How We’re Embracing the All-Remote Experience | Cockroach Labs
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How We’re Embracing the All-Remote Experience

How We’re Embracing The All-Remote Experience

Adjusting to a completely remote lifestyle during a pandemic is no easy feat, and for many, staying productive in a time like this is even harder. Cockroach Labs is working hard to ensure that our people have what they need to take care of themselves and work-from-home effectively.

Our company was founded with a belief in establishing balance and flexibility at the core of our organizational philosophy. We say so proudly on our careers website: “We care about productivity, not face time.” This principle has driven how we put best practices in place surrounding remote work, asynchronous communication, and relocating throughout your career with us. We’re particularly proud of how this commitment has smoothed the quick transition to company-wide remote work amidst COVID-19’s spread. Right now, our foremost goal is to make sure that our team is safe and practicing vital social distancing measures.

From our founding in 2015, most of our early team was based in New York City. Over time, as we began to hire Roachers in places like Seattle and San Francisco, we opened co-working spaces in those new cities. Later, we did the same in Toronto to bring our past interns from Canada on board! Opening these offices meant welcoming more talent from more parts of the world and we’re happy to do so. As we’ve expanded our sales team, we’ve started hiring for revenue roles in Germany, London, and elsewhere in Europe. We will continue to evaluate new regions as we grow, but we’ve confirmed an important hypothesis: a distributed workforce can still build the world’s best distributed database.

How Do You Support a Distributed Workforce?

Thankfully, the near-ubiquitousness of remote work or teams living across time-zones at our company means we’ve built out a ton of resources to make Roachers effective in a time like this. Here are some of the ways we do it:

  • Workshops and Lunch and Learns: We’re big believers that you can never stop learning. That’s why we regularly facilitate workshops on topics such as asynchronous (or non-instant) communication, effectively leading remote meetings, and more.
  • Individual Coaching: One of the best ways to learn, we think, is from each other. Our staff is welcome to schedule time with a member of the People team, their manager, or a remote teammate to discuss how to stay productive at home.
  • Remote Work Knowledge Share: We regularly ask our team to share what they’ve learned about how to best work remotely and communicate digitally. Here are some examples:
    • We ask our team to specify their usual working hours on their calendars
    • Conduct weekly Ask Me Anything sessions with members of the People team
    • Following this checklist for optimal video call quality (courtesy of Raphael Poss):
        • Connecting your computer to a power source for full CPU performance
        • Using a wired internet connection
        • Closing all non-essential applications during your calls
        • Where possible, using separate audio and video equipment to enhance call quality

 

  • Technology: We see both hardware and software as an investment in making all of us better at what we do and better at collaboration. Not only can every Roacher request the tech with which they work best when they onboard, but we can help set up remote offices if you’re going to be working from home long term! Here’s what we’re doing to support our team further during the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • Providing a $250 stipend to all of our staff to purchase necessities for their home office
    • Reimbursing up to $80 of home internet costs per month for the duration of company-wide remote work
    • Onboarding all new hires virtually by sending materials and new technology directly to their homes

 

  • Culture and Engagement: We’ve moved all of our social hours and team-wide meetings online, including:
    • Netflix Party Watch Night
    • Virtual Trivia Night
    • Volunteer home office tours (yes, even if it’s a nook in your bedroom)
    • Slack channels: setting up a #watercooler slack channel and Google Hangout, a channel for parents to share their tips and tricks for working and keeping their children in a routine, and more!

 

  • Hiring: We’re moving forward on hiring with some key adjustments, including:
    • Fully remote interviewing, including virtual coffee chats in lieu of lunches
    • Gathering detailed feedback on remote interviewing experiences to quickly improve
    • Walking candidates through what remote onboarding will look like

What’s Next?

We’ve set up a structure to make working outside of our offices not only possible, but easy.  Since we have been scaling this practice up since day one, we’re excited to say that when this pandemic ends, our infrastructure will be stronger than ever. As our staff increases in numbers, that won’t be without its challenges.

We know that flexible policies are only as good as the support you put behind them. That’s why continued learning, knowledge sharing, and investments in resources that make a distributed workforce a better one will remain cornerstones of our collaboration strategy. At Cockroach Labs, our team works to make sure that we’re delivering on the core values to which we commit. That’s how you put people first.

Want to work with the team building a better workplace? Check out our open roles!

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