Taking Your Team Remote: People, Process, and Tools | Kevin Siskar | Skillshare

Taking Your Team Remote: People, Process, and Tools

Kevin Siskar, CEO, Finta

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12 Lessons (40m) View My Notes
    • 1. Introduction

      2:05
    • 2. Class & Project Overview

      0:41
    • 3. Making Remote Work

      3:17
    • 4. The Right People for Remote Work

      4:54
    • 5. Bringing The Team Together

      3:57
    • 6. Optimizing Your Space

      5:22
    • 7. Process, Process, Process!

      3:30
    • 8. Your Virtual Office

      2:30
    • 9. Utilizing Slack

      4:05
    • 10. Essential Tools

      3:13
    • 11. Bonus Tools!

      4:22
    • 12. Class Conclusion

      2:05
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About This Class

Learn to take your team remote and optimize your remote work in this new Skillshare class with Kevin Siskar!

Remote work is quickly becoming normalized and ubiquitous all around the world. Companies are learning that they can now access talent from anywhere globally; while team members are currently building new habits in their day to day workflows. As a leader, it is imperative to make sure your organization is optimized for the next decade of work where results matter much more than a physical location. 

This course will teach you the foundational steps best to operate any team in a remote work environment. We will be exploring the three main focus areas for building strong remote work environments:

  • People
  • Process
  • Tools

Across each of these areas, we will be including examples and recommendations you can implement immediately with your own team and business.  So you can start operating a strong remote team today! 

The best part is that any tips and tricks to running a strong remote company are actually complementary to running your company in an office setting. So regardless of if you are running a fully remote, hybrid remote model, or completely in-office work environment, this class will help you be a stronger operator, manager, and leader. 

For this course, you will need a computer and a strong at-home internet connection to make use of this class's recommendations. Let’s get started! 

More Classes From Kevin on Skillshare: 

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello. My name is Kevin Siskar. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Finta, a software company where we have private companies raise venture capital faster. Over the past few years, we've built a remote team. I'm here today to tell you how to do just the same. When we first started to take my own company remote, Finta, it was really hard work. But we've done the work, and to be honest, we're better off for it. We're quicker, faster, stronger, and most importantly, we're more resilient to change, to disruption. We're really quick and fast and lean, and it's pretty amazing some of the things we've been able to accomplish since going fully remote as an organization. I'm really excited to be here, and I can't wait to share with you the lessons that I've learned from my first-hand experience as well as helping others. In recent years, the rise of the Internet, as well as brand new enterprise Cloud software, has enabled remote work on a scale that just wasn't possible before. There's now 4.5 billion people online. That's 59 percent of the planet. I'm really excited about remote work because it's quickly becoming the norm. As an organization, it's going to allow you to access global talent, which is amazing. Right now we're experiencing a transition period, where people are building entirely new habits, and many are getting used to working from home, and they're finding and learning that they may even enjoy it and prefer it. I know I do. Just remember, results are more important than physical location. First, we're going to talk about the people that you need to run a strong and healthy remote organization, followed by the processes that should be in place to support that team, and then finally, we're going to talk about some software and tools to help enable and make really those processes and those people run as smooth and as effective as possible. While this class is great for leaders, even if you're a team member, employee, or contractor, there's a lot in here that you're going to learn to help you thrive in the remote work environment as well. If at any point you've any questions at all during this class, you can reach out to me on my website, siskar.co, or you can text me at 646 907-6669. I can't wait to go through this journey with you, and I'm excited to help you take your team along. 2. Class & Project Overview: In today's class, our project is going to guide and walk you through each step of the process of taking your team remote. We're going to cover the main three ingredients: people, process, and teams. So be sure to download the taking your team remote worksheet from the class project section below. Complete it, follow along with our class, and upload it when you're done so I can check it, we can look it over together, we can see how you've done. Completing the worksheet for this class project is going to make sure you have a strong foundation for taking your team remote. While working on this class, make sure you have a strong Internet connection and a reliable computer, as those are going to be required for this class. Now let's begin. In this next lesson, we're going to talk about why remote work is incredibly advantageous for your organization and your team. 3. Making Remote Work: In this lesson, we're going to talk about making remote work, work for you. We're going to see what is achievable? What's attainable for a remote oriented company, because it's a lot more than you expect, to be honest. To understand why this is possible, let's take a quick look at what changed. In 2008, the average bandwidth of the Internet was three megabytes per second. That's not enough for a Zoom meeting with the reliable video quality. It's now over 20 megabytes per second and growing. The advent of 5G, we're going to get up to a gigabyte per second. So there's more than enough bandwidth for high-quality video. There's a whole new layer of SaaS enterprise companies enabling remote communication and that's really laid in an entirely new foundation for what's possible for running a company in this decade. New collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Suite have really created and enabled a whole new generation of workers to communicate and share ways that they simply couldn't before. So that's empowering this whole new orientation and environment of remote work. A recent survey by the anonymous employee messaging app, Blind, found that 66 percent of workers across New York, Seattle, San Francisco would all be willing to work remote going forward. While the remote work trend is becoming very common nowadays, it's actually been trending and on the rise for awhile. Flexible work environments have been growing 22 percent faster than traditional office space in the last decade. Remote work environments can be cost-effective as well. Dropping the cost of office space can usually be one of the businesses highest expenses and now the best talent is global anyway. Studies have shown that building remote teams more often leads to diverse teams. Further studies further show that diverse teams can even lead to greater creativity within an organization, as well as yielding higher profits in the long run. We're seeing that millennials desire the flexibility to work remotely and over 80 percent of remote workers feel less stress than being in the office in a traditional work environment. Part of that is less time commuting equals more time with family. I'd like to tell you about some examples of fully remote companies to prove to you that it's completely possible and attainable to run highly profitable organizations this way. One example of a fully remote company, and they were actually one of the first to do it. People called them a little bit crazy at the time and it's really paid off is Automattic. They make WordPress, which you've probably seen around the Internet. Wordpress powers over 20 percent of all websites on the Internet. They have 1,245 Automatticians, as they call them, around the world in 77 countries that speak 93 languages. Another good example is Zapier, one of my favorite companies. They automate API integrations with what they call zaps. Zapier has built a fully remote company. They only ever had to fundraise once, and they have 250 employees across 24 countries. So it's really possible to build a strong and highly profitable organization this way. Twitter just announced this past year that they're going to be taking all 5,000 employees, giving them the option to go remote. Facebook has announced the same for their 48,000 employees. We're seeing Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon all following suit. In my own personal experience, building remote for an organization not only reduces cost, but it optimizes your company for resilience and longevity while allowing you to work with some of the best people and best talent in the world. It really is a win-win all around and it is the future of work. So I want you to ask yourself, are you leaving opportunity on the table by not building your team remotely? In our next lesson, we're going to talk about the first aspect of building a strong remote team, the people. So let's get going. 