Hubstaff is a remote company in every sense of the word, and built to help the remote revolution. Ever since it was founded in 2012, Hubstaff has been developing a cutting edge platform to manage remote employees.
Not everyone agrees with how far this kind of software should go in monitoring employees. But the fact remains that Hubstaff has become a name that one can't ignore when it comes to remote work.
A small team, spread across the globe, is in charge of building the core software of the business. Also, the entire company's office space is virtual. According to the company’s blog, no one misses commutes or the overhead costs of having an office.
More importantly, this setup has allowed Hubstaff to tap into talent from all over the world. This talent is crucial when it comes to achieving the company’s goal, as stated in their charter.
“Helping businesses manage their increasing reliance on remote teams and skilled freelancers at scale.”
The company champions the remote creed of allowing people to work from where and when they want. This setup, it believes, sparks creativity. It favors innovative solutions, encouraging employees to seek new challenges.
Hubstaff prides itself on the accuracy of their processes, and on delivering unfailing support to its clients.
But being big on process doesn’t translate into excessive complexity. A look at how the company handles meetings with its entirely remote team shows us as much.
Their rules for meetings are all exemplary of the company's focus. They are straight to the point, simple, and efficient.
In this case study, we’ll explore the most important aspects of how Hubstaff conducts remote meetings.
Ask yourself: is a meeting necessary?
Hubstaff is all about good management of employee time, so it is a given that they value it a lot. The last thing they want is to waste someone’s time. And unnecessary meetings are, by definition, an onerous waste of time.
So the first thing they do is figure out if there is a more appropriate method to get the results they want. Here’s an example: let's say you want to discuss and brainstorm. In this case, apps like Slack or Trello are often more productive than a hands-on meeting.
Maybe the people involved won’t be at peak creativity during the meeting. And with an ongoing conversation, everyone will be able to look through past messages to catch up. These are the advantages of asynchronicity, which we've also noted in the GitHub and HelpScout case-studies.
Invite as few people as you can get away with
The more people in a meeting, the worse it will go. There’s a reason why Agile teams have less than 10 members. It’s so the stand-up meetings can flow optimally.
Hubstaff only includes people that absolutely need to attend. If a full team needs to be kept up to speed, a representative will attend the meeting and pass the word down.
Which brings us back to Hubstaff’s core value of respecting a remote worker’s time. Sure, including a person on every meeting may boost their ego. But it’s taking them away from time better spent on actual work.
Stick to schedule
With employees all around the world, it’s important to find a time that works for everyone. We at DistantJob recommend that employees on other time zones work during the company’s working hours. But companies like HelpScout prefer to alternate meeting times.
Hubstaff is all about finding a time that works for everyone involved. They use Google Calendar with its World Clock extension so that everyone can sync up.
They make it a point to start and end on time. No exceptions. If time runs out before discussing every topic, they bump the rest to a future meeting.
Test the gear beforehand
There’s nothing worse than everyone being ready to go, and then having to delay because one person’s mic is acting up. Remember the previous rule: Meetings need to start on time.
Hubstaff takes the same approach that we outline in our free eBook on Agile for Remote Teams. That is, they get everyone assembled 10 minutes in advance, and do a video and soundcheck... This way you have enough time to debug without delaying the meeting.
Prepare and send a meeting agenda in advance
Make sure the person in charge of the meeting comes up with a list of talking points. These represent the ground to be covered during the meeting. Then send it in advance - at least 24 hours, ideally, 48.
This will give your attendees enough time to review the agenda beforehand. Now, they will have an idea of what to expect, which will help keep everything on track.
Give everyone the chance to add points they believe are important to discuss. This is possible because, if you’ve followed Hubstaff’s tips so far, you’ve kept the invitations to a minimum.
When everyone has the chance to bring their own points to the table, you’ll get more ownership and engagement. When everyone knows the talking points in advance, you’ll get better preparation.
You can also have a killer global team. We at DistantJob will help you find expert developers to fill key positions. We’ll give you the peace of mind that comes with having highly motivated employees. You’ll be working with developers that are among the best in the world.
Get in touch with us and start building your company’s future.