Now that business leaders are aware it can be done and have figured out how to keep their people creative as well as committed at home, how will we build future organizations?
The COVID-19 crisis has taught the world that working from home is something possible, that work is something you do, not somewhere you go to, that the “office job” is outdated and that we can build a future with more flexibility while keeping up productivity.
Most of the people I know, people who had cliché office jobs continued to work during the crisis. Why am I calling it a cliché office job? Because we don’t need to be in an office to develop a product, to communicate with clients, spend time with colleagues, fill in excel sheets, create PowerPoints, etc.
Duties and missions are often not related to the office.
Now that business leaders are aware and have seen that their people are creative and committed, how will we build future organizations?
In this article, I want to cover some of the actions we’ve taken to keep our employees motivated, keep our business rocking and to keep our customers’ happy, as well as give you some tips on how to remain a remote company post COVID.
Talkpush reinvented itself during COVID
Talkpush already operated under remote and distributed practices by adopting a hybrid model, so we’re used to working from home, but we’ve always had the option of going to the office.
This means that the crisis did challenge us. We had to reinvent most of our functions and the way that they worked.
One of our values is, word for word: “We adapt: Change is life. We will always find a way and focus on the solution, on progress, on advancement”. The crisis brought on by the global pandemic really forced us to “put our money where our mouth is” as we looked for ways to turn our company values into actions.
I will break down these actions in 3 parts: Technology, Employee Experience, and Events
Being a distributed company since 2014, has made us big promoters of asynchronous conversations, and technology brings it to the next level:
We use Slack for internal conversations
We store all documents in the cloud to ensure people can access them from wherever and whenever
We use Zoom to communicate, encouraging team members to use the camera, a real smile is worth a thousand of smiley emojis. We value “face-to-face” conversations.
We offer a headset to all Talkpushers
Having a hybrid model, our staff can both work from home and from a coworking space. This is a model that really helps us to bring people together as well as letting them be productive from wherever they are.
To make sure we remained connected while in quarantine, we launched some initiatives:
Water Cooler Chats: matching 2 people together every other week so that they have a chat, the kind you would have when meeting a colleague at the water cooler or the coffee machine. The match was totally random, and colleagues from different departments, different countries, and different backgrounds had the opportunity to connect. This helped us to broaden our employee’s network, from being part of a department or a country to being part of a whole.
Learn & Share sessions: every month, we all log in to a call to talk about a topic which is important to life at Talkpush. It can be a best practice, a deep dive into how a department works, an analysis on a particular challenge we've had. This is a non-mandatory interactive session where people are free to ask, challenge, and bring their recommendations.
- Instagram challenges
We would take pictures of our water coolers, share an anecdote with the team and vote for the funniest, then post the winner on social media channels.
We also launched a pet related remote work challenge (pets are a big part of Talkpush culture). "Since we’re all working remotely, many of us have new co-workers of the furry variety…. who are bossing us around”. We shared pictures of our work areas being invaded by our pets using the hashtag #MyNewManager
How to do efficient 1on1s by our CEO
How to help your staff in building their future? Deep dive in the Personal Development Plan, by our HR
Event management was probably the biggest challenge we faced. We normally plan quite a lot of events, either for our Talkpushers and/or for our external community.
Here’s how we tackled this one:
Webinars over external events: we tend to bond a lot with our community, recruiters of the world, clients, TA and HR professionals, by organizing several types of events: clients’ nights, recruitment hackers, … We reinvented our event strategy by organizing multiple webinars and digital events.
Virtual Lunch instead of office lunches: we do offer lunch to our teams every Tuesday. The physical distancing being recommended worldwide, we could not have our lunches anymore. No big deal, we moved our lunches online, and took it to the next level: we did drinks with colleagues, baby showers, welcome lunches etc. Nothing can stop us from connecting.
Virtual Awards Celebration: one of our yearly highlights is our annual retreat, where we not only have lots of fun, work and connect together, but where we also have our annual awards celebration. Again, no big deal: we prepared videos for the winners and moved that award celebration online during our monthly Townhall/All hands meetings.
Want to stay remote?
My first recommendation would be to challenge yourselves answering a few questions before being certain this way of working would be efficient:
At Talkpush, we have built a remote culture since day 1. This hasn’t been a choice but a necessity, hence we went through the process of learning and making a culture out of this obligation.
From our experience, here are some answers that could help you in building a brighter future:
Where does work begin? Where does it stop?
We answered: as you wish
We gave people some flexibility in arranging their own calendars and made sure the beauty of asynchronous conversation is advertised. We can’t stop night owls from sending out messages, but we can stop ourselves from reading them.
How to keep the harmony in a team spread out?
We answered: be innovative
Talkpush reinvented its way of working during COVID-19, thanks to our employees’ recommendations and ideas. Be open to change and ask your teams what they want and what they need.
What tools should you implement for people to be equipped and able to work remotely?
We answered: ask your teams
Your teams are the ones who know best what they need to be productive: a new software? New processes? All of our leaders covered these questions with their teams to make sure we could continue to work as usual while being home.
How to ensure the information is delivered to everyone in the company?
We answered: Townhall meetings and Monday kickoff emails
We already had Townhall meetings, where we all come together once a month to discuss the business and personnel updates, as well as have a Q&A sessions to make sure we all have the same information.
During COVID, we launched the Monday Kickoff’s emails, sent by our CEO and summing up our lowlights, highlights, learnings from the previous week, as well as Things happening the coming week.
How to check on your team in an effective manner?
We answered: run amazing 1on1s
We make sure all our managers are trained in doing great 1on1s, emphasizing on the difference between face to face meetings and online meetings.
What is productivity anyway? How to measure it when you do not see your teams on a daily basis? We answered: OKRs are the key
We use the OKR Methodology to ensure alignment within the teams, and onboarded a new platform that is focused on performance management with OKRs.
We also learnt from our mistakes and use creativity to remediate and improve our ways of working, and we are happy to connect to discuss it more in depth.
👉👉👉 Want to learn more remote work and managing a distributed team? Schedule a call with us here.