Alex Poulson, CEO of INDE, a company home to 35 employees across London, Los Angeles and Budapest shares his advice to businesses going remote for the first time, a pertinent topic amidst the recent Coronavirus pandemic. See the biggest challenges for companies going remote, and Alex’s advice on how to resolve them.
Alex Poulson – CEO of INDE
What is your role at INDE?
I’m CEO of INDE a company that develops products for marketing, entertainment and education using augmented reality and computer vision.
How long has your company worked remotely?
Overall as a business, we have made a conscious effort to move from conventional office hours. The entire team works entirely remote on Wednesday every week, often we go remote for 2-4 weeks in the summer. In the current situation, we’ve been closed for over 3 weeks. We were early to close, as we had been actively monitoring the situation in China since the end of 2019. Once an outbreak was declared in Italy, we decided it was little to no operational risk to close.
What do you like about remote work?
From a personal standpoint, working remotely gives me time to think and plan new things. As a CEO I sometimes struggle in an office filled with people looking for answers to difficult questions. Overall I think that remote work gives people a chance to balance their lives and careers more effectively.
I increasingly struggle with the idea that you can be great at work when your personal life is suffering. I increasingly believe that a more balanced week helps people to maintain momentum in all sides of their lives, which benefits all involved.
It also gives me a chance to fiddle with old cars and motorbikes!
What don’t you like about remote work?
Communication and Camaraderie. Firstly if you don’t have the correct tools in place to aid great communication, you’re going to suffer and quickly. Companies operate on agreed processes, agreed forms of communication. Once people head out of the office, a lot of these can break down which can cause tension and confusion.
One element that I always miss is the teamwork, the face to face solving a problem. No tool on earth can replace human interaction, it’s too dynamic, too fast-paced, too meta.
What are the biggest problems the company faced going remote?
Communication and process management are the keys to success when going remote. In the early days of remote work, we saw issues with project management communication. Email won’t solve these issues, so it’s important to look at how you will manage workflows effectively to ensure all the stakeholders can stay updated and update others accordingly.
Project management tools such as Trello give you cloud-based dynamic project management, Google Drive takes all of your files and spreadsheets and allows remote group collaboration. Slack provides instant messaging in a work-friendly format to allow teams and individuals to communicate directly at all times.
What is your top tip for a company going remote for the first time (dos/don’ts)?
Setup your remote tools such as Slack, Trello, Google Drive prior to moving out of the office. Ensure all understand their application and need. Explore how people will use them, I have been amazed in the past weeks how many people are tied to their desks because they were never given a laptop to work with!
All our staff work exclusively with laptops and can work from any desk, space, country. If employees need a desktop display, then add a display to a powerful laptop
What is your number one work tool/software/app you can’t live without:
Tough to name one so I’ll list the complete set that will allow you to run an entire company remotely:
Project Management: Trello
Instant Communication: Slack
File Storage, Delivery, Collaboration, Video Calling: Google for Business
Contract Delivery: DocuSign
Large File Transfer: WeTransfer
Alexander has also been kind enough to offer his time and experience to help small businesses in these tough times. If any small business owners need any help/guidance/advice/shoulder to cry on, he is giving 1 day a week to calls or IM. He is willing to help any businesses under 10 people who are open to change and have been directly impacted by the current situation.
If you want to reach out to him, you can find him on LinkedIn at: