Hello! What's your name, your company name and your role there?
Mate Kovacs, Founder
Can you give a brief overview of the company background and what you guys do?
Water Lily Pond (WLP) is a 100% distributed but tight-knit global collective of senior experts specialised in marketing communications (strategic branding, UX, creative design, content and tech development). At Water Lily Pond, we call for simplicity and efficiency to help brands and people connect in this fast-changing and increasingly complex business climate. We have chosen a streamlined, flexible and global company model to be better suited to support brands in their quest to find solutions to their marketing communications challenges, and help them adapt to change.
What percentage of your company works remotely and have you always been remote-friendly? If not, what prompted the change?
We are 100% committed to our 100% distributed global team since Water Lily Pond was founded in Q4 2016. Our team members are freelancers, moonlighters and digital nomads with proven track records and long-term industry experience (ranging from 8+ to 20 years) gained at holding and independent ad agencies and blue-chip companies, while working on big global and local brands.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of working remotely?
Working from anywhere and collaborating via the cloud can enhance productivity, boost creativity and nurture business relationships around the globe. We are fully committed to remote work as it has the power to promote collaborations, partnerships and diversity, help the environment and support local economies.
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?
Working with a distributed team comes with just as many challenges as benefits. Communicating and collaborating remotely, riding the waves of time zones and operating exclusively via the cloud require an open mind, entrepreneurial personality traits and lots of discipline from our team members. This type of model can function the best when specific processes and operations management tools are put in place to facilitate the work. Naturally, finding the right tools and processes takes time and experience, and it requires lots of experimentation with a variety of methods. If we started over, with our current experience, we would put certain processes and tools to use from the very beginning.
What do you look for in a remote employee and how do you hire for good company fit?
Close relationships and team spirit are extremely important for us, just as it is to have a diverse pool of talents with versatile capabilities.
We’re always looking for talented, agile people to contribute and help solve our clients' challenges, as collaboration and partnerships are at the heart of who we are as Water Lily Pond. We’re all about very tightly focused niche skill sets brought together as a team and we can put together people who otherwise would never have worked together.
Many of our team come from our founder’s network and via recommendations and referrals from existing team members. But we believe great ideas can come from anywhere, so we hire good people via various channels. High-quality work and the right personality are all that matters. Our team members are self-starters with entrepreneurial spirit, open mind-set, thoughtfulness and self-discipline to manage their own time — they have great niche expertise and plenty of experience with freelancing, consulting, moonlighting and working remotely.
What elements make up a successful remote team? What’s the trickiest aspect to leading and managing a remote team?
The above answers already covered the pros and cons of remote teams.
How do you nurture your culture and the personal relationships within the company?
We’re a professionally and culturally diverse global group of people with a strong collective focus. We stick together and welcome everybody with the same open mind, no matter how long or how often they work with us.
It’s important to enhance and nurture the team spirit, ensure everyone feels connected and avoid team members to feel isolated during work. Our team members must feel they are valued and rewarded for their participation. We have zero tolerance towards bad attitude, any kind of discrimination and judgements, and bad vibes and negativity. No arrogance, drama, politics, clashes and tension.
Just pure, warm, friendly and results-oriented professional collaboration.
What advise would you give to a team just starting out as a remote company or a team transitioning to remote work?
I suggest you do a thorough market research in your industry/market segment/tech vertical to identify the latest trends, hiring solutions and available tools for remote work, and your competitors with remote model. This will enable you to make the right decisions early on, and invest your energy, time and resources efficiently. The most important thing is to identify team members who have the right profile and experience, beyond the professional expertise. While some of the processes and tools required for remote work are different than those used in more "traditional" company models, others are complementary or additional to those used by "brick & mortar" companies.