Top Questions We’re Asked About Working For A Remote Company

Written by Lana Wessels, PICHA’s South Africa based Marketing Director | This image is a part of the free Melanin Modern collection, shot by Olsein Idoundou Ol

PICHA is and always has been a fully distributed team. This means that none of us work together in the same office or, in some cases, in the same country. Currently, the PICHA team is spread throughout Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the USA. WIth more and more people getting interested in remote working, we thought we’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about working for a remote company.

Is collaboration with your team difficult when you’re working remotely?

Remote collaboration takes some getting used to but I wouldn’t say it’s more difficult. I just think you have to be more intentional with your efforts and really develop your communication skills. We use tools like Trello, shared Google Docs, Paper by Dropbox and good ol’ fashioned email for seamless asynchronous collaboration. 

Why don’t you have a company office or headquarters?

We believe in the power of a fully remote team – people can work where they are happiest and most productive. From a company’s point of view, we save overhead costs and have access to a wide pool of candidates when we’re searching for new team members. Also, as we saw with the COVID-19 pandemic, remote teams are a lot more resilient and able to ensure an uninterrupted flow in operations.

Remote working allows for a flexible schedule, giving PICHAns complete control over their work-life balance. A healthy, happy team means that PICHA reaches its potential while also allowing each individual team member to reach theirs.

Doesn’t it get lonely working remotely all the time?

This will differ from one person to the next but I think it’s fair to say that yes, it sometimes does get lonely when working as a part of a fully remote team. We have a few systems in place at PICHA that helps us feel connected to one another and we also encourage team members to connect with their local communities to combat the loneliness that may set in. Co-working spaces, scheduling regular time with friends and family and joining community clubs or programs are just a few examples of things we recommend trying. 

Do you have to be online at all hours?

When we have video calls scheduled for the entire team (which happens about twice every month), we schedule it for a time that can work for everyone. This may be at 8:30AM or at 7:30PM depending on where you’re based – but we try to keep the times as reasonable as possible and we also try to limit the amount of video meetings we have, instead leaning into asynchronous communication as much as possible.

In general, every team member decides their own working hours. We believe everyone is different and has different familial responsibilities so we look at deliverables a lot more than whether you were logged in from 9AM to 5PM.

How do you develop a company culture or build relationships at work when you are based all over the world?

This is probably one of the biggest challenges any remote company faces. We combat this a few different ways:

  • Every year we have a strategy week where we all meetup in person for a one-week intensive program of strategizing and team building.
  • We try to include company culture as a big part of our on-boarding process when hiring new PICHAns.
  • We have an optional virtual “drinks after work” social video call once monthly where anyone in the team can join and we chat about all things non-work related.
  • We encourage regular WhatsApp conversations between team members with voice notes being a great way to enjoy a conversation in an asynchronous way.
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