Workpuls Research: State of Remote Companies 2019

Driven and inspired by the Ultimate Guide to Creating and Managing a Remote Team we’ve recently written, we decided to step it up and create a survey for remote companies. In this survey we’ve questioned the means of collaboration, tools teams are using, organizational structure, perks and much more in an attempt to get a full picture of the State of Remote Companies in 2019.

Methodology

To conduct this research we decided to do a qualitative online survey. Our questionnaire included 15 questions: 1 open-ended question (which was optional), 10 multiple choice questions and 4 multiple answers questions.

In total, we reached out to 750 remote companies, and we managed to get responses from 154 participants!

Over the course of two months, we kept reaching out and counting our responses until we officially closed the survey on 15th of September.

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Remote Companies - Basics

Out of those surveyed, 51.1% of companies are in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry, 11.1% were in software development. Marketing and web development make up 6.7% of the industry (each). The next category was consultancy, which makes up 4.4% of the remote companies.

When it comes to companies who responded, others were in ecommerce, healthcare, translation and localization, software testing, architecture and design.

We were glad to see that the industry isn’t solely made out of software and marketing companies.

remote companies industry

Next, we wanted to determine what the usual size of a remote company is, and we found that most of them (51.1%) were between 11 and 50 employees. However, 26.7% of surveyed companies were between 51 and 200 employees, while 17.8% were between 1 and 10.

2.2% were 501 to 1000 and over 1000 each.

number of employees remote

In most remote teams, 64.4% to be exact, all employees work remotely! In the majority of others, either 50-80% of employees regularly telecommute (in 15.6% of surveyed companies), or only up to a quarter of them do (which is the case in 13.3% of the companies).

remote team costructed

If you research benefits of hiring a remote team, you’ll see that everyone is counting on hiring on a global level. However, during this research, we were able to see that most companies don’t really tend to hire globally.

To be fair, 22.2% of our respondents have their team spread across more than 10 countries. What’s up with the 77.8% that’s left?

  • 17.8% of the companies are located in one country only
  • 48.9% are spread across 2 to 5 countries, while
  • 11.1% are in 6 to 10.

This tells us that even though companies like having access to global talent, they still dread it because of some of the challenges it brings (the most notable ones are definitely time zone issues and scheduling).

remote company countries

How Remote Teams Manage Projects

Project management is certainly one of the biggest worries managers have before switching to a remote team, which is why we wanted to investigate it a bit further.

We found (unsurprisingly) that 51.1 percent of remote companies keep their projects on schedule thanks to some kind of a project management tool. 33.3% do it by organizing daily stand-ups, 11.1% use bottom-top reporting, while only 4.4% track allocated time.

project scheduling remote teams

We were also interested to see which, if any, project management methodologies people use, and we got some results that were surprising to us. 26.7% of companies stated that they don’t use any methodologies. As expected, the most popular methodologies are:

  • Agile (22.2%)
  • Kanban (17.8%)
  • Scrum (13.3%)

However, about 10% of respondents agreed that they use different methodologies, depending on the project. Other methodologies that were mentioned included: Lean, Waterfall, and Six Sigma.

project management remote teams

Which Tools Do Remote Teams Use?

In order to successfully manage projects, maintain the culture and stay in touch, these companies need to use a number of different tools. Our first task was to determine how many collaboration tools companies use.

71.7% of respondents stated they use between 2 and 5 different collaboration tools, 22.2% are using between 6 and 10, while 6.7% use even more than 10 tools.

collaboration tools remote teams

We were curious to see what are the most popular tools among remote teams as well, and here’s what we’ve seen:

  • Number 1 tool is definitely Slack, with 84.4% of remote organizations using it
  • 80% of respondents said they used G Suite
  • Trello is used by 53.3% of remote companies who participated
  • Jira is a tool of choice for 33.3% of teams
  • Task tool Asana is used by 22.2% remote teams

