How to migrate your startup to a 100% remote model

How to migrate your startup to a 100% remote model - workana blog

Up until a few years ago, teams were formed by proximity. They were created out of that limiting factor, and, quite frankly, it still impacts a lot of teams even today. The office as the central workplace forces everyone to be reasonably close to it.

Remote work shattered this paradigm. Now, a digital space and the projects we work on together are what unite us. Companies can search for and hire talent from anywhere in the world. The best team of independent professionals on earth can be created without the restrictions of any borders. That’s the biggest advantage of a 100% remote model.

There are plenty of other advantages to remote teams, like having a more diverse team that brings a variety of different perspectives and not having to worry about normal office expenses like rent, office furniture, maintenance, etc.

With all of these advantages, using a remote model is ideal for a startup that’s looking to get off the ground and start scaling. 

Matt Darrow, the CEO of Vivun, a company that works with a full-time remote model, compares renting a brick and mortar office to an enormous investment in data centers that a lot of companies (like them) invest in at first, only to end up using a provider like Amazon Web Services or something similar because it turned out to be more convenient in the long run.

“Instead of data centers versus AWS, they are faced with office space versus remote work. Building a company today with office space is like booting up a data center in 2010 — it’s a decision with debt that will take you a very long time to pay down. (Forbes 2021)”

banner workana - remote work done

A few companies that are already 100% remote

Automattic: this company manages and has 1,966 employees and contractors in 96 countries.

GitLab: one of the fastest growing software and developer companies in the past ten years, GitLab has over 1200 employees and contractors in 65 countries.

Platzi: this is one of the most important education companies in the Western hemisphere and has more than 200 employees spread across the continent. All of them work remotely. 

Basecamp: This is an anywhere office, and that’s the only way they could be because they sell one of the most important collaborative and remote work tools on the market. 

If you own a tech, software development, digital marketing, sales, customer service, or nearly any other kind of startup, then a 100% remote work model is right for you. If you’re still unsure of how to make the remote migration, here are five useful tips:

1.- Involve everyone in creating a mutually agreed-upon evolution

Investing in a remote work model is a golden opportunity to involve everyone in creating a more efficiency-centered work culture

It’s important that your team feels like they’re making the remote transition because it’s best for themselves and for the company. Emphasize the positive effects that this change will bring in terms of processes, work tools, tech infrastructure, mental health, and even their salaries, thanks to everything that will be saved on office expenses.

This process has to be a win-win; it can’t be viewed as just a cost-cutting measure. The team has to understand and embrace the decision’s personal and collective advantages. 

2.- Build your transition dream team

Using a “pie in the sky” approach and hoping that things will all fall into place isn’t necessarily the best idea. That’s why it’s important to build a migration team that will create a roadmap for everyone in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Ideally your transition team will have a member from every department, but if not you can hire a consultant who specializes in remote work to help you. Some of your transition team’s objectives should be:

  • Defining and scheduling the general and specific objectives which will successfully lead to a transition. 
  • Establish a budget based on how much money will be saved during the first year of not spending any money on a physical office.
  • Map out the architecture of the new work method, KPIs, and manage the information that will be used.
  • Determine the necessary new digital structure tools and enable them.
  • Create and distribute all manuals, workflows, onboarding courses, and training materials that are necessary. 
  • Keep the rest of the team updated on the status of the transition and the perks of working remotely.
  • Determine the time-related requirements for each employee to start working remotely without any problems.

Before we move on, we’d like to recommend using a gamification strategy to plan the transition. For example, consider making the process dashboards with a visible workflow so that everyone can see group and individual progress in real time as well as productivity timers for sprints, leaderboards, stats, etc.

Why? Because it’s proven that having more information about your surroundings helps you deploy the best competitive strategies. If your team can see everything that everyone else is doing, they’ll be more motivated to give their best so they don’t fall behind, even if they’re not in the same room as their colleagues. 

3.- Teach your managers remote management soft skills

This should be one of your transition team’s objectives, but they’re not the only ones who need these skills. No company wants to risk migrating to remote models only to have them fall apart after a few months because managers can’t manage their teams properly.

This is something that a lot of companies that transitioned to remote models have had to work through before even training their managers on key remote work management and interpersonal skills.

There are a lot of abilities and skills that your leaders will have to learn while adapting to a new normal, so it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone has a clear answers to the following questions on their first day of working remotely:

  • How are we going to continue fostering creativity and mimic an environment of brainstorming and mindmapping that naturally occur in an in-person environment? 
  • How are we going to manage the daily achievement reports without taking up too much of the team’s time and without losing the ability to carefully monitor progress? 
  • Which agile methods will we continue using or adopt, and how will we use them in a virtual collaboration environment?
  • How can we make sure that all meetings have a clear purpose and outcome?
  • What kind of flexibility can we allow with asynchronous work?
  • How are we going to handle giving and receiving feedback without losing key communication elements? 
  • How will we look for red flags that indicate potential burnout, and what measures will we take to prevent them?

If you’d like find out more, check out our pro tips for managing remote IT talent teams

migrate your startup to a 100% remote model with Workana

4.- Hire IT talent with more flexibility

Now that your team is 100% remote, your IT talent pool has just multiplied exponentially. The distance factor and the so-called developer shortage is no longer limiting. This allows you to recruit people with the exact skills that your company needs. Best of all, you can do this on a flexible basis while saving up to 30% more on hiring costs. 

Thousands of tech companies are already reaping the benefits of hiring devs in Latin America:

  • More affordable rates
  • A much larger talent pool
  • Highly trained, bilingual, and experienced devs
  • Time zone synchronicity
  • Greater cultural fit

5.- Keep fostering a truly remote work culture

Being 100% remote is much more than working from home. It ‘s giving every team member the freedom to develop themselves and work from anywhere in the world. It ‘s prioritizing balance and wellbeing as a core value;  it’s allowing yourself and your team to be inspired by creativity and diversity.

Remote work doesn’t end when you turn off the office lights for the last time and turn in the keys. It’s a constant process of ensuring that your team has everything, in terms of materials and emotionally, to succeed. It’s a permanent process that involves negotiating with every team member, providing better emotional support, and continuing to organize virtual events that build relationships. It’s giving your employees half-days so they can invest in personal projects; it’s about helping take care of your employees’ mental wellbeing.

It seems like a lot of work, but what other companies who have taken the plunge have shown is that it’s an incredibly gratifying process that’s very efficient in terms of productivity.

Being 100% remote is in our DNA. Are you ready to join the remote revolution?

banner workana - remote work

You may also be interested:

Subscribe to the Workana newsletter and keep updated