Remote engineering, but better

Simon Ince
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3 minute read

Who do I want working in my team?

There’s a pretty simple answer to that, actually. I want a diverse set of highly skilled, motivated, happy people, that are humble, fun to work with, good collaborators, and dedicated to constantly improving themselves, the team and our products.

Let’s come back to that in a minute.

For many years I worked remotely some of the time, and what is interesting is that doing so was of no interest to anyone. Myself and those like me were focused on the task, the mission, the customer. The fact that we were remote for some of the time was just normal, and we were happier and more productive due to the time and flexibility we gained, and we stepped up to the responsibility that came with it.

As a result, when hiring, I have always focused more on finding awesome, talented people than on working patterns. Want to work from home two days a week to ensure that you can get your kids to school? All good with me. Find it easier to concentrate in a coffee shop where no-one can hassle you? Go for it. Hate working at home because you’ve got a newborn? Come hang out! You see for me it’s always been about your ability to do the job, your commitment to it, and your trustworthiness in return for my flexibility - not where or how you do the work.

Building a technology product is particularly well suited to remote working. Software engineering is part science but also part creative. In engineering we need to be able to step back and think; be alone with music playing, sitting in the sunshine, running ideas by a colleague, etc. And then we need to switch into deep work, concentrating as we chisel away at the “sculpture” of our code. Being remote allows you to get that “step back” time and focus space when you need it, and we’re hugely privileged that the tools we use to do our work are designed for this kind of remote workflow.

I’ve relied on the benefits that remote working brings throughout my career. But I’ve never had a remote job.

You see, every role I’ve had that has been “remote” has also included some face-to-face time. That face time has varied from weekly to monthly to quarterly, but the thing I observed was that I was most effective remotely once I’d established and then maintained relationships face to face.

And this is why the concept of “Remote but Reachable” resonates so much with me for Luno’s future. We’re not a remote company. We’re not hybrid with a fixed number of days in the office. We value in-person connections, and so we ensure that our Lunauts can “reach” the office at least once every quarter. But beyond that, we believe in and embrace flexibility, putting our trust in our top-notch team. We even allow working abroad for a portion of the year.

So what does Remote but Reachable mean to a growing, high-performing engineering team, such as we are building at Luno?

Fundamentally it enables us to keep our talent bar high for both technical and softer skills (our “Moontality”) while we grow rapidly, and to have the happiest, most motivated employees contributing to our mission, who have the time, respect, and mental space to invest in constant improvement. An important element for me is that I also believe it will enable us to drive up diversity by hiring from a broader range of backgrounds, locations and circumstances.

“I want a diverse set of highly skilled, motivated, happy people, that are humble, fun to work with, good collaborators, and dedicated to constantly improving themselves, the team, and our products.”

– Simon Ince, VP Engineering

If we compare that to whom I want in my team at the start of this post, I believe that Remote but Reachable is a powerful lever in getting those superstars into the business. It isn’t just about opening up a bigger talent pool - it is about picking the best people from more talent pools. We can hire the top 2% everywhere, not the top 8% in one city, all with the same background, gender, race, education, etc. And we can be confident they’ll thrive as Lunauts.

We’re hiring; no matter where you live in the UK or South Africa, I want you in my team! We’re investing heavily in our product, people and platform, and building a truly unique culture. I’d love you to enrich it further.

Avatar Simon Ince
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Simon Ince

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