Remote Now

Hiring developers

With these companies leading the shift to remote work, Turing engineers are well-positioned to excel.

With at least half of the American workforce working from home, remote work is the new normal. And, as major company after major company announces their plans to extend remote work policies for the long term, it’s looking like this new normal won’t be ending any time soon.

It’s almost stopped being a surprise anymore. As each new announcement comes in of work-from-home policies being extended later and later than previously planned, most of us have stopped questioning, wondering, or even worrying. If anything, we find ourselves signing into our next scheduled Zoom meeting a little relieved. “Why would I even want to go back to the office?”

With at least half of the American workforce working from home, remote work is the new normal. And, as major company after major company announces their plans to extend remote work policies for the long term, it’s looking like this new normal won’t be ending any time soon. Here’s the break down:

Twitter

In many respects, Twitter was the trendsetter that made a more all-in approach to remote work “cool.” It was back in early May when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent an email to all Twitter employees saying that they can continue working for home for as long as they see fit. That means remote work at Twitter can continue for as long as…forever. A spokesperson for Twitter revealed that this decision stemmed from Twitter’s “emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere.”

Square

Jack Dorsey is also CEO of Square, which is why the mobile payments company was quick to echo Twitter’s earlier announcement and make work from home a permanent option. And yes, they did use the word permanent.

Facebook

Just last week, Facebook announced its decision to extend the work-from-home option to July 2021. Although this policy change was largely driven by ongoing COVID concerns, in a live-stream posted to his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he is also catching on to the larger vision of the future of work: “When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or who are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives” It’s clear that Zuckerburg has seen the potential of remote work to advance opportunities for talent around the world. To his staff, he pitched the idea as a way of creating “more broad-based economic prosperity.” With this vision for the future, Zuckerberg has announced that it is going to “aggressively” ramp up the hiring of remote workers. The Facebook CEO now predicts that 50% of the company’s employees could be working remotely in the next 5 to 10 years.

Google

At about the same time as Facebook, Google also announced that its employees will have the option to continue working from home until at least July 2021. With concerns for how the COVID pandemic will impact families (especially given the possibility of having to provide home-schooling for children) Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote to his employees that he hopes the remote work policy “will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”

Shopify

Back in May, Shopify joined Twitter in giving its employees the option to continue working from home indefinitely. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke is also looking beyond the current COVID concerns and seeing the vision for the future of work. In a tweet, he explained that “COVID is challenging us all to work together in new ways. We choose to jump in the driver’s seat, instead of being passengers to the changes ahead. We cannot go back to the way things were. This isn’t a choice; this is the future.” What is this new future? Lutke made it very clear: “Office centricity is over”

What this means
With such large and influential tech companies like these transitioning to more permanent remote-work policies, it has never been a better time to be a Turing engineer. Opportunity is spreading across the globe. Silicon Valley is growing and Turing engineers are uniquely positioned to ride the wave of remote work jobs that is already here (with more coming). Like Zuckerberg’s sentiment, it’s time to stop cutting off the many brilliant and talented engineers who live in “different communities, have different backgrounds, and different perspectives.”

By Aug 13, 2020
BoundarylessEnterprise

Will Work Remain Remote Post COVID-19?

The world has changed. In December of 2019, you wouldn’t have been willing to bet that by April of 2020, we’d be doing every technical job in the US from our homes. Yet here we are as the world’s biggest-ever experiment in remote work enters its second full month. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that for most companies, even those with little or no remote work experience, things have been going pretty well.

The world has changed. In December of 2019, you wouldn’t have been willing to bet that by April of 2020, we’d be doing every technical job in the US from our homes.

Yet here we are as the world’s biggest-ever experiment in remote work enters its second full month. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that for most companies, even those with little or no remote work experience, things have been going pretty well.

So well, that Benedict Evans, the author of this remarkable newsletter (If you haven’t signed up, you should.) felt that now was an opportune time to reprise a wry truism and ask some excellent questions about it.

Benedict Evans Tweets about Remote Work

But then, he goes on to say:
“And in parallel, for years people wondered if the exploding cost of living and declining quality of life in Silicon Valley would force companies to start moving out . When would ‘are you driven enough to live here?’ be overtaken by ‘I can’t live here no matter what’?

