Aleksandra: Hi Alex, thanks for agreeing to answer our questions. How many years have you been working remotely, and for Doist in particular? Where are you based now?
Alex: I’ve been working remotely for around 4 years and for Doist a little more than 3 years. I’m currently based in Nuremberg, Germany but I’m traveling a few times a year to different places like Hamburg, Berlin, Istanbul or New York to experience remote work life there.
We decided to have product designers work on both Twist and Todoist instead of having designers dedicated to one product. That means we have more flexibility to shift resources and make sure that both products feel like part of a single family. In addition, working on both products gives us the opportunity to bring newly gained insights and improvements to the other product.
Another tool we use a lot is Dropbox Paper to document design specs. That’s the single-source of truth for UX, design, and copy. We discuss and iterate on specific elements in Paper comments.
If we see a need for specific projects, we schedule ad hoc 1-1s or other meetings. This is the exception, not the rule though. We’re all quite flexible and we don’t have many meetings that could block us. In Twist, you can see each team member’s time zone, so it’s easier to find a time that works for all of us. We always document the outcomes in Twist so anyone who couldn’t attend knows what happens. Sometimes, we’ll even post recordings of the meetings so people can watch on their own schedule.
Co-located companies would benefit from a more asynchronous approach to communication. You just need to find the right people to work with – Alex Muench, Doist.Click to tweet
Many companies still think they need real-time communication to move fast. But if you constantly chat, how do you find actual focused time to work? Whether you’re asleep or just offline working on other things, your teammates are working and discussing decisions. If the conversation is moving in different directions when you reconnect you need to dig through everything and find what is important for you. In the meantime, the decision is already made. You have no chance to voice your opinion… There’s a disincentive to disconnect to get things done or to enjoy life outside of work.