4. The Right People for Remote Work: Welcome to the first core of your remote work environment. People. It's important to realize that remote work is not easy, it is work. Understanding that great office people do not always make great remote work people is an important lesson to understand upfront. If you're transitioning from a fully in person team to building out remote, then you need to understand that you might expect a small percentage of that team to turn over a little bit. You need to put people on your team that you can trust. They should have strong self accountability and they should have some personal hustle. You want to make sure that they'll be reaching their goals, succeeding in this environment, and accomplishing all the tasks and everything needs to be done. One aspect of this is making sure that you find people who are great communicators. A lot of remote work is enabled by software services such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Suite. A lot of the communication is written. You want to make sure that you have strong writers on your team. People that even maybe over communicate a little bit and can share their wins and their hardships when they need help. Therefore, good writers are critical to your team success as a remote organization. Make sure your remote team members are comfortable without a social in person office setting. It's a little bit different to work from home, the communication is more written, it's more direct messaging. They can jump on the Zoom call, but it's sometimes feels a little bit different than being in the office, being at the water cooler, being at the lunch table, and having that in-person face-to-face interactions. Making sure that you have people on your team that are okay with a social setting, and that they're setup in other aspects of their life to fulfill and get those social needs. Whether it will be family time, friends, etc. Something I want to highlight and whether you're doing an in person team or remote team, you always want to make sure there's opportunities for individual personal growth. A lot of people burn out when they stop learning. Making sure that you're always enabling people on your team to have room to grow, that you're creating the opportunities to let them climb to a higher ceiling, go up the ladder. You don't want anyone to feel like they're stuck where they are, and they can't achieve beyond what they're currently at. Making sure whether it's the weekly one on ones or other things that you're checking in with your team, that they're feeling fulfilled, that they're learning, and that they're growing as individuals themselves. Doing this will go late years into keeping your team happy and making you a successful manager. We talked a little bit about how people on your team should have that innate hustle, they should be doers and something I like to encourage my team members to do is automate everything. No one should really be doing work for the sake of just filling time and filling hours. If there's an opportunity to automate something and the person can figure out how to do that, let them. One of my favorite tools for this is Zapier. They are fully remote company, but they connect APIs of different tech and software platforms around the web. They take a lot of what you know or maybe doing in Spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc, and automate the interconnection of them all. It's really incredible, you can start to pull insights in the Slack automatically doing this with integrations. Really encourage your team to take accountability and autonomy for their tasks and their workload. If they want to automate some of that, let them. That's amazing and that's going to free them up to do other things, to find more creative ideas and spaces to grow and improve the organization overall. Lastly, from an organizational standpoint, you want to understand if people on your team are going to be primarily employees, meaning they are W2 here in the United States, or if they're contractors, meaning they're 1099 here in the United States. It's an important difference to understand. It's going to make a difference in how people think about themselves as team members and so for me, I always want people to feel regardless of their status, that they are an integral part of the team, that they're here, they're pulled in and they're not just on the outside, peering into the window. They've brought into the organization and they feel one with everyone on the team. I encourage you to take stock of your team, of your organization, find the right people. Listen, this is a skill, some people might not be great at working from home and being remote right away, but they can get good. It does take time and so make sure that you give people the time and energy to have that growth. But make sure that you're honestly asking yourself who fits in this work environment and who is ideal for our organization in the long run. Now that we've talked about who the best people are for our organization, let's talk about how to bring them together. How do we start to build them into a team set of individuals? In our next lesson, we're going to do just that. We're going to teach you how to take this team and really optimize and build it for strong team communication. 