Path to remote working culture (1/3)

Txesk Planells Ceró
Softonic Engineering
3 min readNov 20, 2019


At Softonic, we have implemented remote working since 2014 but last year we wanted to transform a “perk” into a part of the culture. Our vision — “There is no meeting or activity I can do better at the office” — lead the way and I will share with you our path and learnings so far.

This path started in Summer of 2018 after some feedback from my colleagues and my own experiences. I realized that we needed to take a look at working from home, which was on the rise in other companies. I talked with my manager and we defined an OKR together with HR, as this affects everyone and not only the Tech team.

The OKR was to:Take Remote working to the next level”, aligned with company OKR “Take care of our people” and I worked together with my colleague from HR, Javier Rivero.

The plan

Our first decision was, instead of starting to define changes/improvements, was to get a picture of the company practices around remote working to see how others were doing, then inspect and adapt!

Remote working improvement plan

Survey and focus group conclusions

To get the first data we launched a quick survey to the entire company, with quantitative questions about:

  • Our current policy
  • Tools and job needs for those jobs that can be done in remote
  • Quality of meetings with someone who is remote working

We achieved 93% participation from the team and a lot of extra comments, confirming that we were working on a topic that is really important for our people.

Then, we analyzed the output, segmented by department, and created focus groups with similar needs to talk about remote working impediments and what is currently working well.

The conclusions were:

RW conclusions of internal research

What are we doing well?

  • 2/3 of the staff are happy and appreciated the current WFH policy
  • All software used inside Softonic are remote friendly
    Almost all tools on cloud or accesible through VPN
  • 1 to 1 meetings works well in remote

Could be improved

  • Meetings between mixed profiles (Remote & Office)
  • Meeting room initial setup
    2 complicated and takes 2 long
  • Guidelines and trainings
  • More clarity on rules

Visiting other companies

We visited 4 companies in our area to share our conclusions and learn from their experiences. One of the companies was 100% remote, another “born with” the remote working option, another one recently adopted remote working as an option, and the last one wanted to start a remote working program.

We focused our questions to the other companies on:

  • Tools used for meetings and sharing availability.
  • Remote working explicit & official policies
  • Main problems and main success

With the output of the other companies, feedback from Softonic people and some reading, we decided to take the next steps.

First proposals to improve Remote Working

We group the actions in 3 topics.

Guidelines & trainings

Initiatives to start changing the company from a working from home perk to a remote working culture:

  • Guidelines and Best practices session for everyone
  • Guidelines and Best practices starting with onboarding of new hires
  • Remote meetings ambassador in each department

Improve meeting tools & setup

Initiatives to improve the quality of the meetings

  • Transform meetings rooms into Remote meeting rooms
  • Headphones as per request
  • Official remote meeting tool

Clarity & rules

  • After these improvements, review and clarify rules & why

Read Part 2