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Rising Star: Successfully Wrangling Remote Teams27:29 with Alison Porter
Ali spends her days coordinating teams that are scattered across the globe. From different time zones to keeping morale high, Ali shares her tips and insights for successfully managing remote workers.
[MUSIC] 0:01 My name is Allison Porter and I'm going to be talking to you today about how to 0:15 successfully wrangle remote teams, how to hire support, and 0:18 how to keep your remote team running like a well-oiled machine. 0:21 So before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about myself. 0:25 I am the co-owner of Copter Labs. 0:28 We are a web design and development agency. 0:30 We also do consulting for start ups and smaller agencies. 0:33 And I have been with the company since 2012, although Copter Labs has been, 0:35 in various variations, been around since 2003-2004. 0:40 I am based out of Portland, Oregon. 0:44 My co-owner is actually based out of Philadelphia. 0:45 We have a part time employee also in Philadelphia and 0:48 we have a contractor that works in Scotland. 0:51 So we are a completely remote team. 0:53 We don't have a main office anywhere. 0:55 We don't come in and meet. 0:56 We all work from where ever. 0:58 And so when it comes to remote work, it's not a new concept. 1:01 Especially in the tech industry, this has kinda been around for years. 1:04 But we're noticing that not just in tech but in other industries there's been 1:07 a huge upswing in companies allowing their employees to either work flexible hours, 1:10 work at home once or twice a week, or work completely remote. 1:15 And this is a graphic from the Wall Street Journal here, where you can see across all 1:19 industries there, from 2000 to 2010, there is a huge increase in remote work. 1:22 And it really got me curious, like what's happening here, 1:28 what is causing this upswing for remote work? 1:30 And so my first thought was to go to, okay, 1:34 the people who are interested and wanting to work remote. 1:36 What's drawing them to it? 1:38 Why do they want to do this? 1:39 So the first thing on my head was they wanna work on the beach, 1:41 literally on the beach in the shore, cuz that makes perfect sense. 1:44 Or maybe sitting on a chair in the beach, somewhere. 1:47 Or on a cliff instead, or out with some hay in a field somewhere. 1:51 I'm not kidding, I could do an entire talk on remote work stalk photography, 1:56 this is like if you want a good giggle after this, Google it, 2:00 it's like at least minutes of entertainment, it's fantastic. 2:03 But aside from the idea of working from wherever, 2:06 what are some of the things that are causing this upswing? 2:09 And one of them is a generational shift. 2:12 So the youngin's nowadays. 2:14 They're realizing, 2:16 they are more attracted to these flexible positions that are available out there. 2:16 They're starting to see that it's not that uncommon anymore, 2:20 it is actually something that's attainable. 2:22 And they're starting to be more picky when it comes to getting these jobs. 2:25 Adam Kegel from the London Business School told Fast Company that 2:29 remote work is a criterion that people are expressly looking for 2:32 before they'll sign on the dotted line. 2:35 So basically what's happening right now is we're finding that if you put specifically 2:37 in front of a monomial two identical positions except 2:41 one they're going to be required to come into an office and work everyday. 2:44 But the other position's going to offering more flexible options and, or 2:47 the choice to work from wherever, they're gonna go with the flexible option one. 2:50 They know they don't have to be tied down anymore to one job. 2:54 And if they are, 2:57 if they get offered that position they're probably gonna look elsewhere. 2:58 But it's not just millenials either. 3:02 So flexjobs.com actually held a survey to see who in general was, 3:03 what they were looking for when looking for a flexible job, and 3:08 what would they be willing to sacrifice? 3:10 And this is kind of interesting here. 3:12 So people who were willing to work a flexible job, 3:14 they were willing, 23% were about to take a 10% cut in pay. 3:16 Another almost 23% said they would be willing to work less hours. 3:20 They would be willing to go from a full-time position to maybe a part-time 3:23 position in order work a more flexible schedule. 3:26 About 22 and a half said that they'd be willing to give up health benefits, 3:30 no insurance. 