How we built our healthy remote start-up

Soundhariya Viswanathan / Reading Time: 6 mins

6 ways in which we have balanced the mental wellness of our colleagues

Work-life balance is the key to healthy remote work culture

Remote by Design and not Default

4 Simple ways to impact

Flexible remote work model

With 29%, India is the 2nd highest in the employee burnout and 41% feel that personal and professional lives are being negatively affected says Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index that surveyed over 6,000 information and first-line workers across 8 countries.

Since 2020, there has been a major shift in the way companies worked (Lucky us though). The COVID-19 sped up remote working as the future for anybody who can telework. Since then, the line between work and personal lives has blurred. As the days pass by, the workforces across domains are trying to adapt themselves to the remote work model.

Companies have adapted to this new normal, while some are making the permanent shift, some are experimenting with alternatives, but many have gone hybrid. Although, the uncertainities remains and debates continue about the long-term solution.

2020 has been the most challenging year for personal and professional lives for people across spectrum. The topic of mental wellness has gained more relevance in the recent months due to the negative impact the pandemic brought on the global economy and daily lives.

Remote by Design and not Default

At GoFloaters, as remote-first company we continue to build 100% remote company which is a motivating, vibrant and successful. Being remote has been a part of our ethos. And so, we understand the importance of mental wellness and building a great team. As a team, we have always emphasized on the sensitizing and dealing with employee stress, isolation, depression, and other work insecurities. Our founders and key team members take the lead to engage frequently with employees and keeping a tab on our well-being.

4 simple ways to impact

For us, happiness with remote work matters! At a start-up it is common to have a burnout, but at GoFloaters we take work-life balance seriously. We love to inspire each other every day and create healthy work environment. There are 4 simple ways in which we analyse and keep a check on the mental well-being of our colleagues:

  • Open conversation and direct feedback: Our Co-Founder & COO Srivatsan believe frequent conversations is the key to build the camaraderie between team members. He trusts that this is the only way we can make each other comfortable, encourage, and progress in the long run. A start-ups journey is not just about the founder's vision. It is equally about the team's vision and their personal aspirations too. Create an open environment to accommodate not just feedback and ideas but also the dreams of the team members.
  • Surveys and tools: When we first started the officevibe tool, the team wondered why we need it. But over a period, we realised the importance of sharing the feedback and gauging the pulse of each team member. The slack built-in tool has enabled us to understand the moods and vibes in the distributed team.
  • Team interaction: Remote interaction is not easy. But team collaborations through formal and informal calls need to be an integral part of our work schedule. No doubt it takes up time, but this is a great way to give social support. Hey, tea breaks matter, right? We gather once in couple days to discuss, interact, and share the progress. We encourage participation and opinion from all our employees, even if it is not their project. These are great ways to create a postie environment.
  • Trust your team: If your team member enjoys the trust of the leaders in the company and they realise it, they become leaders of their domain and take full ownership. This is much better and scalable model than micromanaging the work.We may not be able to control everything. Companies and remote team need to recognise, emphasis and action towards mental wellbeing of every team member by preventing burnout, striking the right balance between work-life balance.

Flexible remote work model

Over the years, at GoFloaters, we have found different ways encourage and better the art of remote working. Although, every team is different and may need to follow different approaches to building successful remote team relations. In this article, here are 3 practical ways in which we have adopted to flexi model in the remote environment has built a strong bond between our team.

Work hours:

For the nature of our business, being 100% remote is tough. But we continue to remain 100% distributed and flexible. One of the most sought-after benefits that we have been able to offer a non 9 to 5 approach. We let our teams decide their hours of working. Flexible work hours have always been essential.

We have our colleagues who are parents to young children; we have had colleagues who needed to provide nursing support at home, and while some preferred Indian standard timings, some preferred to work in the US shift hours. The teams and team members use the discretion to define their work (available) hours, the time they will be most productive.

Location Independence:

Would you believe if we said, our founders are continents apart, we have teams spread across 6 plus cities in India. Yes! Texas, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Erode, Jaipur, and so on. We have never had a physical office and have always preferred to work from anywhere as long as the assigned project gets done and connectivity remains. Location independence has enabled us with the power to choose and work with the best of talents from the length and breadth of our country and

• Avoid peak hour commutes

• Traffic snarls and stress

• Saving the environment extra pollution

• Happiness with casual clothing

• Juggling with personal and professional duties.

And above all the arrangements to choose our workspace. At our convenience and depending on the need, we create our satellite office for a day and work as individually or collaborate.

Work allocation:

We have mastered the art of remote working. We are fond of remote tools and digital products that help with resource allocation and productivity. Be it full-time employees or consultants or interns each of us are empowered with tools that help us synchronize and drive smooth flow at work. We use slack, google meet, or zoom, asana and host of other collaboration tools to foster better culture at work and harmony intact.

And finally, we create opportunities to meet and get together, both for work and pleasure. We are humans and crave for face to face interactions at some point. We may not be able to meet as a whole company but at different occasion, we have taken the opportunities to celebrate in-person milestone, birthdays, and mini conferences at a physical place. Spending time in-person is invaluable and boosts team bond.

Flexible working comes with its own challenges. But is not impossible to create a promising remote company culture. Being a flexible team may mean different things to different people and businesses. But it has a direct correlation to the mental wellness of the employees and to the productivity of the workforce.

Indian companies are still new to the progressive culture of remote working. A large part is unaware of mental issues related to work such as anxiety and stress disorders. Having workforces from different backgrounds, companies now should take onus and champion the cause of the mental well-being of the remote employees.

Over the years of our existence, we have realized nothing is more important than trust and autonomy at work. The right balance can create the right culture for a meaningful, remote work environment. Freedom at workplace enhances greater happiness.

Category: Insider