“And now, we’ll find out. How many Silicon Valley companies will come out of months of forced remote work and decide that actually, they don’t need to pay SV office rents, and they don’t need to pay salaries to support housing costs 50% higher than London or NYC?

“So, this could be a catalyst for an acceleration in the global diffusion of software companies. /fin”

Or to put it more simply, as a result of coronavirus, has “remote work” become merely “work”? A lot of smart people seem to think so.

Below, Rich Barton, the co-founder of Zillow, announcing via Twitter that his entire team will be able to keep working from home for many months. He’s one among many Silicon Valley leaders that have come to agree that the benefits of remote work often exceed the drawbacks, even when you take the current pandemic out of the equation.

Rich Barton on Twitter Today we let our team know they have flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) through the end o… 2020-04-29 14-48-00.
Meanwhile, Jason Aten writes that even the behemoth, Microsoft, believes that remote work isn’t going to disappear once we emerge from the current situation.

Investors, many that used to believe that every key person needed to work from the same location, have altered their beliefs in today’s new reality.

This tweet from investor Jeff Morris is a great example:

As I type this, a number of companies are collecting data to learn just how far along the curve we are from remote work as a novelty to remote work becoming the way most of us work going forward.

We’re trying to find out how productivity has changed with most employees working remotely. We want to know whether people feel that remote work has improved or reduced their quality of life. We hope to get an idea of the annual savings companies expect to realize by eliminating the cost of maintaining some of the most expensive office space on earth, and we’ve been monitoring the shift in total payroll expense as a result of companies leveraging remote talent in geo-arbitrage regions.

While we don’t have answers yet, we have some clear sentiment. Many people won’t go back to the office. Some will appreciate the option to work where they please. CEOs believe they can radically reduce real-estate and salary costs without sacrificing much, if anything, in the performance of their teams.

At Turing, March was the company’s biggest month ever. Demand for skilled, remote-ready engineers has never been higher. And all of a sudden, companies that were remote-reticent have become believers.

While many uncertainties are staring us in the face, one thing is relatively sure; right now is not a great time to be a commercial realtor in Silicon Valley.

By Apr 30, 2020
Smart Slack hacks ultimate guide
COVID-19

The Ultimate Guide to Slack Hacks

Slack is one of the most popular communication tools for remote teams. With the ability to coordinate conversations by a specific theme, within a team or company-wide, there is great power in this platform. Long popular with remote teams, here are some tips and tricks that you might have missed. Use these to make the most of your time and communication efforts.

Slack is one of the most popular communication tools for remote teams. With the ability to coordinate conversations by a specific theme, within a team or company-wide, there is great power in this platform.

Long popular with remote teams, here are some tips and tricks that you might have missed.

Use these to make the most of your time and communication efforts.

We will cover:

Notification Management

Pin important messages

Keyboard shortcuts

Polls and surveys

Star items = quick list

Slackbot Reminders

Include posts

Keyword Notifications

Find mentions quickly

Search Smarter

Quick link to previous posts

Bookmark location in a channel

Formatting for Impact

Deep Work Time – DND

Customized Emojis

Integrate! Apps, bots, and workflows

Notification Management 

    • You may not need notifications for all activity within a channel. Adjust your notification requirements by selecting the settings icon (cog) at the top of the channel on desktop or using the drop-down menu (3 dots) on mobile, then settings, then notifications/notification preferences.

Pin important messages

    • You might want to pin the most current update of the project you are working on or your guide to using the channel. You can pin up to 100 messages per channel, but keeping it to crucial information is better.

Keyboard shortcuts

    • You can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the Workspace, mark a message as read or unread, format your messages, and more. Saving time and giving flow and process to your time in Slack.
    • When all the pictures and GIFs are making it hard to follow the conversation type “/collapse” into your text box, which will leave text only within the chat and reverse this type “/expand.”
    • To see the list of shortcuts hit “ctrl” and “/.”

Polls and surveys

    • Want to get some quick feedback from the team? Or trying to decide on meeting times? Use the command “/poll” and follow the instructions to call up the “Polly” app. Both powerful and fun.

