What is it Like to Work for a “Remote First Company”
Dealcode is a remote-first company. Familiar to many as an emerging trend, there is much more to this new way of work than you might think. Ideally, remote first reflects the entire work culture of a company.
Co-founder Dennis and I are often met with skepticism when we introduce Dealcode as a remote first company. Many immediately expect our team to work primarily off-site or at home. Others assume we have no office at all and work exclusively with remote resources. Neither of these assumptions are completely false, nor completely correct.
Our Office, Our Home Port
First of all, I’d like to set the record straight in response to the assumption that we don’t have an office. We do indeed have an office in northern Germany—in downtown Hamburg in fact, and we have had one since our founding. This office is continuously expanding. It’s our home port and the hub of Dealcode.
It is also personally important to us to have a "home" for Dealcode. Dennis and I highly value meeting in person on a regular basis. A regular day at the office allows for much more exchange and communication than our joint virtual meetings. We go to lunch and have a coffee together. We also like to go out for pizza in the evening to talk about strategies or new hires.
Co-working Spaces: Working Productively Anywhere
Another aspect is recruiting. In the final step of the selection process, we always want to meet our applicants in person. We also use our offices for this purpose. Here is where one of the special features of a remote first company comes into play, and thus also a major advantage: In addition to our headquarters in Hamburg, we have many other offices around the world. This is made possible by providers such as Regus, Spaces or WeWork, which offer office space in almost every country and every major city. This means that we and our team can not only work in a professional working environment all over the world, but we can also conduct job interviews or client meetings in almost any location. It’s thus not uncommon for us to spend a few days a month working in Berlin, Munich, Barcelona or another city.
Workation: Trust, Work and Flexibility
Remote first means we lend our employees a great deal of freedom and trust. Every Dealcode team member is able to freely and flexibly determine their work location (within the EU) for a certain quota per year. We’re confined to the EU for tax reasons which we won’t go into detail on here, as this would deserve its own blog article. This means that our employees can also enjoy the trend of a “workation” - making work and vacation possible. They can now work from places where they like to vacation, take a few days off here and there or simply work much more flexibly.
For example, Dennis and I spent 3 weeks in Marbella with our families in November 2021. What may sound like a vacation with a little work on the side was in reality carefully planned in great detail long in advance. We started by finding an accommodation with many rooms, stable WiFi with ample bandwidth, a stable power supply and enough tables to work from. Our schedule was also much more a meticulously coordinated "timetable", complete with video conferences, regular weekly appointments, lunch breaks and spending time with our children.
As a result, the day was often divided up among work and play. It wasn’t uncommon for us to hold night sessions in order to make up for the two-hour visit to the beach with the kids.
In the end, it all worked out and demonstrated how this way of working creates completely new opportunities and lets us combine our careers and family life. But it also showed us that this cannot be a permanent model. After all, both we and our families need certain routines such as daycare, school and regular working hours. Being able to work for several hours without interruption is also better for your own concentration.
Co-Working Off-Site Events
In addition to flexibility, responsibility and trust, there is yet another big advantage to working for a remote first company. We always have workstations available for around 50% of our employees. While this means that not all team members meet in the office at one time, it creates cost savings we can then use to make more company-wide meetings possible on a regular basis. To this end, we regularly organize so-called co-working off-site events. At these events in vibrant and startup-friendly locations within Europe, we meet with the entire company to spend time together. We work on a regular basis, conduct workshops and team-building activities. Of course, we also always have time for shared experiences. Unforgettable moments such as these likely bond teams much closer together than 200+ office days a year could ever do.
After 10 months of "Remote First" we can report an overwhelmingly positive experience and can only advise other companies to consider similar approaches. Particularly among younger Generation Z applicants, we notice an increasing desire for a better work-life balance, more freedom and a great deal of trust. Certainly, this way of working is not the ideal environment for everyone, nor is it possible for every company. But if you have the means, you should definitely consider a flexible working model for your employees. And applicants should think very carefully about which remote options and which degrees of freedom they want for their next job.
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