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We have always been a remote friendly company: Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director, DigitalOcean

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By Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director, DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean has always been a remote-friendly company. More than half of our workforce used to work from home, even before the Covid-19 situation. To that extent, the tools and processes needed to enable employees to work from home and ensure business continuity were already in place. With the onset of Covid-19, we just had to extend those policies to our otherwise office-going employees as well.

More specifically, the following are some of the initiatives we’ve undertaken to ensure employees feel connected during this time:

Depending on the function, doing a daily standup or check in with team members through virtual meetings enabled over Google Hangouts or Zoom.

Company wide Town-halls on a weekly basis to keep everyone updated on the developments at the business as well as give them an opportunity to ask any queries based on the changing macro-economic environment on account of Covid-19.

Key challenges and best practices

Keeping a separation of home (personal life) and work is important. If you can set aside a space in your house or apartment exclusively “for work”, that would be ideal. Ensuring household work is not mixed with professional work is important but it is completely OK to take breaks as necessary to attend to household chores (if any) without having to feel guilty.

Here are a few tips and learnings from DigitalOcean, based on us having had a remote-friendly work culture since our inception.


* Maintain a fixed routine like you would do, if you were to go to an office.
* Don’t skip meals. Stop work at a sane time so you don’t burn out from being super-on all the time.
* If you can, set aside a space in your house or apartment that is “for work”

* Take breaks. You’re used to interruptions and coffee breaks, if you’re in an office setting. Feel free to take similar breaks, while working from home. Don’t be hard on yourself for taking those breaks.
* Get out of the house as needed.

* Use noise canceling headphones. Take your calls in a room with a closed door if possible
Ergonomics are important. Find a place to work with a proper desk and chair that’s comfortable or you risk injuring yourself.
* A UPS can greatly extend the time that you can weather a power outage.

* Talk to people. Don’t be afraid to chat with folks in Slack or in a Hangout/meet.
* If you’re used to socializing in person with your team (or with others), it’s nice to schedule a social google hangout to chat about things other than work.

Technology tools

The following are some key tools that enable smooth collaboration between employees:

* Zoom or Google Hangout for virtual meetings
* Slack for real time communication and chats
* Google Drive for collaborating on documents or other project artifacts
* Code hosting platforms such as GitHub to ensure collaboration across developers and to also manage version control.

Benefits of remote work culture
Enabling a remote work culture ensures that you’re able to tap into the best available talent, without having to enforce constraints around their relocation. Also, working remotely cuts down a tremendous amount of stress that we otherwise put on our ecosystem – be it on our transportation systems, traffic and the ensuing pollution. By enabling a remote work culture, employees have more time to manage their personal lives, resulting in them leading enriched and more fulfilled lives. For all these benefits, I think organizations should certainly consider enabling a policy to support remote work.

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