Star items = quick list

    • Click “Show starred items” or use the keyboard shortcut “crtl_shift+s” for a quick list of all your starred messages. This hack can be useful to quickly review essential items and help you to come back to something you might not have time to handle at the moment.

Slackbot Reminders

    • Use the “/remind” command to give you a personal reminder, or to remind someone else on your team. An example is “/remind @Jeff of meeting at 2 pm”, your reminder will be sent at 2 pm to Jeff about your upcoming meeting.

Include posts

    • Where you need to share longer-form content, you can include posts in your Slack messages. You might want to share project plans, or quickly link to your code of conduct, vision, and mission statements.
    • Create a post – (On your desktop). Select the attachment icon (paperclip) → “Create new” → “Post.” From here, you can share your post, edit it, allow others to edit it, format the article, and add images to it—further instructions via the Slack help section

Keyword Notifications

    • While you will get notifications if you are tagged or mentioned, it can be useful to get a notification. Likewise, when someone uses a specific keyword. Go to preferences, then notifications to set up your desired keywords. You will receive the notification, and the channel will display a badge.

Find mentions quickly

    • You can use the @ symbol on the top right on desktop to show, or hide, mentions if you are looking for a recent conversation (or you’re drowning in notifications). Or use the keyboard shortcut “ctrl” + ”shift” + ”m” to show and hide your mentions.

Search Smarter

    • Use modifiers that help you to search smarter. “From:user”, “in:channel”, “during:March”, or “has:emoji-code”, this one is particularly useful if you follow a specific process of emoji usage within your Workspace. You can find a complete list of search modifiers here.

Quick link to previous posts

    • Using the timestamp (time beside your name above a post), you can copy this as a link and paste into a new post, bringing old posts back into the conversation quickly.

Bookmark a location in a channel

    • Some channels require more attention from us than others, if you need to read everything in the channel then use “Alt+click” on the message where you are leaving the channel, it will mark all subsequent messages as unread. On mobile, this should be a long press/hold on the message.

Formatting for Impact

    • Need certain parts of a post to stand out? Then use formatting. E.g., using * either side of a word will embolden it i.e., *here* now becomes here. Or traditional keyboard shortcuts also work. You can also add formatting like inline code or block quotes, very useful to help faster communication of crucial information. More on formatting your messages from Slack.

Deep Work Time – DND

    • DND – You can type in “/dnd” into the text box and then set a time, or use the bell icon to the top left and select a time frame. Stopping you from receiving any sounds or notifications in the time frame you specify, and your co-workers will see a sleeping symbol beside your name.

Customized Emojis

    • Emojis can be useful to speed up communication within your team or to help strengthen branding and team identity. You can add the custom emojis from the drop-down menu on the top left and choose “Customize Slack.” Admins have the power to limit who can edit these.

Integrate! Apps, bots, and workflows

      • Slack supports integrations with 100s of apps. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones. See the Slack help center for details on each and a full list of apps available, follow this linkZoom for SlackStart a meeting, join a meeting and make a call with Zoom phone. Remember, you must register your Slack and Zoom accounts with the same email address.
      • Trello for SlackManage cards on your boards from Slack, add conversations to cards, and update due dates.
      • Asana for SlackCreate new tasks and turn your conversations in Slack into to-dos in Asana
      • Salesforce for SlackSearch Salesforce records from Slack, configure Salesforce alerts for Slack. Send Slack messages to SalesForce, or send Salesforce records to Slack.
      • Twitter for SlackYou can set up mentions on Twitter to feed into a channel that the team can keep an eye on. Follow similar businesses or your suppliers.
      • Google Calendar for SlackView your full schedule and have your status update when you are scheduled in a meeting.
      • Donut for SlackDonut helps to improve team-building; there are prebuilt connection programs in Donut, one of the most popular functions is virtual random coffees. Help to encourage cross-organizational bonding.
      • Loom for SlackMention @person or #channel directly in your Loom videos, and they can watch the clip without needing to leave Slack.
      • Polly for SlackThis Polls and surveys bot lets you get quick feedback. Use pulse surveys directly in Slack.
    • Greetbot for Slack.  An onboarding assistant for Slack. Customize welcome messages and schedule follow-ups.
    • You can also create custom integrations, build your bot, create automated workflows, and much more, read more on this via the Slack help center here.