3:32 About 22% said they'd be giving up some vacation time. 3:34 About 18% would be willing to work longer hours and about 16% said 3:37 employer match retirement contributions they'd be willing to give that up as well. 3:41 But I was kinda curious, I'll get on to it in a minute, but 3:45 how 18% said they'd be willing to work longer hours. 3:49 So you see they're willing to take a reduction in hours, 3:51 they're willing to work less but they're willing to work more. 3:54 They're willing to put more hours in the day to get the job done. 3:57 So again, I'll touch on that in just a second. 4:00 But what about the other end of it? 4:02 So why are employers looking more towards flexible options or remote work for 4:04 their businesses? 4:07 And the first, kinda more obvious, one is they have more candidate options. 4:09 They're no longer relying on a small pool of people to find anybody. 4:13 When you're looking in just you small town, 4:16 you're kind of like working in a kiddy pool. 4:18 You have just a small choice of people to work from. 4:20 But if you start to look in the next county or the next state or as we've 4:23 done even in the next country over, all of the sudden you have these huge options. 4:26 And you're no longer just trying to find the best out of your tiny pool, 4:30 you're able to find literally the best person for that position. 4:34 They have the skill set required, they're gonna need minimal training and they 4:37 probably have some skills that you didn't realize you needed to fill that position. 4:40 Another reason that they're going towards that is they're seeing an increase in job 4:45 satisfaction. 4:48 Allowing your employees to have more flexible time to work, 4:49 either leaving a little bit early one day and making up hours up elsewhere, or 4:52 maybe working from home one day a week, or working completely remotely. 4:55 It makes them happier. 4:58 So my aunt in particular, she worked in IT for the county, for 5:00 a county in my state for a long time. 5:03 And near the end of her retirement she finally negotiated into her contract that 5:05 she wanted to work from home one day a week. 5:09 Just one, usually a Friday. 5:10 And she was fairly happy with her position there but you know you're in 5:12 the job all time, and office politics can kind of start to bug you. 5:15 And even getting a break from that about one day a week she was so 5:19 much happier in her position. 5:22 And she did feel like she was getting more done. 5:23 Which leads to employee productivity. 5:25 Happier employees are gonna produce better products. 5:27 And I'd kinda like to relate it to free-range chickens. 5:31 So they always say that chickens that are allowed to escape the coop and 5:34 run around in fields, they're gonna be happier and 5:37 they're gonna produce better quality eggs and better quality meat. 5:39 It's the same thing for your employees. 5:42 Let them go spread their wings. 5:44 Let them out. 5:45 They're gonna be able to do it. 5:46 They're gonna be happier and 5:47 therefore they're gonna give you better quality work on top of it. 5:48 So with all this with remote work, how do go ahead and hire them? 5:51 It's not really the same anymore. 5:56 When you're hiring for a position that gonna be in an office. 5:57 You're gonna be sitting in front of them all day. 6:00 You're gonna have more personal interaction. 6:02 You're going to sit down with them and you're gonna be able to get a lot of 6:04 ques off of them by physically interacting with them. 6:07 But if you're hiring people who are not gonna be in the office all the time, or 6:10 at all if they're in a completely different area. 6:13 How do you hire for this? 6:14 What are some steps to take to kinda narrow down your candidates field to get 6:16 the best quality candidates? 6:19 And the first thing is pretty obvious, but maybe not, is to draft up a solid listing. 6:21 We're not in a place anymore where you can just put a generic listing out there. 6:25 If you just say you want a graphic designer just to do generic, 6:28 you're gonna get generic candidates and that's gonna be more pain for 6:30 you to try and dig through there and weed out the one's that you actually want. 6:33 When we were hiring a developer a few years age, 6:36 we drafted up our listing to say specifically what we needed them to do. 6:39 And then at the bottom of the field, we ask them to perform a certain task for us. 6:42 So we had them write out the code exactly how they would perform the function. 6:47 And the great thing about this in two ways, this is great in two ways. 6:50 First, it weeded out all the lazy candidates, all the people that are just 6:54 gonna start throwing their resume at you and hoping for the best. 6:58 We made them put their money where their mouth is. 7:00 We made them show us exactly what they were gonna be doing. 