1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Hey, I’m Galina and the most important thing I need you to know about me is that I am completely crazy about the ONLYOFFICE project. I have been in for about 15 years and still cannot find a reasonable purpose to switch to any other passion in my work. I love to be a part of the tremendous energy called ONLYOFFICE team and I’m happy every day having the chance to talk to those guys who bring the new ideas to life.
I have a son, he is just 9, but he already knows everything about my work, makes me coffee and controls my schedule every day to be sure mama has enough time for him. You know, I am always online from home, speaking to my team or our partners worldwide, trying to make these processes as effective as they have to be and making my best to keep the people behind the ONLYOFFICE idea highly motivated and enjoying their job. But the most important time of the day starts when I can close all the chats and mails.
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
We have never planned to start working from home. Historically, we are used to working at the office and discussing many points in person. We have always been supporters of non-formalized personal communication and many ideas were born during spontaneous meetings in the office corridors.
In 2020 we were forced to quickly recognize the need to change our habits and reorganize our working rhythm, the home office became an unplanned requirement for ONLYOFFICE and, since we treasure every member of our team, we were ready to do the impossible to keep our colleagues safe at all costs and help them to organize the work from home without any additional stress.
So we have chosen to switch to remote working because of the pandemic and the real danger for our team, but now it seems to be the right decision and we see how effective and comfortable it is for people to be able to work from their home, saving time for the family and personal life.
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
There were no special hopes or plans in the beginning. The main task was to guarantee the same level of productivity which we used to show working from the office. We had more fears than expectations I would say.
We had to technically equip our employees with everything they need for work: laptops, stable internet service. The equipment and connection good enough for online shopping and watching Netflix doesn’t always cover the work needs, especially for our developers or QA guys.
Since we had no idea how long the situation with COVID-19 would persist, we had to keep the office workplace and help arrange a new one at home for the whole team. Each team member, in their turn, had to find a calm place to work at home, which is not easy when you have kids.
I also have to admit that it got more complicated for team leads. They had to work more to organize the processes online, make their teams feel the team spirit, and share the ideas behind the project with the new team members.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
We just continued to seek for new employees through online-recruitment services as we had done before. However, one thing changed, of course: personal interviews came online. On the one hand, it is not that easy for the applicant (and actually not for us) to understand if we can work together on the project, sometimes we need more time to decide. On the other hand, it is easier to arrange a meeting without having to go to the office: it is faster, you can handle more interviews a day and less time is needed for a new member to join the team.
As I said we started to look for new people worldwide based on the understanding we will keep the online working format for next year. There are more options to find an “ideal” candidate without being limited to one country or even city. We have got more fresh looks and new ideas, more stability and presence in different countries.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
Actually, the work hasn’t changed as dramatically as we could imagine before. Many field activities like conferences became online events, and, honestly, I cannot say it is worse or not that effective. It is easier to take part in them without going on business trips and losing time between the flights at the airport.
The best achievement is in my opinion the option to better involve team members from other cities and countries. We have really expanded the geography of ONLYOFFICE developers, QA, designers, support and sales managers. If previously they were highly separated from the actual news and trends in the company because of the offline meetings and the mentioned non-formalized personal communication — now they became the real part of the process as they get the same information and the same level of involvement in the project life as the local team members.
For now, we are quite successful in working from home; our team leaders’ dedication played an important role in this. We keep our work atmosphere calm and stable and encourage everyone to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
We enjoyed understanding the usefulness of our own project. I’m proud to say that the ONLYOFFICE team continues working with the help of the ONLYOFFICE collaborative platform — with its mail and calendar services, project management system, CRM, and, of course ,collaborative document editing. Productivity increased when we started to use our own project more. And we got much more ideas for further development and updates as the whole team took on the role of highly motivated usability testers for our own software.
What else is that we started using Telegram as a corporate messenger and Zoom for online conferencing. What’s really cool is that Telegram is already integrated with the ONLYOFFICE platform as an option for receiving notifications, for example, about a doc being shared. Soon we will announce the Zoom integration as well. Besides, we decided to make it possible for our customers to connect any messenger or conference tool to ONLYOFFICE and are currently updating the API part to allow performing such tasks fast and easy.
7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
What we learned from the remote work life is to keep calm whatever happens during the countless video conferences, even if they are public events.
For now I know much more about the personal routine of my colleagues: their kids, pets or relatives, technical background and the talent for getting out of any unexpected situation in a completely detached way. I think it’s a headache for many of us to arrange the working hours so that nobody comes into the camera field of view if you are zooming from home. I cannot even imagine how the parents with newborns do, it is just another level of organizational skills and patience.
My cat, for example, likes to sleep on the small shelf above my working place and from time to time amuses my online collocutors with dangling its leg or tail right in the middle of some important discussions. You know off and on such cute incidents even help to defuse the situation and come to a consensus some quicker.
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
Well, not sure I am the most experienced remote worker to offer some advice here, we started to work online just half and a year ago actually. And I know a lot of companies and people who adhere to remote work for years, I was always really surprised how they manage to create brilliant things having to stay away from some centralized office.
Now I understand it better and have even derived an approximate formula of a successful remote work for myself: very active manager who is passionate about his work plus a team with high motivation. As easy as that.
So make sure you are ready to get out of bed daily and sit for hours in your notebook for this specific project. Make sure you feel happy being involved in it and can see the results of your work as satisfaction of your ambitions and intentions. And that your manager shares your passion for it.
And don’t forget to find a quiet place with an option to separate from your kids and pets 😉
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
It is a very nice question how my business goals have changed in the last time. I would say working from home helps to see the further steps and plans more consciously, you just don’t need to waste your attention on unnecessary distractions. You have more time to see what has to be changed or improved, you learn to analyze your current position from the point if this is what you want to do in your life and if you can enjoy the process and take pleasure in the results you make.
The actual goals haven’t changed a lot — I still love my team and the project. We all do our best to bring ONLYOFFICE to the new level and see a lot more ways to do this while working online with no boundaries between people but with a higher involvement and unlimited range of connection options to reach the final goal.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
I suppose it will become a more and more common way to cooperate and make business. Many industries and businesses have found out that remote work can help to make the process even more effective without having to enlarge the resources for managing an organization: you do not need to buy a building or rent an office, you do not need to spend money for trips, you do not even always need to provide your workers with equipment as they probably prefer to use their own stuff.
The number of online collaboration platforms will grow and the existing ones will get new functionality to meet the requirements of remote contacts worldwide. The most crucial question will be to keep the online work safe — and I bet we will see more and more projects in this area.
We at ONLYOFFICE are currently working on secure Virtual Channels to create a safe space for people to collaborate on documents with e2e encryption online to guarantee that only the people invited and authorized into the Channel will get access to the information, can change the tests and formatting in the way set by the admin, use online forms, discuss everything right in the encrypted channel and mutually sign the agreed documents. I’m sure such service is highly required on the market today to cope with the current situation.
11. Where can we follow you on?
Our official website is www.onlyoffice.com. You are welcome to visit it anytime for more info about our cool project.