 

Do you have a workflow or trick that works well for you in Slack? Then please share it with us over on Twitter @Turingcom.

By Mar 31, 2020
COVID-19

A Collection of the Best Guides for the Suddenly Remote in the Time of COVID-19

At Turing, we’ve been focused on remote work for years. To help you out during the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve begun curating the best and most in-depth guides to help you navigate this new and confusing reality.

With so much information out there right now for the Suddenly-Remote, it can be hard to know where to turn or which information is reliable.

At Turing, we’ve been focused on remote work for years. To help you out during the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve begun curating the best and most in-depth guides to help you navigate this new and confusing reality.

We will continue to add to and update this list as additional high-quality information becomes available. Keep in mind that the majority of these guides were written for the immediate application of remote-work basics. They are not intended to provide the detailed information, skills, and best practices required for sustainable remote work or for new companies that are adopting a remote-first paradigm from day one.

With that in mind, here are our initial picks for the best guides to help you and your company deal with the need to go Suddenly-Remote during this very challenging moment in time.

GitLab’s Guide To Remote Work

https://about.gitlab.com/company/culture/all-remote/

Gitlab is the world’s largest all-remote team. They know what they are talking about. Gitlab’s guide is one of the most detailed guides out there and includes the company’s “Remote Manifesto.” They cover:

● How & Why

● Getting Started

● People & Values

● Management

● Hiring & Learning

You can jump into the sections that are most relevant to you and your team and share the link with others throughout your organization to help get them up to speed on all things remote.

Zapier’s guide to working remotely

https://zapier.com/learn/remote-work/

Here is another remote working heavy hitter. Zapier is 100% distributed, with over 300 employees spread across 17 countries.

The Zapier guide includes an AMA for those new to remote, which is available at the start of the page. This guide consists of the following seven areas:

  1. Automation for remote work
  2. Teamwork on a remote team 
  3. Remote work for managers 
  4. Remote work for employees 
  5. Remote workspaces 
  6. Remote work tools The state of remote work

Zapier has also added a recommended reading list. Their guide is downloadable as a file for ease of sharing.

Remote Work Guides from Twist

https://twist.com/remote-work-guides

Twist is a communication app from the wonderful people at Doist. Doist is a remote company with 68 team members spread across 25 countries.

Their guide is a collection of various remote working guides curated in once place. The guides available are as follows:

● The Future of Work: The Guide to Remote Work

● Remote Setup: The Remote Guide to Logistics

● Remote Projects 101: The Remote Guide to Project Management

● Scaling Your Remote Team: The Remote Guide to Hiring

● Leading Distributed: The Remote Guide to Management

● The Art of Async: The Remote Guide to Team Communication

● Designing Without Whiteboards: The Remote Guide to Product Design

There is a great depth of information here, including thoughts from various remote work experts throughout the guide.

The ultimate guide to remote work from Miro

https://miro.com/guides/remote-work/

Miro believes in helping teams to collaborate. Their remote work guide covers:

● Introduction to Remote Work & Collaboration

● Is Remote Work as Great as it Sounds?

● The Most Important Remote Work Statistics

● Guide to Hiring Remote Employees

● How to Onboard Remote Employees

● Building Remote Work Culture & Why It’s So Important

● How to Manage a Remote Team

● Engage Your Remote Team to Keep Productivity High

● Complete Guide to Remote Team Meetings

● 15 Best Team Building Activities & Games for Remote Workers

But what if you need more than a guide? The extraordinary team at Slack has you covered there, too. Simply click this link: https://calendly.com/slack-customer-experience/remote-consult?month=2020-03 to schedule a remote team consultation.

As more quality information is released, we’ll be updating this meta-guide to help you easily find the best resources from one centralized location.

By Mar 19, 2020
COVID-19

Remote Now! A Quick Guide to Remote Work Best Practices

In a world where so many are going suddenly remote there are things we can learn from those who have been working outside a traditional office. While there are differences in circumstances, job types and personalities, there are also many commonalities for those of us working remotely.   Here is an outline of some best practices to help you, and your team, make the most of remote work. 