7:02 And the second thing that was great for 7:04 that was we kinda got a sneak peek of how they did their work. 7:05 So they say that they do things a certain way, and it was a pretty simple task, 7:08 I can't remember off the top of my head what it was. 7:12 But it was a fairly simple task, and so 7:14 we got to see if they made it more difficult than it needed to be. 7:16 We got to see if they did it exactly by the book. 7:19 We got to see if they actually were really innovative, that they're using, 7:21 did something that we hadn't seen before. 7:24 So it was a great way to kind of have a preview over candidate field and 7:26 really narrow down and 7:30 get a smaller field as opposed to reading through all the big ones. 7:31 Also, when you're looking to hire, 7:35 it's always great to look inside your network first. 7:37 This is one of the reasons why we do networking in general. 7:39 It's not just to meet like-minded individuals and 7:42 see about potential collaborations. 7:45 But it's also great for, because I'm gonna wanna hire from people that I trust. 7:49 So when I'm networking with people and I know somebody, I've met them here and 7:57 I like the way they do their work, I know. 8:00 A, if I know they're interested in some sort of freelance work, 8:02 if I have a position open, I'm gonna reach out to them first. 8:05 Even if they're not available in a freelance position, but I trust them and 8:08 I trust the work they do, 8:11 I'm gonna trust their opinion of people that they work with. 8:12 So I'll reach out to them and 8:15 say hey, I know you're busy right now and I know you're not interested in this, 8:16 but do you know anybody else who would be interested in this position? 8:19 Also when we were looking for our developers previously, 8:22 we would actually post on Facebook or free posted anything on job searches or 8:24 Craigslist or anywhere else. 8:27 The people would follow us, the people who know us and know what we do. 8:29 It's a lot easier when you're hiring within your network because it's going to 8:32 mean minimal training on your end and 8:34 they're gonna be familiar with how you do your business and how everything works. 8:36 If you kind of exhaust all those options and doesn't really work, 8:41 that's when you can look forward to the Craigslist or the JobFinder postings. 8:44 So let's say you narrow down your candidates and you have at least two or 8:48 three, or maybe just one, that you're really interested in. 8:51 Schedule a video call. 8:53 This is huge. 8:54 Either a video call or a phone call or a Skype call, or 8:55 if they happen to be not that far away, go ahead and grab some coffee with them. 8:57 As I mentioned before, when you're hiring for 9:01 an office there's a lot of personal interaction. 9:03 You're sitting down and you're talking to them. 9:05 If you're hiring them and they don't live anywhere near you, 9:07 it can be really difficult to have that personal interaction. 9:09 So scheduling a video call or 9:12 even a phone call kinda gives you a way to get a better feel for them. 9:14 Anybody can come off a certain way via email or text or chat. 9:17 But to actually talk to somebody, get to know them a little bit more. 9:20 Also, the other benefit to this is, 9:24 let's say you're scheduling a video call, when you're talking to this candidate, 9:26 are they giving you various options to get a hold of them? 9:30 Like Talkee or Google Hangout or Skype? 9:33 Are they also offering up various times to get in touch with them? 9:35 When it's getting closer to the call, do they actually follow up with you? 9:38 These may seem like small things, but these are cues to pay attention to. 9:42 These are people that are showing that they are proactive, 9:45 that they're go-getters, that they're doers. 9:47 These are qualities that you want in a candidate wen you are hiring for 9:48 someone that's gonna be working from home, or out of the office. 9:53 So, you hire your person. 9:57 Now what? 9:59 Introduce them to the team. 10:00 Don't just throw them into the fire. 10:02 That's the worst thing you could do. 10:04 Let the team know what's happening, keep them in the loop as well. 10:06 Even though you kind of have your camaraderie and 10:08 rapport built with your team, they need to feel like they're part of it as well. 10:11 When we have people join our team, we have a little virtual office. 10:14 We used to use HipChat, now we use Slack, but I'll get to that. 10:18 But when they come into our HipChat, or to our chat, 10:21 we would throw them a little gif party and we quoted Hot Rod for 10:24 at least a couple minutes and kind of freaked them out there. 