Working remotely: How and why Highrise Digital are a remote working company

Written by Mark Wilkinson on June 11, 2018

Working remotely: How and why Highrise Digital are a remote working company
At Highrise Digital, we are an entirely remote company. We all work from different locations, often from home. It works really well and offers benefits to our clients too. Here is how we do it.


When we started at Highrise Digital we made it clear from the start that we wanted to be a remote team with a remote working culture. We knew we needed to have clear policies and procedures in order to make this work. In this post we take a look at what remote working is, how we do remote working and why we think it is a really good fit for us and our clients.

What does working remotely mean?

Over the course of the last decade there has been an increase in the number of people working from home. There are many reasons for this such as the improved internet connection speeds allowing tasks to more easily take place from the home.

Remote working, for us at least, takes this one step further in that our employees can work from anywhere, whether that it their home, and co-working space, the local coffee shop or even from further a-field. We have put in place policies and procedures that mean our team can work from pretty much anywhere they like.

Of course having an internet connection, although not entirely essential for some tasks, is pretty important. However the availability of the internet when you are out and about these days has improved so much. Whether this is through public Wi-Fi hotspots and train stations, cafe’s and restaurants and the increasing capacity and speed of mobile internet through 4 and now soon to be 5g networks.

Photo taken from a raised view showing people working in a coffee shop, on laptops.
Remote working means you can work from anywhere from the coffee shop to the beach!

As well as the ability to work from anywhere, at Highrise Digital we also operate a flexible working hours arrangement. Currently, we are all parents which means that being flexible allows us to spend the right times with family and children. This can mean being available to collect and drop off our children in the morning and/or afternoon as well as being flexible in attending meetings at school etc. We focus of getting the job done, rather than the amount of times our employees spend on tasks.


Many business still run an office environment where employees all commute into an office, often in the city centre. This does offer a lot of advantages and David Coveney of Interconnect IT wrote an excellent post here outlining the reasons they chose this option for their company.

At Highrise Digital, we think that the benefits of being a remote company outweigh the benefits of having everyone in the same office. Here are some of the reasons why this works for us:


For all the advantages that are above there are some disadvantages too. David, in the article linked above lists some of these too. And of course remote working is not for everyone as, at times it can be a very isolated existence. However at Highrise Digital we have some key concepts, processes and tools in place in order to make remote working a success. These are things that enable us to work well together, but as well things that enable us to work perfectly successfully with clients who we may never have physically met.

Lets have a look at some of the things that allow us to make remote working a success:

Hiring the right people

Remote working is not for everyone. In fact as it is a relatively new type of working we need to make sure that we hire the right people in order to get the best out of them in a remote working environment. Therefore you will probably find the following characteristics of good remote workers:

Knowing what needs doing, who is doing it and when it is getting done

In an office this sort of project management can be more verbal and easier to communicate to colleagues. However when everyone is remote, it is important to have in place tools and systems to make this project management go smoothly. At Highrise Digital we use a number of tools to help with getting this project management right so we all know what needs doing and when. Lets take a brief look at some of these tools.


Trello is a piece of project management software that allows us to map out all the tasks in a project. It allows us to assign users to these tasks, have conversation about each task and to see the status of the tasks all remotely and very visually. Keith wrote a blog post all about how we use Trello at Highrise Digital for project management which will give you a good overview.

Screenshot of the Highrise Digital boilerplate Trello board.
We use Trello as our project management tool at Highrise Digital.

Google Meet (formally Google Hangouts)

Whilst we don’t get to physically meet that often we do make extensive use of Google Meet, or Hangouts as it was previously called. This is essentially video conferencing where we can each see each other on screen and we can share our screen with others in the hangout. With today’s faster internet connections, if all the users on the call have a good connection speed, video calls really are the next best thing to all being sat in the same room.

The Highrise Digital team on a Google Meet call.

Each day the entire team has a daily stand-up call. This is where we go through the priorities of the things we are working on and also chat about the things we have completed. It is also time to bring up any blockers on tasks when a team member might need the help of a colleague or sometimes our clients to complete a task. The purpose of a stand-up is to prioritise what each team member should be doing over the course of the next 24 hours.

Twice a week we have a full team meeting where we look at all the projects we are working on, all our retainer clients as well as new work coming in and formulate our plans for the coming days, weeks and months. Once a month this call also covers blocking out each persons time so we can get a good picture of what time we have available in the coming months, for new projects or side projects we need to work on.


This is our virtual office and it is essentially a virtual chat room where we can discuss things. It is much more than that however as it is the virtual hub of all that goes on at Highrise Digital. All of the other software we use such as TrelloGithub (where we store our code) and Google drive feed into Slack so everyone can get a good overview of each project.

Screenshot showing a conversation in the Slack App.
Slack is our main tool for internal communication.

Our Slack team consists of various channels. We tend to have a channel for each project or client and then some others channels for general stuff. Like in a physical office we have also channels for no-work stuff such as Health (we post our runs, cycling and other things to try and keep us healthy) and Random (which is like standing at the kettle when making a brew!). We also have channels for internal topics such as our employee handbook which is a bit like the personnel department.

Documentation and Policies

We are working hard at making detailed documentation for everything we do. As a remote team we can’t just ask someone in the office how something works and therefore it is important that documentation exists for this all the time. We currently have an internal “handbook” website which outlines all company policies and we are currently working hard to improve our project documentation. This means that any team member can jump into a project with little physical direction in order to get started.


Every quarter we always spend some time together in what we like to call Highrise Digital Retreats. These are times when the entire company meet-up and stay somewhere together. Part of this time will be working on projects and taking the opportunity to spend time working together in the same location/room, but also the time is spend getting to know each other and enjoying each others company, something which is harder to do on a day to day basis.

So far we have been held retreats in Edinburgh, London and Strafford-upon-Avon.

Adults playing games on a games console and enjoying it.
We had great fun playing on the old school Mini SNES console.
3 adults males sat around a small table discussing work, in front of a backdrop of the river Thames.
Retreats are a great opportunity to plan things in person.
Photo of the Highrise Digital team (3 people) in front of the River Thames in London.
The Highrise Digital team on a team retreat working together.


Often clients sometimes feel apprehensive about working with a team that is not is one physical location. I hope that by reading about our processes and the tools that we use to help above, this has reduced any apprehension they may feel. However aside from that, there are some clear benefits to our clients in working with a remote team such as Highrise Digital.


It was always our intention from the start to build a remote working agency. Myself and Keith (co-founder) live at opposite ends of the country and therefore setting up a business without physically seeing each other, every day, week or month meant that we learnt the skills needed in order make remote working a success.

We feel that remote working is a great way to provide value to our clients and also enable us to run and happy, healthy and efficient agency – we hope you agree!


If you want to read more about remote working, below is a list of some articles that you may find useful: