Remote Companies - Basics
How Remote Teams Manage Projects
Which Tools Do Remote Teams Use?
Meetings and Communication
Perks and Benefits
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.
We were curious to see what are the most popular tools among remote teams as well, and here’s what we’ve seen:
Among other popular tools we were able to see mentions of Skype for Business, Zoom, SharePoint, Intercom, Figma, GitHub, etc.
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 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?
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:
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:
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:
Smaller percentage, but still worth mentioning, offers some of the following benefits to their remote coworkers:
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%.
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:
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.
Access our exclusive research about remote companies, and find out how remote teams around the world collaborate, manage projects and scale their culture.