5. Bringing The Team Together: Now that we've talked about the people that were making up your organization, let's talk about the team. How do we bring everyone together? One of the most important concepts to understand in doing so, is the idea of a stand-up. A stand-up is a unique type of meeting which got its name from the discomfort of having the stand during a meeting. But that's intentional. Stand-up meetings should really not last more than 15 minutes. You can run them in the style that product development managers have called scrum. You want to limit them to 15 minutes. You want to ideally have these stand-up meetings, maybe once a day. Some people do it once a week, but limit it to 15 minutes, give each member on the team one minute, and in that one minute they're going to answer three questions. Number one, what did I do yesterday to meet the goal we are trying to reach right now? What will I do today to reach the goal our team is trying to attain? Do I see any impediments? Now, with the scrum-style stand-up meeting, it's important to know that you don't jump into discussion during this meeting about any of the impediments that might be holding someone back. That can easily take this 15-minute stand-up and drag it into a two-hour meeting. That's not the goal of this exercise. The goal is to foster communication so everyone on the team knows where everyone is at and what needs to be done. Later in the day you can work through building and breaking through those impediments, but that's the stand-up. I would encourage you to think through with your team how you can schedule those daily. Maybe it's during coffee, 8-9 in the morning, and keep that communication on those channels open. When we talk about stand-ups, you may want to record one-on-one meetings with your direct report to supervisors, but I also recommend scheduling weekly stand-ups with the entire team. It's great to know what everyone else is working on, especially in a remote setting. That asynchronous extra communication goes a long way in everyone knowing what's happening within the organization. When possible, I always encourage you to try to do video calls. The face-to-face interaction can go a long way in building relationships between people when there's distance between them. Each Friday, you can maybe do your weekly stand-up, you can have team members post what they worked on during the past week, and encourage people to show off their work. The less silence, the harder it will be. But have people breakthrough, set the format, set the agenda ahead of time, so everyone knows what the expectations are to communicate going into the meeting. Another aspect I want to talk about is Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. Now you've probably, maybe even already used KPIs in your in-person organization, but using them in a remote setting is pretty critical. It allows everyone to understand where they are, what their expectations are, and how their performance is doing. It's something I like to encourage everyone to do, and really make sure that you take advantage of, is having each person has their own KPI. But not only have their own KPI, have it in a way where it's easily measured, and maybe there's even an admin dashboard, or once a week there's a page where you two can jump on together, and everyone can see exactly where they are in the funnel of them accomplishing those goals. You can use something like Todoist or Asana if it's project-based, or if it's a salesperson, you could use something like a Sales Goal and Salesforce. Another important aspect of running a remote team is actually getting the team together in person. Once, maybe twice per year, you're going to want to bring everyone together for a team offsite. This is where you can take some of that budget that you saved on not having an office, budget it out, and start to use it to bring everyone together, maybe you have to fly some people out, bring them together, and pick a location where everyone can join. This team offsite's probably going to take a day, two, three, four days, and set an agenda where you can get everyone to not only have some company meeting time, but also have some fun time. Go to dinner, play some games, get everyone to know each other a little bit more in person. It's really going to pay off for the culture of your company in the long run, and really helps strengthen bonds when you go back to that remote setting, where everyone has to talk to each other online. Now that we've talked about people and team, in our next lesson we're going to talk about how to optimize the actual remote environment. All of your employees, everyone on your team is set up to best succeed. 6. Optimizing Your Space: A big part of remote work environments is those people that work from home. We want to make sure that those people are set to succeed and that their environment is optimized. For those of us that do work from home, we need to be careful about how we build out our routines. You really want to think about prioritization, which is how you stack, rank and order the things that need to be done, as well as focus, which separately indicates how much attention you give to one task at a time. Focus can be really hard, especially when your to-do list grows and grows and have a lot to get done. Making sure that you haven't saved somewhere and you can really focus on what you're doing in the moment is really important, there's actually a thing called the Zeigarnic effect, which causes people to jump out of their mental tasks that they're working on and go back to their list. It's a tricky part of working from home, but the more organized you are, the less likely this is going to happen. You want to take control of distractions and your environment. An average, a study from UC Berkeley show that every time you get distracted it takes over 20 minutes to get back to the task at hand. So really eliminating distractions, buying some nice headphones, getting in the music, finding things that can bring you a near flow of work are really important when working from home. If you can, I recommend turning off phone notifications or taking advantage of the do not disturb mode on your laptop or other devices. When you're trying to focus on one task, you can use something called a pomodoro timer to help you, literally put a sand glass on the table and keep you focused on that task for a set period of time. But there's other apps like Toggl or Forest, which can make sure that you chunk out your time and you don't get distracted, you can't pick up your phone until that task or time limit is done. Just like being in the office, creating a really strong routine is paramount to your daily success, making sure that you're meeting your KPIs and milestones, whether it's waking up, hitting the gym, grabbing that cup of coffee, sitting down, crunching out your email, doing what you have to do to get into that flow, to get into that solid-state of work where you're going to accomplish what you need to accomplish for the day. I recommend taking your calendar a few weeks out and creating blocks of time, start to structure that routine into your digital calendar, so when the day comes, you don't have meetings interfering with what you're expected to do, when and everything can stick to that routine, start to create that, that total first [inaudible] The more consistency you can build on your daily routine, the more success you're going to find in the long run, make sure you defend your time and stick to these blocks. I know because you might be working remotely, it's easy to want to shift something last minute or go do something else, or some other distraction came up, but you