An Interview with Morten Bitsch, founder of Viking Consulting and our CONSULTANT & TEAM LEAD. Morten has earlier been advocating for remote work as a make-it-or-break factor for many businesses. Now he has the chance to take his words to the paper and clarify for his point of view. Is it fiction or is there something to gain? Experience for yourself and join the discussion to test this belief.
#What makes you believe in remote work?
“Viking Consulting was founded and born remotely, and I have been working with remote teams since 2012, so it has become a completely natural way of working for me. The question actually baffled me a bit. I just got used to that way of working – with its pros and cons.
Initially, the choice of a remote team started with just 1 remote colleague – based on a software development challenge we had, and a friend telling me “I know the right guy for this challenge. He is skilled, self-driven, trustworthy and good at bridging the communication gap between described business needs and the world of programming – ohh and by the way, he is based in Lithuania”. At the time I mostly focused on the skills, but with time I have learned that the other personal traits are just as important when working with remote teams.
That leads me back to the “believe” part of the question. What is needed to have that foundational believe? As I see it, these are the fundamental reasons I believe in it:
I have a fundamental trust in other people, and I trust that employees actually want to do their best effort – even without a manager in the room. This holds true even after 11 years of experience.
Suddenly the world is our oyster in terms of hiring new employees. No need to limit ourselves to the local workforce who would need to live within an acceptable distance from an office. In the end, this makes the company stronger as we can treat ourselves with the best employees.
And on a personal note…working from home saves a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted on commuting. I personally appreciate this fact every day when I have time to pick up my kids from school instead of being stuck in traffic.
I am aware that Viking Consulting is in a sweet spot for getting the most out of remote work. We are an IT-based company where we live and breathe at the keyboard – all our tasks can be described and performed at the computer – I believe that IT-based companies are actually often first-movers.”
#Why are IT-based companies the best first-movers?
“The world of information technology is constantly pushing and running towards the horizon of what is possible. Nothing is static, and we love it. As developers and innovators, we are naturally also amongst the first adopters of new technology. Although remote work is not a new concept, the idea of a company as something which collects people in the same location is very old and deeply rooted in many people’s idea of what it means to “go to work” – even amongst business leaders – there are many companies that still struggle with the idea of remote work. Now Covid-19 has pushed companies into trying it out, and I am sure that a large percentage of those companies will stay with the remote setup even after Covid-19 is history. It will be clear to most business leaders that every cloud has a silver lining – that the necessary measures taken as a response to Covid-19 have made it very clear that company efficiency has become higher and that costs are now lower. Some still depend strongly on a physical face-to-face in order to operate their business, but the demarcation of that line is being strongly reevaluated across the world right now.”
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” – Stephen Hawking
#How to work efficiently remotely and with different time zones?
“We at Viking Consulting greatly value our daily 15-minute round-the-table video meeting where everyone participates. As I tune into the meeting first thing in the morning, some of our team members have already been to work for 5 hours. We do this to foster our shared company culture and to actually see each other every day. It is important to not only make it about projects, tasks and deadlines but also to facilitate the informal dialogue – learn a little about each other and laugh together – to connect as humans.
The importance of this is enormous because most of the rest of our communication is either via email, chat or project-specific calls. And it is widely known that chat and email text is exceptionally poor at expressing the “tone of voice” and feelings – even despite intensive use of emojis – so it is important to have that “feel” of the person behind the message. To know his or her typical reactions to a bad joke or heavy use of irony and sarcasm – and so he sees and feels my personality to better put what I am writing to him in context of what he knows about me. We are not afraid to connect and be vulnerable – that is where the strength of a certain type is built.
If possible, meet to celebrate and party – that informal connection and relationship building is so important.
Of course, there are a lot of more practical considerations and obstacles to the time zones – like finding a shared calendar time for a project meeting with say a US client located on the west coast, but we choose to go the extra mile and be available for meetings whenever it is required. Looking to the horizon, we are making plans to make a US settlement also – but don’t tell anyone – Vikings like the element of surprise ;-)”
#Please share your advice for remote work?
“I will keep it short. Just do it.
It is not rocket science, and most obstacles to embracing remote work are illusions well wrapped in ever weaker arguments rooted in dying old culture. Don’t get me wrong – we still LOVE the physical meetings – it has its great strengths and will never lose it – but technology has a tendency to catch up – I foresee that 15 years from now, colleagues will meet up “in person” and shake hands and look each other in the eyes to sense the mood – in a virtual reality coupled with emotional sensors and tactile equipment to actually get that true face to face feel – while being on opposite sides of the globe. And they will love it.”
“You better start swimming
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are changing’”
– Bob Dylan
Our lead consultant
Morten holds a MSc in Innovation & Business Development and has 8 years of experience in running a web-bureau, developing eCommerce solutions, websites and app’s for both Android and iOS. Morten is good at understanding client needs and translating the business needs of clients into concrete requirements that the development team can process. Besides that, he has the role of catching the constant flow of ideas coming from Tommy – a specialized skill in itself!
Stay in touch
Stay up-to-date and connect with us on LinkedIn. We are friendly Vikings both when it comes to formally and informally meetings. Hit the “Let’s talk” button so we can start our journey together. Glory and honour await us! Friendly regards, the Viking Consulting team
Who we are
We are Viking Consulting. The specialists within the fields of 3rd party integration and eCommerce solutions. With 20+ years of experience in e-Commerce, 15+ years of experience in development and integration, and 5+ years as a 3PL provider. We are the only contact needed for integration, development and consulting. Our growing business is hungry for more experiences.
The company is based in Scandinavia and the team extends to even embracing more countries. We serve companies worldwide. Our foundation is based on the values: Be Brave, Be Prepared, Be A Good Merchant, and, Keep The Camp In Order. Therefore we see ourselves as business partners and friends of the clients, employees, companies, networks and the whole industry.