A journey started before covid

Remote work is not only a new way of working, but also a challenge that has been accelerated to an unprecedented speed by the pandemic.

It was a journey we all had embarked on before Covid-19, but the pandemic accelerated it to an unprecedented speed.

This ‘freedom’ of choosing the best working environment that suits team members is one of the keys to success, as it can unleash human potential and talents.

While I’ve enjoyed working in offices for the past 20 years, with my colleagues within easy reach and decisions taken around the coffee machine or in the elevators, I also believe that many opportunities can come from working remotely. However, coming to the office is a key success factor to stimulate collaboration, building strong human relationships, and project success.

This new way of working reveals that organizations must find the right balance between enjoying working life at the office and at home to create the optimal framework that will give teams a deep sense of fulfillment and lead to project success.


Sustained Success starts with Responsible People.And Responsible People thrive on freedom.

Working at home (or from another place than the physical office) presents many advantages that I am not here to relate to. What interests me the most is how it has changed the way teams work and our teams work at SMADE, and what it requires.

One of the first significant changes is communication.

Sometimes, distance is a test of how far love can travel. In remote work, distance is a test of how well collaboration and creativity can thrive. But as the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Effective communication is key to maintaining connections between team members and compensating for physical distance. Remote work should not mean disappearing but rather being doubly present to ensure that the project stays on track.

In a remote environment, non-verbal communication is becoming less explicit, increasing the risk of miscommunication. Indeed, according to experts, verbal communication is only ⅓ of the message received. So the non-verbal part that we mostly use for effective communication is missing out.

Remote work brings forth a crucial aspect of striking the perfect balance between trust and responsibility. Wherever you are working from home, it is essential to bear in mind the project’s requirements and challenges. Given the physical separation from the rest of the team for extended periods, team members must be completely autonomous, organize their work, and successfully fulfill their responsibilities without visual supervision. It is the joint responsibility of workers and team leads to proactively address any obstacles and collaboratively adjust the settings necessary to achieve the project goals.

At SMADE, we not only prioritize recruiting A+ players but also promote a healthy work-life balance. We strongly believe that having personal projects and fulfilling life outside of work is essential for nurturing passions, opening minds, and fueling inspiration. It ultimately leads to a happier, more motivated, and more productive team, which is why we encourage our team members to pursue their interests outside of SMADE. After all, a fulfilled and happy team member is an asset to any project or team.

We’re not just looking for individuals with the right skills and experience but for the most inspired, inspiring, and life-engaged people. At SMADE, we believe that promoting a healthy work-life balance not only contributes to individual motivation and happiness but also nurtures the success of the entire project. By encouraging and supporting personal projects and passions outside of work, we are creating a team of well-rounded and fulfilled individuals who bring unique perspectives and fresh ideas.

We are obsessed with nurturing them and giving them trust, freedom, and the environment they need to grow, connect, collaborate, and innovate when and how they wish because we know that freedom and trust drive the best results.

To achieve and maintain the incredible culture we are building, great autonomy, responsibility, self-discipline, and rigor are required. These are qualities that all of our A+ SMADERS possess, while also being creative. Being the captain of this amazing, enthusiastic, and passionate team is a true everyday accomplishment.


Leaders need new skill sets

Employees aren’t the only ones who need new skill sets. Their leaders do as well. How can leaders effectively manage a team remotely and ensure that they collaborate and stay connected? How can they communicate clearly and express trust in their daily interactions? How can they stay aligned with our values and philosophy while communicating what is expected from them? Lastly, how can they supervise a project virtually while still developing the team?

With those new ways of working, Team leaders need to demonstrate communication skills, verbal and non-verbal.

As such, to avoid any risk of miscommunication, we favor video calls over emails and phone calls. We also ask our leaders to pay attention to what they communicate both verbally and non-verbally. To ensure that their tone of voice reflects what they have to say and that the time spent in video calls is dedicated to the team and not to side work.

We also want to ensure that our SMADERS have every opportunity to reach their full potential, even remotely. We believe that getting the best out of our teammates starts with nurturing their talent. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure they are constantly helping each other grow.

At SMADE, we share the same passion, thrive towards the same goal, and are energized by the same ideas. This facilitates teamwork and encourages us to work together to share ideas and thoughts, even in a remote environment. It means that our team leaders need to constantly spread this culture amongst the team and that while recruiting talents we pay extra attention to their motivation.


So what will the office of the future look like?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot.

I believe that we are drawing the office of the future, far from the routine that it could have represented, the office is now becoming a place of collaboration, innovation, and celebration.

And because nothing can replace the ‘real’ human connections, we all meet in person as much as possible to make the project grow faster, together, to brainstorm and celebrate every milestone that will make a SMADE story… Every SMADER is always happy to come and sad to leave the place we call home.

While I now see the worth of flexibility in achieving optimal results and enabling our team members to concentrate on their work while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, I remain firmly convinced that genuine values are the key to the success of this approach and that human interactions remain crucial.


David Ryan
Team Lead / CEO @ SMADE