As the world was just boarding the remote-first bus, remote was already second nature to us. (Hey, that rhymes!) Joking aside though, we take our team well-being very seriously here at SOUTHWORKS, and that’s something that’s always been at the forefront of our culture.
You could say that we’re a born-global company, and we’ve been working successfully with clients all over the world as a distributed team since the days when everyone else thought that was a crazy idea. And to be fair to them, during our humble beginnings in the noughties we didn’t have access to the plethora of technology that makes remote work so easy these days. But we made it work back then and we’ll keep making it work as long as that’s what our people and our clients want.
That’s not to say that we’re simply scattered to the winds – we have offices in several locations for anyone who wants to work from them, and for clients to visit us whenever they choose. Flexibility is the name of the game, as we know that’s how we’ll achieve the best outcomes in work-life balance, quality, and productivity. Talent can be found anywhere, so we’re happy to hire anyone, wherever they may be, as long as it’s a good fit for all concerned. After all, if we can work with clients a thousand miles away and five hours apart, why not within our teams too?
So, how do we make distributed remote teams work?
Over the years we’ve cultivated a few principles that we live by when it comes to maintaining an effective remote-first working culture:
Our people make us what we are, so offering them freedom and flexibility is essential – we encourage and support everyone at SOUTHWORKS to try things out and develop our working practices for the better.
Self-discipline is everyone’s responsibility, and finding comfortable working hours and methods is everyone’s right, making self-direction an important trait that we look for when hiring.
Async is about taking advantage of the working hours that we don’t naturally overlap with our clients to keep the project moving forward at pace, and also, to make the best use of our clients’ time (more on that in another post).
We prioritise daily face-time for those conversations that need a real-time interaction or collaborative problem solving, and we keep everything else async.
Working on "Customer Standard Time"
Whether or not we’re in the same time zone, we find the right team and an effective way of working that is responsive and guarantees throughput. A big part of this is Client communications like clockwork – our async daily stand-ups make sure everyone knows exactly where we are.
Work from anywhere
A three-hour daily commute isn’t good for family life. Some prefer the hustle and bustle and face-time opportunities at the office – sure. For us, we simply know that if our people feel great, their work will be great too, so we encourage our team to work from wherever works best for them.
IM over email, writing over scheduled calls, huddle as you need
We keep things ticking over with flexible, as-needed communication that gets right to the point.
A truly flexible culture like ours requires Trust, Autonomy, and Discipline. These are the pillars that enable our teams the freedom to choose how they work — including their own schedules, work locations and practices. This leads to a more agile business - one that promotes collaboration and creativity and is better able to navigate the unexpected.
This is especially important in a fast-paced industry like ours, where our ability to respond and overcome unanticipated obstacles is our most valuable asset.
Want to learn more about working at SOUTHWORKS? Check out our careers page.