Remote Work (Summer Edition): Proven Tips to Stay Productive from Green Apple Strategy

The past few years have seen a dramatic shift in how we work. Remote work has become increasingly common across industries, and for good reason. It offers flexibility, freedom, and the potential for a better work-life balance. This flexibility is a game-changer, especially during the summer months when schedules shift and wanderlust sets in. Kids are out of school, vacations are calling, and the sunshine beckons us outdoors. However, increased travel and flexibility don’t have to cause a decrease in productivity.

Think about it: working remotely allows you to explore new places, gather fresh content inspiration, and prioritize your well-being by taking breaks that prevent burnout. Those are all factors that can lead to a more productive you!

The question, however, is how to maintain that productivity while basking in the summer sun (metaphorically or literally). At Green Apple Strategy, a full-service marketing agency based in Nashville, we’ve embraced remote work for years. Our team is a hybrid bunch, with members working from home offices and coffee shops across the globe. Through these experiences, we’ve gleaned valuable insights on maximizing remote work productivity during the sunny season.

Summer Hacks for Peak Remote Work Productivity

In this article, we’ll share some of the best practices we’ve learned to stay productive during the summer months. Hopefully, our tips will help you make the most of your remote working schedule. 

Embrace the Opportunity to Get Outside 

One of the unanimous favorites from our Green Apple team is to get outside. Remote work grants you the privilege of experiencing the energizing benefits of nature while still crushing your to-do list.  Imagine crafting a killer social media strategy while listening to the gentle lapping of waves on a beach vacation. You may find inspiration for your marketing while working from a local park or outdoor cafe. Take advantage of the beautiful summer weather and create a work environment that invigorates you.

Plan Your Week for Peak Performance

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to maximizing remote work productivity. Knowing your meeting schedule in advance allows you to plan your location for the week. Let’s say you have a Zoom call scheduled early on Tuesday. Perhaps you want to work from a co-working space on Monday, a coffee shop on Wednesday, and then head to a local park for some focused work on Thursday. Planning empowers you to take advantage of remote work’s flexibility and create a workweek that fuels your productivity.

Take the Opportunity to Rest and Relax

Remote work can be a double-edged sword. While it offers incredible flexibility, it can also blur the lines between work and personal life. Remember, numerous studies show that employees who take vacations are actually more productive upon their return. So, don’t be afraid to unplug and recharge. Go for a hike, have a picnic in the park, or simply relax with a good book. Embrace the summer leisure and return to your work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any challenge.

Communicate Your Plan and Availability

Collaboration is vital in any creative environment, especially when your team is geographically dispersed. Summer vacations can throw a wrench into communication routines, so being proactive is essential. Let your team know your availability well in advance. Utilize project management tools to keep everyone on the same page, and don’t hesitate to schedule quick check-in calls to maintain momentum on projects.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Human Connection

While remote work offers many benefits, it can also lead to feelings of isolation. Remember, camaraderie is an important part of the work experience. As you create your schedule, consider planning a co-working day with a colleague once a week. This is a great way to break up the routine, brainstorm ideas, and enjoy each other’s company.  

Fun fact: during the summer months, the Green Apple team makes a conscious effort to schedule more team outings and social events. These experiences build a stronger work culture and encourage each team member to feel supported and contribute their best work.

Don’t Just Work: Thrive.

Remote work offers a fantastic opportunity to embrace a flexible and fulfilling work style. Here at Green Apple Strategy, we’re grateful for the chance to work this way, and we’re passionate about helping others maximize their remote work experience.

Want to learn more about our culture and what makes Green Apple Strategy a great place to work? We invite you to learn more about our approach to marketing and what it’s like to work at Green Apple.

Beyond the Books: 4 Insights Learned from My Marketing Internship by Eden Hutchinson

At Green Apple, our top priority has always been hiring good people and fostering their development in a way that helps them grow professionally and personally. Over the past few years, we’ve collaborated with local universities in Nashville to provide marketing internships to aspiring undergraduates. This summer, we were fortunate to welcome Eden Hutchinson to our team. Eden’s unwavering passion for marketing and dedication to our clients make her an invaluable asset. She seizes every chance to acquire new skills and knowledge. In this blog post, we’re handing the keyboard over to Eden, allowing her to share some of the invaluable lessons she’s gathered as a marketing intern at Green Apple.

As a business and marketing double major, I read about countless marketing principles in school. But this internship has taught me even more valuable lessons that can’t be learned from books. Working at Green Apple, I’ve had the chance to discover how marketing is applied in different industries. I also learned how to tailor marketing strategies to each client’s specific needs. But more importantly, I learned the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and real-world experience. These practical skills are essential for marketing success. 

In this blog post, I wanted to highlight the most valuable lessons I learned from my marketing internship. These lessons have helped me go beyond marketing basics and provided a holistic understanding of the field.


