Day in the Life of a Remote Company: Deel
As working remotely and living that “gig life” continues to evolve and grow in the workforce, we’re glad companies like Deel exist; their business is founded on helping remote companies and freelancers function. Deel’s team of experts help businesses all around the world streamline their day-to-day operations by simplifying the onboarding process and paying contractors while staying fully compliant.
With a team of 12 that’s spread across three continents, seven countries, and 11 cities, how does this startup handle common remote challenges? And as they continue to grow, what processes do they have in place to do so sustainably? Find out below, where we chat with Anja Simic, Deel’s Creative Marketing Director!
How is Deel structured?
We like to consider our structure flat. We are still quite a small team, and we take pride in cross-functional collaboration. When we were just starting, there were only a few people in key positions. As we grew, we welcomed more people into the team and expanded our structure. We never determined the structure per se, it all came naturally. When we expand to a bigger team, we will find the best model to ensure transparency but keep the cross-collaboration.
What are some of Deel's cultural practices that you're proud of?
We welcome diversity
We come from many backgrounds, and we like bringing that into our work. Each of us brings something unique, and we embrace it with open hands.
Unlimited number of vacation days
We know everyone needs to take time off and rest so they can be their best selves at work
We take our whole team on a retreat twice a year. We love exploring new destinations and combining work with pleasure.
What benefits do you offer your employees to ensure they are comfortable in their role and working remotely?
- Everyone at our team has the freedom to work from wherever they want. We encourage traveling and love sharing our experiences with each other.
- There is no fixed working time. We expect everyone to bring their A-game at all times, but we focus on the outcomes instead of time spent working. You will have days when you get everything done by early afternoon and days when we do important launches, which means "all hands on deck".
- We organize team retreats where we come together to work and connect on a deeper level.
Why and how did you decide to go remote?
We envisioned Deel to be a remote company right from the start. Some of our team members joined in on the projects even before Deel. Our whole vision is to enable more people to work remotely, so it would be quite hypocritical to make Deel anything other than remote. The main value we see in remote working it the fact that you have the opportunity to source the best talent regardless of their location. Each of our team members brings a unique cultural background that enriches the whole team.
What does a typical day look like at your company?
Mondays are usually the most dynamic. We kick off the week with a weekly department calls where we discuss the current activities and main pain points. Then we split into 1-1 check-ins if necessary to offer individual support to our team members. We stay connected on Slack, where we discuss the points further, ask for feedback, etc.
What remote tools do you use?
We sometimes joke that we collect tools like they're Pokemon. :) The tools we use on the daily are:
Notion helps us keep everything in one place. It's like our HQ, where we track all the ongoing projects and documents. It also makes collaboration more natural as it provides quick editing and reflects changes instantly.
Slack helps us communicate daily. Due to our time zones, it also means waking up to 100 notifications :)
Tandem is the newest collaboration tool we introduced. We love how easy it is to jump on a call with someone and take care of any task.
Trusting employees is a big part of hiring remote candidates. How do you ensure your team is staying on task and engaged with their work?
During our weekly meetings, we write down what needs to happen and who is responsible for it. We go back to the list at the end of every week and check what was and wasn't accomplished. We trust our team does their best at all times and offer support when they encounter blockers. At the end of each week, we send weekly reports to our CEO. Those reports are not about writing what you accomplished but more a reflection of the week. You take a few minutes to sum up the week, share what you were most excited about and what you wished could have happened. It's a great way to ask for support and learn more about what makes your team tick.
How do you address common remote challenges for your employees?
Deel, like any other remote team, is not immune to remote work pains. We are aware of the challenges, and we try to learn from the community but also be proactive in understanding how our team functions.
We are all about communication and transparency! We have different Slack channels that everybody has access to. As a relatively small team, we have the opportunity to bring in everyone to all major discussions. We all participate in feedback and bring our ideas on how to improve the product we're collectively building. We also host bi-weekly team meetings where we do updates for all teams and showcase what's on our plates.
When it comes to fighting loneliness, there is definitely more to learn and improve. We are taking the time to understand our team's needs and build on that. As we grow, we plan to invest more resources on the topic. We try to fight loneliness with frequent chats and annual retreats. We are lucky to have a fantastic team that is quite connected and loves to connect on different work and non-work related topics.
What advice do you have for companies who want to go either fully remote or hybrid?
It's quite simple - try it out. Some companies are meant to be remote, and some are not, and that's ok. Start with bringing in more flexibility, such as giving the option to work remotely one day of the week. Monitor results over time and find what solution works best for you. You will never know unless you try. There are numerous benefits to hiring remotely as you don't want to limit yourself to one location. Of course, make sure you stay compliant while doing so :)
Why do you believe remote work is here to stay?
Remote work is undoubtedly on the rise. We think it has to do with the rise of startups and the everlasting development in technology. You don't have to be glued to your desk to perform well. Also, why would you limit yourself to one location when hiring employees, when you have the whole world to choose from? We like to think that once you try remote, you will like it too much to go back.
On the other hand, we have to think about the challenges that come with remote work. Companies have to comb through different labor laws, paperwork, and payment solutions to run smoothly. The whole process is not always straightforward, but we hope it will become one day. We know we are doing our best to make it happen! :)