10:27 But it's good for 10:30 them to kind of see the atmosphere of what they're getting themselves into. 10:30 To meet the team, and to really get involved with everything. 10:34 But on the flip side of that, you don't want to just give them the biggest 10:38 project that you have for them to get started on. 10:40 You kinda wanna give them a test run. 10:43 So, if you have a giant project and you bring someone brand new onto the team, 10:45 that's a whole lot of eggs in one basket. 10:48 That could go either really well if you're lucky, or it could just fall on your face. 10:50 So what we have found, what works best for us, 10:53 is to give them a smaller project that we know that should be pretty easy to do. 10:56 But smaller projects can be more challenging. 11:00 If they make it more difficult than it's worth, 11:02 that's not really a relationship that you want to continue. 11:04 So, after you've hired them and you introduce them to the team, 11:07 it's still good to make sure that there's still gonna be a good fit work wise and 11:10 workflow wise when it comes to everything. 11:13 And so this comes to my first key to managing your remote team. 11:16 We're gonna have three of them and this is my first one, which is pretty basic, but 11:19 it's trust. 11:22 You need to trust the people that you're working with. 11:22 If you don't trust them, everything's gonna fall apart. 11:25 And the biggest thing is, you need to trust the people you hire. 11:28 It's a big step, I understand, but we're taking all of these steps. 11:31 And if you don't trust them, they're gonna know it. 11:34 They're gonna feel it, and 11:36 they're not gonna give you the quality work that you need or you deserve. 11:37 Wade Foster from Zapier, in one of his articles, wrote that remote work 11:41 stops working when you can't trust the person on the other end of the line. 11:43 So while it definitely goes one way, that you need to be able to trust this person 11:47 that you're hiring that's working from elsewhere, 11:50 that's gonna be getting the job done, they also need to trust you. 11:52 They need to trust that you're gonna be there for them at any time. 11:55 That you're gonna provide them with the resources that they need. 11:58 That you are going to be there if they have any questions. 12:00 That you're not just secluded and closed off. 12:03 As Kate said during her keynote speech on Tuesday, 12:05 that you need to build trust by being trustworthy. 12:08 You need to be reliable, and you need to be there for them. 12:10 So you have your team, how do you manage them? 12:15 This can especially be tricky, again, when you're not working in one place, 12:17 when you're scattered all over the world or the country. 12:20 How do you try and provide feedback? 12:23 How do you try and help them and keep everybody running the same way? 12:25 So speaking of feedback, 12:29 the first thing you need to do is actually give proper feedback. 12:30 You can't just say, yeah, that was good, this is great. 12:32 You need to be very specifically. 12:35 With our projects, generally what we do, is we'll do a little review. 12:38 And since we're a pretty lean team, there's only four of us, 12:41 all of our hands are on the project at some point in time. 12:45 So while we could do a group review, 12:48 we found it works really well if we just do an individual review. 12:49 So I'll talk to me developer and my designer, and I'll say, 12:52 how did this go for you? 12:55 Let's take a look at everything. 12:56 And we'll kind of analyze and see what worked and what didn't work. 12:57 If everything worked great we'll say, awesome, fantastic. 13:00 Keep doing this again. 13:03 If you think of something that might work better in the meantime, do that too. 13:04 If something didn't work well, let's start to have some constructive criticism, 13:07 we'll talk about it. 13:10 But it can't be just me providing feedback to them. 13:11 They need to provide feedback to me, they need to help, 13:13 I need to hold myself accountable and they need to hold me accountable. 13:16 So when I give deadlines, usually after a projects over, 13:20 I like to make sure that the deadline was okay, I'll discuss it with them. 13:23 Was it too aggressive, was it to far, what worked for you? 13:26 And sometimes they'll come to me and they'll say, you know what, 13:29 that was a pretty aggressive deadline. 13:31 I don't know why you told the client it'd be done that time, it took a lot longer. 13:33 I need to know this information. 