Lessons Learned: 5+ Years of Remote Working and What We’ve learnt

Lessons Learned: 5+ Years of Remote Working and What We’ve learnt

Binary & Co has always been a remote working company. Although when the company started in 2019 and it was only me calling it remote seemed a bit of a stretch, it was alway the intent to keep it this way. It may have taken some time to build up enough clients to require additional people, but as the team grew, we stayed committed to keeping the remote and flexible environment we had envisaged at the start. Here are a few pointers we’ve learnt along the way.  

#1 Have a Hub!

One of the first things we discovered was the power of a central hub. Enter Basecamp. This project management platform became the cornerstone of our remote operations. It streamlined communication, kept everyone on the same page regarding tasks and deadlines, and eliminated the dreaded document-hunting sprees. Basecamp ensured information flowed freely, a crucial element for any successful remote team. Because you don’t have the opportunity to tap someone on the shoulder and ask where something might be or how you might do something having a place where all that information is stored and conversations are managed can be very useful to ensure that you can maintain those connections.

In addition, we developed a wiki where we could document all our processes and store our document templates. Again this is cloud-based and we can give our peeps access to it when needed. This helped ensure that everyone had the information on how the company was managed at their fingertips.

#2 Have a place and time to chat with your colleagues

However, software solutions can only go so far. We quickly realized the importance of replicating those informal interactions that happen organically in a traditional office. We still used Basecamp for this but we needed a way to ensure that users could talk about client work as well as share what was going on for them internally. That is why on each of our client accounts we have a chat that is only seen by B&C peeps. That way you can have a chat about what is going on with the client in a more informal way without including the client in those discussions. This might seem like a place to ‘bitch’ about the client but they are not. In a remote environment, people need a space to spitball what’s happening before taking it forward. Much, in the same way, you would chat with the person at the desk next to ‘sanity check’ your idea before talking to the wider audience about it.

We also opened up the Ping feature to ensure that anyone can talk to anyone. This worked as a substitute for that quick ‘tap on the shoulder’. In addition, we had a dedicated B&C channel that people could hop into and just share things they’d learnt or wanted to ‘get off their chest’

#3 Make sure to have those regular check-ins

Regular check-ins also became a cornerstone of our strategy. A weekly team ‘All hands’ meeting provided a platform for project discussions, company updates and the ability to chat about what people had gotten up to on the weekend. 

On the more formal side, we also implemented dedicated 1:1 meetings and account reviews, allowing us to provide personalized support, address individual concerns as well as check and review how the campaigns were performing. 

This has all lead to an increased level of communication with the team that despite them being thousands of miles apart allows them to stay connected about what they are doing.

#4 Make time for downtime

However, work-life balance is paramount, and we learned that remote work doesn’t automatically equate to a healthy balance. Our quarterly game nights, complete with virtual hangouts and friendly competition, have started to become a great way for the team to connect on a more personal level. Once a quarter we send everyone on the team a voucher to get the take-out delivery of their choice and to join with some online games and chit-chat.

For now, we’re just playing some fun parlour-style games such as Codenames or Scribbler. But in the future, there are plans for quiz nights and communal cooking events. We have always been a company that doesn’t want to bombard our staff with endless team-building activities. People gravitate to Binary & Co because it gives them that sense of independence while still being connected to their work. However, connecting with the people you work with is important and these informal online get-togethers have proven to help foster a sense of belonging to the company.

Five years of remote work have been a journey of discovery and adaptation. We’ve learned that the key lies in powerful tools, open communication, regular check-ins, and fostering a sense of connection, even in a virtual space. By prioritizing both productivity and employee well-being, we’ve built a remote work environment that will hopefully thrive as the team grows. And as the remote work landscape continues to evolve, we’re confident that the lessons we’ve learned will continue to guide us toward success.

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