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Office Optional

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AJ Ulyate

on 21 July 2014

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Transcript of Office Optional

Office Optional
How we deliver results using a remote team
Wim Morris
How to Try It?
- “Watercooler” social chat room on slack
- Celebrate progress and achievement in project standups and a monthly company standup
- Monthly team day where we get together, eat together and socialize
- Hackathons to get the creative juices flowing
- Monthly one on one chats to find out how people are doing, and to try and identify problems early
Social Interaction
Project team & social chat on Slack
Meetings on Hangouts, Skype
Timesheets on Harvest
Telephone when needed
Team days, hackathons, family days for social interaction
Our Team
- People won’t work

- Magic happens face to face

- It harms culture

- It’s a security problem

- It only works for small companies and teams

Common Critiques
Feel free to talk to any of our customers about the results we deliver using our Office Optional work culture.

Judge us on our results
“Remote : Office Not Required” by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried


Extra Reading
Make the mind shift from synchronous to asynchronous communication
(not everything needs an immediate answer)
Start small, maybe one or two days a week, then move to more
Commit to it for a sufficient time to see if it really works (3 months at least)
Do it for a whole team, managers included, so everyone experiences the process

Trying Office Optional
- Team takes responsibility to deliver
- Open information
- Empower to make decisions
- Focus on results
- Rather than micro manage, we try to lead,
guide and help solve problems that arise
- Face to face meetings are valuable, because
they only occur when necessary

Managing the Team
- In an office, it’s easy to interrupt someone
- Recognise not all questions require immediate answers
- Within hours / days : email
- Within minutes : chat & IM
- Immediate : Skype & telephone
- Face to face for longer term planning, brain storming, workshops
- Added benefit : written, searchable record of communication when needed later
Getting Answers
- Collaborate on documents using Google Docs
- Collaborate on code using git
- Collaborate on tasks using Jira, Trello
- Company email & calendar through GMail
- Daily standups on Skype, Google Hangouts

- In all things : Face to face only when necessary
- Quality is very important
- Results matter
- Good communication is a very high priority; internally and to customers
- Innovative & creative
- Work is not the only priority, or even most important priority

- Stellenbosch, Worcester, Edgemead, Noordhoek, Houtbay, Aliwal North, Pretoria, Dublin, Brussels, ...
- Around 25, some are contractors that only work on selected projects
- Flexible team makes it easier to put together a team for a project
- An office optional team allows us to recruit the right people
- Highly skilled people that fit in and enjoy our remote working culture
Our Team
- Advances in technology have made it possible

- Size of the recruitment pool

- People are more productive when interrupted less

- Productivity is measured by results, not time in chair

- Commuting is not healthy

- Remote workers are happier

- Your company is probably already doing remote work
The Case for Remote
Full transcript