Note: This is the second part in our series on Remote Now, a primer for employees and companies that have been forced to become suddenly remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for additional posts over the next few days!

In a world where so many are going suddenly remote there are things we can learn from those who have been working outside a traditional office.

While there are differences in circumstances, job types and personalities, there are also many commonalities for those of us working remotely.  

Here is an outline of some best practices to help you, and your team, make the most of remote work. 

We will cover:

  • Communication
  • Social interactions
  • Trust
  • Online etiquette
  • Remote work boundaries

Over Communication is Key

Quick Wins:

  • Have agreed communication processes & schedules
  • Embrace the remote way of communicating
  • Use video in meetings
  • Batch communications where appropriate
  • Edit and review messages before you send them
  • Over communicate = assume nothing – give context and give some more
  • Strong documentation as a rule 

This is the number one challenge for most people going remote.  When working in an office we become accustomed to being able to “swing by” someone’s desk to ask a question.  Communication in a remote role forces us to be more deliberate and think ahead of time what we might need when we send a message to a colleague.

It also forces us to not “scratch the itch” straight away.  You might like an answer from your colleague straight away, but if you are using asynchronous communication then you need to get comfortable with waiting for a response.  But having agreed times that people respond by will help the team to know, and meet, expectation.

And batching communications will help you develop better communications hygiene.  Don’t send off a message every time you have a query, put them into one post and edit and review before sending.  Ask if you could make your message clearer, or do you need this level of information?

Documentation is a huge part of keeping your team and projects moving forward.  Make sure to prioritize good documentation and agree on formats and processes for keeping documents up to date, while ensuring version protection and data security.



Quick definition: Synchronous = real time e.g. phone or video call  vs. Asynchronous Communication = you send the information not expecting it to be picked up straight away e.g. email, messages via Slack.

Social Beings and Trust

Quick Wins:

  • Schedule social time with the team
  • Have the trust talk with team members
  • Set expectations around check-ins
  • Encourage two sided feedback
  • Ensure team members feel supported
  • Build serendipity into the team

We are social creatures which helps us to create bonds, growing trust and improving communication and collaboration as trust is developed.  Without social interactions this can be greatly slowed down on a remote team. Build some serendipity into how the team interacts, using tools like Donut via Slack helps to bring some randomness into team interactions and encourage the creativity and the social strengthening that happens in unstructured situations.

Therefore making social interactions part of your work week is hugely important.  Make time in your daily standup to include time to chat about life in general, while it might feel like a “waste of time” there and then, it is actuallys an investment in improving the team’s effectiveness in the long run.

Schedule in virtual chats, run ice-breakers and when appropriate, organise in person meetups to help your team to bond.

Managers should start open conversations with team members to ensure they feel trusted within their work.  As a manager you may need to “check-in” on a team member, but make sure it’s clear that you’re not “checking up on them”, this can feel like unnecessary monitoring.  Build clear expectations around when check-ins happen at the team and individual level. Schedule them in, use a format like a daily stand-up to help everyone know where they are on a project, what their next steps are and how they are progressing so far.  For individual check-in, ensure that team members know that these are about finding out if they are enjoying their work and feel supported. Make it about you both sharing information and have equal sharing of feedback.

Key to all of this is trust, it can be hard to help people new to remote work to feel like they are trusted.  This is vital in helping that person to flourish in a remote role and should be a core part of the management team’s goals.  Having the conversation about trust helps, also recognising someone when their work is good is very important.

Online Etiquette and Boundaries

Quick Wins:

  • Use video for conference calls
  • Use an agenda
  • Everyone is remote for the meeting
  • Either set specific “office hours” or a set cut off point for work
  • Create rituals to help you start and end the day

Because of the nature of many of the tools we are using we need to be extra deliberate about how we an online meeting.  It is much easier to mistakenly speak over someone in a video conference call than in a physical meeting room. Create habits that help to ensure people are engaged and feel involved.

If you have a hybrid team and are running a conference call, treat everyone as if they are remote.  Having some team members in a room, while your remote colleagues are struggling to hear the conversation happening on site isn’t good meeting etiquette.  Have all team members at their desks and dialling in as if they are also remote. This helps to level the field for communication and gives the in office team members a clearer understanding of what is good practice for an online meeting.

