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After more than a year of successfully working remotely, Codility has redesigned its operations not just to offer a remote work policy, but to become a company that is truly focused on remote work and distributed teams. Codility employees, as well as talented professional job candidates, widely agree that they value the ability to work remotely or to participate in a hybrid blend of in-person and remote work to help maintain a sense of balance.
For example, Microsoft research shows that more than 70% of employees want flexible remote work options to continue. That’s why Codility is putting policies in place to support those preferences.
The very first question most candidates ask is around remote-first policies. The world has changed, and companies that are reluctant to change will lose their best talent. For Codility, building a remote-first workplace is a way of affirming our core values of flexibility and humanity, as well as diversity and inclusion in tech.
Simply put, remote-first is human first. Creating a culture focused on distributed teams means that in everything we do, we make sure that if you decide to be remote that you can still accomplish, achieve, advance, and be rewarded to the same extent that someone who is in an office every day can be.
A remote-first culture also allows us to better pursue diversity and inclusion in tech. That’s because focusing on distributed teams and remote work allows us to meet the everyday human needs of our people who are balancing work and life, while also attracting talent from places we may not have looked before.
Designing Remote-First Work
The first step to creating a remote-first workplace is to design work in a way that does not require people to come into an office to be fully engaged with the work. At Codility, that means integrating with platforms and technologies that can make employees’ work and lives easier.
For example, Codility teams use tools like Miro for team planning and brainstorming sessions, Asana for project management, Slack for communication, and Culture Amp for measuring team engagement. Our People Ops team and other leaders are constantly evaluating and experimenting with new platforms and technologies to get better.
Overcoming Challenges to Remote Work
A commitment to managing remote teams effectively doesn’t mean that work will be without challenges. For instance, Codility is still working out the kinks in managing time zone differences among teammates. Some of the workable solutions the company has found include recording and sharing all company-wide team meetings for employees who can’t make the meeting due to an appointment or family obligations.
Codility is also trying to alternate and trading off the time of core meetings to be fair across time zones. We start earlier every other month to create more of a balance. In addition, simply asking managers to help their teams conduct self-audits of their calendars can be extremely helpful.
More often than not, individuals can restructure their demands to help work within their unique situations. One of the things we’ve noticed is that some people aren’t really being heads down during their planned focused times. They are allowing Slack and email notifications to distract them. We encourage our teams to turn those applications off during focused time.
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Despite the time zone issues, teams do still want to come together, and when they come together, those meetings need to be really valuable from both a strategic and social standpoint. Codility meets globally on an annual basis as a company and conducts monthly socials in hubs.
Additionally, all teams are able to come together once a year outside of the global all-company meetings. While we have reduced investment in offices, we aren’t reducing investment in coming together.
One-on-one meetings at Codility are also more structured than in most companies, in an effort to better accommodate remote work. By forcing the function of remote, along with different time zones, Codility leaders and employees are learning to make the most of our time together.
Fostering Connection Among Remote Teams
In a remote world, the human resources department must become much more than the traditional regulatory and tactical management of hiring and doling out benefits. At Codility, the People Operations department is focused on creating and maintaining a remote culture that works.
It’s People Ops’ responsibility to make sure that we are empowering and training our managers on what it means to be successful in a remote-first environment. I find that most companies are underinvesting in developing and training the first-line and middle management. This is where Codility is really investing because these layers of management have the highest impact on the day-to-day lives of individual contributors.
From external partners like LifeLabs to internal coaching and mentorship to redefining competencies and expectations, we are helping our managers create the best remote cultures within their teams. In addition, People Ops is focused on rolling out benefits that are inclusive throughout the world, as well as processes and rewards that don’t discriminate against employees who work remotely.
To accomplish those objectives, I recommend listening, experimenting, iterating, and sharing. It’s important to always be listening to your people. I measure when possible, but also encourage our managers to ask about remote work and to share that information quickly.
As the touchpoint between company leaders and individual contributors, HR can also act as a barometer and plan activities or events that invite teams to share casual interactions. For instance, Codility hosted a virtual coffee tasting in the United States and an escape room in Europe.
In addition, during the third quarter of 2021, Codility is launching an internal podcast called “Authentic Conversations.” The podcast offers on-demand content that employees can access to learn more about their co-workers.
Is our remote-first culture right for you? Good news – we’re hiring!