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39 Companies Share Their Secrets to Remote Work Success

by Sean Falconer | Last Updated January 10, 2017
37 Companies Share Their Secrets to Remote Work Success

Remote work has many advantages over a traditional office-work environment.

There's less distractions, everyone can setup their work environment to suit their needs, and for young companies, it's a great way to keep operating costs low. 

However, remote work also presents some unique challenges.

When we took Proven completely remote earlier this year, the common reaction I got was,

"How will you know when someone is working?"

Or ...

"I could never work from home, I'd get too distracted by chores, television, etc."

In this article, we attempt to address these concerns.

Specifically, we asked successful remote companies the following two questions:

1. What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

2. What is the number #1 characteristic of a remote worker that you look for when hiring?

In total, 38 remote companies participated and the answers are absolutely amazing!

If there is one central theme across all responses it is communication.

In a world where everyone in a company is distributed, communicating effectively is key to building culture, making sure everyone is on the same page, feeling connected to other members of the team, and staying on task.

You should definitely still read through all the answers. There's tons of great tips in there.

Here are just a few things you'll learn:

  • If you don't communicate in a remote environment, you don't exist. You need to overcommunicate.
  • Remote companies rely heavily on a combination of collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype.
  • Accountability and self-motivation are key factors for both being successful as a remote worker and for identifying in a protential hire.
  • To be successful as a remote company, you need to be able to trust your employees.

Use the handy links below to skip ahead or by all means, get comfortable and read through all the great responses.

37 Remote Companies Share their Secrets
to Succeeding in a Remote Work Environment

Kate Harvey

Kate Harvey

Content & Search Marketing Manager

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Communication.

There are a lot of advantages to remote work, but effortless communication isn’t one of them.

Communication is key to keeping a remote team connected and productive from anywhere in the world.

At Chargify, we use Slack to keep in touch throughout the day for work and personal stories (a #random channel acts as a remote team water cooler and a place for people to bond over stories and funny gifs).

Working remote, the majority of your communication will be in writing — go out of your way to be clear and explicit. This is especially true for developers or support folks who are often describing bugs or proposing new features. If something isn’t clear, speak up. - Eric Farkas, Chargify Developer

In between written communication, video calls add a personal element to communication. Chargify teams regularly jump on Zoom for daily stand ups. Video calls allow for “face time” with remote coworkers.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Initiative.

Few job candidates are familiar with our market before they work at Chargify, so we look for people who have shown an initiative in getting to know more about us before our initial conversations. That can mean reading our company blogs, signing up for a test account to better understand our product, etc.

There are a few benefits behind this trait:

  • We’re looking for people who are “doers.” They are proactive, self-starters, and finish what they start. Someone who proactively researches Chargify prior to talking with us is showing those other traits we seek, as well.
  • Nobody is looking over your shoulder in a remote work environment and a successful remote worker doesn’t need that micro management. In the same vein, if a potential hire invests the time to get to know more about the company when that hasn’t been a direct request, they’re already exhibiting the kind of initiative important to working remotely.
 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

It’s hard think of just one, but I think the key is to stay connected — both to work and to the outside world!

Take advantage of collaborating with your colleagues; technology makes it so easy.

We use Skype (audio only) for our meetings, and work together using Google docs, join.me, Trillian, etc. Also, make it a point to participate in any social opportunities your company offers; Fire Engine RED has a virtual book club and a virtual walking group.

With regard to working at home, it’s important to change up your routine and surroundings occasionally. So if you don’t have to be on a call for a couple of hours, take your computer to the library, a coffee shop, a co-working setup, etc. And be sure to get out to exercise and socialize; go out for a walk when calling into a meeting, and go meet up with friends for lunch!


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Like any other company, we look for skills, experience, attitude, and fit. Additionally, we want our team members to be responsible AND responsive.

The responsibility aspect comes into play when you need to focus.

When working remotely, you’re not having to answer to anyone in person … and there are plenty of things to distract you if you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or wherever! This means you need to be a self-starter and be able to see your work through with a high degree of independence.

But interdependence is important to us as well; with regard to being responsive, “remote” doesn’t mean “inaccessible.”

Your team is relying on you to “be there” for them, so whether you’re in San Diego or Philadelphia or Mumbai, you need to be available during agreed-upon business hours. (At Fire Engine RED, we call this “being in a state of RED-iness!”)

