Podcast, Remote Working

How Companies and Leaders Can Be Effective at Scaling Remote Workforces – Filippo Di Trapani- Automattic

What does a business need to consider as remote teams start to scale? What does communication, onboarding and hiring strategies need to embody when your team is 800+ remote employees? In this episode, we speak to Filippo Di Trapini, Design Director at Automattic to discuss how companies and leaders can be effective at scaling remote workforces and make remote truly authentic and successful when a business is rapidly growing. 

Filippo Di Trapini is a father of three and a designer based in Ottawa, Canada. He’s been working remotely for the past three years and considers that working remotely has been a pivotal change to his life in terms of being available and around and having a very flexible work schedule “It's been really great, enabling me to lead a lifestyle where I can be present with my kids, and also very involved at work at the same time”

Being Productive on Our Work and Our Personal Life

Working remotely means having a broader spectrum of choices on how to optimize your work time properly, and with that freedom comes the responsibility of being consistent and delivering the results expected from your working position. Organizing and being effective with your time will often grant you more room in your personal life to spend it as you please - but it’s also important to manage this free personal time effectively and in a healthy manner, for the sake of keeping your life in balance and letting in as much fresh air as possible. 

Working Effectively From Home or an Office Environment

It's recommendable to develop some skills that you can lean into, to be able to do your work from home as effectively as you would in an office environment. It's always important to be transparent and communicate regularly, so the same thing is expected remotely from employers. Filippo shares with us, from his perspective as a leader of a team, how to keep the human connection within the team intact - “...in terms of checking in regularly with people, remembering you're dealing with people, and there are feelings and emotions and things that you need to recognize, setting clear expectations is still really important, I think in it and see there being a difference in whether you're doing that remote or you're doing that in person, you still need to have good expectation, you still need to check in with people regularly, I guess it's a bit more natural in a physical environment to check in regularly since you're in the same physical space. But from a remote perspective, you still need to nudge people on a daily basis and check-in in a human way and not just be kind of cracking the whip to just make sure people are still on track that they are clear about their expectations and they're making progress and there are no roadblocks in their way”.

Team Practices and Personal Relationships

For Filippo it's about building personal relationships - “...building trust, trusting your people to do the right thing. I know talking. I think I met with a local agency owner. He was really struggling with the idea of going remote. And so in the end, like you do need to trust that people are going to do the right thing. And it's more important to just measure the output than the amount of hours people are putting in. So again, it's setting clear expectations for people, what you expect from them, trusting them, That they will get it done building the report and checking in regularly to make sure that things are moving along the way, not running into any issues, and the thing and just helping people to do their best work without micromanaging them or getting to, you know, professional like making sure that there's still that personal element theory, but you're being authentic with them, and share with them about how things are going”. It’s always important to keep in mind how these personal elements will shape not only our relationships but also our day to day remote work environment and interactions with others.

Freedom Autonomy and Boundaries in the Remote World

Trust is always an important foundation within any work environment “...It's about hiring quality people that can do the job and not have those soft skills. So making sure that that hiring process is super tight, looking at what you expect on a company level. From employees and on a team level from employees, and then building that rapport with somebody and making sure that you communicate those expectations, and that you clarify that at the hiring stage as well to say, look, this is the way that we work and this works for us. How does this sound to you? How does that work for you? And it is 50/50, in my experience, what the company does to build trust with that employee, and also what the employee does to build trust with the company and with their team. If we hire great people, we shouldn't limit them to an office space just so that we can have trust with them, right. That's on leadership teams to kind of overcome that mindset and I do feel like it is a big mindset shift for a lot of leaders thinking about going remote”. 

With remote working, a lot of people see it as it's just complete freedom and autonomy. And while there are levels of freedom and levels of autonomy that's different for every company, there still needs to be expectations, guidelines and best practices, end of the day, and you're still being hired to work somewhere. “And there's always an expectation that you work and you produce, you have an output of some degree, and then the expectations of what you want from people is super important there. Then again, giving people the leeway to execute in whatever way they feel most comfortable with our most passionate about. You've got those expectations, and then people work when it's best for them to work and they do it in environments that they are most comfortable doing it. The outcome is they got one in that regard”.

Listen to the Podcast Here!