Innovation thrives in a culture of openness and flexibility. To foster a productive and creative environment, we implemented flexible hours, hybrid, and remote working at Cardo AI. Here’s how we did it.
Remote and flexible working is a big part of our company culture. The transition towards this type of work arrangement has become more and more popular over the last couple of years due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, at CARDO AI we have embraced remote and flexible since the start. For us, it is not a temporary arrangement, but an essential part of how we work and operate, as it allows us to accommodate our employees’ individual needs and make sure they are able to do their best work. And we intend to keep it that way as the company grows.
Of course, having distributed and flexible teams brings along many challenges. In response, we embraced the agile culture and implemented initiatives to keep our teams aligned, productive, and focused on our common objectives.
In this article, you will learn about our remote and flexible teams, why we believe this type of working is here to stay and what we have learned so far by implementing it.
Why flexible and remote working?
When Cardo AI was founded, we decided to set the bar for our employees’ performance not by the number of hours they spend in the office but by their results. We value the unique contributions of our employees and recognize that the best results are achieved by a balance of work and life.
Instead of feeling like they can’t leave their desks all day, our co-creators can work from wherever they like, as long as they get their jobs done. Every member of our team is professional and thoughtful enough to handle this way of working together without compromising productivity and performance.
Over 10% of our talent has been working fully remotely for the past 6 months, without any disruption to the workflow. And as for the rest of our team, everyone can follow the approach they prefer: some people mostly work from home and spend a few days at the office, while others feel more productive when among colleagues. No matter your preference, working at CARDO AI you have the freedom to choose what suits you best.
How does it work?
As part of our Work-Life Balance policy, we have laid out guidelines for remote work, which can be exercised by all members of the organization who have completed their probation period (exceptions may also be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis).
One of our core company values is “Context over control”, which refers to how we want to avoid controlling behaviors towards our talent and enable everyone to choose their career path and best ways of working. In addition, this core value is related to how we strive to provide transparency and adequate tools to all employees as well as consistent documentation. These three aspects help us satisfy the remote work needs of our co-creators, which we aim to strengthen even further in the months to come, as we expand to new countries and locations.
“Flexible working is one of the things I like the most about Cardo AI. It enables you to work from home at your own pace. You can choose to adjust to your tasks and work commitments without having to sacrifice important things in your daily life. It’s a great arrangement.”Rubin Haxhiymeri – Product Delivery & Growth Lead
Flexible and remote working is not a benefit, but a must-have
A 2021 Worker survey reports that nearly three-quarters (73%) of all workers believe employers should keep on offering and expanding remote-work arrangements even after the pandemic is subdued.
Moreover, nearly half of all current remote workers (42%) state that if their company doesn’t continue to offer remote-work options long term, they will look for a company that does.
Why do employees feel like remote and flexible arrangements are such a necessary part of a company’s offering?
Some of the main reasons listed by respondents include money and time savings, a better quality of life, improved health, and reduced stress levels.
“Commuting and dealing with traffic every day can be stressful and time-consuming. I am happy to go to the office, meet with the team, and have amazing brainstorming sessions together. However, I also appreciate the opportunity to stay at home a few days a week and save time that I can spend with my family and friends. “Arges Hajderlli – Software Engineer
When it comes to evaluating the benefits of remote work, surveys provide just a glimpse of what the perception of remote and flexible working is amongst the workforce.
Let’s look at what we have experienced at CARDO AI.
We implemented flexible and remote working because we realized that often our most productive intervals don’t always align with the 9 to 5 working hours. And not everyone works best in an office environment.
“The flexible and remote work options definitely make the work experience less stressful. Such policies facilitate handling personal matters and commitments without worrying constantly about fitting in the 9 to 5 work shift.”Andi Cuku – Software Engineer
We’ve found that providing our co-creators with the opportunity to work from home and set their own hours can be extremely effective.
Gentrit, a data engineer at Cardo AI, has been working remotely from his home in Kosovo since he joined the company at the beginning of January 2022. Despite being away from his team, Gentrit is able to manage his tasks and efficiently communicate with his colleagues.
“Even if I work from home every day, I don’t feel misaligned or like I am missing out. This is all thanks to my great team, which is very supportive and open to improving our collaboration process. In general, everyone is professional and mature enough to be responsible for how they manage their tasks.“Gentrit Mehmeti – Data Engineer
However, we also considered that remote and flexible aren’t always the best options for everyone and that some people thrive in an office setting.
The Challenges of Remote Work & Our Solutions
Remote and flexible working definitely has a clear and positive impact on the lives of every talent working here at Cardo AI. But it can be tough to always keep everyone engaged while being a distributed team. That is why we make sure to have ongoing communication and shared goals and values.
Remote settings can often cause communication issues. Using the right tools, systems, and channels for us has been essential to staying connected and engaged.
An adequate practice is to establish a feature-rich communication platform and a work visualization and tracking system which would then assist the team members in all interactions they may require to have with one another. As we follow the Agile working principles, we set aside a few minutes each day for the teams to get together and discuss the daily tasks and challenges. After that, each team member moves on with their own schedule, coordinating with each other to ensure everything is delivered on purpose.
Consistent feedback is instrumental when working remotely, and that is why we set frequent 1-1 times with each team member.
A major challenge while being remote is the onboarding process. When you join a company remotely, you are not physically with your colleagues and this may lead to weaker connections and more time needed to align yourself with your team and the rest of the company.
In addition, in a remote setting, you may only interact frequently with your most direct team members, while not really getting to know the rest of the company. This may make you feel like you’re working in silos, without a clear idea of what is happening to the rest of the company.
That is why at Cardo AI we have developed a standardized onboarding process for new hires, which involves daily interactions, meeting people outside of your small team, active dialogue, and consistent feedback during the first few months inside the company.
In addition, we hold events where new joiners can have visibility on what is happening inside the organization: monthly town halls and team sprint reviews.
Maintaining strong team spirit and culture
While scheduling online moments for team discussion and confrontation is beneficial, we found that meeting online is not enough for fostering a strong team culture.
Sometimes face to face meetings and interactions can be the key to sparking new ideas and projects. That is why we plan initiatives to bring our remote teams together, in person.
We often travel between offices and locations to spend a few days working together, sharing ideas, meeting in person and getting to know each other better outside of work.
Team retreats, organized at least once a year, enable us to connect and focus on team-building activities. Plus, every three months we all come together in one location to celebrate the achievements of the past quarter and look ahead to what we plan to accomplish in the following one.
Future of remote and flexible working in Cardo AI
We strive to further improve our flexible and remote working options so that every team member feels empowered to work at their best. However, we are also very grateful for the accomplishments we made so far and for every single talent that has helped us reach this point. We are now a team of 110+ talents, growing strong despite all the challenges faced during the past few years.
If you are looking for a supportive and growing environment, but also appreciate having flexible and remote working opportunities, check out our job openings. We might have the right role for your skills.