Carol Cochran

Carol Cochran

Director of People & Culture

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Be present and transparent.

In a remote environment, people who don't communicate don't exist. Discover what the opportunities for engagement are and take advantage of them.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

A strong sense of personal responsibility.

The best remote workers are ones who inherently take ownership of projects and value the trust they are given to get the work done.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Remote employees should read documentation to understand what they need to do but at the same time schedule calls to just chat with others.

Communicate asynchronously, have face-to-face meetings online (the technology is there), and give credit where credits due.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Self motivation.

For more information, check out the GitLab Manifesto.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

To be successful in a remote role, you must stay visible.

The old adage "out of sight, out of mind" definitely applies to remote work, especially if you are remote but there are others working in an office together.

You can be visible by taking advantage of video chats, collaborating often using your project management software (we use Basecamp), sharing lessons learned and new information in your team portal (we use Slack), and setting up recurring meetings with management to discuss your projects.

You want to make sure your work is continually seen and valued.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

The #1 characteristic we look for in a remote worker is a self-starter mentality.

With remote work, there isn't someone right next to you guiding you along the way and making sure you are working. When you are by yourself, you have the opportunity to do great work or just slide by with the minimum.

We find that people who are motivated to go above and beyond, and have shown that with their work and personal history, are the ones who won't just try to get away with the minimum amount of work possible.

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What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Communication is key for a remote team to work well together.

Working in a distributed team requires a lot of written communication (via instant messaging, emails and other platforms) as well as verbal communication using video conference tools such as Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, etc.

With so much being said and passed around on different channels, it's easy to miss out on important information or to misunderstand what someone is trying to say, especially since remote doesn't allow for non-verbal communication to be interpreted.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

The big thing we look for in new members of our team is proactivity.

As with many other remote companies we also have a pretty flat structure without strict hierarchy. Our team runs on trust and everyone has the freedom to prioritise the tasks they want to work on and to start up new projects.

When you're not sitting right next to someone, you quickly learn not to try and manage and control people strictly and you take a freer approach. But unless a new team member is comfortable with that kind of freedom and is willing to take initiative and make things happen, they'll really struggle to be a part of our remote team.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Focus a lot of your time on being a good, clear writer.

A lot of your communication with teammates will be written, and you can make everyone better by being a good writer.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

A track record of excellence.

At Help Scout, you’ll be working autonomously for the most part, making important decisions on our behalf. For that reason, we’re always looking for people that raise the bar and make us a better team.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Communicate often and early and when you communicate present a plan versus asking questions.

Remote organizations are generally horizontal in nature meaning that you typically are going to be reporting to the owner or founder of a company vs a mid level manager. That means you are dealing with someone starved for time and busy.

As a remote employee you need to adjust to that and make their lives easier, not harder.

If you are someone who can develop, present and implement plans versus always having to rely on the owner, you'll become very successful in the organization.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Accountability.

Doing what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it.

I spend a lot of time developing plans that rely on due dates. When someone doesn't get their work done on time it generally throws off entire plans.

So the number one thing I look for is someone that can be accountable to timelines.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Communication.

You need to be able to ask for help when you need it, be comfortable not just emailing or using chat software but pick up the phone and get on a video call to really talk things thru. You need to be present with and available to the team and build relationships with.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Communication.

A lot of developers are introverts so sometimes verbal communication is more of a challenge than written, but they have to be able to communicate well on all channels: phone, video conference, skype or slack, email, etc.

They need to know when to pick up the phone and call your co-workers.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Organize the work to be done.

Sticker Mule uses Asana as our task management platform. Everyone that works on our team knows what they need to working on now and what they’ll be working on next.

Without clarity, it’s difficult to work effectively on-site or remotely.

See our Remote Team Guide to Asana.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Cultural Fit.

That’s an overused term at many companies, but we believe it’s even more important when a company is remote like Sticker Mule.

We’ve narrowed what we mean into five characteristics that we look for in new hires:

  • Humble
  • Independent
  • Logical
  • Thoughtful
  • Autodidactic

Here’s a blog post explaining our thought process.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

I can’t stress enough how important open communication is.

This is especially true for remote teams.

