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Startup life Technology

In defense of time together

As a passionately remote-first company, I’m occasionally caught in the apparent paradox of having to explain why spending some percentage of our time together in the same location is a necessary part of Mote’s operating model. In fact, it’s so important that my relocation to Europe this Summer was partly motivated by a strong sense that our company’s future depended on Alex and I being free to spend at least some percentage of time together, free from the spectre of enforced two-week quarantines.

Anyhow, this week Alex and I have been able to spend quality time together, working on a business-critical product release, planning out the next few months, and taking stock of our progress. And coincidentally all of this has been against a backdrop of beautiful Greek countryside, many shared meals and more than a few shared drinks.

So, why is time together so essential for high-functioning remote teams? Here’s my take:

  1. In startups, you tend to be working very hard towards a highly uncertain and amorphous goal. Success depends on founders’ – and early employees’ – ability to convince one another that this goal is attainable and highly desirable. Time together is a way to mutually re-commit to the mission and journey.
  2. Sustained periods of high-intensity work will cause unintended stresses and strains on any relationship. This is true both at home and amongst work colleagues, and both sets of stakeholders deserve a level of reinvestment.
  3. Some tasks really are much easier to undertake while colocated. Really complex or novel product specification, quickly iterating on user journeys and priorities…

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