Niilo Säämänen

Feb 21, 2023

Our hybrid & remote working set up for product teams at Wolt

Hybrid and remote working blog cover

Flexibility and listening to employees is key in attracting top talent to any organization. At Wolt, we aim to be flexible in supporting hybrid and remote work across a selection of our markets to support our talented team members the best we can, while enabling us to have minimal friction in hiring as we keep on scaling. 🚀 

In our tech organization which we call Product+, we’ve had our hybrid and remote working model since the pandemic started, and we’re iterating on our approach as we go. As we get a lot of questions from our candidates on this topic, I wanted to share about how we combine the best of both worlds: remote and onsite work.  In this blog you’ll find our current policy for remote and hybrid working for our product development functions: engineering, product management, product design, security and data analytics & science. 

First things first: How we work together in Product+

At the core of where we work is how we work together in our tech organization. We’re obsessed with high ownership teams at Wolt. We believe in hiring excellent people and giving them the freedom and accountability to solve customer challenges and to build scalable products. This creates the most impact and efficiency, and the happiest of talented professionals. 

Autonomy means teams are in charge of their own roadmaps, how they build services and products, and how they solve challenges from new features to core scalability of their solutions. It’s a lot of responsibility, but we trust the people we hire. 

This model of distributed, autonomous teams enables us to work effectively together and provide great results, even when remote or hybrid. That’s also why we believe in supporting hybrid working and having distributed teams for the long-run.

Product: collaboration, berlin, whiteboard
Our Product Team working in Berlin office

Our tech hubs: Helsinki HQ, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Tokyo

Tech hubs are where the magic of our Product Development gathers. A tech hub is a Wolt office where we have Product+ teams present, and where we actively hire for more tech talent.  This means things like building the tech community internally and externally by hiring tech talent into the hub, hosting internal events such as our monthly Product Hour, and external meetups in our tech hubs. It also means having local IT support on site and collaborating closely with the local operations teams to close the gap when building excellent products.

Our Helsinki HQ has been our core tech hub to begin with. We kicked off our Berlin tech hub in early 2022, and Stockholm and Tel Aviv tech hubs in late 2022, so there’s a lot of growth in sight for these locations!

Work remotely, onsite or a hybrid of these. Your choice.

We used to prefer that you spend 3 days a week at the office to allow teams to share context and reach serendipity in a high-paced scaling environment, and we were very relaxed on exceptions. Then came Covid, and like most companies, we’ve been working remotely a lot more ever since — and now finding our feet with a mix of hybrid, onsite and remote working.

What comes to working onsite, our offices in the tech hubs in Helsinki, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Tokyo provide a space for closer collaboration. Meanwhile, our hybrid working setup makes it possible for our people in Product Development to work from anywhere within these five Product+ countries: Germany, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Denmark

This arrangement allows us to collaborate more easily while being on similar time zones and have easier options to travel to do closer teamwork if and when needed. Because we want people in our Product Development teams to be able to work in a place where they’re the most efficient and creative, we support their choice of primarily (3+ days a week) working remotely within a Product+ country by providing a desk, chair and monitor to their home office. If they feel that the office space and spending time closer with colleagues is the right fit for them, they have space and gear in our open offices in Berlin, Helsinki and Stockholm.

Even if working mostly remotely within a Product+ country, we of course welcome and encourage employees to come to the office as well to collaborate and meet with their teams as they wish.

Yuho on desk - horizontal image

Staying together as distributed teams

Working remotely has increased the need for us to connect and get to know each other beyond Zoom calls. We’ve spent time figuring out how we do our very culture-oriented way of working in a remote setting and keep the feeling of community and common goals aligned without losing who we are. 

Our teams have come up with various ways of working and rituals to keep connected and build community even when working remotely. These might be virtual coffee breaks, shared “office days” for team members to encourage coming to the office around similar times and innovative fun ways of staying in touch and building team culture even when not meeting each other every day in the office. 

As a product organization, we’re also working to innovate more ways to keep in touch, get to know each other and promote learning together. Some of the current ways include:

  • Product Hour: A monthly get together for our Product folks to listen to interesting presentations and share knowledge over some pizza and beer. Some of our most memorable product hour presentations have included a team member sharing about their avid passion for keyboards, insights into 3D scanning and the world of motion design. 🚀

  • Product week: A week once a year full of awesome sessions, workshops and team-building sessions to help us come closer as a cross-functional Product Development team.

  • Wolt Hackathons: Wolt Hackathons are intense, yet exciting events where small cross-functional groups from our Product organization join forces to build great things and have fun together. 

  • Competence leads and learning sessions: For our bigger technologies we have competence leads who spend a part of their time codifying best practices, mentoring and reviewing work, and building tech communities inside Wolt. 

  • Wolt Tech Talks: Internal and external tech talks are our way to share technical knowledge and stories, while sharing learnings and tips on solving different challenges. We also have our very own Wolt Tech Talks podcast 🎙️ 

Product - Wolt Hackathon 2022 - whole crew

Join us for a delightful journey!

Our remote model started as a bit of surprise with the pandemic, but we believe it’s here to stay in some shape and form.We like the hybrid model that allows for people to work remotely, with access to our wonderful offices, not to forget the importance of meeting people you work with face to face. We always aim for flexibility and the best support for our people at Wolt. 

We’re on a mission to keep pushing for an industry-defining experience for the delivery of everything — and to do that, we need more talented people to help us build world-class solutions and solve complex problems across business lines. So why not join us?

We’re hiring! See our open Engineering, Design, Data & Analytics and Product roles here.

About the author: Niilo Säämänen is the CTO at Wolt, where for the past 7 years he has been building Wolt's engineering team. From leading a group of 5 people in 2016 to today heading over 400 people in 60 teams across 7 countries, Niilo is focused on building great product teams that are independent, empowered and own their product from end-to-end. Niilo is known for thinking culture first, and for emphasizing ownership and eternal learning.

Author image: Niilo Säämänen

Niilo Säämänen

CTO at Wolt

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