Successful remote work


At Soluble we follow a remote-first philosophy because we are convinced that there are other ways of understanding work. Our purpose is making people happier at work, and this means that we are very aware of the relationship with our work activities: we want them to contribute to a fulfilling life or, at the very least, not to be a pain.

We acknowledge that our remote-first philosophy is an ambitious goal, one that requires the collective effort of our entire team. The freedom of remote work is not handed to us, but it is a freedom we conquer every day, with each team member contributing from their desks in León, A Coruña, Lanzarote, Elche, Vic, Madrid, Mallorca or Barcelona. This shared effort fosters a sense of fellowship and unity among us.

We want to discuss it because the discussion about remote work has been consolidated as one of the great debates in our society's labor sphere.

On one side of the coin are those who highlight the higher productivity that some studies have revealed; on the other, some people, such as well-known entrepreneur José Elías, claim that full remote is a measure that harms workers by multiplying the competition of talent in unequal conditions.

A cultural matter

Like most things in this life, the answer to this discussion is not binary. In fact, it is full of nuances. It's not easy to run a full-remote company, but in industries like digital product or branding, there is no alternative if you want access to the most powerful talent or, as in our case, you're driven by conquering freedoms.

Working remotely is not for everyone, and it is not for all sectors. It lacks information—nonverbal communication, cross-conversations…—and there is a certain danger of wear and tear and loss of impact. To prevent this from happening, an added effort is needed.

In other words, working remotely is a cultural decision that comes from deep within each organization. If your culture is presentist, it will be very difficult to implement an effective hybrid model. And if it is a remote culture, the hybrid can work, but always with a remote mentality.

Essentials to make it work: document and communicate (a lot)

Although it is a cultural matter, remote work is a privilege that must be cultivated every day with extra communication. Speak clearly, directly and assertively. Chat a lot, yes. But above all, talk effectively.

We often remind ourselves of the most basic pillars of communication: to assume and recognize our role as the sender or receiver of a message and to ensure that the message arrives as we want it to arrive.

Our commitment to documentation ensures that everything is recorded and documented in a logical and efficient way. This practice not only keeps us informed but also provides a sense of security, knowing that any team member can be updated without intermediaries.

Proactivity, responsibility... and limits

When you are not in an office, you can receive little information about what is going on around you. Moreover, offices often pose fewer distractions. Thus, it is very important not to wait for things to happen and, above all, not to let things happen. Without additional responsibility, autonomy and maturity from the whole team, it is very hard to work remotely.

Of course, that responsibility is necessary to establish boundaries, both personally and collectively. Rules and limits must be defined to ensure the appropriate functioning of the organization.

Proactivity, responsibility... and limits

The pro level of remote is to work asynchronously, although aspiring to digital excellence and reaching the holistic point we seek at Soluble requires that we share a window of synchrony. Our schedule is flexible, but we facilitate all processes by being available to unlock a colleague's work if they needs it, for example.

We see each other every day through the screen, but it is also essential to see each other in three dimensions, even at the risk of seeming contradictory. Seeing each others' sneakers, as our co-founding CTO, Laurent Dietrich, says. Face-to-face contact is vital for forging closer ties and extending relationships beyond the strictly operational duties (not just work-related). That's why we organize off-sites in which we multiply from places as special as El Toboso, one of the most important spots from Cervantes’ El Quijote.

An extra scoop of confidence

It all guides us—again—to the conclusion that working completely remotely is a cultural thing, both for people who are specialists and those who are in management, reinforcing seams and greasing all the gears.

The focus is not on control, but on trusting the system, its processes and the people who are part of it. Having a powerful and reliable engine does not prevent maintenance, but it multiplies the enjoyment and peace of mind on the journey to fulfill our purpose.

In Soluble nothing happens because of a single person. To make this post possible, it was necessary the participation of Ismael Barros and Cristian R. Marín in the writing, and Fèlix Hernández in the visual design. This post is an adaptation of a reflection by Ismael on his LinkedIn profile that was inspired by a question from Juan Ángel Marín.