have a team meeting in person about once each month. After all, it is nice to see who you're actually working with. Our team makes their way to Sydney, where we meet, have an awesome breakfast and then, yes, head to the pub to eat, drink, hack and spend time with each other for a day. Instead of being annoyed about having to head into the city to go to work, we’re actually excited to see our team and the people we work with, sometimes for the very first time.
Does remote work?
Working remotely means we can choose the space we work best in, and the flexibility means we have extra time to do the things we like to do. Our team are happy, and at the end of the day happy developers are productive developers.
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reinteractive is Australia’s largest dedicated Ruby on Rails development company. We don’t cut corners and we know what we are doing.
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