You need to have an open and clear communication, and each team member should be encouraged to express their opinion. Think about what’s important for your team to know, send occasional status reports, and learn to give feedback honestly in order to achieve the best results and stay on top of your work.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

As we work in a results-only work environment, we always look for people who are driven by results.

If you're trying to recognize this trait too, filter the resumes you received to include only the ones highlighting results achieved at previous jobs, avoid people who pride themselves on working long hours, and look for an investment in previous projects to find people who only care about results.

You don’t need a remote worker assuring you they’ve worked for 60 hours last week without a single output to show.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Communication is oxygen.

When working remotely it is vital that everything is communicated and documented. This would include projects, meetings and your day to day doings in the company.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Being self-driven and passionate is a big key to being able to work remotely, as you will need to direct yourself on a day to day basis. There is no boss walking past your desk every day to check that you are working.

Here is a good blog post we did a while back.

Carlin Sack

Carlin Sack

Marketing Specialist

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

To be the most successful, I recommend that remote employees over-communicate.

At Zapier, we chat in Slack and we post summaries every Friday about what we worked on that week.

Also, we try to be diligent about updating internal documentation and keeping Slack conversations in public channels (as opposed to direct messages), which helps all teammates stay in the loop.

We've also found that emojis and gifs help with communication, too! :-)


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

I don't think hiring for a remote employee is inherently different than hiring for an in-office employee: in either case, companies want to hire the best people.

Something we specifically look for in the hiring process at Zapier, though, is if a candidate "defaults to action," meaning that they let their curiosity get the best of them and don't necessarily wait for permission to try out new things.

That quality can be particularly valuable for a remote, distributed team like ours (teammates who work in different timezones don't need to wait around for permission to try something out).

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Culture.

Hiring a remote team is tough, but managing and incentivizing your employees, making them feel part of a team and important to the success of the company, that's a far greater challenge.

Being deliberate about our company culture, and what our goals are with a distributed team, has influenced decisions we've made around hiring, around what technology we use, about our employee benefit policies, and also about how we set up our client relationships for success as well.

Culture is everything.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Aside from being an excellent fit for the specific job responsibilities they're being brought on to accomplish, we care a lot about people who are consultative and collaborative.

People who are very strong communicators and know how to be super helpful, either to other team members, or to clients, over the phone, email, a shared computer screen, a video chat, etc.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Make sure you understand the goals of your company, both on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. Then you will be able to refine your work to help achieve those goals better than anyone else!


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

When hiring a remote worker, we look for those with an independent, entrepreneurial mindset, who strives to solve problems and come up with solutions on their own.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

While one of the biggest advantages of being a remote worker is the flexibility but it can be overwhelming particularly when first transiting to remote work.

I find keeping a schedule with myself helps me block time for larger project work plus our team knows what to expect in the way of availability.

Another particular key is still keeping one on ones with everyone but adding comments to the one ib one notes through the week to review in a real time meeting instead of distracted chat.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

It's hard to define a single characteristic for remote workers but a useful one is a person who wants to solve problems.

Traditionally I thought it was best if teammates provided solutions instead of problems but with our sales team being apart from our product and development team the phone calls with customers aren't heard by everyone. This requires us to spend more time reviewing the problem as a team and then setting the experts free to coming up with the solution.

In an office this might happen more naturally over coffee complaints but as a remote team we make a point to share our pains before jumping straight to the solution.

Kate Ashton

Kate Ashton

Senior Human Resources Consultant

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

I would say being organized and ensuring you set clear goals/deadlines for yourself to complete specific aspects of your work each day. Otherwise distractions at home can creep in.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Being able to work independently without a lot of direction.

You need to be able to be self-motivated to get things done.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Be accountable.

The right mindset makes or breaks remote working success.

What people tend to forget when working remotely is that they are still part of a whole.

Your teammates / other company employees are still affected by what you do or don't do. If you are aware and are accountable, people realise you're reliable and they don't doubt you while you're enjoying the freedom to travel around.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Team mentality - this is very important because we still operate as a team and work closely like a family even though we are physically far apart from each other.

We always make sure that the next hire would fit in well with the team.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Working remotely as an employee carries a high degree of autonomy and self-motivation. Therefore having a strong ability to manage your time well is a critical skill.

