How do we integrate our remote colleagues? Stories from hundreds of km away.


The pandemic period has provided us with significant benefits within the company. The most noticeable one was that it allowed us to expand our team in several cities across the country, with talented and valuable colleagues working remotely. However, we frequently consider how to make them feel like they are a part of the team even if they are not physically present in the office.

5 mins read


Looking back 2 years ago

We sometimes imagine our company at the beginning of 2020: around 25 employees, two spacious workplaces, a lot of projects being worked on from the office, a bunch of after-hours outings, shared kitchen lunches, and regular commutes to and from the office. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? We got used to seeing each other’s faces every day, laughing, and drinking our morning coffee from the same espresso machine. 

In one day, all that changed. Nearly two years of online meetings, technical difficulties, house cats jumping on PCs, and kids playing in the other rooms. After a while, we got used to this new work environment. By balancing family time and everyday tasks, we had started to enjoy our time at home. We held daily meetings, talked with our coworkers from morning till afternoon, and drank coffee in front of our cameras.

How’s the present

Mid-2022 finds us in an improved and nearly perfect formula: 47 employees, with 12 of them are distributed throughout the country, and the rest based in Iași. We are proud to have colleagues from Bucharest, Timișoara, Cluj, Arad, Brașov and Târgu-Jiu joining us. They are important points on the “Grapefruit map” and make our team more diverse both in terms of perspectives and skills.

We have adopted a hybrid working style, because more than half of the employees prefer this working model, allowing them a work-life balance according to their needs. The one thing we really care about is that each colleague spends a day at the office once a week. A day spent at the office, meeting their colleagues, spending time together, taking breaks together, and managing to keep the connection tight.

Another significant advantage of hybrid work is its flexibility. If you feel more productive when you come to work, you are welcomed with coffee and treats every Wednesday. If you need to get out of town for a few days, that is also fine. We’re especially happy for colleagues with even broader horizons. Two of our girls tried out another working model this summer: one a month from Spain, and the other followed with a month in Greece. It feels great to be able to work with a sea view, isn’t it?

How do we manage to integrate our remote colleagues

We made a significant change in the integration process for new employees when we all started working from home. We had to because we needed to double our workforce from March 2020. Instead of preparing for the interview 2 hours ahead of time, you can log in 5 minutes before and always be on time. We’ve discovered that this method is more efficient for both us and the candidates. That’s why recruitment was also done entirely online since then. As a result, we developed a complex onboarding process not only for new colleagues from other cities, but also for colleagues from Iasi. It was created with our colleagues’ needs and desires in mind, with a focus on quick and easy integration.

The Buddy Program, mentoring, “Let’s Meet” meetings and the Newcomer’s Guide are just a few of the initiatives we have introduced into the onboarding process. Through these, our newcomers were able to get in touch with all their colleagues in the company from their very first week, be guided by them and have access to both the Grapefruit history and the values and culture we have adopted over the years.

In March 2021, one year after the pandemic began, we also shyly started to meet again at the office. With all the safeguards in place, only a few people a day in the room, a pre-determined return schedule, all this helped us to meet after a year at home. Also, from that period, we started to have more and more colleagues joining our team and living in other cities of the country. For this very reason, a few months later, we introduced a new benefit for remote colleagues: they can choose when they want to come to Iași and stay with us at the office for a few days. As a result, our colleagues have the opportunity to meet us in person, work from the office, and enjoy a few outings after work with the teams at this time.

Daily team meetings, coffee breaks spent on Google Meet, ongoing communication with our HR Manager, and all organization events help our colleagues working remotely to have a continuous integration process within the company. Also, all gifts or rewards received at the office are distributed to our colleagues in other cities, so we all get to enjoy the treats that Grapefruit provides on a regular basis.

Stories from 100 km away

We asked some of our remote employees what they thought about this way of working. We try to take our colleagues’ pulses on a regular basis by holding team happiness sessions. During these meetings, we learn how they feel about the company, what they want to improve, and why our colleagues enjoys working at Grapefruit. Likewise, we don’t want to keep these insights to ourselves, so we let you see what great colleagues we have at Grapefruit.

