The Remote Handbook

The software, meetings, processes, and more

Last week I wrote about the benefits of remote work and how we use it as a competitive advantage at beehiiv. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Still, people always ask me “but how do you ensure people are actually working?”

So today I’m going to share the “secrets” as to how exactly we run and scale the company remotely.

Tech stack

I’m not going to bore you with every piece of software we use, but I’ll share the essentials that keep us in sync and moving along.

  • Slack — from sharing team milestones to late night “you up?” dm’s, we leverage Slack as our main communication channel.

  • Google Meets — I still don’t really understand why anyone pays for Zoom, but Meets works great for everything we need.

  • Google Docs – I adopted this from my brief time working at Google, but we use Docs as the primary destination for creating and sharing any in-depth proposal or initiative.

    • Example: product roadmaps, feature requirements, growth campaigns, etc.

  • Linear — I’ve used a ton of project management tools and for engineering-focused teams, Linear is by far the best. We run 3 week engineering sprints, scope every project and ticket in Linear, and have it integrated with Slack and Github.

  • Asana — anything that isn’t engineering related (design, growth, content), we leverage Asana to assign tasks and track the progression of projects.

  • Figma — anything and everything design related lives here.

  • Fellow — a collaborate note taking app that integrates with your meetings. We just started using this but so far it’s been pretty sweet (can try it here).

  • beehiiv — we leverage to send our investor updates, monthly department updates to the entire company, weekly product updates to our users, etc.


One of the secrets to our success and how we’re able to iterate and move so quickly is we are probably one of the most meeting-light companies you’ll come across. I fucking hate meetings.

We don’t waste time talking about doing things, we just do them.

Employees write a proposal in a Google Doc, the team provides feedback async via comments, we find alignment, maybe hop on a 5 minute huddle on Slack, and then execute.

But we do have a few important meetings that I find invaluable.

Monday / Friday all hands

For an hour each Monday and Friday the entire company gets together. Even at 50 employees, every single person gets a chance to speak during all hands.

Some people think it’s crazy we still have all 50 employees share an update, but I think it’s invaluable for a few reasons:

  • It gives everyone at the company a voice. Everyone is doing something impactful and I want them to have an opportunity to share it with the team.

  • It keeps people engaged. People prepare for and are present in the meeting as a participant, not just an attendee.

  • It holds everyone accountable. Employees look forward to sharing the progress they’ve made, and there’s ~50 others anticipating it.

  • It increases context sharing. While most people spend their weeks heads down on their initiatives, this provides an opportunity to learn what else is occuring in the business.

  • It provides a more granular perspective. Team updates are great, but you’ll get more in the weeds with employees providing their individual updates.

  • It’s human. I want to provide every opportunity I can to facilitate conversations, relationships, and learning from and engaging with others.

There are usually two prompts each person answers:

  1. What is your top priority this week / what was your top accomplishment of the week?

  2. Something more personal ranging from favorite vacation destination to weekend plans to what you wanted to be when you grew up.

The first gives everyone at the company context as to what others are working on. It also keeps everyone accountable, and often over-communicates key initiatives.

And the second prompt allows people to learn about others and their interests, which often results in a ton of jokes and hilarious banter in the chat. At the end of the day, we all crave human connection.

The ability to build relationships with others, albeit remote, is still incredibly important.

Learning that the new hire on the design team also wants to go to Bonnaroo this year can sometimes be all it takes to DM them and build a more meaningful relationship. Plenty of our employees meet up IRL on their own time to connect and pursue similar hobbies.


Each team has a midweek standup on Wednesdays to share the progress they’ve made, identify any blockers, and communicate what they’ll be focusing on next.

Again this optimizes context sharing within individual teams and also holds everyone accountable. You can’t come to standups with nothing to show for your work. At the pace we move, and how interconnected all of our initiatives are — everyone is so dependent on everyone else to execute.

We used to do daily standups, but that got pushed when we adopted focus days…

Focus days

This is a bit oddly placed in the meetings section of the post, because it is actually quite the opposite. As impactful as some meetings may be, I’d argue that the lack of meetings can be just as (if not more) impactful.

Context switching is a drag on productivity, and meetings by nature require you to drop what you’re doing to switch gears to attend and contribute to the meeting. But there is simply too much to get done at our stage to have dozens of employees constantly context switching.

We adopted a weekly focus day on Wednesdays where the entire company was more or less required to avoid any sort of internal or external meetings.

It allows everyone to optimize their time and attention towards projects and initiatives that require deeper focus.

As expected, everyone accomplished considerably more on Wednesdays than any other day of the week. So we just recently in December expanded to two focus days per week — every Tuesday and Thursday.

Which also explains why our once daily standups are now only on Wednesdays.

I’d also make the argument that focus days are considerably more effective in a remote environment. By nature, IRL results in context switching much more frequently because you’re just a few feet away from everyone else.

Regular Comms

As I’ve alluded to a few times already, context sharing and over-communicating are incredibly vital to ensuring everyone is on the same page and understands how their work plays a part in the broader business objectives. In addition to the incessant messages on Slack, there are a few additional things I do personally to ensure everyone is always fully aligned.

