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Embracing flexible working at Airteam

Here at Airteam, we support flexible and remote working. Out of the 14 members in our crew, 2 are remote working full-time, while the rest of us occasionally work from home.

Our crew loves it, and personally, I like occasionally skipping the peak hour Sydney train commute. But it’s not just me! It has been shown repeatedly that telecommuting leads to increases in productivity, reduced stress, and happier staff (ref).

Working in such a team poses several challenges. How do we work effectively with each other, when we are not always in the same room? Also, how do we prevent our crew from feeling isolated?

Tools are your friend

It turns out that most of our collaboration already happens online, via some great tools.

We use Slack for much of our collaboration. Often this would be short discussions in the general or project-based channels. Sometimes, we would benefit from actually speaking to each other in real-time, so when necessary we have meetings via video calls which is also a Slack feature. We also run our standups with Slack video call. We also use other tools like GitLab to do code review via the pull request mechanism. We find that it’s suited for code-level discussions, whereas discussions about architecture are usually done via Slack video call.

Other tools like Jira and Trello help us manage our projects. We use Jira for project management of larger projects. For chunks of work that are well-defined and shorter in nature, we tend to just put tasks on Trello.

Using Slack to help culture

We also have the challenge of preventing isolation. When we have colleagues physically around us, we could simply have a chat with each other, have lunch or coffee, etc.

When we work remotely, that isn’t an option for us. That can be pretty lonely! At Airteam, we have a culture where everyone is welcome to have fun on our Slack channels. Posting GIFs and funny articles on our #random channel is not only allowed but actively encouraged.

It’s not only a lot of fun, but it helps to recreate the “watercooler chat” experience that you would have when you’re working in the same place.

We also have channels like #culture, which deals with the things we do as a company that isn’t strictly about work, like Airteam gatherings.

Final thoughts

Embracing flexible and remote working has worked out very well for us so far. This is one aspect I would say that most of our crew appreciates. Speaking for myself, I feel like I’m respected because the company trusts me to complete my tasks without having to be physically in the office and accounting for every minute.

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