Operating a fully remote business and navigating the choppy waters of 2020, and remote work during COVID-19, is no easy task.
We recognize how potentially fragile any team member could feel in times like these, with the state of humanity and political unrest circling us all.
With that said, we want to share the digital processes and tools that have helped us succeed at Gravity Junction before and throughout 2020 + remote work during COVID-19.
Practices we are relying on and benefitting from include:
- Utilizing well-known communication tools like Slack and Zoom
- Digitizing the concept of “water cooler chat”
- Brief morning meetings we refer to as “Stand Up” where we align on daily tasks and priorities
- A nation-wide talent pool to choose from
- Using high quality and user-friendly technology
Remote Work Communication Is Key
Our team chats throughout the day using Slack and Zoom. To enhance the Slack environment, we’ve built a custom AI Slack bot we refer to as “Gandalf.” Gandalf is our “wise wizard” who is programmed to have fun with our team, tell jokes, answer questions, and support actual business as well.
He’s programmed to remind the entire team of meetings, deadlines, important links, and more. Gandalf uses AI technology to engage and support our team in meaningful and lighthearted ways.
The feedback from our team has been resoundingly positive. Our staff says that they feel less stressed and more connected, a feat in and of itself during what the world around us keeps referring to as “an unprecedented time.”
“Water Cooler Chat” – But Make It Virtual
Additionally, we’ve instituted what we like to call “Air Cooler” Zoom gatherings twice a week. The concept of Air Cooler is that these group videos aren’t mandated. We view them similarly to how a physical team would gather at a water cooler and shoot the breeze during the day. The difference: Our sport of choice is marketing, and we meet digitally.
On Air Cooler, we play games, enjoy the occasional happy hour beverage, and we continue to build bonds to get to know one another. We find a way to stay connected even amidst remote work during COVID-19.
This humanizes all of our work interactions and promotes productivity. For example, when “Susan” asks for a deadline from “Fred,” she’s gotten to know Fred beyond the confines of the professional workplace, respects his time, and feels more motivated to put the required amount of effort into her work. Or, as we’re seeing, the motivation to EXCEED the required amount of work as a remote worker.
These digital processes are fun ways to cultivate stronger relationships, build the team’s morale, and bring some fun back into our lives. This theme of kinship has echoed throughout our digital workspace, become the new norm, and, we have to admit, we’re better for it. Working remote doesn’t have to mean staying in four walls, never leaving home or feeling like a lonewolf.
Our team members have told us they love the work they do but that THIS intangible factor is what makes Gravity Junction stand apart for them. It’s also why they get up for their early morning zoom call we refer to as “Stand Up” five days a week.
Will All Remote Work Team Members Please “Stand Up?”
We use this collaborative software development agile standard process with our entire team. Again with the sports references, consider it our team’s “huddle.” This is a unifying, to-the-point time in which the team shares their landscape and process. This highlights how each person’s part helps the other directly, and how being knowledgeable and mindful of individual tasks helps us tackle the big picture seamlessly.
Talent Pool Based On Geography? Never Heard Of Her
The talent pool is significantly larger for remotely operated businesses. Remote work has empowered our team to find the right people, regardless of their geographical location. Our team is a melting pot of creative and technical ideas from employees with various backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Working remote has opened up a whole new world for employers.
Of course, remote work brings up the topic of efficiency. What are the best ways to bring all of the work together if everyone is apart? What are the best systems to communicate, work through projects, manage your team, or keep eyes on workflow?
Our team has found that there are countless digital tools out there to help you with this, and the cool thing with so much being digital is that you access it all from your laptop or mobile device.
With the internet and a laptop, we have infinite access to the remote worker right down the street or across the sea.
Be Tactful With Your Technology
Imagine you’re house shopping, and you are looking at two different properties. One is near all of the amenities you need (grocery store, gym, department store, etc.), and the other requires more travel.
This can be what business ends up looking like when technology is not properly utilized. Technology brings everything together with the click of a button.
So, what’s our strategy?
Keeping up with and utilizing modern digital tools that will make our work and collaboration easier. No, we aren’t changing so rapidly that we learn one thing just to learn the next; we are intentional and only seek what works best for us. However, are we afraid of change? Most definitely not.
If technology or working remotely scares you, we get it. It can sound foreign or be incredibly overwhelming to take on the vast challenge of eradicating what has been your business’s personal “normalcy.”
But, is it bad for business? Not at all. It’s GREAT for business, and we hope this serves as a viable example of that.
Here’s a huge high five to the badass remote worker reading this. We see you! Working remote is the best thing you can do for yourself, and incredibly business strategy to tap into. So, you go, Glen Co Co.