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Decentralized Company Essentials

How to set-up and run a future-ready company

Setting up a decentralized company is not at all as easy as it may sound. Either you take time to do the usual trial and error or you could research and then do the trial and error to see what works best for your company’s needs.

At HashMark we did all of that since the beginning of our existence and decided it’s safe to share these insights given the fact we’ve tried it all until we’ve perfected our ways of easing up the workflow processes while on different ends of the globe. We’re a communication and branding agency specialized in #tech and #blockchain, after all, we had to sort it out pretty quickly. It was in our best interest.

So let’s have a recap on what are the pros and cons when deciding to go out of office forever, from our own experience as a decentralized agency.

First of all, time is a precious unit for working from different spaces, so to align all time zones, we’ve always taken into consideration decent hours of work for all workmates.
Once the basic timeline is established, you can move on to different ways of collaboration during that work-frame. It also allows the members of the workspace to set their own rules and enjoy better work & life balance.

The advantage of having a decentralized company is getting to work with incredible minds from across the globe with no expenses other than the Internet service.

The multi-cultural dimension of a team might be something not at all new to workspaces, but it surely is something to explore more carefully once space is eliminated from the context. Much of our communication depends also on visual and non-verbal factors so make sure to include video calls and meetings as regularly as possible to not lose the human factor along the wavelengths of the Internet. Also, try to add an emoji or two, they’re a good replacer in the absence of face to face encounters.

Another good thing about not having an office is that anyone can choose their desired space to work from at all times. The basic conditions remain: good internet connection, quiet ambient and a nice cup of coffee next to the computer. (The same goes for extremely different time zones: when everyone else is sleeping, you can have the peace of mind to go through your tasks in the priority you set and want to handle, no pressure.)

But Decentralized Land is not all milk and honey since we have all been accustomed to social groups and we’ve always been thought to rely on the group for bouncing ideas and creating new scenarios, it can get pretty lonely without the real-life interaction with workmates.

Here’s a shortlist of what made our lives better and our work more efficient at HashMark:

1. Communication:

  • EmailGmail. We have used it ever since the ’90s, why stop now? Emails still work for initial business contacts, event invitations and regular updates in the form of newsletters.
  • Slack is so easy to use since it is a ‘professional version of WhatsApp’, but with channels organized by topics of discussion so that important information does not get lost in one thread’s scroll.
  • Google Hangouts

2. Meetings:

  • Google Hangouts proved to be much more useful than Skype in the long run. We used emails to connect to our clients so we got them where we wanted for sending out calendar invitations with a google hangout link attached.

3. Meeting Types:

  • Sync calls (15–30min). They are exactly what they’re called — a quarter of an hour is enough for the project or team updates (in case there’s more you stretch it out to 30)
  • Weekly sync calls (1h). We also found out it’s easier to set recurring sync calls for the hangouts so that no one can miss out once a perfect timing in the week is established.
  • Daily to-dos chat and daily done’s slack channel was very useful with larger teams synchronizing on tasks accomplished and managers being briefed on the go without the need for meetings or calls.
  • Brainstorming meetings (1h). We all know what brainstorming means. In a decentralized company, we all come prepared to exchange the best of our ideas and thinking
  • Working together meetings (google hangout and Google drive).

4. Work / Production:

  • Google Drive. No need to explain. Google Drive keeps our files safe and organized at all times
  • Figma. The ultimate designer’s tool where team members and clients can follow updates in real-time.

5. Scheduling:

  • Google Calendar saved us all from the mathematics of time zones and the ‘when did we agree to have the next call?’ redundancies throughout the team.
  • Calendly gave the opportunity for booking one or several of the workmates in times already available for them without discussing it since the app shows you only empty time slots.

6. Banking:

  • Revolut came in like a wrecking ball with its low to no fees per exchange rates and that comes in handy when travelling or simply transferring to different countries’ currencies.
  • TransferWise. The cheap, fast way to send money abroad.
  • BitStamp. The world’s longest-standing crypto exchange for the ease of exchanging crypto to fiat.

7. Legal:

  • UpCounsel is a marketplace for legal services.
  • EverSign is a simple tool to digitally upload your signature/digital signature for important documents that still need that validation such as contracts, etc.

8. Accounting:

  • Invoicely is an invoice tool made easy.
  • Xero is online accounting software where you plug in your bank accounts and get rid of any headaches.

9. Todos:

  • Traffic plan is something we created for optimising workflow, keeping deadlines and responsibilities per input. Every task gets a category (marketing, business, lab, operations, etc), a person responsible for it, a description, a due date and a link for the Gdrive doc or folder to work in. The status can go from: None to ‘In progress’ and ‘Done’, depending on the stage of action.

10. Address:

  • Anytime Mailbox is a physical space to send and receive mail and manage through a mobile app.

11. Workspace:

  • WeWork & Spaces. Every once in a while, if the planets aligned and we would find ourselves together in some part of the globe, co-working spaces spared us the hassle of finding quiet cafes with good internet connection for face to face meetings.
  • coworker.com is like an Airbnb for co-working spaces.

12. Gadgets:

  • Apple Airpods
  • Macs, Motorcycles, iPhones, and whatever works for you
  • Mobile HotSpot

Decentralized companies are leaner, more adaptive, more diverse in terms of talent, partner networks or other resources, which all comes down to better results for any business using their services. HashMark is a decentralized creative communications company specialized in tech — in case you need branding, crowdfunding, growth or UX solutions for your business, we’re here (and anywhere really) to help.

For more insights, follow us on LinkedIn.

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