Sunday emails

Almost every Sunday I spend about an hour writing an extremely detailed email to the entire team. I typically provide…

  • A 10,000 foot view of exactly where we are as a business

  • A preview of the week ahead in terms of announcements, launches, and more

  • The top product initiatives underway with a status report of each

  • Any other top initiatives for the business (growth, design, support), with an update of when they are launching, who’s contributing, and the expected outcome

  • Shoutouts to anyone in particular who has been crushing it

  • Top issues or things that are keeping me up at night that we need to prioritize

  • Miscellaneous company updates or announcements

End of week recaps

Every Friday I usually drop a message in Slack reiterating some of the top accomplishments of the week. I’m usually very intentional in positioning them to show how each of these smaller initiatives are contributing to the larger company objectives. Momentum is everything.

Monthly investor update

I spend about 5 hours each month writing an incredibly detailed update on the business. I send these to all of our investors and employees, along with some close friends and family members.

These are basically the Sunday emails on steroids, but with more quantitative analysis, financial data, and macro trends.

It’s far too easy to get lost in the day to day, or week to week, and lose sight of the overall progression of the business. However, these investor updates give a remarkably transparent look into the business, recap the performance of the previous month, and really align everyone in setting the stage for the month to come.


There are a few other things that I think are incredibly important to consider when building a remote company.

  • Making people feel seen and appreciated — you need to be much more intentional about this as a remote company. We have a #kudos channel where employees routinely shoutout others when someone goes above and beyond to accomplish something. I’m also very intentional about giving shoutouts whenever I can.

  • Offsites — while yes I wrote an entire post on why I think being remote is far superior than requiring IRL, there is obviously something remarkable about being around others who are motivated and building something special alongside of you. We do a once annual offsite to get the full team together. These have been full of breakthroughs, memories, and fun… and I view them as invaluable.

  • Ownership — every single person at the company owns shares in the company. There is a shared camaraderie and sense of ownership in advancing the success of the business for everyone’s gain.

  • Culture — is undoubtedly harder as a remote company, but not impossible. I’d argue (and think most of our employees would agree) that our culture is stronger than 99% of other workplaces they’ve experienced. We keep things light, are always making fun of eachother, encourage traveling and healthy lifestyles, and truly share the successes and wins together.

Despite everything that I just shared, I’d argue there are three fundamental things that matter above all else.

1. Results matter

Above all else, we are a results driven company through and through. It’s binary — things either get done, or they don’t.

We aren’t a charity, we employ people because we believe they are the best in the world at what they do. And we measure that by the results they deliver.

2. People matter

We hire the type of people who are self-starters, can execute and communicate efficiently, and are constantly looking for ways to both better themselves and contribute to the company.

As a business owner or manager… if you feel like you need to be physically watching over someone’s shoulder in the office for them to accomplish their work, you probably didn’t hire the best person for the job.

You can use the same tech stack we use, implement the same meetings, and communicate all the same. But if you don’t hire the right people who you can whole-heartedly trust, you aren’t going to succeed operating a remote company.

3. Validation matters

As humans I think we’re always seeking some sort of validation, consciously or not. What you do for a living occupies an immense amount of time and headspace in one’s life, and receiving validation that what you’re doing is impactful and appreciated is an X-factor.

  • We’ve built so many cross functional processes and initiatives that each person’s work impacts so many others on the team.

  • We are incredibly transparent about everything at the company, so we often share how certain launches or employee-led initiatives directly impacted revenue, churn, etc.

  • We routinely discuss and reiterate our long-term roadmap and goals, so there’s a shared sense of purpose and mission amongst everyone on the team.

  • Building in public and regularly engaging with our users provides countless opportunities to receive real-time feedback and appreciation for your work.

That last point I don’t think can be overstated.

Could you imagine spending weeks building a new feature, then having dozens of delighted users sharing their appreciation for it right when you launch it.

That happens almost weekly for most of our team… like this below 👇🏽.

Shoutout Phil for crushing all the new enhancements to Segmentations!!

If you enjoyed this post and know someone who may find it useful, please share it with them and encourage them to subscribe:

Credit: @cathrynlavery

Pump this right into my veins. If this is what I was working with… beehiiv would be a unicorn by now.

Reply with your own AI generated office and I’ll feature it in an upcoming issue.

Turn on, tune in, drop out. Click on any of the tracks below to get in a groove — each selected from the full Big Desk Energy playlist.

Some of my favorite content I found on the internet this week…

  • Mr. Beast earned over $250,000 on his first video posted to Twitter. I’m sure it’s totally legit and Elon definitely didn’t have anything to do with it (Twitter)

  • This podcast goes deep on the history of Rolex and I’ve never felt so poor (Apple)

  • Year end reviews are already a month stale so I’m bringing them back. Finally got around to reading Hyper’s best of 2023 fashion post and it slaps (Hyper)

  • The team at beehiiv just dropped six guides on how to get your first 1,000 subscribers 🚀👇🏽

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