1. Could you please introduce yourself? What’s the name of your company, what do you do, how many are you, from where do you work?
I am Vartika Kashyap, CMO at ProofHub – an all-in-one project management and team collaboration software.
We are a bunch of 30-50 people who are working on a product together. As the pandemic has become the world’s largest remote work experiment, we also jumped the bandwagon and now work from different and distant places, from the comfort of our home.
2. How, when, and why did you become a remote team or distributed company with employees working remotely?
As soon as the pandemic called for a lockdown, we thought it’s best for everyone’s safety to work from home and save the world. It’ll never be easier to save lives. Now we have all kinds of teams from quality engineers to customer advocates and marketing to content teams and even development teams, who are distributed at distant places and happily working remotely.
3. Which have been the advantages to become a remote company or having a distributed team?
The biggest advantage we have had as we have become a remote team is that we are now utilizing ProofHub to manage projects and teams remotely too. As earlier we were working in-house and had our workflows streamlined in ProofHub, at the time we chose to work from home, we were not hesitant to. Communication levels and productivity levels have been higher than ever. I witnessed teams being more responsible than ever. Lower productivity levels because of remote work is a myth — all you need is the right tool at your team’s disposal.
4. Have there been any disadvantages and obstacles?
The only disadvantage I see with remote working is that there are no virtual water coolers anymore. But as coffee breaks and office buddies are parts of our work life, we have to create such scenarios while working remotely too. We have overcome that with casual face-to-face calling or games for remote teams so that the feeling of belongingness among the team members remains. It is very important to keep everyone in the loop with casual chit chat too so that the team doesn’t feel left out or even worse, forgotten.
5. How do you do to operate effectively as a remote or distributed team?
We are quite lucky that the product we offer to organizations is one that helps teams collaborate and plan effectively. The team has always been using the software to manage work and get it done on time. It gets easier to assign tasks and define responsibilities, deadlines when you have project management and collaboration software in place. So the process and workflows remained the same. However, there were more chat groups – one was for work chat and now there is another one for the fun chat.
We are also using the “Announcement” feature in ProofHub a lot for company-wide news so that no one feels left out of important events and feels like an inseparable part of the team like always. While switching to remote work, we also had to add a tool to have face-to-face meetings in our daily regime of getting work done.
6. How do you do to hiring remotely?
We currently do not have an urgency to add people to the team. But in case we need to hire, we have a plan in place to make it easier. I think at this point there will be more need than ever to understand what motivates the potential team member the most. Staying motivated while working from home is somewhat important to keep productivity levels high.
7. What would you say to companies that don’t believe to hire employees who work remotely?
Well, my experience with remote working has been a wonderful one. The team members have been productive and more open to discussing new ideas as compared to when we were working in-house. The team has also turned more empathetic about the fact that this pandemic has by all means taken a toll on our lives in different ways. So, there is nothing to worry about hiring remote teams. As long as you have the right tools and you figure out the source of motivation, if the resource is a good one, don’t let them go.
8. Which are the tools that you use or help you to work remotely?
We use ProofHub to manage workflows and communicate with each other. It’s where all the planning and the scheduling magic happens. We are in luck it replaces the multiple tools that we might otherwise have to use to manage work and stay connected. Reports, time tracking, one place to publish company-wide updates, request forms to gather customer feedback, proofing tool to make feedback on designs clearer, all of that, and a lot more has helped us work cross-functionally too.
9. How do you manage the business, salaries, and things like taxes as a remote company?
Everything is going smoothly as it was going before.
10. What advice would you give to companies that are starting to work remotely or establishing a distributed team?
I think as soon as an organization is starting to work remotely, they should follow this one advice — “Keep the communication levels high from the beginning.” It is easy to lose connections with team members amidst this pandemic, but keeping the communication levels high as soon as you switch to remote work is going to make stronger bonds right at the beginning. If you do not have the right tools to manage workflows that help teams work independently with little to no supervision, get them, and then work will get easier and faster than ever.
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