really want to stick to this time blocks best you can, and if they're not working, that's fine. The sooner that you can admit to yourself that the schedule as you have it laid out, isn't working, the sooner you can correct it and start to optimize and improve that schedule for the next week and going forward. Aside from these mental optimizations, let's talk about some physical optimizations you can make to your remote work environment. Have a desk, I know that can seem a little bit obvious and it might be interesting or fond of work from the couch or the table outside, but have a place that you can consistently call the work environment. So you can go to create that routine, create that structure in your life. Now that we're all in the age of digital meetings, I highly recommend grabbing a nice camera, maybe some nice lighting for this space, there's an app called EpocCam, which can turn your iPhone into a webcam as most computers don't have HD cameras in them, it really could help with the quality and the credibility that people give you on digital calls or Zoom meetings. If you are in a room with a window, try to put that natural light in front of you so the natural light can come onto your face as opposed to behind you and create a crazy glare. I highly recommend grabbing a microphone, which will help with your audio quality and might go to recommendation, by a second monitor. Having a second monitor in addition to your laptop or your primary screen is a game changer when working from home or from working in the office. If you don't have a natural window and you need an artificial light, Elgato makes a product called the key Light, which is excellent. There's many other variations on Amazon which you could find. My biggest recommendation for working from home is to get yourself a second monitor. Having a second screen will help you copy data, work faster, work more efficiently, and most importantly, it helps me feel like that is the place where my work gets done. Yes, I still may take meetings elsewhere or wander over to the couch or outside patio once in a while, but that is the place where when I need to get work done, I'm sitting at my desk, I have my second screen and I can really be productive in that own area. Another important technical point, but software point, for working from home, is making sure that everyone remote has the apps downloaded. I know it can be easy to just open the browser and want to open slack there and then close it, but it really does make a difference making sure that your email, your slack, your Team's, everything is downloaded on either your phone and or device, so when notifications come through, everyone can be up to date in real time. It's going to go really far in keeping the team communicating in an asynchronous and real-time way. Whether you are working from home or you are a manager managing your remote team, making sure that those that are working from home have their work environments optimized, whether you can support that as a company financially, it can go a long way in improving the productivity and efficiency of that team. In our next lesson, we're going to talk about process, which can be applied to the people, the space and the team that we just built. 7. Process, Process, Process!: In this video, we're going to talk about process, one of the most important parts of any organization. I once heard a mentor tell me, "The company is nothing more than a collection of agreements, of contracts." The more that you can provide documentation for your own company, the more life you can breathe into it and resiliency for the future. Anyone can then come back and read and see those documents to know how to get the work done that your company needs. Fun fact, I spent eight years as a volunteer fireman between 2004-2012. One of the most important parts of being a fireman was following SOPs, standard operating procedures. At the time, I thought, okay, there's a lot of documentation, a lot of recordkeeping here, but it did an amazing job at keeping everyone safe, keeping everyone on the same page, everyone knowing what needed to be done. Fast forward to my career in business and in life, it's all the same. It's communication and it's human and it's innate, and the better you can be at communication, the better your organization is going to be overall. Creating standard operating procedures or process docs, having people write detailed instructions about how they do their job, how they do a task is instrumental and imperative to the next person being able to pick up the torch and where they left off. Writing out process docs correctly is very important. You want to make sure that they're easily understood, they don't skip any steps. So making sure that whether the mouse is moving and clicking a button, that's included. Don't take anything for granted. The more specific you can write these process docs, the better they're going to be for everyone on the team. Don't be afraid to be overly detailed. They can even be a little bit monotonous in detail. The clear they are, the better. You're also going to want to avoid jargon. You don't want anybody to read a process doc in the future and not know what a term means. The great part of Google Docs or any other format is you can even link to something, if there is a little bit of jargon. So anyone knows and can understand the explanation and what needs to be done. Writing these strong process docs that are detailed and clear are going to save your organization countless hours, especially when there's any form of turnover. You'll thank yourself later for having healthy and strong process docs stored for your company. Now that you have all these process docs, what do you do with them? You need to store them somewhere that anybody can access and revise. Google Drive is great, Notion or Quip, are all great places to store the documentation. Notion is even like a company's Wikipedia page, if you build it properly. By making sure that anybody can access these to read them at any point, at anytime from anywhere in the company is imperative. Then, make sure that people can improve upon these. Processes do change over time, so make sure that they can easily be commented on or revised by the team, so that the next person sees the document that's always the most up-to-date as possible. You want to make sure that your team communication is high fidelity, meaning it's rich and complete. You don't want anyone to have to ever reach out for a question because your communication is so clear, but you want to make sure that everyone feels completely comfortable to reach out for question, if there's any uncertainty at all. It's a dichotomy, but doing both of those will make sure that your operation keeps running smoothly as possible. So make sure that everyone in your organization is empowered on how to read and digest existing documentation, and make sure that they are empowered to revise, create, and improve documentation for the future. Make sure that the channels of communication are always open, so if anyone has a question, they can get to you and get that question answered, and make sure that everything is as clear as possible. Now that we've talked about people and process, let's talk about the third magic ingredient that ties it all together, tools. 