When I spoke to Denis (working from his terrace in France since you ask ) and Cecilia Haynes, Content Marketer (the Sunshine State of Florida) I asked them about the remote working company culture and asked whether it was a conscious decision or just something which evolved?
According to Denis & Cecilia;
“This has been a conscious decision from Day 1. Shane (Shane Evans Irish Co-Founder) didn’t want to be limited by geography. He was looking for a skilled development team and didn’t want to be limited by where they were living.”
Scraping Hub are very clear that this gives them a competitive advantage not only in attracting highly skilled developers who don’t want pay expensive Bay Area (or even Dublin) rents but also in terms of support.
“We have members of our team who live in every region and that allows us to provide a comprehensive level of support.”
There is no doubt that it is not everyone who could work in an environment and office culture which is 100% remote. According to Cecilia it attracts two very different type of employees.
The first are the famed Digital Nomads. People who want to travel and are used to travelling lots. Both Denis & Cecilia describe themselves as Third Culture Kids. Showing up at the same industrial estate every day is pretty much an anathema to them.
The second are people who are looking for flexibility, and this is undoubtedly one of their major appeals. There is a huge growth in tech savvy parents looking to find work which fits into the demands of family life. I asked them for their tips on how to make remote working a success:
1. Build a culture of autonomy.
We really value independence. While there is some time zone overlap and lots of communication over Slack at the end of the day you need to have the ability to move forward on your own. Scraping Hub originated in the Open Source community where the bulk of the action is done on the ground and this mindset continues to permeates the company.
2. Time zone overlap.
At a practical level you need a certain amount of it for all of it to work. 10 hour time zone difference can become very problematic but anything less is doable.
3. Put everything in writing. Leave a trail. Make sure everyone is clear on what your expectations are. If you do not have something in writing it does not exist. This is also true of offline companies but even doubly so in remote working companies.
— Scrapinghub (@ScrapingHub) September 1, 2016
4. Create “Water Cooler” Moments. Scraping Hub have weekly Friday “Lightning Talks” where different team members give not just updates on what they have been working on but insights into their private lives and interests. Recent topics include “How to make Borscht” and “Jam Making”.
5. Have a designated work space. Also beware logging on at all times just because you can. In a global company like Scraping Hub there is always someone online and the temptation to make a quick check on how that project is going can be great.
In the tech world, words like innovative and ground breaking get bandied about a lot. But often it is just applies to the technology rather then the company itself.
Scraping Hub is one of the few who are really creating something new and exciting, bringing together an entire company, very diverse across multiple time zones and having everyone work remotely. Tech savvy parents & Digital Nomads take note, Scrapping Hub are hiring… https://scrapinghub.com/jobs/