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Ask HN: What are the key processes for a remote-first company?
40 points by nicolasbistolfi on Oct 13, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments
Any company needs processes, they are clearly more necessary for a remote-first company.

It's important to be pragmatic and don't over-design processes. I believe some companies take advantage of being remote to micro-manage or add extra layers of control over their employee's work-life.

Besides that, there's no point on generating extra information that no one will ever review or use to take action.

For me, key processes should focus on: - Team communication - Simple day to day reporting - Self-management tools and goal-oriented thinking

I've learned a lot from Zapier's guide but I think some stuff might be an overkill https://zapier.com/learn/remote-work/

Here is a draft we are working on at my company https://www.notion.so/piio/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Work-at-Piio-fb3b341e30be454cba6cc760aee4103e

> Hire people who are ok without a social workplace

>>> Local support system: If the only support system someone has is their work one, then being in a remote environment will likely make them go crazy. You need people who have outside support systems so they have people they can interact with on a daily/weekly basis.

I found this really interesting. We've been a "remote first" company for about 2 years now, after being a non-remote company for the prior 3 years to this. Initially, the feedback on remote was great from employees. However, more recently the feedback from 1 on 1s is that "It's not as fun anymore", "I miss the <buzz about the office> <going out for lunch> <random nights out> with colleagues ", from certain people. I think these people fall into this category of not having a strong social life / support group outside of workmates.

Remote companies come with a redefinition of what a social workplace is and how you get to know someone. In my past years, I've mostly worked remote and still I think I know the people I've worked with very well.

Communicating regularly every day and doing things like online gaming or company retreats can help to redefine social interactions.

The support system is really important, if you are remote it should mean that you prefer to be close to your support system. If you are not, then something is wrong and that's going to be a challenge.

I hope I'm not spamming when posting this, but this is exactly what we're trying to solve at Out Of Office with "Work Clubs" [0]

We've spoken with thousands of remote workers in the last 2 years and the one recurring theme we kept hearing about was loneliness. We're testing out this Work Club concept as a way for remote workers to get together and work together throughout the day. It's a low-friction way to meet people during your work day, while still getting your work done.

We've seen a lot of positive initial feedback and want to continue trying it out in new cities.

[0] https://outofoffice.app/workclub/

A friend of mine said their engineering processes came from pooling their knowledge about what sucked at other places. So maybe focus more on what not to do?

My main one as a remote worker of a non-remote company: don't leave your remote workers out-of-the-loop of design or api changes. Documentation must exist, APIs must be documented before implementation. I spent 1 month implementing something that wasn't read. "just mock it" they said. Then the mockers all became totally obsolete.

Completely agree! Being remote in a non-remote company is one of the hardest things as those companies don't have procedures in place for keeping everyone in the loop.

I would also go for having people post office hours -- hours when they can be easily interrupted and answer questions.

This allows people to manage their energy and use their best time for deep work, and allows people who need an answer to know when a good time will be to virtually drop in and get an answer.

On the guide, we wrote we have by default ALLOW ANY, DENY SOME. If you are online then you can be interrupted unless you set your status to the headphone emoji.

Otherwise posting office hours may force the idea of how many office hours each person is doing and that's not something we want to measure.

It depends on which things you need to measure based on the type of company you have or you want. A D2C company clearly needs a fixed amount of office hours where a SaaS company may not.

Like the buddy part. I can contribute to the list.

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