Last week I did a blog about how we decided, as a team, to trial remote working. This is a quick evaluation of how it went…
In a word… success!
As I mentioned last time, we had a strong belief that with the tools we already used to communicate and run projects we were already setup to work remotely — we just needed to prove it. Turns out this was true. What we weren’t prepared for was the sheer ease of transition from being a development team sat in the same office, to being a cohesive unit that can work successfully together from quite literally anywhere (wi-fi permitting of course). Seriously; within an hour of starting the trial it was like we’d being doing it forever!
So why has this transition been so easy for GGA when there are companies out there that have serious problems running an effective remote working program?
Well I can’t speak for them, but for us it’s been 2 particular reasons: Firstly, as already mentioned, we were already 95% setup to work remotely with the tools we use to collaboratively work together anyway. From a development point-of-view we use Sprint and Scrum, peer-reviewed code methods, and deployment tools such as Bitbucket. We also use bug-monitoring software, Errbit, so we are alerted to immediate critical issues on all of our projects. On top of this all of our servers are cloud-based via Digital Ocean so we don’t actually depend on anything ‘physical’ that needs to be locked-down to one office.
From a client comms/admin perspective we use email, Basecamp and Google Docs. Do they need an office? No. No and… no!
The second big reason this has been successful for us is how we’ve setup our internal team comms. We use a killer combination of Slack (for constant group communications via different subject channels) and Google Hangouts (for group discussions/arguments and that vital bit of daily human contact!). The weird thing is by using these 2 tools the whole team has said they feel more connected and in-the-loop than when we are in the office!
I’ve also got to give props to Google Hangouts — I’ve never really given it the time of day before (I really dislike Circles so it gets short thrift by association) but it is, by a country mile, the best group video calling platform we’ve used so far. The fact that you can doodle rude daubings on peoples faces is obviously a massive bonus.
So the decision has been made — GGA are now officially a remote working team! We’ve got the luxury of having an office available till next year so we can still entertain clients, meet up and work from their whenever we get cabin fever (when the lease expires I’m sure that’ll bring up a set of new complications!) but in general, we’re all delighted with the new setup.
Productivity is still great, work quality is still top-level and quality of life has improved for all of us — what’s not to like about remote working?