Our Remote Work Philosophy
- Hire from all over the world instead of from a central location.
- Offer flexible working hours over set working hours.
- Write down and record knowledge over verbal explanations.
- Share information over creating need-to-know access.
- Every document is open to change by anyone over top-down control of documents.
- We emphasize the results of work over the hours put in.
- Formal communication channels over informal conversations - we will shame you for using one-to-one chats and sending each other emails over commenting in relevant GitHub issues and contributing to open channel discussions in Inca Water Cooler.
We’re a distributed company where most people work remotely. We use asynchronous communication whenever possible. It means that we don’t need people to be present in one place physically or virtually to get things done. Insteаd of it we rely on detailed documentation of everything we are doing using our project management tool GitHub.
Mastering asynchronous workflows is vital to avoiding dysfunction. That is why we prefer GitHub issues to chats and video conferences. It also means you need to ensure that all conclusions made during offline conversations are written down in GitHub. Use screenshots in an issue tracker instead of a whiteboard, ensuring that everyone at any time can follow your thought process.
We don’t ask anyone to come to an office, but that doesn’t mean you should disappear or work alone in the corner. Please make sure you commit to GitHub every day. This is the only way the business team can see and track the work that you are doing. Even if you didn’t achieve anything substantive, add a note summarizing what you’ve been working on. Everything is transparent in our GitHub projects, so other team members will be more willing to help you if they see you doing useful work. If they see no updates from you in the past 24hr, people will assume you took a day off.
We’re Still Social
We have a weekly Google Meet team call where we share our work and life. Please feel free to talk about anything and contribute to creating entertaining slides every week.
If you don’t like working from home and need an office to go to, we are more than happy to cover the costs of a co-working space like WeWork. Just reach out to the finance team and we’ll help you set something up.
It’s important to manage your isolation and mental health:
- Schedule breaks in your day to interact with friends or family in the home, or nearby in your community.
- Experiment with working in a shared setting (e.g. a local coworking venue).
- Use Peer Coaching to connect with other Incas and get their perspective on your job.
- Leverage video calls whenever practical, both at work and outside of work. Yes, we want to see your pet, say “Hi” to your partner and know a little more about that painting on your wall.
- Engage with colleagues on non-work topics ad hoc video calls, in “Inca Water Cooler” chat or other communication tools. Feel free to share photos of your work or vacation location and tell us more about your hobbies.
- Prioritize work events where travel and physical interaction are involved (e.g. workations).
If you are new to remote work, find more ideas on managing your time and avoiding burnout in the article Don’t work more when you work from home.
Everything is always in draft and subject to change, so do not delay documenting things and do not include “draft” in the titles of documents. Also, use screenshots in an issue tracker instead of a whiteboard, ensuring that everyone at any time can follow your thought process. When creating a GitHub Issue, use the guidelines.
We’re part of the same team
We all have to work together and communicate intensely. Working remote doesn’t mean working independently. We still collaborate and work as a team. With that, we encourage:
- Saying thank you. Be kind and mindful about others. E.g., thanking someone on public might be empowering for some people, but embarrassing for others.
- Turning on video during calls when possible. We use a lot of text-based communication, and if you know the person behind the text, it will be easier to prevent conflicts.
- Having periodic workations around the world when team members get to know each other in an informal setting.
- Contacting anyone in the company. We’re here to help and want to talk with you. You can find our organogram on the Team page and get to know a little more about us on our website. If you still feel weird about reaching out to your remote colleagues, read this article.
Be respectful of other’s time - Consider the investment you are asking others to make with meetings and a permission processes. Try to avoid meetings, and if one is needed, make attendance optional by making the invite optional, by having a clear agenda linked from the invite, and by documenting the outcome. Instead of having people ask permission, trust their judgment and offer a consultation process if they have questions.
More importantly, value your own time! There’s no one to tell you how to organize your day and prioritize important things. Try attention management instead of time management and use time-saving tools and shortcuts.