From working remotely part-time to building a remote-first company

1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?

Hello, everyone! 😀

My name is Boris Borisov. I’m the co-founder of the company RemoteMore. I’ve relocated twice to different countries because of jobs and I have worked remotely since 2016. When I started working remotely, it was just clear to me that remote was far better than relocation for everyone involved. I even started my company based on this simple observation: more people should have the possibility to work remotely.

These days I live in Berlin, Germany, where I work as CPO/ Co-founder at RemoteMore. I work remotely, and I am responsible for our fully remote software development team. Our development team consists of 4 remote developers. When managers from other companies have questions about remote work, I’m glad to help by sharing my experience.

A bit about my company, RemoteMore. We help developers to find remote jobs: mainly full-time and part-time remote jobs, but also freelance projects. Companies that need world-class developers can come to our marketplace and find the developers they need at remotemore.com.

2. What motivated you to choose remote working?

Surprisingly, I started working remotely because of my manager. Back then, I worked at Kiloo Games. Even though my job had all the glamour of working for a successful gaming company, I wanted to go back to university and get my Masters’ degree.

My manager proposed to me that I can work remotely, part-time, with the company, while living in another city and pursuing the Master’s degree.

Stories like this are actually not rare. Many companies when faced with losing experienced people, prefer to have them remotely. When this becomes a success, remote starts to be more accepted in the company. Often the companies start with remote work by allowing everyone to work from home on Fridays, or requiring people to be in the office only during some core hours such as 11am to 3pm.

denmark: i was travelling with my co-founder, and we joked that it would be funny to check if we can work from here, the middle of no-where. It turned out that we have mobile data there, and it was possible to work from there!

3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?

I think my experience mirrors the experience of most people. 🤔

My first impression from working remotely was that it is so easy to be productive, to get things done. Without the office distractions (especially non-scheduled meetings), I could get so much work done within a day. Outside of the working hours – I didn’t need to commute to the office – which easily saved me 2 hours a day. I noticed also that I was saving more money when working remotely (about 300 euro/month) – I didn’t spend money on commuting and eating out during the day. Overall, remote work was exciting and successful for me.

Of course, there were some parts that were not as great. it was too easy for me to not be social. I am an introvert and I prefer to work from home (instead of e.g. co-working spaces). Working from home was too anti-social, so I had to start paying attention to scheduling social activities. Joining a sports club solved it for me, I can recommend that.

4. How did you find remote working roles?

My first remote job was the one where my position converted to a remote position.

If you want to find a remote job – probably the easiest way is to convert your current job to a remote job. To get buy-in from your manager, you should prove that you can be trusted to do your job without being in the office. There are different ways to do it but it is a whole topic on its own. I’ve heard about people who worked a couple of weekends from home to build a case that they can do their job even more successfully without being in the office.

My second remote job is in the company that we have founded. So far we are building the company as a fully distributed team. We draw a lot of inspiration by GitLab, Zapier, Hotjar and the other pioneers in this space. Not many people know it but GitLab is already 800+ employees, without having a single office. 😮

Of course, most remote work doesn’t happen in fully remote companies but it is inspiring that there are even fully remote organizations. We will stay fully remote as long as it makes sense for us, which is probably indefinitely.

Building a company that helps people with finding remote jobs – I have some suggestions on how to find a remote job. Remote job boards don’t work very well: there are normally 2000-3000 people applying, so you need to send on average 2000-3000 applications to land a remote job. Targeted networking and unsolicited applications are much better.

5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?

The best and the worst aspects of remote work have not changed much for me. From the start until now, it is about the same. I really like that I can be more focused on the productive parts of my job, and that I’m not wasting my day commuting.

What I don’t like so much is that for me, I need to be proactive when it comes to socializing – both at work and outside of work. I’ve learned that as long as I keep this in mind, everything functions the way it should. 🙂

6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?

We have a rather traditional remote stack. 😊

From my experience, this stack is sufficient (at least for smaller companies). I want to find time to try some of the up and coming tools for remote teams on www.remote.tools. There must be a reason why people are talking about those tools.

For communication:

  • We use Slack for most of the communication during the day.
  • We use Zoom or Google Hangouts on a daily basis. I like Zoom more because it has a “share mouse” feature which works very well for e.g. pair programming.
  • We use Whatsapp as an emergency communication channel. Luckily, we rarely need it.
  • We don’t need whiteboards so much but when we need one we either use an actual whiteboard in front of the camera or realtimeboard.com.

For other collaboration:

  • We use Trello for project management. I believe it is sufficient for most small teams.
  • We use Google Drive for all files. Also, Google Docs is great for real-time collaboration.
  • We use GitHub for our code. GitHub or GitLab or BitBucket, they are all good.
  • We use 1password for managing access. It’s easy to share passwords with it.

7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.

As a founder, the most exciting part for me is that through remote work we can have a world-class team. If we had to hire only in Berlin, it would be much harder to attract such a talented team. Working with world-class colleagues makes a big difference: the work becomes much easier and exciting. Things start to happen with less effort. 😎

Another thing that I find exciting is learning about other cultures. Working with people from different backgrounds brings a more diverse and robust culture. The nice thing is that working with people even from very different cultures is not so difficult when you are open-minded. Focus on mutual goals, be curious, and the cultural differences will be advantages instead of challenges.

8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?

Remote work is all about trust. Set realistic expectations with your manager, and deliver on them. The more you do that, the more successful you become. When you work remotely, showing up is not sufficient. You are visible through the work you deliver, and this makes remote an equal playing field for everyone.

For example, with my remote development team, we work in weekly sprints. At the beginning of the week, we have the sprint planning call, where we plan the work to be delivered during the week. I know from experience that my team tends to fulfill their commitments from the sprint planning, so I have peace of mind that the job will be done. We don’t need time tracking or other annoying things like that because we have trust that everyone will deliver what they need to.

9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?

I hope that in 5 years 10,000+ people will be finding full-time remote jobs through our marketplace per year. 😎

I also hope that we can scale our organization with a very strong, fully remote team. As we add more people to the team, I am starting to think more about our culture. How can we maintain our culture while we grow as a fully remote team? I am sure that this is possible but it would certainly take more thinking and work.

I hope that our team will be successful in accelerating the adoption of remote work. Currently, we help developers with finding full-time remote jobs through our hiring marketplace. The next step would be to expand to more roles (e.g. sales, marketing, product management, project management). We want to be the leading marketplace for remote hiring. We are fortunate to work in a very interesting industry.

10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?

Not many people realize this but remote work is developing quite rapidly. When we started RemoteMore, we were concerned that not enough companies want to hire remote developers. Now 2 years later, most tech companies allow partially working from home, if not hiring fully remote. We will be seeing more of this given the 10-15% growth per year in remote hiring based on our research.

The pioneers in the remote space started about 10 years ago, and now remote work reaches the early majority. There are many startups building tools for remote teams. I won’t be surprised if we see a unicorn company that radically improves the communication for remote teams. We will also see improvements in the remote work processes as companies and employees iterate on the best practices for working remotely.

11. Where can we follow you on?

I tend to post mostly on LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bborisov

I also write in our blog about best practices for working remotely/managing remote teams. You can find the blog here: https://blog.remotemore.com

Are you a remote worker too?
Would you like to share you story?
Just reach us at hrishikesh@remote.tools!

Total
2
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like