Flexible Working Hours at Uplift Agency: An Interview with the Founders

Flexible Working Hours at Uplift Agency: An Interview with the Founders feature image

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Paul and Marius – two brothers that founded Uplift Agency. The agency is fully remote and has grown to a team of 10 people in less than a year. They founded the company with flexible working hours as a core part of their company. They both enjoy hobbies outside of work and they wanted to build a company that allows people to enjoy what they love.

Hi Paul and Marius, introduce yourself! What is your company and what do you do?

We’re Paul and Marius, two brothers and engineers. Our company is called Uplift Agency. We’re a small Software Engineering Consultancy business. We do three kinds of things: we build products for companies of all sizes (usually starting at $30k), we provide staff augmentation, for ongoing work (most of our past clients are still with us!), and we provide product ideation and incubation (this is Uplift-internal work and it’s super fun).

How do you support flexible working hours at your company?

Our entire team is remote and we have some team members working in different parts of the country as well as overseas. Some engineers prefer to work at different hours of the day or hours that don’t always line up with when others are working. As long as the work gets done and there is some overlap for checking in and planning, we always want to allow for that type of environment.

What benefits have you seen from supporting flexible working hours?

We put trust in others that they’ve figured out when they’re most productive and what their working schedule looks like for them. When they have the autonomy to make those choices, we’ve seen it increase motivation & productivity. We also support our team and invest thought and time in learning, growth, and retention, This helps us find really great applicants. They often reach out to us in fact!

What prompted you to start supporting flexible working schedules?

Paul is an avid kitesurfer. The wind doesn’t abide by a 9-5 so he decided that he would have to adjust his working life. Shortly after, Marius was itching to build new projects and ready to move on from his job. Since we had started a company before, we knew we worked well together so we incorporated and started taking on more clients. We maintained remote work as a top value, along with flexible working hours for ourselves. That’s how the company started. We want others to be able to enjoy what they love and when, too! It’s the core of our business.

Have you seen any downsides or challenges in supporting flexible working hours?

There are challenges. Sometimes keeping track of who’s available & when is challenging. We have shared work calendars, but each person needs to keep their own availability up to date. And of course if there are multiple timezones involved, coordinating takes more thought. Generally, we see people make themselves available when it’s important for the project, so we’ve had great experiences overall.

Have you had any challenges in dealing with clients and customers who may not work on a flexible schedule?

There are always clients who prefer to work in person over remotely. The flexible schedule hasn’t been much of an issue with our clients so far. We’re very upfront that our team works part time, and try to keep regular meetings scheduled which helps address most client concerns.

Do you have any tips for other companies that are considering supporting a flexible work schedule?

Of course it’s much easier to start this way from the beginning, but don’t be intimidated. You can switch one team at a time perhaps – or start with a team that’s already distributed. You can learn a lot by doing a trial period, and being flexible forces you to really understand what’s most important to get work done effectively.

Invest in quality audio equipment, it makes it a lot easier for remote workers to listen. Try out different software options as well. In our experience Google Meet audio is significantly more compressed and harder to understand than Zoom or Slack calls, especially with bigger groups.

Keep meetings to a minimum, but don’t forget to take the time to identify communication issues. One great way to do this is to make sure the leadership checks in with everyone else regularly. For us, we do one-on-one meetings 1-2 times per month with our staff and check in regularly on Slack. We also prioritize to quickly take action if things fall through the cracks.

Do you have any job openings that you would like readers to take a look at?

We’re always looking for great engineers and highly value communication, estimating skills (ha, it’s hard I know!), and high-quality, maintainable code. Freelance or project budget and delivery experience is a plus. We typically hire mid-level and senior-level people. For more details, check out our careers page! We’re currently looking for full stack, frontend or backend engineers.

Anything else you would like to share?

When we learned about 30 hour jobs, we were excited because we feel the world really should focus more on productivity and quality of life. 40 hour work weeks from the industrial era have stuck around, but it’s time we re-evaluated that and learned to enjoy other aspects of life. Thanks for the interview and the opportunity to talk about Uplift!

Our company’s been growing from ~2.5 people, to a team of 10 in less than a year, and we’re still taking that in. If you’re reading this and you need a product built by a team who has built many and has made clients terrifically happy, reach out to us!

Nicholas Rempel