Our experience on going from remote friendly to fully remote

Mariana Machado
May 28, 2020

Ever since the beginning, when Advertio was made up of just a handful of people, company culture and team member well-being have always been the two most important factors to our success. Our main goal has always been to build a strong product and to make online advertising accessible to every business but, at the same time, we wouldn’t be able to do so without a motivated, hard-working team.

Our remote friendly policy

Our offices are located in Lisbon’s city centre in a beautiful building that we share with other companies, allowing us to exchange ideas with other startups and ask for advice when needed. Having the team together makes the office experience more valuable and helps us connect with each other as we always have lunch and go for walks together afterwards. At the same time, it also makes problem-solving easier because if anyone needs help, they just speak up and see who’s free to help. These are just some of the reasons why we decided to have a well-located office and encourage people to work there during most of their time.

While this is true, we also understand that people sometimes work better alone and have their own lives going on so we have always allowed everyone to work remotely when they need to. The only requirement? Letting us know in advance. By allowing people to work from home or wherever they prefer, we’re contributing to their well-being while also making them accountable for their work. When working remotely, people have to communicate more effectively and show their peers what they’ve been working on, which sometimes can make them feel more responsible and accountable for their work.

This remote friendly mentality has also allowed us to hire people from different cities. We’ve had a fully-remote team member working with us for over a year who comes to Lisbon once in a while to spend some time with the team and enjoy the city’s sunny weather. As far as we’re concerned, this method was working perfectly for the team until, of course, we were forced to change things up.

Photo by The Coherent Team on Unsplash

Going fully remote

Back in March, when we had to stop going to the office, we really didn’t know exactly what to expect or how long we would be working from home. What we did know was that we would have to adapt our processes to this new reality. Luckily, our jobs allow us to work from anywhere in the world as long as we have a computer and internet connection so we didn’t have to change that many things.

The first step was making sure everyone had all the tools they needed at home and once that was done, it was time to start planning our work having a remote mentality in mind. We had to assess which meetings we should have via video call, which weren’t needed anymore and which could be transformed into email or Slack threads.

Our daily standups went from being in the office before lunch to being on Google Meet at the same hour. We continued having sprint meetings and reviews as if we were at the office and after a few weeks working remotely, everyone was accustomed to this new reality.

Over the last few weeks we all understood the importance of communication and the tools we use, which is true for almost every company. It’s just a matter of discovering what works for a specific team. Slack and Notion are our new best friends and we use them to their full potential in order to make our lives easier. Now, instead of speaking up when we have a doubt, we drop the person a message on Slack to see if they’re available for a quick call. We’ve created Slack Statuses that suit our team and when someone isn’t available or is out for a walk, they simply change their status.

For those whose work consists of helping a lot of people, we’ve created a special queue system and, if we decide to work after regular work hours, we create tasks on Notion and assign them to the right person so we don’t have to bother them after hours. With a few changes and flexibility, we continued doing our work as we always have — doing our best to improve our app and helping our clients grow their business.

Summing up, working remotely can be great and our team has adapted to it in just a week or two. This time also allowed us to spend more time with our families and friends as many of us went back to our hometown (or country) and it was awesome to see that our team works well under different circumstances. That being said, we still miss each other so we can’t wait to be able to safely get back to our sunny Lisbon office.

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