It’s my first week as a Grapefruit employee. So far, the people I’ve interacted with seem to be quite fun. Everyone is giving me a relaxed feeling, which I’m really digging, and I feel like I’m in the right place. As for Iași, I’m excited to come visit it again soon, as I’ve previously been there before. When it comes to remote working, I’ve been doing this for quite a few years now, the fact that I can be in a certain place today, and somewhere else tomorrow is the best kind of arrangement for me.”  – Alin, Front-End Developer, Bucuresti


Even if I am far from my colleagues from Iași, I feel them very close to me. We have meetings every morning where we drink our coffee together, we talk, and we prepare for the current day. We also have twice a week meetings where we play online games or watch commercials. 

Besides that, in March I visited Iași and met my colleagues live, which was a wonderful experience and in which I felt like I was meeting some old friends. My integration in the team was easy, and my colleagues are friendly, open, and nice. I felt like I was part of the team from day one.” – Lorena, Content Editor, Timișoara


Working at Grapefruit has been a great experience for me so far. Even though I work remote, the HR department facilitated meetings with all of my colleagues. There is a buddy system that allowed me to get to know a colleague better, and I have weekly meetings with my team. We try to use our webcam during our meeting so get to see each other and that helps to close the distance gap. 

All the internal tools that we use also help to get to know the team, what project you work on, what is the schedule for the day, so I don’t feel lost even though I work remote. The communication between me and my colleagues is great, everybody was very helpful, understanding and made me feel that I am part of the Grapefruit Team.” – Dan Voitasec, UX Designer, București


How can we feel connected when we’re apart? I joined Grapefruit on the first working week of January, fully remote from Brașov. For me, it wasn’t a challenge to be part of a remote team, as I used to do that since the beginning of the pandemic. The game changer happened to be the people I met at Grapefruit!

Even though my team was in Iași, I got the feeling we were in an open co-working space, and we can reach out whenever it was needed. Another thing that got me the feeling of connection was the events my team is constantly doing, like „Pink Friday” or „La Palavre”. During these meetings we can share thoughts, ideas on different subjects and exchange opinions.

One thing that the pandemic taught us all, I believe, is to be more assertive and to double-check a person’s feelings to make sure they are ok. This happened to me when, out of nowhere, a colleague came to me and asked me if I’m ok. “How are you dealing with this?” – this was another sign I was on the right team, where we care about each other.

I wanted to be there for my team, so even though my we were assigned different tasks, I would keep a daily written status on Slack where everyone could come back and see what is going on and confirm the progress in real-time. There I included puns or small jokes to brighten the mood. More than that, right from the beginning, I went above and beyond to make sure my team is aware I am there for them if needed. I would also check up on people before assigning a complex task. That lead me to real connections with my team, and we shared more than I would have expected. When I heard one of my colleagues was passing through Brașov, I proposed to her that we met in person. Oh, and what a fun time we spent together, when showing her the city.

As soon as the possibility to work a few days from Iași arrived, I jumped at it with no restrains and was one of the best times to spend with my colleagues. I remember I got there and everybody hugged me and wanted to spend time with me and show me the city, the nice places you need to go if you are in Iași.

Also, even my team-lead went out with me to grab a drink, and we talked about different topics about life, and we got to know each other better. I loved it, and it also made me feel even more included.

That being said, when we are not working together on the same open floor, the people are the ones that are making a difference, they have the assertiveness and the willingness to stay around and stay connected no matter how many walls (or kilometers) we have between us.Luminița, Project Manager, Brașov


Even if they are hundreds of kilometers away, our colleague’s story make us understand that they do feel as being part of the team. They’re constantly interacting with their colleagues on a daily basis and staying up to date on everything that is going on within the company. Furthermore, the ability to come to the office whenever they want, even if only for a few days, makes them feel excited and satisfied with our  integration plan.

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