Annual Mutters Day (AMD) is a big event we all look forward to at Mutt Data. Once a year, the whole team is flown to Buenos Aires and we host a two-day get-together to talk vision and strategy, but most importantly to take a step back, relax, eat and spend time together as a team.
So why is this day so important to us? Well, it might have something to do with how we work. Since our beginnings in 2018, we’ve chosen to work almost exclusively remotely. This was before the worldwide pandemic; COVID was nowhere on the horizon.
When choosing a suitable working culture, the focus was set on communication, efficient execution and cultivating a positive, growth-based mindset. It quickly became clear that efficient execution couldn’t be measured by the amount of hours people spent in an office, rather we looked at the results and with open, daily communication.
We reached the conclusion that the best way to track progress and incentivize performance was for people to feel ownership over ongoing projects and results. If we set clear expectations and objectives together from the beginning and each team player committed to their tasks, the office simply wasn’t a need. When all is said upfront and everyone is on the same page, you allow for a two-way communication based on trust.
As a bonus, remote also facilitates hiring. Why limit ourselves geographically when we can scout a talent-filled country for Mutters, allowing our staff to work from wherever they feel at home.
Although we believe the good outweighs the bad, working remotely doesn’t come without it’s hiccups: How do we form personal, deep and meaningful relationships with our team? How do we encourage bonding and small-talk in a non-physical environment for a job that requires long periods of solitary concentration and work? There’s been a lot of literature on working remotely since the pandemic, this is our experience. After a couple of years working this way, here’s how we’ve managed to generate a true sense of belonging for our team:
We have an office. Sounds counterintuitive considering we’re talking about remote work, but we like to see it more as our own personal co-working space that people can attend to at will. There are no assigned desks or private offices, all the stations are equally equipped. Let’s be honest, sometimes a little face-to-face time is needed: remote can get solitary for some people or maybe we just need a change of scenery every now and then. Besides, where else would we hang our cool nerdy posters.
We have an all-hands call. (It’s not as painful as it sounds) Once a week, the whole team gets together to talk about ongoing project status, blockers, learnings, client leads as well as general company news. All Mutters are kept in the loop,
We have 1-1 time with the Founders. Every Mutter is assigned a monthly 1-1 with one of our founders. This is not a routine check on specific tasks. The main goal is to check on feedback, accomplishments, career development and personal matters.
We have food. Everybody likes food! Two times a month we have long lunches, on Mutt of course, where we talk about whatever comes up.
We have non-work related activities. People who workout together, stay together ? Not sure that’s quite how it goes but you get the point. We have weekly workouts to decompress, stretch and have some fun testing our flexibility and endurance.
We have Slack - Duh! Might sound like an obvious one but we use Slack, our very own Virtual Water Cooler for small talk on gaming, films, politics, bitcoin, meme wars and just plain randomness.
These are just some of the things we do at Mutt Data that portray our remote culture and we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our bonds even if we are distanced. Truth be told though, there are still two events everyone looks forward to the most: our Annual Trip and Annual Mutters Day.
As we mentioned before AMD is one of the main highlights of the year. It’s an opportunity to work on our culture and bond. So what went on this AMD? Before the event, when planning the company day, we set two key goals to guide different activities that balanced work and team-building.
AMD serves as a unique opportunity to personally connect, put names to faces for the new mutters and encourage interaction between different teams that might otherwise not engage with each other.
We kept the first day simple: business as usual during the day, with a focus on catching up and chatting. In the evening, we kicked off with a talk on the Origins of Mutt Data: a brief recap on why we started the company, how our values help us achieve that and the milestones we hit in these first years. We opened the floor to questions, welcoming opinions and jokes alike: any and all input allowed. We wrapped up the first day with food, drinks, music and the long-awaited defeat of our class A Ping Pong Player and Founder Pedro Ferrari.
Day two kicked off with a workshop activity: Each and every Mutter revisited their work year commenting on their wins, their misses, their takeaways and learnings from the year’s projects. We quickly noticed there was quite a bit of common ground between our learnings.
After lunch, we allowed Mutters to pick their own adventure, so to speak: some chose to challenge their balancing skills by playing football in the water-drenched fields, others chose to bond over a campfire-sque round of instruments.
Well-fed and rested, we moved on to strategy. In line with keeping the team informed, the founders started by revisiting 2020’s objectives: what had gone well, what was still lacking and what could be done to improve in the coming year. After that, they shared a meticulous summary of our main KPIs and financials and the company’s future goals for the next 3, 5 and 10 years.
Last but definitely not least, the final activity of the day was left in the able hands of the devs team, and they did not disappoint! They put their programming skills to good use and gathered all the memes we had ever sent over slack (if you’ve ever seen our slack, this is quite the achievement) and created an interactive Meme Wars Game where we all voted between our very own personalized memes until we reached a definitive winner.
Working remotely might not be for everyone and it certainly isn’t without it’s hiccups, but it has always worked for us. Remote is part of our culture at Mutt Data. We’ve learned how to be productive and efficient through clear communication and personal commitment to goals. Most importantly, with the use of the right tools and activities we manage to stay close as a team.
We hope you’ve found this post useful, and at least mildly entertaining. If you like what you’ve read so far, got some mad dev skills and like applying machine-learning to solve tough business challenges, send us your resume!