Tips & Opinions
Vol. 2, Issue 9
Scribe special edition: How we remote work
With much of the world on edge because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and workforces around the world grounded, hunkered down, or on lockdown, we thought now was a good time to share how Scribe’s fully-distributed team works remotely and collaborates across four different time zones.
If you’ve ever wanted to work remotely with success, then this Scribble’s for you.
A message from Scribe’s Founder & CEO, Shindy Chen:
When I started Scribe four years ago, I wanted to be sure that our workforce had freedom. It’s in Scribe’s “Way of Work,” a culture document that outlines our mission and manifesto for how we do everything — from preparing for internal meetings to delivering client work.
That passage reads like this:
Respect your freedom
Live and work where you are most happy. Be grateful for every experience. Learn and grow from each other and your fully-distributed environment. Take time for self-care, and value your independence and the ability to manage and prioritize on your terms to meet your objectives, responsibilities, deadlines, and results.
Some people may think remote work equates to being lazy or slacking off in pajamas while attending conference calls.
I’m sure that after reading “The 4-Hour Workweek,” we all thought we could quit our jobs, move to Bali, delegate our personal and work lives to VAs, and with just a few keystrokes — voila — earn serious Benjamins hawking our skills on internet marketplaces.
But the truth is, we never had this glamorous view of remote work.
Most office environments, and especially today’s “open-plan” office setups, simply aren’t conducive to what we do.
We’re writers and editors first, and we require quiet focus to deliver high-quality, publication-ready, compliant content. This can’t be interrupted by “Hey, do you have a minute to discuss client x?” or “Did you see that thing on Facebook?” or “Can you believe what happened in [sports/politics/world news/celeb gossip]?” That’s for free time Slack banter (more on Slack below).
And, because our corporate clients usually follow a 9-to-5 workday, that means we must generally work on that timetable, too.
Done well, remote work requires diligence, structure, and processes that are acknowledged and respected by team members who rely on each other.
For Scribe, it’s simply the way we’ve accomplished our best work.
For me, time in the office does not equate to the quality of work results. Ever known that one employee who always looks busy, perhaps even works overtime, yet never really achieves anything — and worse, no one really knows what he does? Don’t be that person.
If you feel like you’re in an office all day but “never get anything done,” then try reordering your workday with processes that let you be more productive and efficient. Force others to respect your work time. Block out time on your calendar. Sequester yourself in quiet areas, away from crowds. Remote work.
In 2018, a Stanford economist conducted a 500-person-wide study that showed remote work resulted in 13% more output and a 50% reduction in employee attrition.
Other benefits? We get sick less. We save money on work clothes. We save time from getting ready in the morning, planning outfits, and commuting. We save money and gas on morning commutes. We spend that time instead on delivering quality client work, living active lifestyles, and being with family members.
Not to say that office meetings aren’t without merit. In-person collaborative meetings are, at times, the best and fastest way to engage with others, reach consensus, generate ideas, or make decisions. For those, we’re happy to show up.
Scribe’s top 6 tools for successful remote work
So, how do we make remote work, work? In addition to documenting airtight processes that prevent anyone from being “irreplaceable,” we also rely on these tools (we’re not compensated for these mentions, we really use these):
Slack: This collaborative tool replaces email and allows file-sharing, discussions, and group conversations. Be mindful, Slack can be just as overwhelming as office banter, so establish ground rules with how often you’re conversing in random channels versus working.
Google Suite: Once upon a time, we saved multiple versions of Microsoft Office documents, emailed them to each other, and got lost in a vortex of version control. The G-Suite has all but obliterated that by allowing the collaboration and saving of documents in real-time:
- Google Docs: Draft and edit documents, share comments
- Google Sheets: Draft and edit spreadsheets
- Google Slides: Create and edit presentations
- Google Forms: Create and edit online forms and surveys
- Google Draw: Mockup designs, ideas, and layouts
Trello: Project management made simple. We use it for everything, from managing client deliverables to social media calendars.
Zoom: Host web calls, conference calls, and collaborative meetings.
Loom: The best way to create “explainer” and how-to videos for team members. This tool lets you easily record as you work on your screen or browser window and helps those who favor non-linear, visual learning.
Box: Share and comment on files via secure links; edit Microsoft Word documents in real-time with “Box Edit.”
We acknowledge that not all companies allow these tools, services, and software due to technology, security, or country protocols. They may instead run Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, and other internal programs that mimic the combined capabilities of the aforementioned software tools.
Right on! Anything that promotes productive collaboration in our books is great.
Join us next week:
We’ll discuss more tips for remote-work success.
Schedule a Discovery Call
If you’re new to The Scribble, schedule a free short, no-obligation Discovery Call.
— Your friends at Scribe
P.S. A 20-ish second book review
Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To, by David Sinclair, Ph.D.
Written by a doctor and Harvard medical school professor of genetics, this fast-paced and easily-consumable book argues that aging is a disease and outlines the steps we can take now to prolong healthy — and, more importantly, active — lives as human beings.