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How Remote? nearForm

Paul Savage is COO at nearForm, a remote first Irish company. He’ll be coming to share his learnings on September 27th and he took some time before that to give us some honest answers as noted below. If you want remote work in Ireland, this would be a great company to work for!

What does your company do?

We help some of the worlds biggest names build their websites and online tools to help them engage with their customers and run their businesses. For instance we recently helped Wired magazine rebuild their web apps and have worked with the the Times in the UK to help them support millions of users on their mobile app.

What’s the background to you having remote teams?

We setup a technology services company in Waterford, we knew that we were not going to have enough developers in Waterford so we took a “remote first” approach to building the company so we could hire highly talented developers not based in Waterford.

What kind of roles do you hire for?

Most people in NearForm are technical (Developers, technical experts etc) we also have a Finance, HR, Marketing, Facilities and Sales team – many of whom work remotely.

How do you manage results remotely?

Everyone at NearForm achieves specific tasks each week. For our development teams it is the new website coming together, for the HR teams it is making sure the new hires that join have the skills we need and will fit the NearForm culture. Everything is measurable and measurable remotely.

How do you manage culture remotely?

Honestly with great difficulty. We really work on a mixed remote & onsite model so teams will meet about once a quarter. This means that people have met and know each other so they have good rapport. We try to put a lot through remote collaboration platforms like Slack and we all use video calls when we communicate where possible so we have the benefit if being “face to face” without being in the same room.

How can towns and communities make it easier for you to hire there?

1. Good bandwidth … not sure how much the community can help here.
2. Co-working facilities …. most of our remote workers are based at home and that can be lonely. Many of them chose to spend a day or two a week in a co-working space like MindWorks or We Work. This takes care of an important social element. If a community had a space where it was acceptable to “work”, where quiet time was respected but at the same time there was opportunity for personal interaction – maybe even a couple of drinks after work … it would be a large positive.
3. Better descriptions about how great places are to live – if all the positive points of living in any area are articulated it will attract people. For some people this is a great nightlife and amazing restaurants – for others it is a nice quiet environment that is pet friendly. A community should be thinking about why they live in that place and how to explain to anyone that has similar interests.