At Web Summit 2021, Wilfrid Obeng, Co-Founder and CTO at AudioMob, shared insights on how to best manage a remote team. AudioMob is an in-game audio ad company that helps customers monetize games without interrupting gameplay.
In Wilfrid’s experience, the main challenge with remote work is accommodating everyone’s different circumstances, temperaments, and needs.
Stay sensitive to time zones
Wilfrid emphasizes that if you have team members working hours apart from one another, it’s important that meetings are scheduled to be considerate of those in far-flung corners of the globe. Similarly, reducing the length of meetings can help reduce stress and allow for more productivity.
This is where recordings could also be useful. Tools like Loom allow for screen and voice recordings so one can simply send a video explaining one’s thought process instead of calling for a meeting.
Gain an understanding of what the team wants
Across the board, people have different attitudes towards remote work. As Wilfrid has seen first-hand, some team members prefer an office setting over being at home. Others are quite happy to work remotely all the time.
The solution, then, is to gain a clear understanding of what everyone in the team wants.
Wilfrid found that his sales team was generally very social and wanted to be in the office in order to meet with clients in-person. His engineering teams, on the other hand, wanted their home setup with multiple screens and uninterrupted time to code. There was also concern among different teams about the commute.
He tried to accommodate these different desires and concerns in different ways, moving towards a hybrid workplace model—a mix of in-office and remote working—as AudioMob’s remote working strategy got off the ground.
Clear communication is key to successful remote work
Working remotely has also posed challenges for how they communicate as a business. Wilfrid noted that the increase in text-based communications has made some messages harder to decipher. It can be difficult to see the emotions, sentiments, and body language behind what someone is saying through digital channels, leading to misunderstandings.
He has tried to counter this issue by building in more regular team meetings and having at least one or two days a week where people come into the office to meet face-to-face.
AudioMob’s remote working journey has been fast and intense. The UK-based company was founded only three months before the first lockdown in the country, which forced the entire business to go remote. Many of the team have not ever met in person and they’re still building as they go as many teams globally are doing the same.