Being remote has become a major asset for our team. Here’s how we make it work.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of allowing your employees to work remotely. At Blue House Sales Group, we have long offered remote work opportunities and are proud to have teammates based around the country in our DC headquarters, Brooklyn, New York and San Diego, California. We see this as a major asset for our company, as it allows everyone to craft a work schedule and lifestyle that best supports them. We’ve learned a lot about how to perfect our long-distance company structure over the years. And by taking clear steps to make sure every member of the team is engaged and involved, we have been able to foster a strong sense of company culture despite the distance.
Are you intrigued by the idea of remote working opportunities, but unsure about how it could actually work? Here are a few ways that we ensure that our remote work structure is successful and that our team members always feel like just that—part of the team—no matter where they are.
Communication, Communication, Communication
The primary challenge of collaborating as a heavily remote team is communication. Thankfully, technology has improved greatly over the years—and today there are myriad of communication tools at our disposal at all times. At Blue House Sales Group, we are all only a call, text, email or Gchat away.
We tend to start our week with a full team meeting via video chat, where we share updates and run through a concrete agenda of action items. This weekly check-in helps all of us and especially remote workers feel connected and in-touch with the organization. It also provides a chance to celebrate success and discuss anything pressing that might need extra attention. This call is also never longer than it needs to be. If there’s not much on the agenda we don’t belabor it—this helps to make the call something we all look forward to instead of a chore that eats up the day.
These kinds of check-ins are a regular occurrence throughout the rest of the work week too. By talking about both work topics as well as sharing fun articles and life updates, we’ve easily developed and maintained the kind of camaraderie found in an office environment where everyone is present.
In fact, in some ways, working remotely has helped us improve our communication skills as a team—in part because it requires us to be more intentional about it. Off-handed reminders shouted over cubicle walls have been replaced with shared To-Do lists, agendas and reports, creating a higher level of accountability for everyone. And, if an email thread gets too convoluted or it’s simply been a while since we’ve heard our colleague’s voice: we’re not afraid to pick up the phone.
Meet As A Team IRL At Least A Few Times Per Year
While calls and emails are great, sometimes the real, in-person meeting is necessary. We tend to have at least one “all hands on deck day” where everyone returns to our DC headquarters each year, in addition to spending a few days together when we support one of our larger client’s annual meetings. Having this facetime helps us all bond and align our work styles—we also make an effort to discuss important company wide topics that could benefit from more casual brainstorming.
Finally, when we do have IRL time, it’s not all business. We believe in working hard AND having fun with it. When we are together we try to dedicate time to important work topics while also dedicating time to catch up socially. We are all good friends on top of being coworkers and we like to nurture that critical piece of our work culture.
We switched our weekly conference calls to video calls within the past year or so and it’s made a huge difference. Having a set plan to talk with each other out loud on a weekly basis is essential no matter what, but actually being able to see each other face to face during these check-ins takes those calls to a new level. It also often makes conversations a bit clearer. Making this change was simple and didn’t cost us anything extra—but the benefits have been manifold.
When you work from home, it can sometimes feel challenging to make the connection between your daily tasks and the overarching goals of the organization. It can also be a challenge to see the impact of your work across the company. At Blue House Sales Group, we try to celebrate each other regularly and reinforce the value of everyone’s work as often as possible. Regular celebration and positivity goes much further than one might realize and reveling in both the small stuff and the big accomplishments provides strong motivation to keep striving! The support and encouragement of teammates and supervisors can impact work satisfaction and increase employee retention, it certainly does for our organization. This general sense of positivity and support also helps us approach hard situations with a good attitude knowing that we each have the support and input of colleagues at our fingertips.
No matter whether you work with a remote team or an in-office team, celebration and support among colleagues is a crucial motivator.
Productivity, Retention And Cost Savings: Why Working From Home Benefits Employees And Employers | WBUR
Remote Workers Are Outperforming Office Workers—Here’s Why | Inc.