This could involve going into each day knowing what your Most Important Tasks are and tackling those first, or following a Maker/Manager schedule.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

In addition to a proven ability to self-manage time and work autonomously, strong communication skills are of huge importance when hiring remotely. As 90% of communication happens via email or Slack for example, the ability to communicate concisely and accept feedback via writing goes a long way.

Laura de Figueiredo

Laura de Figueiredo

Human Resources Manager and COO

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Remote work requires self-discipline to organize your time and prioritise your work.

It's important to find ways to avoid distractions and educate the people around you. Your family and friends should know that even though if you're at home you're working. In all, it's important to find a good work/life balance.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

When working remotely excellent communication skills are very important. We look for good team players and great communicators that also make a good fit for our Company Culture.

Of course, the Company should also be a good fit for the candidates and their future plans.

Want to find out more about us during our last Company event?

Check out the details: OnTheGoSystems Third Annual Conference

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

I would say it is accountability.

This is a vague concept that has deep meaning.

We use lots of metrics to measure performance but, ultimately, the intangible metrics are equally if not more important - how much do you care, are you willing to make that extra phone call and complete that extra task, etc.

As a manager, the way I try to underscore accountability is through a "customer service" mentality.

The idea that you need to empathize with the customer at all time so you are more inclined to heal their pain as possible.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

I would say that it is first proven skill - its really hard to train people and support their growth as professionals in a remote structure if they do not bring significant skills to the table from day one.

Within the expectation of solid skills the next most important attribute would be the ability to communicate.

Communication breaks down among remote teams unless the members are particularly good at expressing themselves.

There are a lot of tools - email, IM, phone, shared documents - but lacking the in-person verbal exchanges you have to find people that can use these 'new' and 'alternate' communication forums - good communicators always find a way! the third most important skill is the one I talked about above which is empathy.

This last one is independent of whether a worker is remote or in a shared office though.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

I have three tips for successfully leading a remote team:

  1. Make goals and objectives extremely clear, to make sure everyone is on the same page
  2. Choose the best tools for you, but make sure they encourage sharing and communication
  3. Encourage everyone to be responsible and proactive

What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

I think a remote employee needs to be really responsible, a strong communicator and extremely organized.

Those are all qualities you would look for in an employee anyway, but they become especially important when you’re in charge of setting your own schedule and can’t just walk over to a colleague when you need to clarify something.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Forget what you think working looks like.

In a corporate office environment we are trained to think that sitting at a desk, typing on your computer is what working looks like. But with nobody looking over your shoulder you can be much smarter about it.

Learn your natural rhythms and optimize around them.

Not feeling productive? Get up and go for a walk. Or do the dishes.

Don't stare at your computer screen if you know you aren't feeling it.

Give yourself a break to let your brain work out the problems you're dealing with. You'll be surprised what comes to you when you return.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Culture fit becomes even more important when working with remote employees.

Skills can be learned on the job, but they can't absorb the company culture as easily from far away, so it's more critical that they feel like a good fit from the start.

A positive attitude - someone who wants to lift other people up and doesn't let their ego take over - is essential.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Treat your home like an office -- get dressed, take designated breaks for lunch, and don't attempt to multi-task household chores or childcare during work hours.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Being self-motivated.

It's a lot harder to ensure that employees are always on-task or even physically at their desks when you have a remote workforce, so it's important that potential employees demonstrate how they've kept themselves accountable to tasks and deadlines in the past.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

To work regular, set hours.

It's funny as I started my entrepreneur journey to escape the 9-to-5 and have ended up working in a structured way remotely.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Self-sufficiency: someone who gets their energy, motivation and discipline from within.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Give yourself the right place to work in.

Maybe it's a dedicated home office. Maybe it's a local coffee shop. Maybe it's a cool coworking place. But I find that my motivation, inspiration, and attention span are all drastically affected by my surroundings.

While taking a video meeting from the couch is all well and good, I can't actually accomplish any real work when I'm sitting there.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Trust.

You need to trust your team, especially when you're all hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Because of this, out interview process places a high value on culture fit to bring in the right people, and we do semiannual team retreats to get to know each other in person (without resorting to cheesy team-building activities).

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

As a remote employee, you need to create a quiet and separate workspace for yourself and have set working hours. You need to know when it’s time to focus on work and those around you especially need to know this.

