Effective teamwork in the modern workplace isn’t easy. With remote teams and teammates and growth that is sometimes unprecedented, getting teamwork ‘right’ is an impressive accomplishment. We’re familiar with tales of companies who dominate social, or ‘get’ community, but what about companies who ‘get’ teamwork? As a company focused on helping teams achieve more, together, we’re hyper attentive to the qualities that lend themselves to amazing teamwork.
Here are a few inspiring examples of companies that take teamwork to a new level.
Baggu: seamless communication between bi-coastal teams
Working away from headquarters, even if you have a small team (and an office in place) can prove difficult because the epicenter of information, culture, and brand energy is removed. Replicating the effectiveness of HQ in another location has a number of challenges but the team at Baggu has managed to use both technology and a dedicated company ‘liason’ to help maintain open lines of communication between the two offices.
Baggu’s design and operations team is based on the west coast, while sales is in New York. With Asana, they’ve managed to create a seamless communication flow and ensure that all teammates are always in sync, despite the timezone difference. Amy, a product manager in New York City, runs the Baggu schedule and serves as the connector between sales and the creative team. Using templates in Asana, she ensures that each project and task has all the information teammates need to stay in the loop (including photos, when needed).
Pagelines: collaboration with a distributed workforce
As more and more companies adopt flexible policies regarding remote workers, teamwork, which often assumes face-to-face interactions, takes on a slightly different form. Pagelines, whose entire team is remote, relies on a number of tools to ensure they’re productive, focused on the most important goals, and feel like a team, even when their interactions are mostly virtual.
Tools of an effective team include:
- Asana to make everything actionable: The Pagelines team relies on one golden rule: “If it’s not in Asana, it doesn’t exist.” All meetings have tasks as an outcome, and at the end of a meeting they always ask, “What are the tasks that have come out of this meeting?”
- Hipchat for staying in sync: The Pagelines team uses Hipchat as their ‘public’ chat; the whole team chats in one room, sharing links and ideas. They also feed automatic updates into Hipchat including new code updates, customer cancellations, and positive feedback from customers. This keeps the team laser-focused on customers.
- Google Hangouts for face-to-face interactions: If an idea will take more than 5 back-and-forth chats in Hipchat, the Pagelines team defers to taking a video call.
DinnerLab: clarity and culture preservation, despite hyper growth
One of the biggest challenges for teams who undergo intense growth over a short period of time is ensuring that there’s clarity with regard to bigger company goals. Preserving culture and enabling each individual to run full speed ahead is extremely important. DinnerLab has managed to do all these things with finesse.
With a presence in 20 different cities, 25 people in their corporate office in New Orleans, 25-30 teammates across the United States, and nearly 1,000 part-time employees, DinnerLab’s biggest challenge is to keep everything out of email and in Asana. Additionally, once a month, they have a company-wide Google Hangout to make sure everyone is aligned with their team goals.
Disqus and Classy.org: creating an open forum and treating your team like a community
Great teamwork relies on creating a level playing field for anyone in the company to participate, and great teams value open communication and create and maintain platforms for all teammates — regardless of seniority or function — to participate.
At Classy, all team members are free to comment and input ideas on tasks in Asana. Director of Communications Erin Hall says, “It’s important for finding self-worth within your team.”
Meanwhile, at Disqus, teammates treat each other as they would their community: setting the tone for transparency and honesty, encouraging conversation among teammates with daily team checkins, and using Asana and Google Hangouts.
Udacity: teamwork beyond ‘work’
Great teamwork doesn’t always mean ‘work.’ In fact, the more a team can have fun, the more likely they are to trust each other, and want to collaborate. Udacity takes this concept to heart, offering employees a variety of activities.
You can take a page from their book by:
- Scheduling a weekly team exercise time: “A coworker and I are both getting in shape for our respective weddings. Sadly, working at Udacity has been more conducive to snacking than fitness, so we make a point to play Dance Central once a week in our company game room. I find that these sessions help re-energize me for the rest of the day,” said Jennie Kim.
- Making any day a special day: At Udacity, every other Friday is Fancy Friday, a day when the team dresses up to fit some sort of theme. Past themes have included Bumpit Friday (big hair), Fancy Feet, and Oscar Night. They recently had a panda-themed Fancy Friday: everyone wore black and white, and ate ice cream sandwiches. The team also hosts Recess after work: a small party focused on something silly, like making snocones, dim sum (for Chinese New Year) or whipping up their own ice cream.
What makes your team stand out? We’d love to hear.
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