How We Manage Remote Work
7 of our team members live in the Atlanta area and our other team member is leading Foojee’s efforts in Nashville. We have a team meeting on Monday’s in Midtown Atlanta. Our Nashville team joins the meeting via FaceTime and everyone else comes in the flesh to talk about recent accomplishments and things coming down the pipeline. It’s a great way for everyone to stay on the same page and start the week together.
After Monday our team splits up. The rest of the week is dedicated to spending time onsite with clients, doing remote help sessions, and taking care of other tasks to move the company forward. Everyone has the freedom to take care of their clients and tasks for the week at their discretion. For our technicians that means scheduling out onsite and remote appointments. For our corporate staff, it means planning out a week of productive work to help keep the company moving forward in the areas of operations, sales, marketing, and general administration.
For everyone, Monday could be the only day of the week we see anyone else on the team. Whether working from home, a coffee shop, a co-working space, or a client’s office, much of our work is done outside of our main office. It’s become important for us to discover the most effective ways to manage remote work. We use a number of tools to help us do this.
The ever-popular communication tool that helps reduce the number of internal emails for any team. You can chat with one specific person or create channels with any amount of team members. Slack is a fantastic way to stay in touch remotely and it allows our technicians to bounce ideas off of each other. This means during the middle of an appointment when an unforeseen problem arises we can reach out to the other members of our team to ask for clarity and guidance on a prompt resolution. Slack has saved all of us in more than one instance.
We needed a way to track everyone’s schedules. A shared calendar among our team has ensured that we don’t double-book ourselves, can help each other schedule client appointments, and generally keep track of one another without constant pestering. Not to mention it helps us know when someone is going to be out for travel, doctor’s appointments, or for other engagements.
We love Basecamp. It’s a simple, powerful tool for project management. It allows us to keep tabs on clients, operations, marketing, our sales pipeline, and more. The best part is that it’s not overwhelming and the team at Basecamp is constantly working to make their product better. They recently introduced Basecamp 3 and it’s a wonderful step forward for an already solid tool.
Good, Old-Fashioned Phone Calls
Sometimes, Slack takes too long or someone can’t quite respond at the right time (like when they’re driving), and the only thing that will do the trick is a phone call. Most of our phones calls last less than five minutes, but are incredibly effective at communicating information and helping other people on the team get things done. Phone calls are rarely talked about as an effective business tool, but we’ve always seen the value when it comes to calling clients to reassure them about their service or an issue at hand, calling prospects to encourage them and show that we care, and calling one another to help boost productivity and get things done quicker.
Without trust, remote work doesn’t work. Starting at the top and trickling down, trust means allowing everyone on the team the freedom to schedule their week and get the work done that matters. We have a team that implicitly trusts everyone to get their work done to help move the company forward whether that’s recording billable hours for a client, training someone who doesn’t know as much, or working on the next Foojee video. Without the trust we’ve all built with one another, including with a team member in another state, we wouldn’t be nearly as productive and successful.
For those of you on remote teams, what other tools do you use to help your team be successful? We’d love to hear from you!