For the past couple hundred years the status quo has been the same; The 1800’s saw a time of industry and boom, it heralded forth the need for many people to come and work in houses of the industry. The early 1900’s made such workplaces safer and this my friends is where the 8 hour work day was born. Of course, safe work environments and a reasonable workday aren’t foreign to those today but working remotely is a relatively new concept in 2018.

Keeping in touch within an office is easy, you take breaks, chat, have lunch, run into each other’s offices, or get together in the conference room to strategize with clients. With remote individuals, staying connected can be difficult, but through tools and procedure, we can bridge this gap. Here at IVR, we see the benefits, risks, and challenges, but take great pride in our remote workforce. Below are a few things we do to stay connected…

Daily Standups

The week can be a harrowing behemoth. When you work remotely, it can be discouraging to feel like you’re constantly working without the panacea cooler talk brings. Daily Standups help mitigate those feelings. Each day the devs get together on a video conference call (Provided By brbZoom) and for about 15 – 20 minutes we talk about what we’re working on, plans for the week, any blockers that we’ve had. For standup, anyone is welcome to chat about anything! This type of video communication helps gives a connection to those that are not only remote employees but in-office employees.

Slack

Communication doesn’t always have to be verbal. Think about how many emails or text messages are sent in a day (281 billion emails and almost 19 billion texts)! Our mode of communication at IVR Tech Group is not bound by speech but rather by words… and sometimes memes… and emojis.

For remote workers, Slack is crucial as a means of communication. Although, as I mentioned before, we use many channels, some for work, some for general banter, and even a random channel where all sorts of mischief from the internet are posted, SFW (Safe For Work) of course.

Group Meetings

Everyone gets lost in project soup at one time or another, especially remote workers. Humming along, finishing tickets, keeping the machine running smooth – when suddenly 2 or 3 weeks are gone. When it’s time to come up for some air, there can be this feeling of disconnect. To combat this at IVR, we have Bi-Weekly engineering Meetings and Monthly Town Halls.

Bi-Week Engineering + Dev Talks

Dev talks help our engineering team stay on track by discussing the state of all of the projects that are being worked on. Often times, Devs on those projects are given the opportunity to speak in depth about what they have been crafting while also providing an opportunity for reflection and constructive criticism. It helps those remotely see and hear what others are working on without needing to be in the office every day.

This bi-weekly meeting also gives a Dev the opportunity to give a “Dev Talk.” A Dev Talk is comprised of a topic of a Dev’s choosing that reflects their interests or discovery of something cool. This allows the Remote Devs to share what they are passionate about, a side that many unless working with them closely, would never be able to see.

Monthly Town Halls

A short point on this, we have a Town Hall or a State of the Affairs Meeting monthly. This transparency helps those of us working remotely to get a handle on how the company is doing both financially and culturally. Thanks to these Monthly Meetings, we have a renewed sense of direction and a better understanding of our part in a bigger picture that continues to grow and shift.

Personal Responsibility

Of course, outreach from IVR to remote employees can only go so far. Those of us working remote must take advantage of these provisions. Despite being remote, we must do our utmost to strive for Core Values.
3 of those are highly applicable to remote workers…

Plan and Act with a sense of Urgency
Being remote isn’t an excuse to take your time on matters or getting back when it is convenient for you. You should carry yourself as you would if you were in person with the expectation to act promptly and efficiently.

Communicate and Collaborate
Remote employees who do not have the opportunity to sit in a conference room or workmate’s office who still wish to collaborate take every chance to do so. Through phone calls, video calls, or even if the occasion called for it email or slack. Results are the product of communication even when remote, it must be done.

Insist On The Highest Of Standards
By working remotely the quality of your work will give evidence of the type of teammate you are and the standards you hold yourself to.

Working remotely is a recent development in the stream of time, one that will continue to grow as digital communication becomes even more prolific. Here at IVR, we understand the darling of futurism is change. While that may scare some, our remote employees are cared for as much as anyone in the office. Through communication in the form of Daily Standups, Monthly Town Halls, Bi-Weekly meetings, video conferencing, and instant messaging; no matter the distance, everyone keeps in touch.