cooking together

Source: Unsplash

Caleño holds quarterly get-togethers, a process created by accident when the team got together for a Christmas party

There have been many changes since I founded Caleño, a range of tropical non-alcoholic spirits created to bring a Latina fiesta vibe, in 2019. We weren’t always a remote working business, but like so many others, the pandemic changed all that.

As a startup with 20 employees, we did most of our hiring during the pandemic. About a third of our team are based in the south west, another third in London, with the rest scattered across the UK, making a full-time office impractical.

By not being tied to a specific location, we found we were unrestricted in our ability to go after the very best talent, and secure specialists who wanted to work flexibly.

For me, having a remote team builds trust, and encourages entrepreneurialism as individuals are given the freedom to work how and where they want to. That said, connectivity is essential if you want to create a thriving work culture.

There are a couple of ways we’ve focused on this. The first has been our quarterly team residentials, which were created almost accidentally at the end of 2021 when looking at options for a work Christmas party. We ended up booking a large house where we could all stay, cook meals together, and have a day wrapping up the quarter. We had a lot of fun and spent the time getting to know each other better – so we continued them throughout 2022 and into 2023.

Outside the residentials, for the past year or so we’ve been getting together every two weeks for a full day of connectivity. This is where we review business performance, and specifically book key face-to-face meetings across departments. It’s also a chance to pause, reflect, grab lunch together and enjoy a few drinks after work. It’s important to put these structures in place across the month, otherwise you risk individuals or parts of the business feeling isolated.

Being remote first, many leaders could wrongly assume undertaking large projects such as ‘launching into new markets’ or ‘formulating new products’ are impossible if you’re not sat next to your co-worker, but we’ve made it work. The essential ingredients for getting to great results are strong communication, a focused and driven team, and, frankly, ‘oversharing’. Transparency, trust and great relationships ensure your business can grow, no matter what.