In conversation with: Robert Gelb

Welcome to our Q and A series, where we bring together entrepreneurs and leaders in the business community. Each interviewee brings their unique perspective and hands-on experience of the challenges faced when starting and scaling a company.

17 October 2023

Robert Gelb

Robert Gelb, Founder of Organic Suspension, talks Going the Distance 

How do you choose the right remote workers to join the team?

Remote work suits people who are confident in how they work best, are very clear in communication and see value in providing feedback early and often.  It can be a lonely existence, so testing for an awareness of how they see the relationship with their colleagues, with work and also socially goes a long way to making sure you’re bringing someone on who understands not just the benefits, but the challenges of remote work.

How can you have confidence in a remote team getting the work done?

Fundamentally it’s about trust and often I find people who ask this question mask the remote aspect for a lack of trust. 
Just because someone comes into an office doesn’t mean they’re getting their work done. 

A manager should have an understanding of what done looks like and be able to tell if someone is performing or not based on the work itself, not where someone did it.

What can be put in place to give remote teams the best chance at success?

Thinking through processes and rituals is important to make any business productive, but remote especially so. 
If one member of a meeting is remote, everyone should be ‘remote’, i.e everyone should be on separate connections during zoom calls, even if they’re in the same room. 

Decision-making should have clear processes – for us, ‘if it wasn’t on Slack, it didn’t happen’ to encourage everyone to write up decisions, even if they were made in person.

Have you found any particular advantages working with a remote team over more traditional in-office teams?

The flexibility is extremely beneficial and often leads to more happy team members. 
Expanding our talent pool to be highly specific to global timezone-ranges rather than local lets us hire faster, reduce office cost and also do much better asynchronous work.

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