8. Your Virtual Office: It's time to talk about the final ingredient to make remote work environment strong and successful, and that is tools. Tools are what have changed in the last 15 years. As we mentioned earlier, internet bandwidth has increased and enterprise sales companies have created a plethora of options for you to use to run your company. Remote work environment needs a place to bring everyone together. This is your virtual office. This is the core of your company that's going to foster all the communication. When people are here, they're in the office. There's a few options for you to choose from to power your virtual work environment. You could use Slack, which is my personal favorite and what we'll be using for the rest of this class, but if you're a heavy Microsoft Office user, you could also use Microsoft Teams. If you're big into Google, you could use the Google Suite platform, or you could be using Workplace by Facebook. Any of these will suffice and most of them have similar functionality. But for the purpose of this class, we're going to use Slack as that's what I prefer and I'm most comfortable with. Let's talk about why this is better than email. There's much more functionality. You can do group message or direct messages, so you can message the whole team via channel blast or just talk to the person you need to. You can place voice and video calls. There's easy file-sharing, which is instrumental. A picture speaks a thousand words and so the ability to just screenshots something, comment on it, and upload a file can oftentimes replace a phone call, replace a longer message. Also, security. These platforms offer a great amount of security. You can go back, you can look at the vision history if you ever need to cite something, and with email, you don't have that. Once an email sent, it's sent and it's out there. Lastly, app integrations. This is my favorite part because there's so many programs that you can automatically connect to these platforms, have updates come in in real-time, things like sales that are closing, people subscribing to your newsletters, everything. You can usually find a bot and bring in directly into your command centers, so everyone on the team, whether they're on the product team, the marketing team, the sales, HR, they can see what's happening within the organization in real-time. Once you've set up your central hub that everything's going to run off of, this is your virtual office. When people are here, they're at work. Again, regardless the platform you pick and you choose, use the tool that you're most familiar with as that's what's going to be best for the organization. In this next lesson, I'm going to show you a little bit how do you Slack and some my favorite integrations and ways to set up Slack for the best way to optimize your work environment. If you are using Slack, I'm going to show you in this next lesson how I like to set on my work environment and what I would recommend. If you're not using Slack, you can skip the next video and go ahead to see other amazing tools that we're going to be using to set up our online company. 9. Utilizing Slack: In this lesson, we're going to talk about how to set up Slack, my favorite platform for managing teams and handling communication. So let's quickly walk through how to set up a team in Slack. We're going to go to slack.com, we're going to sign up, we're going to create a workspace, we're going to check our e-mail for a code, we're going to name our company. I'm going to call this one Stark Enterprises, and we're going to add teammates or you could get a shareable link, so anyone that clicks the link can join the team. Great. We just setup Slack in less than a minute and we sent our first message to our team. Something I recommend is that you require everyone use their full name when setting up Slack. You can then go into Settings, and you go to Workspace settings. There's a few changes that I would recommend here. Once you've created the channels that you want, maybe you want to create a sales channel, you can then start to come back into Settings and you can create default channels that people have to join. Anytime they create a new account, they'll automatically be a member of all these channels. It's a great way to keep everyone in sync by acquiring maybe five, six, a few channels that everyone should be on the same page on. You can then go to Display Name Guidelines and you can require that everyone sets up their full name. If you have some other nomenclature, you can include that as well, show full name as their display names. You could set the Do Not Disturb hours for your company or not, or you can turn them off. You can also go to the customized page, and I'd like to add some custom emoji as well. You can upload an image under a certain file size. Another great tool in Slack is statuses. You could set the default statuses here, or anyone in here can set a status as well. Anyone on Slack can set the status to active is or away, or they can even write a little message for the rest of the team to see. Slack offers many versions of its app that you can download for your phone, computer, Microsoft, PC, Mac, anything at all. One of the best parts of Slack is it's integrations. Slack has an entire app store, a free apps that you can integrate with Slack, so you get notifications in real time when something is completed. One of the most fun integrations for Slack is Giphy, which connects and lets anyone import fun GIFs right into their daily conversations. The tilt of a button you can write /giphy, and you could say, HELLO. Giphy is going to provide us with some suggestions and we can send that to the team. Giphy is a great app to connect to slack just for fun. I also like Barempetrics. Baremetrics as well as Stripe can let me see my revenue coming in in real time directly in Slack without me having to go login to these other platforms. I'm also a fan of Mailchimp, which I use for my newsletters. Whenever someone subscribes or I see a blast go out, I know in real time that it's happening, right in Slack. We also use Typeform a lot in our product and our sales leads. That's great to see