Interview with Anna Danes

Interview with Anna Danes

Anna Danes is the remote team expert and one of the founders of Ricaris Have a Nice Day SL and co-founder of Managing Virtual Teams.

 

Ricaris is a multilingual outsourcing company founded in 2009, and is at the forefront in having a 100% remote team of workers. Ricaris works to help large web companies to grow and to go global, offering multilingual services. Managing Virtual Teams represents a team of professionals well-versed in the remote world that helps companies with distributed teams improve their productivity, motivation, and overall well being. 

 

1. First of all, thank you so much for sparing your time to do this interview. Can you tell us more about Ricaris Have a Nice Day SL and Managing Virtual Teams? How did you and your get the idea to start hiring remote workers more than 10 years ago?

 

Ricaris started when websites in Barcelona were being extremely successful and wanted to go to new markets. At the moment Barcelona didn’t have enough talent so they contacted us for help. We decided to build a 100% remote team. Years later we realized we were one of the only companies in the world to operate remotely, so we decided to share with the world all the knowledge we had acquired over the years and created Managing Virtual Teams.

 

2. What is your procedure for recruiting remote workers for your company?


It really depends on the kind of talent we are looking for. But what makes us really different is that we are looking for people with the skills needed to do the job and that can work remotely. Not everybody can work remotely. So we are looking for people with great communication skills (even if they are introverts), and people that are autonomous by nature.

 

3. In your opinion, what’s the most important thing in teamwork?


To know who you are working with. There can be no teamwork if we don’t know each other. This is why it is so important to spend time together and to know what the other team members thrive with, what they have done before, where they want to go, what motivates them, what they don’t like at all, etc. Once you have that information you can start working as a team because you have built trust.

 

4. What do you think are the main advantages of having a virtual team? 

There are no limits. When you try to find talent in your area or in a specific area you are limiting yourself. When you open that to the entire world you meet amazing people that come from different paths of life and in different moments in their life and you get to connect with them. It is amazing and mind blowing.


 5. And what about challenges, are they any of them in remote work? How to overcome those challenges?  

 

There are many challenges and we learned to overcome them during the years. This is why now we are able to help other companies with their remote teams. Normal issues are lack of accountability, loss of motivation, disconnection with the company, loneliness,… they all have different solutions but as a rule of thumb I would say: be warm, assertive and listen well to your team. Once you listen all you have to do is find answers to their problems. It is not easy and this is why we have a team of psychologist creating and testing different strategies to find the best way to work in a remote setting. 

 

6. Communication is very important in every team whether the team is remote or in office. How do you manage to keep communication efficient? 

 

I agree, misunderstandings and lack of communication are so common! In order to avoid them we hire people that already have good communication skills and during the onboarding weeks we make sure we show them how to communicate in a remote setting, which is not the same way as in a normal office. Regarding tools, we avoid email as much as we can and we rely on other tools to speed things up.


7. Which apps are helping you the most when working with teams and clients that are dispersed?


It really depends on the client and what business they are in and their processes. A Customer Service company does not require the same tools as a Software Development company. They must all be apps that are easy to use for the people who will work for them and they all must be tested before being implemented company wide. This is a typical mistake, pilots must be done before big implementations and some companies don’t do them so they end up changing apps every 6 months. 

 

8. What kind of advice would you give for decision-makers in companies that are still hesitating in going remote?


Don’t do it unless you are ready. 😀 If they hesitate is because they are afraid of certain things like losing control over the work people do and other similar fears. Unless they are ready to truly empower their employees, to give them knowledge, to guide them and to help them grow, there is no point in going remote. Working remotely is a lot of work for managers, a lot. Unless the company is ready to understand that those managers now will be empowering and guiding the employees instead of telling them what to do, there is no point in even thinking about remote. Going remote implies a mindset change where companies are no longer telling employees what to do, instead they guide them and help them grow professionally and personally, the end result is that company grows too.

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