13:37 Because if they don't say anything, and I continue to set these deadlines that 13:39 are unattainable, if my team can't meet it then that's gonna make for 13:43 an unhappy client cuz we're gonna have to keep pushing deadlines back. 13:47 So it's really important that even though you need to provide feedback to your team, 13:50 you need to allow them to give feedback to you as well. 13:54 It's also important with managing for time tracking. 13:59 So, whoops, we're gonna go back here. 14:02 So, when you're not working all in the same office, it can be really difficult to 14:07 know if they're actually working when they need to be. 14:10 When you're in an office, you can just kinda peek over the cubicle wall and 14:12 you can kinda see if they're actually doing what they said they were doing, 14:15 or if they're just on Reddit, surfing. 14:17 So, how do you keep track of your employees when you're out of the office? 14:19 We actually use time-tracking apps. 14:23 And so I'll get to those later in my tools. 14:25 But it's really easy for us. 14:27 It just runs ambivalently in the background and at the end of the day 14:30 we have a list of projects and they're all individual for our team. 14:33 We have a list of projects on the side, and throughout the day, or even at 14:37 the very end of it, we will itemize each of the things that we worked on. 14:40 So we can see exactly how long we spent on each project. 14:43 On one hand it's great because, let's say, with a deadline, they say that wasn't 14:46 aggressive deadline, that was too fast, you should've changed that. 14:50 Okay, cool. 14:53 Let's look at your time tracking and let's see how many hours and 14:54 how long over the time period you spent on that. 14:57 So if you'll look at the time, and we see that throughout the project 15:00 they're putting in solid hours all through it and they still have a hard time. 15:04 It's still getting to crunch time and 15:08 they're still not done with it, that's on me. 15:10 I set the deadline wrong. 15:12 We'll adjust it from there. 15:13 But, maybe with the time tracking you see that they worked a couple hours here or 15:14 there, or they really didn't work here or there, and 15:18 then the very last day they put in six or eight hours. 15:20 Okay, let's talk about it. 15:22 Let's talk about some prioritization. 15:23 Let's figure out what went wrong here. 15:24 And it's also great for 15:26 me because I get to see exactly how long it takes me to do projects. 15:27 For a while there I was just like, oh yeah, 15:31 it should take me a couple of hours or it should take me one hour to do this. 15:33 And I started time tracking and I started to realize exactly how long it would 15:36 take me to manage a project from beginning to end. 15:40 And this is great because when it comes to clients asking us how long it's 15:42 going to take to do something, I'm able to refer back to similar projects, and 15:46 I can give them an exact estimate of what it should be. 15:49 The other side of that is, I can also price accordingly. 15:52 If I know exactly an updated time how long it takes us to do certain things, 15:55 we can adjust our prices to reflect that. 16:00 So when you have your team and 16:03 you are managing everybody, what do you do when they're in a whole other time zone? 16:04 Again we have our developer in Scotland. 16:09 This can be really tricky. 16:11 He's nine hours ahead of me from the Pacific time. 16:12 So it can be very difficult trying to run the team together when you're not 16:15 all in the same room. 16:18 So how do you manage that? 16:19 The first thing that you need to do is, schedule times to connect. 16:21 And I'm not just talking like a group meeting. 16:23 Every week, Mondays at 9 AM my time, we have a weekly staff meeting. 16:26 So we all get on the video chat. 16:31 We all get on Talky. 16:32 We talk about our weekend. 16:33 We talk about what's coming up during the week. 16:34 We just kind of get everything ironed out. 16:36 But you can't just leave it at that, especially when they're not in the same 16:38 room as you are and they're completely away from you. 16:41 So, I know that my developer, 16:43 he's unavailable from around 10 AM to noon my time. 16:45 That's family time for him. 16:48 He's getting the kids ready for bed, he's making dinner, 16:49 he's getting stuff ready around the house. 16:51 So if I need to get in touch with him I know that I have until about ten in 16:53 the morning and 16:56 then I have about from one to whenever he decides to go to bed that night. 16:57 So you need to be aware of their hours and 17:01 you need to make sure that you reach out to them during those hours. 17:02 You can't hold it against them if you reach out to them when they've told you 17:05 that they're going to be unavailable during their time and they and 17:08 nothing gets done. 17:11 That you need to reach out to them when's available for them. 17:12 You also need to be aware, especially this kind of comes with different cultures, but 17:16 also in different countries of different holidays. 