continued insights

Physically apart, virtually connected: How 100% remote continued team stays in touch

Virtual work graphicAs a 100% virtual company, we are often met with questions on how we operate without the constructs of a traditional office environment. 

continued is an example of a virtual company that is thriving with engaged, focused, and connected team members. With more than two decades of experience as a 100% virtual workplace, our approximately 120 team members bring talent, expertise, and dedication to the company’s mission without geographic constraints.

Having the right tools for communication, meetings, project management, and camaraderie is imperative in any environment, but the need can be amplified in a virtual workplace, particularly since we are spread across various time zones.

We use well-established, cloud-based tools that are known for being user friendly, and we continually assess our needs to ensure we’re using the best tools to fit our business and workplace culture. And, it's not all about getting the job done. We place the highest value on camaraderie, and these efforts are built into our culture to bring team members together and keep us connected regardless of geography.

In many ways, the tools we use to stay connected and strategies we use to foster camaraderie could be applied to a virtual or in-person team. That said, here are a few of the tools that help set our virtual team up for success—no brick and mortar required. 

Having the right tools for communication, meetings, project management, and camaraderie is imperative in any environment, but the need can be amplified in a virtual workplace, particularly since we are spread across various time zones.

WORK HARD ...

What tools do you use for communication? How do you hold virtual meetings? How do projects stay organized? 

Virtual work graphic♦ Our team uses Slack for everything from one-on-one chats and calls to small-group meetings. Slack is for internal communication only and will allow up to 15 team members on a call. We use Zoom for larger group meetings of 15 or more participants and/or when we want to record a meeting. We also use Zoom for external calls.

♦ One-on-one and small group meetings are pretty simple to manage virtually, but when it comes to larger meetings, teams must establish processes for how these discussions will work. With Google Slides, team members can build and share the meeting agenda and document pertinent information for the call. The ongoing team chat in Slack is typically active throughout these meetings for questions, discussion, and virtual high fives. Video can be used but often isn’t necessary. Aren’t hats and athleisure wear some of the perks of remote work?

♦ Our company intranet serves as our communication hub for formal announcements and information. It houses news and policies as well as casual communication such as birthday greetings or other celebratory events. We work with Igloo for our intranet and have found their platform is user-friendly and makes it possible to brand our intranet to reflect our culture. 

♦ continued uses all things Google Suite, from docs, sheets, and slides to email and shared calendars. G Suite makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues and make real-time updates to documents—no emailing multiple versions back and forth. 

♦ Project management varies among teams, but Jira, Asana, and Confluence are fantastic tools for keeping track of multiple moving parts. 

PLAY HARD!

Where’s the proverbial watercooler for catching up with colleagues? How do you build camaraderie when you’re all miles apart? 

♦ In addition to using Slack for work-related communication, we use have numerous Slack channels dedicated to “watercooler chats.” From swapping favorite recipes to sharing pictures of our pets, there’s always a fun conversation going to keep us engaged with colleagues throughout the day. 

Virtual happy hour graphic♦ Each team member receives a Kindle upon hire for personal use, and we have an active virtual book club on topics ranging from fiction and business to social justice. Via a dedicated book club Slack channel, we share book recommendations, discuss our latest read, and vote on books for club discussions. Using Slack of Zoom, book club participants gather to discuss the latest pick.  

♦ We hold regular virtual happy hour events via Zoom. Team members can grab a beverage of choice and their headset and log onto Zoom for some laughs, with no work talk allowed! 

♦ We have a virtual pumpkin carving contest each fall. Team members have until midnight each Halloween to submit a photo of them or a family member with their carved pumpkin. 

♦ Our company has a robust wellness program that includes optional step challenges and virtual workout sessions with our on-staff health and wellness manager. These offerings are a fun way to get moving and connect virtually with other colleagues.

♦ We kick off company-wide calls with a fun photo caption contest. Team members submit captions of their colleagues from previous in-person events, and monthly calls include a look at those captions. These are always great for a laugh! 

We place the highest value on camaraderie, and these efforts are built into our culture to bring team members together and keep us connected regardless of geography.

Check out more tips from our team on working from home

07.13.20


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