not only that someone submitted a response, but also what their responses were, allowing a salesperson to pick it up directly from Slack and run with it in their daily job. Finally, if something is missing from the Slack app store, Zapier has an app for Slack. What that means is that you could connect Zapier to Slack, and that any of the thousands of integrations Zapier has, you can also put in the Slack through them. So I love Slack for its versatility, how amazing it is to just connect everything in and have everything in one place. For us with Finta, I have channels for our customers when they sign up, I have a feedback channel, and even the time someone submits feedback to the company, we have general for messages, we have marketing for every time someone subscribes to our newsletter, and we have other channels like news or proactive element where we ourselves talk about what's happening within the company. We have social media. Every time someone mentions us on Twitter, automatically goes in the Slack, and we have a stand up channel. Everyday people post what they're working on for the day. So if you're setting up Slack, those are my favorite changes to make right out of the gate. Eventually, you'll find that having everything in one spot is going to keep everyone up to date and keep everyone on the team knowing what's happening in real time asynchronously. So we've now talked about setting up your virtual office and whether you've chosen Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Suite or another. We're now going to talk about some other software that I think could be instrumental in helping your remote organization run smoothly. 10. Essential Tools: Now that we have a virtual office set up, let's talk about some other software that's going to be important for you to run your remote company. In addition to Slack or Microsoft Teams, or whatever platform you chose to be a virtual office, there's a few other types of software that you're going to need to standardize on. The first one is communication. So you either going to need to pick Zoom, Google Meet, GoToWebinar, or some other platform, where your company will take and provide all of their meetings. Standardizing under communication tool, allows everyone on your team internally to be able to communicate and see each other face to face, which can go a long way in creating a strong remote work culture, and it's also important, obviously, for external communications, sounds, meetings, etc. A core functionality of your communication app, whatever you choose, should be that screen-sharing is enabled. Screen-sharing goes a long way and oftentimes a picture or sharing a video clip or showing what someone is seeing, can save 1,000 words of an email. So make sure that whatever you choose, screen-sharing is easy and anyone on the team could figure out how to do so. We talked a little bit earlier about Google Drive, or Notion, or Quip. You're going to need to pick a cloud storage platform, to make sure everything in your company is backed up. I'm in a great place to not only store process docs, but everything else. The third piece of software I recommend is something to manage project management. Whether you use Todoist, or Asana, or Apple reminders, or Google Keep, something to make sure that everyone on your team can have a shared platform, where tasks can be checked off and resources can be shared. I personally like Todoist, and if you want, you can go check out my other class, where I've talked extensively about how best to use Todoist, and how I use it in my own work. I'll put a link to that below. The fourth piece of software you're going to want to think about this password management. Everyone in your organization is going to be sharing accounts probably, needing to log into different software, different platforms, and so you could just create a Google Sheet, and then share that, but that's easily screenshotted. Those passwords could easily be leaked. What I recommend doing instead is using a platform like 1Pass or LastPass, to give everyone in your company access to those passwords without them actually seeing the passwords. They're great for using and sharing passwords within an organization and some of them even have free plans that you can start with. Fifth, Let's talk about code management. If you're a software company, you're going into place for your team to collaborate on the product on the writing code. The go-to resource for this is Git and GitHub. GitHub lets you see revision changes and version control for all changes being made to the code base. So if this is you and you're building a software company, I will highly recommend you set up GitHub. Finally, if you're running a remote organization, so then it can be complicated, is HR. Managing employees and team members across different state lines and even different national borders can cause complication, and so using a platform like Justworks, or Rippling, or Gusto, or Zenefits, this platforms can make it really easy to handle things like payroll, benefits, onboarding, regardless of where the employer team members located and making sure that you still comply, and stay within the legal regulations of that person's home. So adding these tools to your core software suite of Slack of Microsoft Teams, you now have the strong foundation to enable everyone, all the people in your organization to run those processes and keep everything moving smoothly. While you've covered the core tools that every organization needs to run a strong remote team, there are some fun ones that I want to talk about. In the next lesson, these are going to be optional software tools, but I like them. I think they can add a lot of value to the organization and we're going to discuss and cover those next. 11. Bonus Tools!: The last lesson, we talked about some of the required software to run a successful remote company. In this lesson, we're going to talk about software that's fun but can also add a lot of value to your organization if you choose to use it. I'm going to walk you through some of these programs right now. I've talked a little bit about it already, but one of my favorite pieces of software is Zapier. I like Zapier because it's incredibly versatile. Any program that doesn't talk to another program that you use, you can probably connect with Zapier. It's incredibly powerful and it lets you automate workflows. That's probably my secondary favorite feature. Not only can you connect these software programs, but you can automate the steps and interactions between them. That could save your company and people on your team countless hours from doing repetitive tasks that can be easily automated. My next favorite program is Skitch. While most