Among other popular tools we were able to see mentions of Skype for Business, Zoom, SharePoint, Intercom, Figma, GitHub, etc.

tools remote teams use

We couldn’t ask about projects, collaboration and tools if we didn’t ask about the results. We wanted to see how remote companies measure employees’ results. Majority (60%) only measure results by tasks completed, while 37.8% combine completed tasks and the time employees spent working. Only 2.2% measure results by the time worked.

remote teams results

Meetings and Communication

Remote team’s success lies in their communication. Therefore, this survey wouldn’t be complete without the question of how remote teams communicate on a daily basis. Believe it or not, 100% of respondents use chat on a daily basis. Next up we have 62.2% of remote companies who also use video conferencing each day. 42.2% use email as well, and 31.1% have regular calls.

We were surprised to see that 2.2% companies don’t communicate on a daily basis. But hey, if that works for them, who are we to judge?

daily communication remote teams

When it comes to meeting types and frequency - most companies (68.9%) have weekly catch ups. A bit more than half (55.6%) have daily stand-ups which are not longer than 15 minutes. Monthly roundups are popular among 35.6% of remote companies, while some (6.7%) don’t even hold meetings. You check out the rest of the results in the chart below:

meetings remote teams

Company Structure

Moving further, we wanted to know more about the company structure of remote businesses - whether they have vertical, horizontal structure, matrix, etc. Here’s what we found:

remote company structure

Perks and Benefits in Remote Companies

Somehow it seems that remote companies do offer more perks to their employees than those who have collocated teams. Consequently, we wanted to check the perks our respondents offer to their employees:

  • Most remote employers (95.6% of them) offer flexible working hours to their workers
  • 68.9% offer paid additional trainings and courses
  • 55.6% offer paid conferences
  • 48.9% offer coworking space allowance, and the same percentage offers vacation allowance as well
  • Full healthcare packages (including dental and vision) are a perk in 44.4% of the companies
  • Remote employees in 37.8% of companies enjoy unlimited vacation days
  • 35.6% of the companies are covering internet costs
  • Those who are regular volunteers get to enjoy paid volunteering days in 17.8% of remote companies
  • Retirement and pension plans are a part of the benefits package in 15.6% of businesses, and so are the result based perks

Smaller percentage, but still worth mentioning, offers some of the following benefits to their remote coworkers:

  • Service subscription
  • Student loan assistance
  • Profit sharing
  • Paid parental leave
  • Scholarship programs
  • Stock and profit sharing
  • Equipment/software payments
remote work benefits

Company Gatherings

In our Ultimate Remote Guide we talked about the benefits that regular company-wide gatherings bring to the table, and during our research we were able to see that most companies (88.9%) do organize these. However, the question was how often?

Yearly gatherings are the most popular, with 40% of companies organizing them. It’s understandable, given that these can be quite expensive, so a yearly budget is the best way to go. Furthermore, 22.2% organize retreats every 6 months. Quarterly gatherings are popular among 15.6% of the companies, and a very small portion of businesses does it on a monthly or bi-monthly basis - the total of 8.8%.

remote company gatherings

Biggest Challenges

And we’ve saved the best for last. In the end, we asked our respondents to tell us what was their biggest challenge in remote team.

Here are some of the most common challenges we’ve heard about:

  • 24.3% of companies agreed that communication presents the biggest issue
  • 13.5% of remote companies believe that scaling the culture as the company grows is a major challenge
  • 10.8% stated that time zones are causing issues whether it’s scheduling meetings or making sure the work flows efficiently
  • That same amount also agreed that connecting with people socially and on a more personal level presents an obstacle
  • 8.1% agreed that hiring people who would fit, and who are comfortable with working remotely is an issue
remote team challenges

Wrap Up

Our State of Remote Companies Research really gave us some excellent insight into how remote companies operate. We were eager to learn this because of our remote culture, and because of the increasing popularity of such operating systems. We’re hoping these will be useful to you as well, and we’re looking forward to the next year’s report.

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