Noise canceling headphones are a great way to shut out distracting noises outside your home office.

Without this quiet, dedicated work space with a schedule everyone understands, it will be difficult to succeed as a remote employee.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Trust.

We do not micromanage and we trust our team to do their job to the best of their ability.

Trust allows us to give team members freedom to explore new ideas and innovate on existing products. As a result, our team continues to deliver high quality software with very little oversight.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Being a successful remote employee requires the same attributes as being a successful co-located employee: do excellent work, show your worth, and treat every client task as your own.

Successful remote employees establish clear boundaries between work life and home life.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Communication skills are essential.

I can’t walk by an employee’s desk and use their body language to determine how their day is going.

Do they need an additional check-in besides our regularly scheduled meeting? Are they burning out?

Remote employees need to over-communicate to compensate for the reduced face-to-face time.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Self-discipline in establishing and maintaining a work/life balance, which goes both ways.

Some folks tend to be drawn in too far to all the notifications and technologies that pull us back to our (remote) jobs. Likewise, the draw of one's personal life just on the other side of the home-office door never goes away.

When done right though, remote employees are more efficient with both work and non-work lives because when work is done, well, you can jump right into personal life rather than sticking it out until the 5:30 whistle screeches at the office!


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

We look for the ability (and experience) of a candidate to be a real, empathetic person online - they're outwardly inquisitive about the well being of their peers and clients and are accountable to a workplace that only exists if they contribute to it.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Don't forget to "use" it.

I think it's easy to get distracted and forget that remote work affords you a whole host of wonderful things that maybe a lot of remote workers either overlook or actively avoid for reasons that are not great.

Don't work through your kid's baseball game, go to that game and make up the time later.

Don't feel like you need to "be online" 24/7... let your teammates know when you'll be on or off and stick to that like glue but don't shy away from the "off."

Embrace it for what it affords you and don't forget to take advantage of all the positive things it can bring to work life and your personal life.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

This sounds horrible but I'd have to go with "that they've done it before."

I'll tell you a story about two people we've hired in the last year that hopefully illustrates my point.

The first person, we'll call him Joe, was a developer who worked at a mid-sized agency in a small-ish city on the east coast. He really wanted to try a remote work position and saw this aspect of the job we were offering as a big plus.

He ended up leaving less than six months later to go work at a place that had a really cool office with "hoverboards." He told us the transition had been tougher than expected and he missed being around other people every day and the rhythm of a physical office.

It's not that I don't completely respect that mindset, it's that I will never again hire someone who is giving remote work their first try with us.

Story two has a happier ending.

We contracted a freelancer recently, let's call him James, for a short term project that needed a steady, experienced hand and found in James a human who had worked at large companies, small companies, tried his hand at starting his own business, but ultimately landed on going back to being a hired gun (working as a freelancer from home...a posture that he had come to really enjoy). With the benefit of lots of different working environments/experiences under his belt, James was someone who knew what an ideal remote work opportunity looked like and when we offered him a full-time spot he jumped on it.

I say "horrible" because I don't think people who haven't tried it should be punished for not having lived it yet but as a business owner I'd be lying if I said I didn't look at those who have been contractors working out of their basements as better prospects than those who have more traditional jobs and think remote work might work well for them.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Enjoy the freedoms you have to craft your days in ways that make you most productive, and good communication is your best friend.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

The ability to communicate well in environments that can make good communication challenging.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Don't get siloed in your own world.

Stay engaged by reaching out to your fellow remote workers via social networks, Slack and most importantly, video conferencing.

We've found that remote workers are most successful when they are proactive in their communication as they don't have the luxury of face-to-face meetings and interacting with fellow co-workers in the office.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

We tend to look for folks that are both independent and driven. We feel it's critical for remote employees to be self motivated and also have the ability to manage their time well.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

One of the pillars of Formstack’s Culture Code is to communicate status.

We hold ourselves to a high standard in this area because we know effective communication is especially important for us as a remote organization.

Remote employees and managers will fail to measure any sort of success if they aren’t intentional about communicating. Managers need to be sure employees feel empowered and trusted to complete projects regardless of location. Employees need to be sure their managers know if things are going well or poorly, if they need help or feedback, or if they feel out of the loop.