And finally boundaries.  These are important to ensure people don’t burn out.  A struggle for many remote workers is continuing to work late into the evening, or working through lunch.  This becomes a matter of diminishing returns, you are no longer as effective and it can take days to come back from burnout.  Agree a set hours of work where possible, and suitable, or set yourself certain boundaries like “I don’t work after 8pm on a week day” will help to avoid burn out.  It also helps you not needing to wonder if you are ok, or if you could fit in another hour, which is one more decision you would need to make. 

The issue is often being able to switch off after a days work.  You might have just hit on an amazing idea but now it’s “home time”, using rituals to finish (and start) your day helps you to get into the right mindset and wind down from your work brain.  Things like taking a walk outside, listening to a certain type of music, exercise or scheduling a call or coffee with a friend or family member can help to draw the lines around your work.

We all find our own ways of working and are always learning from each other.  We’d love to hear what works well for you and your team. Find us on Twitter and let us know your remote working best practices!

By Mar 16, 2020
COVID-19

Remote Now! A primer for the “suddenly remote” during the COVID-19 pandemic

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard the news. As coronavirus cases explode around the globe, more and more companies are instructing their teams to work from home. For companies that already have a fully or partially remote structure, this is pretty much business as usual. But, if your employer is more traditional, being forced to run an entire business with a team that finds itself in the position of suddenly being remote presents a slew of challenges.

Introduction:

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard the news. As coronavirus cases explode around the globe, more and more companies are instructing their teams to work from home.

For companies that already have a fully or partially remote structure, this is pretty much business as usual. But, if your employer is more traditional, being forced to run an entire business with a team that finds itself in the position of suddenly being remote presents a slew of challenges.

This primer, which will be produced in short excerpts, is intended to help employees and employers get a grip on the essential skills, tools, and best practices that will reduce the problems and stress we’re all likely to encounter during this frightening time.

For most of us, this Remote-Now experience will (hopefully) be short-lived. If we’re fortunate, we’ll weather the coronavirus crisis quickly, and within a couple of weeks, people will be able to return to their offices and normal work schedules.

This primer is not intended to help your company “go remote” on a long term basis. Our goal is to give you the necessary knowledge and skills to enable you to continue your operations with as little disruption as possible during the near term.

As a result, we’re not going to do an exhaustive review of every tool, or of all the techniques that remote-first companies use. Instead, we’ll focus on simple practices and widely available and mostly free tools that will allow you to get started quickly and function at a reasonably high level during this difficult time.

Over the next several short posts, we’ll profile the tools we think are the easiest to learn, the most common (making it more likely your team is already familiar with them), and especially those that are inexpensive or free. We’ll talk about scheduling, give you a list of the most common remote worker shorthand, and go over the best practices we’ve found that will help your team interact in the most seamless manner possible.

To help you get started, here’s a short list courtesy of Lisette Sutherland of Collaboration Superpowers with the simple things your company and employees can do now to help make this daunting and unexpected challenge a bit easier:

  1. Find a dedicated place in your house. Make this an area where you can be productive and is separate from your private life. 
  2. Use video. It’s important that your team members can see and hear you well. Have plenty of light and wear a headset.
  3. Create a team agreement. Talk about expectations for how to work together—templates available here.
  4. Set goals and be enthusiastic. Working remote is all about trust and communication. How will you know what each other are doing? 
  5. Get familiar with the tools. There are great tools available for online collaboration like ZoomSlack, and GoogleDocs that can make this process easier.
  6. Lean in. Start without big expectations, experiment, and grow your skills. Put feedback loops in place to evaluate progress. Regular retrospectives on how the team is doing will inspire continuous improvement and trust.

In addition, don’t forget to be empathetic. Not everyone has worked from home before. Some issues and distractions are likely to make this effort more challenging for some than others (kids home from school or a sick spouse come to mind). 

There’s a learning curve here. Going Remote on the fly is not the simplest thing in the world, especially when that world is freaking out around you. Put simply, be kind to one another. We’re all in this together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Mar 13, 2020