17:19 And so, in the UK they have a ton of bank holidays. 17:21 I was just looking up the other day, and almost every other month there's 17:25 some sort of holiday happening, or there's Boxing Day, or something else. 17:27 Maybe they don't celebrate Christmas, they celebrate anything else. 17:30 You need to be aware of these things. 17:33 Clients don't expect us to work on certain days, like Memorial Day or Labor Day. 17:35 Why should we expect them to be working those holidays, as well, 17:39 when everybody else is off. 17:41 Keep that in mind. 17:43 We've also found that you kinda need to set separate deliverables, and 17:45 that's not to say that you need to completely adjust a deadline for them. 17:48 It's just good to keep in mind, like I mentioned before that, so Rob, 17:51 our developer, he's unavailable during those three hours. 17:55 If I get him resources after that time and 17:58 expect him to have something done the next day, that's not really okay. 18:01 You need to make sure that you set certain times and certain deliverables that they 18:05 can meet and it's up to you to provide them the resources for that. 18:09 And again, that just comes with connecting with them and communicating with them, 18:12 which comes to my second key to managing your remote team, which is talk. 18:17 Just like with any relationship, communication is huge. 18:22 And you need to make sure that you make time to talk to them. 18:25 And to remember, that even though they're not in the room with you, 18:28 these are people, they're not robots. 18:30 These are real people, living things. 18:32 They're not just having code flying through their fingertips 18:33 at at all times [LAUGH]. 18:36 And so, again, you need to make sure that you make time to talk to them. 18:37 They have a life outside of this work, and you need to ask them about it. 18:40 How did your son do at soccer? 18:44 How did you kid do in the play? 18:45 Did you guys have great weekend? 18:47 Anything to let them know that they feel appreciated. 18:49 And they also need to know that they can come to you about anything. 18:52 You need to keep an open line. 18:55 So, if you seclude yourself and just kinda lock yourself away, and 18:57 don't allow them to talk to you about anything personal, pretty soon, 18:59 they're not gonna want to talk to you about anything. 19:01 And that line of communication is gonna get broken and so is the trust and 19:03 that starts to happen. 19:07 With the trust fall gift, just everything's gonna fall apart, 19:09 nothing is gonna work proper anymore. 19:12 So with your team, when you're scattered all over the world, 19:14 how do you keep everybody motivated? 19:17 How do you keep everything running smoothly? 19:19 And again, when you can't gather everybody around a pow wow in the lunch room with 19:21 some cake, it's kinda difficult. 19:24 So what are some steps you can take to kinda keep morale high and 19:27 keep motivation going? 19:30 First thing, is to keep everybody in the loop. 19:31 No one likes to be left in the dark. 19:33 If there's information you need to be sure that you're sharing it with them in 19:35 the timely manner at that. 19:38 If you heard something a week ago and you're take your time to tell it to them, 19:39 they're gonna feel like you don't real like their time doesn't matter to you. 19:43 You need to be sure that you're telling them things when they need to be told. 19:46 And you also need to make sure that you tell them one on one that you 19:50 appreciate them. 19:53 I know I try with my team at least some point in time, either weekly, or 19:54 throughout the day most of the time. 19:57 If we're in a Slack-Chat and they ask me a work problem, I'll answer it and then say, 19:58 you know what? 20:02 Thanks so much, I really appreciate what you're doing right now. 20:02 And honestly, I mean it. 20:05 I literally cannot do my job without them. 20:07 I'm a project manager, I don't design. 20:09 I don't develop, I don't do any of it. 20:11 So without them, I literally have no job. 20:13 I can't do it, and I need to make sure that they know that I appreciate 20:15 every hard hour that they are putting in here. 20:18 I also need to make sure that they can come to me again about anything. 20:21 And this isn't even just personal problems. 20:24 And this isn't even just business problems. 