Swish Goswami: How to Set Your Organization Up For Successful Remote Work
On June 10th, 2020 we announced on our company’s social media channels that we would be working from home until at least 2021 because of COVID-19. This was an easy decision for myself and my co-founder Aanikh to make. While there was a natural transition period from being in the office to working remotely, our team has adapted very well to our new WFH setup and remained highly productive. While I miss seeing the team in person and in the office everyday, the health and wellness of our employees is our top priority and was a big driving force behind making this decision.
Why Working from Home is Beneficial
Working remotely has come with plenty of benefits to our team, including:
- Expanded Talent Pool – Since the beginning of COVID-19’s arrival in North American we have grown, and our team has doubled in size! While being based in Toronto, we have members of our team in Ottawa, Montreal, Ohio and Montana! If everyone was required to be physically present in the same location, we wouldn’t have been able to hire any of these people and on top of that, two of those four people are on our executive team!
- Lower Overhead – With everyone working remote, you don’t have to worry about renting an office space. At the beginning of 2020, one of our goals was to find an office space to move into but once we went remote, we were able to shift our focus to other parts of the business and invest the funds allocated for an office space elsewhere.
- Flexibility for Your Team – COVID-19 has put an emphasis on the connections we have. When we were all physical distancing everyone missed the ability to be around friends and family. As restrictions lifted, many members of our team were able to fly all over the country, myself included to spend time with their loved ones while still working. If we’d been working out of a physical location this would not have been possible.
How We’ve Done It
As I mentioned, I am very proud of the way our team handled the transition to working remotely. Granted, we had already had a few members doing so but having a handful of team members versus all of your team working from home are two very different things.
Did we struggle with anything? Of course, but we’ve made it work and now have systems in place to continue our success even though we aren’t in the same space anymore. Here are some ways we’ve made working from home as smooth as possible:
- Set Up Multiple Touch Points Every Week with My Team – We used to be able to get up and walk over to someone’s desk when we needed an update on anything. Now, that’s a little bit more difficult to do when working from home so we’ve set up three weekly meetings to bring our whole team together to make sure everyone is on the same page. We meet at the beginning of the week to make sure everyone knows what has to be done this week, and we meet at the end of the week so we all know what got accomplished. On top of that, we also have a meeting we call “The Friday Cheers” where we all get together on a video call to hang out, play games, and not talk about work. This is an optional meeting but always has a good turn out and I have found it’s a great way to build camaraderie within the team and strengthen our bond even though half of us have never even met in person!
- Monthly Check Ins – These are especially important for new employees to make sure that they are acclimatized and comfortable. In these calls we talk about work, but I also try to make sure that everyone is doing well on a personal level. I try to do these once a month with everyone but also leave time open in my calendar in case anyone needs to talk to me before our check in.
- Invested in the Proper Tools – When we moved to working remotely, we invested in tools for workplace communication, email productivity, video calls and conferencing, a central hub for our documents and more to make our communication and collaboration seamless.
- Accepted Reality – We made the decision as soon as we could to work from home from until 2021. We accepted the severity of this pandemic and didn’t drag our team along by constantly telling them we’ll be back in the office soon. We let them know as soon as we possible so they could make arrangements and a number of them ended up moving back home to cut costs and be with their families outside of Toronto.
- Require Weekly Updates from Major Department Heads – Every week I make sure we have team leads share a written update of what got accomplished this week. Our COO shares an update on product, our CGO shares an update on sales, and our CMO gives a marketing update. You might be wondering why we do that if we also have the weekly team calls. I find it important to overcommunicate wherever possible and these documents are also an easy reference for anybody that cannot make the team meeting.
Will We Go Back to the Office?
Jury is still out on if and when we’ll be back to the office. If we do make the decision to get an office space again, I know we will still have members of our team that are remote. Regardless of what we decide I know that no matter what, our team will continue to adapt and evolve as they always have.
Swish Goswami has built a multi-hyphenate career at just the age of 23. He is the CEO of Trufan, a social intelligence platform that helps brands of all sizes make smarter marketing decisions. His company, which acquired SocialRank in late 2019, works with clients like Sony Music, Netflix, the NBA, the NFL and a plethora of small to medium sized businesses. A disruptor, curator, and a builder, Goswami shares his philosophies on the entrepreneurial hustle, personal branding, and the trends leading technology and business decisions today, to help individuals and organizations get noticed and engage in our fast-moving economy.
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