2020 will be known as the year some businesses pivoted to remain intact through a very difficult time.
We as humans are resilient, innovative, creative, determined, and have it in us to survive. Wait… thrive. And we will get through this. We as an organization mutually agreed a few years back that having a colossal state of the art office wasn’t exactly in line with our environmental goals, and decided to make the switch. Losing the offices and going remote went better than anticipated, and to-date we managed to catapult ourselves into a whole new level of business.
Want the inside scoop on what we did?
Weathering the Storm
Change sucks. It can be clunky… like driving on square wheels. Our action plan for going remote deals with acknowledging that things could be different, awkward, or even slightly painful.
We made an early and conscious decision to document our concerns in a company-wide Google Sheet every week, and allowed for opportunities for team members to weigh in on solutions. Not only did we find a disastrous number of inefficiencies during this step, but we forced ourselves to adapt and keep moving. BAM; there’s nothing more rewarding than conquering tasks at a lightning pace. This has helped inject piles of motivation into our newfound love of working from home, coffee shops, or yes, even the odd Friday afternoon pub!
Tech Stack Modifications
Curiosity and lots of online demos are essential. We needed to figure out how to overcome our social discrepancy, while still throwing on pants for the day. With the onslaught of communication tools out there, we ended up going with a powerful set of tools and apps that translated to us being more social than ever, and possibly more important, and more productive. So powerful, in fact, that we continue to use these today:
- Slack helps us dominate our business convos while throwing some playful team recognition apps and rewards. Affordable, critical for internal communications, and tethered to all of our other software tools. Definitely a 4.8/5 stars.
- TeamWork project management software gets us the granularity with project ins and outs with a huge degree of customization of reporting and project-based tools. In fact, this is now the #1 tool we use across HR, Accounting, client-facing communications with goals/tasks attached. Easily 4.5/5 stars, and could possibly gain a few points if it were a tad bit more intuitive.
- Zoom.us conferencing app links directly to our calendars, allowing us to either co-work on rainy days when we don’t all want to meet up and terrorize a coffee shop, or host perfect-quality meetings across several countries with several key stakeholders, all without missing a beat. When you can’t fly to meet a client, this service is your best bet. 4.7/5 stars.
- BugHerd is a bit of a hidden gem, and is equivalent to bringing a bazooka to a back alley knife fight. Imagine for a moment that you can scroll through a website, click anywhere you want edits made, assign the edit to a teammate who specializes in that edit, and move on. So many applicable components that it’s almost eerily easy to co-work on a project with multiple moving pieces. Super intuitive, and a high 4.8/5 on the star rating.
- Resource Guru production planning and management tool. When your remote team is growing in size alongside your client base, you need to know which resource is allocated to which project, who is under capacity, and who is overcapacity. Resource Guru is a (sorry for stating the unforeseen obvious) badass forecasting tool for our industry… and really any industry.
- Google Drive, the brains behind the brawn. Take a moment to think about what the best file storage and organization system could look like, now stop wasting your time thinking about it, and just leverage your business on Google Drive already. It’s really the only way to collaborate with multiple people in real-time while remaining organized and tethered to systems and process that keep us all sane.
Weighing Cost vs Revenues
We were eager (still are really) and bounced out of the gates quickly. For a company of our size, we have been surprisingly nimble and agile to adapt. Sure, it helped that our bosses told us all co-working coffee/pub/lunch sessions would be paid for from all of the savings we’d incur, but even then when we secretly did the math behind closed doors, I can imagine our higher-ups were glad they shed the deadweight of having what seemed to be 20,000 square feet of office space. More team building events meant more excited staff, and the happier we all got collectively, the more we wanted to crush our partners’ digital projects and knock things out of the park – even when our partners would come to us prefacing the conversation with:
I’ve heard through the grapevine you guys are the best, and my last 2 partners couldn’t solve this, would you mind having a look?
This is how we landed some of our most prolific accounts, and to date feel the need to push the digital boundaries in what we do. As the cherry on top, we also carved out a portion of these savings to flying around North America for our conferences and keynote presentations and popping in to visit our clients face-to-face. It’s well worth the interaction, laugh, and adds a tonne of value to the longevity to our business relationship.
Motivate & Check In
Bust at the seams trying to make sure your team is always having a blast, and not rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere growing the biggest, baddest beards you ever did see! That’s what our bosses did. They dropped off food at our houses out of the blue, sent craft beer baskets for us aficionados, and took every imaginable effort that we were working cohesively while we didn’t get the face-to-face interactions we once felt were necessary before we took the leap of faith and went remote.