Being a successful remote employee hinges on communication, so my advice is to over-communicate so all parties are on the same page.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

Determining a candidate’s cultural fit is a really important part of our hiring process at Formstack.

We pride ourselves on our unique remote culture, and our main objective is to find people who can embrace the culture standard we’ve created and help us thrive as a business.

There really isn’t one specific characteristic we look for in a remote worker. We have an established Culture Code with nine basic tenets—including solve problems, be agile and iterate, and help others succeed.

We use this code to evaluate potential employees, and we work hard to determine if a candidate and Formstack are a fit for each other.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

I’d say the #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee is find your routine. It doesn’t have to be the same routine each day but find a pattern.

The beautiful thing about working remotely is the flexibility it provides you to work the hours that are best for you; however, that freedom can be paralyzing for some.

Establishing a routine can help you stay focused, productive and engaged.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

We look for kind, helpful, thoughtful, passionate people.

Tough to narrow it down but we firmly believe that life’s too short to work with people who thrive on politics or self-promotion. As a remote worker, you either contribute or you don’t and it’s pretty obvious when you aren’t.

We look for people who are interested in what we do and helping others on the team do the same thing and doing it in a way that’s kind and thoughtful.

Sam Spurlock

Sam Spurlock

Customer Support and Onboarding Specialist

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Our team is remote and global, so it's important for all of us to be flexible and sensitive to time zone differences.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

The ability to communicate -- with team members and clients alike -- in a clear, timely, and professional manner is also an incredibly important attribute that we value.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Set boundaries.

It's crucial to set both physical and time barriers to working from home.

I make sure to stick to my schedule from 8:30-5pm each day. I also have a separate room set aside as my office.

Once I leave at 5:00, I don't go back in. This makes me feel like I'm done for the day and can stop thinking about work.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

They should be very self-motivated and driven.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

The most successful remote employees here at AnswerConnect are highly engaged - in their work, their communities and in initiatives we have going on. Remote work can be isolating if team members do not see other faces via video calls, or by getting out of their home offices and into the community.

We love remote work, and we also understand the need for human connection. Connecting with others drives success.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

It is really hard to name just one characteristic we look for in teammates, but if I have to choose one, it is to find happy people.

We believe that happiness is infectious!

When you're happy at work, you tend to perform better and treat people better, which is a win for everyone. Of course, being driven, accountable and willing to learn are also near the top of our list.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Learn how to do Slack journaling (watch this video).

You have to learn how to constantly contribute trust to your team and show how you're adding value every day. Only then will your team trust you and not question your value.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

The #1 trait we look for in everyone we hire is how proactive they are. People who are constantly trying to move things forward have all of the ideal traits of a remote employee.

You can tell a great remote employee from the bad ones through one simple test: what do they do when there's nothing to do right now? What do they do when they're waiting on someone else? Do they just sit and wait? What do they do when they run out of tasks, do they wait to be told what to do?

You want people who will constantly be moving your company forward without needing their hand held. This is true in physical companies as well, but a must-have for remote otherwise you'll have people wasting a lot of hours across multiple timezones.

 

What is your number #1 tip for being successful as a remote employee?

Develop the right habits.

Especially if you are new to the remote worker's lifestyle, it is easy to lose the balance between work and life. You could either end up working all day since work will be available from anywhere, or let procrastination get the best of you and end up missing your deadlines.

It is key to develop those habits that suit your personality as well as your team's needs.


What is the number #1 characteristic that you look for when hiring?

I try to assess whether the candidate would fit with my marketing team's culture. Given the sometimes impersonal nature of remote work, the first thing I say to new members is to not be competitive with the other team members and not try to climb an invisible ladder. Our marketing team is based on the idea of Holacracy. Other key characteristics I value are willingness to learn and empathy.

Thank you again and I wish your platform, and you personally, all the best in achieving your goals.

The Finish Line

Well, that's it! Congratulations on making it this far!

38 amazing opinions about how to succeed as a remote employee and how to hire great remote employees.

What do you think?

Please let us know in the comments.

Topics: remote work

Sean Falconer

Written by Sean Falconer

Sean Falconer is Founder and CTO of Proven. He is a proud Canadian and reformed academic. He is passionate about making hiring for small businesses simple, streamlined and frictionless.

 

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