Who doesn’t want a flexible work culture? Right?
Imagine a work-life where you can plan your schedules according to your time. Yes. It happens in reality! Technology has granted a boon to strike a balance between work and personal life. And it all leads to one thing, that is, working remotely.
No, it’s not a bluff. We have come backed by a sturdy example. At Trello, they have built their work culture, keeping in view the comfort and productivity of employees. Let’s delve a little more into Trello’s Remote Work Policy.
1. Trello’s Remote Work Policy
Stella Garber, Product Marketing Lead, Trello says,
We follow a remote-friendly culture at Trello. We do not say remote-first because we want to give our team members a choice. It is okay if they choose to work from an office or a coffee shop. But what we do focus on is engaging every employee in the organization through defined processes and guidelines. For instance, send a birthday cake to our remote team members on their birthdays. They get to pick the cake from a local bakery, and then we all get together on a video call to celebrate.
Trello believes that the level of policies and processes depends on the size of the company. Meaning, for a small team, it is easier to understand each other and the context of communication since team members already know each other’s preferences. But it becomes complex as the organization scales.
In Trello’s team, they have a communication doc that is updated quarterly. It serves as communication guidelines for the entire team. It includes all the tools they use, tips for communication, timezone guidelines. Among other things, they also follow a video-first approach in case of miscommunication to overcome it quickly.
2. Conducting a Virtual Team Meeting - Easily and Efficiently
Meetings have a bad rep in the remote world - partly because it is so difficult to get everyone together virtually. - Stella Garber
While being in a virtual environment, one needs to be more deliberate and value the team member’s time. It’s essential to have a defined time and agenda for every meeting.
For instance, when holding a marketing team meeting every week, the team members should be able to add things to the agenda on a Trello board before the meeting begins. This ensures that every point of the discussion gets covered during the meeting, along with following the meeting timeline.
One great thing is that they also have a session of ‘Bravos’ after their meetings where they acknowledge the tasks and achievements of the team members.
3. How is Marketing (and other job roles) Different in a Virtual Environment?
Stella Garber says,
It drives me crazy how much time is wasted in a traditional office. The remote environment is more result-oriented and keeps the team members productive throughout.
Maintaining from the same, job roles aren’t different in a remote or traditional office. It’s the way of working that differs. In a remote environment, you’d need more processes for the same job role than you would need in a traditional office.
4. Result-oriented Management Approach
“Trello’s company culture is greatly reflected in my management style. We want our team members to work efficiently and achieve (transparent) goals.”- Stella Garber
At Trello, they use the OKR framework. The acronym stands for Objectives and Key Results. Following the framework, they get together with their team (quarterly or monthly) to discuss and set the key high-level objectives for a specified period. This allows team members to know their goals, tasks, and timelines. And the management is able to enhance focus, increase transparency, and align the teams better. It’s just something that has worked really well for them, isn’t it?
5. Remote Team Management on a Trello Board
The organization genuinely use Trello for most of their processes. And for a startup or a small team, Trello boards can be an efficient way of managing remote team members.
For instance, In their hiring board, they have notes for reach outs, first screening, and even the new hires’ first week at work. Having a defined hiring process (best suited for your organization) is essential when hiring remotely.
6. Essential Tools for Remote Teams
At Trello, they really do use Trello for most of their operations. But other tools are just as important for the team. For instance, they often use Miro to collaborate virtually with team members as it is an excellent tool for visually engaging the entire team.
For communication, they use Stride, and it is one of the most efficient communication tools they have used so far. Further, they also actively use Google Calendars and Zoom for collaborating better with the team.
7. Is Over-communication a Hurdle for Remote Teams?
At Trello, they have a defined procedure and the right tools to help overcome the issue of over-communication.
For instance, the team members update their calendars when they are on vacation or sick leave. The team members are encouraged to block time on their calendar to focus on work (if they have to) so that nobody disturbs them.
They follow similar guidelines for other tools that they use. For instance, they have status updates on a different communication channel and daily standups on a different channel.
8. [Remote Team Management] Performance Evaluation
Again, they follow the OKR system. Setting OKRs allows the team members to have tasks and the goals that they have to accomplish through those tasks clearly laid down. They also let the employees set personal OKRsl. Constant feedback is another essential touchpoint for the team members to achieve goals.
Creating an ideal remote environment for the entire team is a pathway to a robust remote culture. Also, this culture can become a stepping stone to scaling a remote organization.
By building a strong remote culture, one can enhance organizations’ communication, attract a pool of global talent, and take better care of the existing employees. And that is how Microsoft built its foundations of remote work.