20:27 This is personal problems too. 20:28 I know, before, one of my old developers had an issue at home. 20:30 And I could kind of tell things weren't going so well for them. 20:32 They were a little bit sparse in their Slack-Chat. 20:35 Their work was kind of coming in a little bit late. 20:38 So instead of just berating him, I find, 20:40 there is one day where I finally just reached out. 20:41 And I said, I do have some questions about work, but 20:43 I'm not gonna ask you about those today. 20:45 Today I just wanna know, are you okay? 20:47 Is there anything I can do for you? 20:48 And then he just said, thank you. 20:50 The fact that you've been able to listen to me, that's really all I needed. 20:52 And sometimes that's all it takes for them to kinda get back on their feet. 20:56 Yeah, some personal stuff may still be going on. 20:58 But the fact that you acknowledged that you see what's happening and 21:00 you know what's going on will make them feel better about everything. 21:02 You can also shower them with gifts, and I don't mean throw things at them constantly 21:06 but just little things that make them happy. 21:10 I know at my old job I worked at credit union for 21:11 five years before I joined the Copter team. 21:14 And we'd had a pretty rough patch that we'd had. 21:16 We were opening a new branch, and things were kind of hectic and crazy. 21:19 And so my manager came up. 21:21 It was a particularly nice day. 21:23 And he was like, so are you going to lunch today? 21:26 Where are you going? 21:27 And I said, oh yeah, I was thinking of going out somewhere. 21:28 And he was like, all right, great. 21:30 Take a two hour lunch, but you're only gonna get charged for a one hour lunch. 21:31 Don't even worry about it. 21:34 So I got to go spend two hours running around, but 21:35 even though I would put it down that I was out for an hour. 21:38 And that made me feel so good. 21:41 He was showing his way of appreciating me. 21:42 Another friend of mine, who also works from home, she works for a health and 21:45 fitness company. 21:48 They had a new launch come out. 21:49 Everybody was working really late hours trying to get everything done. 21:52 And to show them that they appreciated them, they sent them a voucher so 21:54 everybody could go get free massages. 21:57 So they could really de-stress after all that. 21:59 Another employee, another friend of mine, they were sick. 22:02 They wrote in sick via their chat that they weren't gonna 22:05 be able to work that day. 22:08 The very next day, their company sent them cough drops, tea, a little mug, 22:09 a little get better card, just little ways to show that you care. 22:14 We were lucky enough, earlier this year, so, the gentleman in the middle there, 22:17 that's Rob, our developer in Scotland. 22:20 We were finally able to fly him down to Future of Web Design in London 22:22 earlier this year, and me, Alex, who is on the left there, and Jason, 22:26 who is our former boss of Copter Labs. 22:29 He finally got to physically meet them. 22:31 Rob has been with the company for, he's one of our longest term employees and 22:33 had never physically met anybody on the team. 22:38 And we finally got him to come and meet everybody, and 22:41 it was a small way to show that we appreciate him. 22:44 Finally we're in your area. 22:46 We want you to come down so we can see you and thank you for 22:47 being with us for so long. 22:49 We were lucky enough to be able to do that. 22:50 Some companies might not, but just little things to show them, 22:53 little Amazon gift cards or little bonuses here and there to show them that you 22:55 appreciate them is gonna keep morale and motivation going. 22:59 So with that, how do you run your virtual office when you don't have 23:03 a localized hub? 23:07 How do you keep things going? 23:09 You don't have the little office room with the cake parties, and 23:10 you can't get everybody together. 23:13 What do you do to kind of set up an office of some sort? 23:14 And the first thing that you need to do is find the best setup for your business. 23:17 One size does not fit all. 23:21 As I mentioned previously, we use Slack. 23:23 So we have our various channels for our projects. 23:25 We have the direct messages for our team members, and we have our accounting and 23:27 some private chats down there. 23:31 And then we have our water cooler chat. 23:32 And our water cooler is essentially our lunchroom. 23:34 It's where we can talk about anything. 23:36 Rob, this was during one of our video chats one morning, 23:38 Rob's face got superimposed over mine, so I became a Roallison hybrid. 23:41 And then Risa was wondering why she looks so upset. 23:45 But it's just somewhere we can just kind of hang out and talk, and 23:47 it kind of keeps the community feel there. 