OmbuLabs is a fully remote company based out of Philadelphia with team members in eight countries. Currently we are growing pretty steadily, and we thought it would be a good idea to let prospective employees know what it would be like to work at OmbuLabs.
This article is based on questions we often get during interviews, so we hope it helps if you are thinking about applying to OmbuLabs. You can learn more about the recruitment process here.
Being Fully Remote
OmbuLabs is a fully remote company with team members working in many time zones. To handle our remote work we spend a lot of time messaging on Slack, chatting in Zoom meetings, pairing on Tuple, and using Pivotal Tracker for project management. We keep track of all of our information and processes in Tettra, and are expected to contribute to keeping it up to date.
Being proactive and having excellent communication are two skills that are essential to succeeding at OmbuLabs. Asking for help, and being able to clearly explain issues and blockers is necessary for any remote team member to excel.
"OmbuLabs has helped me grow as a professional, I have opportunities to take on many roles (working on servers, coding for clients, doing open source, writing blog posts, helping with recruitment, etc) and every day I learn something new." -Ariel Juodziukynas
At OmbuLabs we loosely follow a 9:00am - 5:00pm work day in the UTC-5 time zone. We work Monday through Friday and encourage team members to not work on the weekends. Most of our teammates start the day between 8:00am - 9:00am in their own time zones, and we try to overlap the rest of the day as much as possible.
Team members are expected to greet everyone on Slack when they “come in” for the day, and to let everyone know if they will be offline for meals, errands, or illness throughout the day.
Team meetings and client meetings are pretty much left up to the individuals involved to schedule. Our end-of-week meeting is one of the only meetings everyone is expected to show up to.
This occurs at 2:15pm(UTC-5) on Fridays and it is important for all full time members to attend. Contractors are welcome to join, but not obligated. We cover updates about client projects and internal projects. We play some games, and toast each other with our wins of the week. It is a nice way to wind down the work week and get to know each other better.
"You will grow as a developer, communicator, learner, mentor and team member. There is order and structure where needed, with a flexible work life and leaders who listen." -Brad Smith
Full time team members are expected to work 30 hours a week on client projects and 10 hours a week on internal teams, contribution goals, and meetings. Some team members also include English classes in their 10 hours a week.
Client projects at OmbuLabs almost always have two developers assigned. Sometimes it is two full time members, sometimes a full time member and a contractor, and occasionally two contractors.
Contractors are expected to devote the majority of the hours they are assigned to their client project.This is usually between 20-30 hours. Occasionally we will have a contractor work on internal projects if there are a few weeks between client projects and the contractor is free.
"As a contractor, it has been easy to communicate with the rest of the team and since being assigned to a project with a group of 2-3 people, work has been laid out quickly and unambiguously. Even though we’re all in different timezones, code reviews have been frictionless, coherent and never pointless." -Tiago Casanova
One of the most important aspects of working at a fully remote company with team members all over the world is being vigilant with keeping track of our time. We have a pretty strict policy when it comes to keeping our hours accounted for. We want to be able to charge clients the correct amount. You can learn more about our time tracking in this article.
Because we are a small company we all have to pitch in and help in some areas that aren’t necessarily our expertise. At the moment we have 5 teams; sales, marketing, recruitment, open source, and dev tooling. The teams are made up of 2-3 team members, and we have two week sprints to work on stories pertaining to our teams.
Each member of OmbuLabs is assigned to a team (we try our best to assign by area of interest). We want flexibility, so team members should be able to move between teams when it makes sense for a switch.
"OmbuLabs provides ample opportunities for growth. It is also great that you are trusted to contribute in other areas of the business such as sales, marketing, recruiting, internal processes and open source. It feels good to manage my own schedule and provide high quality work without being micro managed." -Francois Buys
Contributing to the company, and to broader community is an important part of our values at OmbuLabs. Therefore, we have goals for all of the team members to make regular contributions.
For developers these goals include writing blog posts and contributing to open source projects. Speaking at conferences, on podcasts, or organizing meetups is also another way to arrive at these goals.
For non-developers we have internal goals like keeping our knowledge base up to date.
Contractors are not expected to meet these goals, but they are welcome to contribute to our blogs if they choose to!
1:1s, Know Your Team, and 360 reviews
One of the important aspects of working for OmbuLabs is that we truly are a team, and we are constantly reviewing, assessing, and looking for ways to improve and grow.
We have many 1:1 meetings to discuss how we ourselves can improve, but also the company as a whole. We use “Know Your Team” to both get to know each other, and to ask critical questions about the company. We do 360 reviews 3 times a year, reviewing each other, ourselves, and the company.
"I never thought I'd be in a work environment where I can actually be myself, but OmbuLabs encourages each person to be nothing other than who they are. Also, everyone is extremely supportive of each other and wants to see their fellow team member succeed." -Toni Benn
OmbuLabs strives to be a relaxed work environment, we take our values seriously. We want team members to be happy and to enjoy their work days.
One of the things that I like the most about OmbuLabs is that we value the balance between work and life, this is widely appreciated and incentivized in the company. No one will ever ask you to sacrifice your weekends, to work more hours that you should and it's okay if you need to have a mental health day or take your kids to the doctor. Our health comes first. - Cleiviane Costa
We goof off on Slack with memes and jokes, play games during the end-of-week meeting, and greatly look forward to the time when we will be able to meet in person again.
We plan to do a company retreat when it is safe for everyone.
If any of this seems like a team you would like to be a part of head over to our jobs page and check out the open positions!