computers, Macs and PCs come at the default screenshot button that you can press. I like Skitch because it lets you annotate quickly and easily on top of the screen shot, a picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes just adding an arrow or circling a box on a page that you're looking at or typing an annotation on top of a screenshot can make it really quick and easy to communicate what's happening with the rest of your team. Now that you're having a lot of meetings over Zoom, I like to install something called Otter. With Otter.ai, you can download this for free and you can connect it to your Zoom account. What Otter does is it records all of your meetings and automatically writes up a transcript and notes for them. It syncs to your Zoom account, sees your meetings that you've said you've recorded in the Cloud. Then about a few minutes after the meeting is over, delivers you a transcript and notes from that meeting saving people in the meeting countless time from having to type, be distracted, jumping in and out of the conversation and letting everyone be present and in the moment when the meeting is actually happening. Notion is a new company and what they've built is essentially a Wikipedia for private companies. You could create everything really seamless and really easy on private webpages that can easily be shared amongst your team. This is a great place to include those process docs, bring all your documentation together, and make sure you have everything in one place for your organization. Recently, I was recommended a company called Krisp. Krisp gets installed on your computer and automatically filters everything coming through your microphone in term of background noise. Krisp is so powerful that I even had barking dogs stripped right out of the background of my conversations. It can go a long way in keeping everyone in the moments during a meeting and removing annoying distractions from the background. Another new piece of software enabling remote work environments is Tandem. Tandem installs on your computer and let's you and everyone in your office drop in just as you would as if you're in the office by the water cooler. It's pretty powerful and it's something that I recommend people using if you're looking to add that little extra step of how to create that remote culture and feeling of in-personess as part of a remote work environment. Earlier this year I had Taylor Jacobson on my podcast Ambition Today. His company, Focusmate, is enabling people regardless of where they're working to have accountability buddies, people that can make sure for an hour, for 45 minutes that they both reach the goals they set out to reach. This is like using Toggl or Forest, but it's in-person. What really happens is two people get on a Skype call together. At the start of the call, they tell each other what they want to accomplish in the next 45 minutes. They then quietly work together and in the last 15 minutes, they debrief on if they've met their goals, how they could do better. This fostering of human communication being in the moment with someone else, really adds a layer of accountability that we haven't really seen other places. Focusmate is amazing. You can check it out, you can try it for free and you can get started having an accountability buddy or someone else to work with if you don't want to just work alone from home all the time. Miro is a whiteboarding app that lets anyone from anywhere come into a whiteboard amongst the team and share sticky notes, resources, just post up what they want. Again, another great way to create that in-person office feeling, but while in a remote environment. Finally, Donut. Donut is an integration that you can add to your Slack team. Once a week or however often you set it, it will match people on your Slack team and in your company and have them introduce each other, set up a meeting together. So it takes that spontaneity that used to have in the office. Mixes into the Slack and has people on your team, maybe from various departments, get to know each other and start to build relationships one on one. You now have the full technological foundation for setting up a strong and amazing remote work environment, people, processes, and tools. 12. Class Conclusion: We covered everything from figuring out who are the right people for your remote work environment, building and starting the right processes, as well as setting up the foundation and necessary software to run a successful and strong remote work organization. I want you to remember that running a remote team is hard work, but it's completely attainable and within your grasp. It's something that if you do now, will set your organization up to be more resilient and stronger going into this next generation of companies. Regardless of whether you're actually building a remote team or an in-person company, these tools and steps and processes are going to be advantageous for an in-person company as well. Really securing the company's position, adding resiliency and making sure it is best set up for the future. If you'd like to keep learning and keep going, there's a few additional resources that I'd like to recommend for you. Holloway is a company that has published a comprehensive guide to building, managing, and exploring the rules of remote work environments. The book is called a Guide to Remote Work, and I highly recommend checking that out. Another book I'd recommend is Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried. He's the founder of BaseCamp, which has built a fully remote company all over the world with about 50 employees across 32 cities globally. Finally, I've said it a million times, but Zapier. Zapier team is a fully remote organization, and in doing so, they have published a guide on building and managing remote teams. I'll link that below and you can check out that as well. It's about 15 chapters diving deeper and deeper into these rules, into these processes, and how to optimize your people processing tools. If you've been following along and working on your class project, now is the time to upload that to the project in Resources tab below. I can't wait to see what you've done and what you've come up with, and comment and give some feedback. I would love it if you reached out and shared with me one-on-one how this class has helped you. You can either text me at (646) 907-6669, you can visit my website siskar.co, or you can message me on any social media channel @thesiskar. If you'd like to take my other course, Productivity Today: How to manage your attention and focus in the digital age, I'm going to link that below. Thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoyed this class and I can't wait to see you next time.