23:51 And that's why I feel it's really important to have at least one non-work 23:53 avenue open for your team. 23:56 And I feel like if you don't, you're going to just kind of drive everybody down. 23:58 Everyone's going to feel tired, and 24:02 they're going to get sick of talking about work constantly. 24:03 You need to be able to allow them an avenue where they can vent and 24:05 talk about their weekend and say like hey, my daughter made the soccer team. 24:09 I'm super excited. 24:14 Or, hey, I saw this movie. 24:14 Or, hey, I'm having kind of a rough day, can I talk to you guys? 24:16 Something to let them feel that it's kind of like a home environment. 24:18 Which comes to my third and final managing your remote team key, which is tools. 24:22 You need to find tools that will work for your company. 24:27 And RealtimeBoard had a little stat. 24:30 And they said that 90% of remote workers thought that collaboration tools 24:33 are important or even mission critical for virtual teams. 24:36 You need to have the proper tools to keep your team running, 24:40 to keep your company running. 24:43 And what's important, though, is you need to use tools that will help, not hinder. 24:44 Again, just because it's working for somebody else, 24:48 doesn't mean it's going to work for you. 24:50 So, we have Slack. 24:52 Slack works great for us. 24:53 I tried it with some people earlier this week that were like, you know what? 24:54 Actually, my company prefers IIRC. 24:57 We hate Slack. 24:59 Or, we hate Slack, we want HipChat. 24:59 It doesn't matter. 25:02 But you need to also realize that it's kind of a moving target. 25:03 We used HipChat for a long time and thought it worked great. 25:05 Then one of our employees showed us Slack, and 25:08 we saw that it actually integrated better with some of the tools that we work. 25:10 So we switched over to it. 25:13 So, when you do find your toolset, don't be afraid to change it. 25:15 Don't dig your heels in. 25:17 There might be something out there coming along that's gonna be even better for you. 25:18 Some of the tools that we use for our, these are collaboration tools really. 25:23 So we use Dropbox for all of our files for resources and mock ups. 25:26 We use Trello for collaboration project management. 25:31 So we have base camp for all of our projects, but 25:34 we kind of use Trello a little differently than it's supposed to be. 25:36 Each project has its own card, and then we're able to update that card with 25:38 timelines and deadlines and notes on there. 25:42 The timing app that we use, most of us, is Timing for Mac. 25:44 Rob is actually a PC user. 25:48 So he uses a completely different timing app, but I don't know what that one is. 25:50 We use Talki for our video chats, our Monday morning video chats, and 25:53 then again we use Slack for our virtual office. 25:57 So these are just some of the tools that work well for us, and who knows, 25:59 in a year this might change again. 26:02 This list might be completely different. 26:03 But for right now, for what we need these all do really well for us. 26:05 So, in the grand scheme of remote work, where can it go from here? 26:10 We know how to hire them. 26:15 We know how to support them. 26:15 We know kinda how to keep morale going. 26:16 But where is it gonna go from here? 26:18 Again, there's this huge upswing happening right now. 26:20 And how do we kind of steer into the skid and go with it? 26:23 My one hope is a, that companies are gonna stop treating remote work as, 26:26 they're gonna stop holding it hostage. 26:30 They're not gonna make you earn remote work. 26:32 They're gonna allow it to come out more. 26:34 Basically because they're gonna see that they're gonna lose candidates if 26:35 they don't make that an option for people. 26:38 And then at that point with how technology is going and work space is going, 26:40 maybe we'll be able to work on the moon one of these days. 26:44 And maybe you'll be able to outsource to Mars. 26:46 It's gonna change your deliverables. 26:49 It's gonna change your contact time a little bit. 26:50 But, you don't really know, it could actually still work. 26:52 So, in the grand scheme of things, talk to your employees, 26:56 make sure you're using proper tools and please, please, please trust them. 26:59 Those are the biggest things I can ask of you. 27:03 I ran a little bit short, but I want to thank Future Insights for everything. 27:06 I wanna thank you guys for showing up. 27:10 I greatly appreciate it. 27:11 Let's be friends. 27:13 Follow me, follow us on Facebook and all that fun stuff. 27:14 Backstreet Boys for life. 27:16 [LAUGH] 27:18 [MUSIC] 27:20
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