So when are we getting back to the office?
Not anytime soon.
It would be hypocritical to say that remote teams aren't efficient when we've experienced the opposite firsthand. Ungrammary is an excellent example of an efficient team working remotely. As per clutch, a global rating and certification platform for agencies, We are India's best UX design agency and have experienced remarkable growth in our portfolio and revenues.
40% of our revenue comes from organizations overseas. It seems like a contradiction if we can't trust our own team members working just a few hundred kilometres away under the same jurisdiction yet expect our clients to trust us sitting thousands of miles out. Of course, there are exceptions when dealing with sensitive information, but that only accounts for 10% - 15% of our work.
So what makes an effective remote team?
Process: Lay down a well-written code of conduct. That everyone abides by. It's an iterative document that we iterate and improve over time. Our core team takes care of the Playbook and code of conduct. Our Playbook broadly covers; how to communicate with teams, leaves policy, performance review policy, exit policies, and good faith.
The process is only helpful if we abide by it. We are very disciplined and efficient with time. We are a super proud team that gets together at a sharp 10:00 am clock for the daily standups, discussing a plan for the day and what we achieved. Leaves are respected and communicated well in advance. If someone has to stretch the day due to clients working at different timezone, they have the flexibility to plan their day, and we trust them with their schedules. We abide by our committed timelines and keep each other well-informed.
We stick to our google workspace and design tools to communicate on projects. Say no to WhatsApp and phones unless it's essential or clients cannot access tools. It was quite a surprise to see that when we met for our get-together, most of us didn't have each other phone numbers.
This is one of the critical pillars when you work remotely. There shouldn't be a communication gap, and the message should not get lost in translation. Non-communication of uncertainties is treated as an excuse.
So we follow a proactive communication framework where teams must communicate the roadblocks or the uncertainties before the deadline, or that will be counted as an excuse.
Sometimes It's okay not to be able to meet deadlines or expectations, but everyone, including the stakeholders, should know about the delay beforehand.
We look for Self-discipline, strong communication skills, and a positive outlook on their work. We have resources and tools that can facilitate skills in terms of growth, but the character is something that we look for in the individual.
Finally, trust is essential. While the processes we have in place are critical, they need to be more foolproof and can be exploited. But we trust the people who have made it onto our team, and that trust is what makes us a successful remote team.
In conclusion, our journey to becoming India's top UX design company has been extraordinary. We have proven that remote work can be just as effective, if not more, than working in a traditional office setup.
By embracing a process-driven approach, maintaining discipline, leveraging the right tools, communicating proactively, hiring the right talent, and fostering a culture of trust, we have created a team that is efficient, highly motivated and committed to Design.