Hello! What's your name, your company name and your role there?
Maygen Jacques, Marketing Manager at Code Enigma
Can you give a brief overview of the company background and what you guys do?
We began in 2010, labelling ourselves as a web agency who built Drupal sites, but these days we're so much more. We're a community of creative souls and the technically brilliant, dedicated to making the world wide web better.
We deliver and support accessible web-based solutions with creative design and robust code on sleek, secure infrastructure; allowing clients to tell their engaging stories.
What percentage of your company works remotely and have you always been remote-friendly? If not, what prompted the change?
We work 100% remotely and made the deliberate decision to do so.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of working remotely?
Without geography being a restriction, we have access to the best talent when it comes to recruiting. This also means that we work across timezones, which is great for our responsiveness.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced and the obstacles you've overcome? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
The natural challenge to working remotely is efficient communication. It's easy to feel as though you're alone, or not be as verbal as you might be in an office environment where you can pop over to someone's desk to talk. At Code Enigma, our communication is second to none because it is deliberate and considered. We have an active and engaged chat function and regular Google Meet/Hangout sessions, which range from important work conversations to the ridiculous, but either way, everyone takes part.
To avoid communication pitfalls, we have software systems in place to ensure projects, and generally life at Code Enigma, runs smoothly. We'd advise anyone to adopt them. An effective CRM solution, G-Suite (or similar) for securely sharing and editing documents, a ticketing system for both internal and external tasks and a HR system to name a few as a start. Everything has a proper place where information is stored, all of which complies to information security standards. It's important to be accessible and secure.
What do you look for in a remote employee and how do you hire for good company fit?
We’re protective of the culture at Code Enigma. We don’t hire someone simply because their CV ticks the boxes on the job description; we hire them because they subscribe to the same values (the values we created as a group).
Our clients fall in love with our developers not because they get the work done to schedule (which, of course, they do), but the relationships that naturally form during projects. That doesn’t happen by accident.
Jamie might wear a dinosaur mask during a meeting, it’s not strange to see a cat (or chicken) on a lap in a Google Hangout, and nothing brings us together more than the collective groan after Emlyn’s unrepeatable Friday joke. The point is, we’re human, we’re all unique (unique is a nice way to say weird), and that’s what makes us, us. There’s no formula, we’re not carbon-copies of the same person. It’s who we are, together.
What elements make up a successful remote team? What’s the trickiest aspect to leading and managing a remote team?
Everyone is accountable and productive.
We work on a foundation of trust. We listen. We’re not afraid to take a moment and have fun. We’re always actively interested in, or excited by our work (or there’s simply no point). We all do our best so our clients can attract and delight their audience.
How do you nurture your culture and the personal relationships within the company?
Whenever feasible, we meet in person for important meetings and events. Once a year, we go away together for a week to discuss company matters, but also have some fun. We have open communication and we discuss what's happening in our lives much like those in an office do (we just have to make our own coffee).
What advise would you give to a team just starting out as a remote company or a team transitioning to remote work?
Set realistic goals and smaller, measurable KPIs to get you there. Have the right systems in place to control your work and data. Have a project manager or method. Live by both your values and your mission statement. Encourage your team to learn and grow. Communicate.