Deekit built their synonymous whiteboard app to transform the way remote teams collaborate. This group of former Skype engineers and managers knows the struggle that remote workers face when it comes to sharing ideas across borders and time zones. And with a list of customers including Sony, Spotify, and Uber, the Deekit team needs to communicate and innovate as efficiently as possible.
Blake Moore took the time to share Deekit’s best practices for remote team success.
Please tell us about the importance of location independence at your company.
Our founders have been doing remote work for a while. They were all early team members at Skype, and there they often juggled communication between offices in Estonia and San Francisco, working on the move whenever needed/possible. It’s in our DNA you could say!
At Deekit we firmly believe that good work can be done anywhere. We also value that everyone is different! On the team, we have early risers, late night workers and everything in between. With the different time zones we have, we’re pretty flexible about when work gets done, as long as it gets done.
Did you start with the intention of having a distributed or nomadic team? If not, when did you decide to support people working remotely?
From the beginning, the team has had the option to work remotely whenever they want to. In fact, when we went through Techstars London back in 2015, half of the team stayed in Tallinn while the other half were in London.
What are some of the challenges you face as a team without a central location or office?
We do have a central office in Estonia (Deekit Hub), but the team is free to work from wherever they like. It works really well being able to drop in while at the same time having the flexibility to move around.
Are there important non-office workspaces in the history of building your company—a favorite coffee shop, bar or similar space?
The Techstars HQ in London was pretty instrumental in our growth. A lot got done there!
What % of your company regularly works remotely?
Although we have Deekit Hub, it’s very rare to have everyone in the office. Our daily standup calls always have a few people dialing in from somewhere else 🙂
Any advice or best practices for supporting the work styles of your teammates from a distance?
Be flexible and trust your team. Everyone’s different and ultimately productive at different times (especially when time zones are involved!). We definitely live by the ethos that it doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you get it done. We trust each other to come through on the expectations we’ve set. We’re all super accountable, which is crucial when you’re working with others remotely!
What types of places do your teammates choose to work from when remote?
Co-working spaces, coffee shops, and their homes. These are definitely some of our go-to spots.
What qualities do you look for when hiring for a distributed team?
Being a good communicator is crucial. If anything, when working remotely it’s important to over-communicate. If you have any questions, problems or worries it’s important to be incredibly upfront with the rest of the team. When you’re not in the same office you have to be very transparent so you stay on the same page with everyone.
Flexibility is key too in a remote employee. We feel very lucky to have the flexible work culture we do at Deekit. However, this sometimes means you have to take calls at weird hours or work around others. But it’s all a small trade off for working from wherever you want and with an awesome team!
You’ve built a great product that helps the distributed workforce at large. Why did you choose to do that?
Deekit was created because there was a big gap in how people collaborate online. In many ways, how teams work together is a little over-complicated. So we took it back to basics and took the simplest collaboration tool (a whiteboard) and made it online.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
To make remote work happen you have to be open-minded and experimental. We like to think we’re both of these things at Deekit! If something’s better, we’re happy to change and adopt it. We’re constantly trying out new ways to collaborate remotely and as a team, we are forever evolving.