4 Insights Learned from My Marketing Internship

1. Project management is the cornerstone for marketing success. 

During my internship at Green Apple, my primary focus was collaborating with the Client Relations team, who are responsible for collaborating with clients and executing marketing ideas. I quickly grasped the importance of having a well-structured system to keep track of all the marketing activities and elements for each client. I’ve learned the value of embracing a process-driven approach to marketing and implementing proven project management best practices to work smarter rather than harder. For example, most of the work executed by the Green Apple team happens in Basecamp, a project management tool that enables us to create and execute tasks methodically.  

Over the summer, I honed my ability to break down complex objectives into manageable steps, and I now find myself applying this skill to other areas of my life.


2. Team culture makes a tremendous difference in how people show up to work every day. 

As a business undergraduate student, my classes often discuss the significance of company culture. However, I’ve learned that culture is often a concept you must experience firsthand to grasp its importance. After multiple internships, I’ve been immersed in various company cultures, and it’s been fascinating to experience the difference.

At Green Apple, I’ve seen how a positive culture directly impacts productivity. There’s a deliberate focus on fostering a positive and enjoyable company culture. Some of the things that make Green Apple’s culture so great include bi-weekly team meetings where everyone shares a “weekend happy,” and employees are encouraged to travel or take volunteer time off

I’ve seen the difference it can make when you work in an environment that is kind and uplifting. I’m more motivated to do well because I’m surrounded by supportive people who want me to succeed.

3. Getting your hands dirty is the best way to learn.

One of the things I’ve loved most about my internship is getting the opportunity to help with numerous projects for the agency and our clients. This has taught me that getting involved in many projects is the best way to grow. By working on various one-off projects, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how the company functions and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into success. No class can fully prepare you for this, but Green Apple’s culture of encouraging employee success has allowed me to dive into projects I would never have had in another internship. And because my work matters to the company’s growth, I know it’s making a real difference.

4. Don’t ignore the analytics.

One of the most valuable aspects of my internship has been learning about the reporting process. I had no prior experience in this area, but I quickly realized how important analytics are for making informed business decisions.

The idea that analytics can help teams improve their marketing efforts makes sense in theory, but seeing it in practice has really driven home the importance of a data-driven approach. Marketing for any client requires an adaptive mindset, and analytics can help teams make the necessary adjustments to improve their efforts and achieve their long-term goals continually.

Get Your Hands Dirty with the Green Apple Team 

We’re incredibly grateful for the ideas and support Eden has offered during her internship and are excited about the opportunity to keep her on for another semester. If you’re a marketing professional or undergraduate student looking for an internship in the Nashville area, you can learn more about what it’s like to work at Green Apple or reach out to our team to apply.

Managing Virtual Teams to Stay Connected & Productive Remotely

Today’s work landscape looks very different from even a few years ago. The traditional office setup has given way to a new era of remote work. Green Apple transitioned into a remote office when the pandemic hit in 2020, and we have thrived as a virtual team. Our core team members currently live in Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina. We have a large group of freelancers who we lovingly refer to as “The Orchard” and the majority of them live outside of our home base in Nashville, including a few in other countries outside of the U.S.

Despite the distance that separates us, we’ve found ways to stay connected. This blog post highlights some of the practices we’ve put in place that not only keep our team cohesive but allow us to flourish in an evolving work environment.

Tools for Productivity and Connection

We use several tools that are critical to helping us communicate seamlessly while also organizing our workflow and processes. Basecamp is a great collaboration tool that includes several essential communication features. Features we find helpful in Basecamp include message boards, to-do lists, file storage, scheduling, and real-time chat. We use BC to streamline workflows, track projects, and communicate with each other regarding specific projects. 

We find it most helpful to have tools that allow our team to collaborate in real-time, and Google Workspace is great for this. We use Google Drive for blog writing, Google Sheets for social content, and Gmail to communicate with our team and our clients. Google Workspace tools make it possible for us to work together with a colleague or a client even if we’re not near them. To keep the memes and gifs flowing, we keep in touch on a team Discord, and our Content Marketing Specialist recently began experimenting with Airtable for social media planning and deployment.

Zoom is our go-to video conferencing tool and we use it daily. While remote work offers incredible flexibility, it can be so helpful to meet for the occasional check in meeting to ensure our team is on track. The platform offers several membership plans tailored to different user needs so you can choose what will work best for your team and budget.

Twice-a-Week Huddles

Keeping your team connected and communicating is crucial when working remotely. The core team at Green Apple meets twice a week on Zoom for an hour to check in and strategize about the days, weeks, and months to come for our clients. We typically start off each call with some personal catch-up and stories, then dive into business. It’s not unusual for someone to toss out a “thank you” to a fellow team member or give kudos for a job well done. Our twice a week Zoom meetings also provide us with an opportunity to check in with each other to ensure everyone is feeling balanced and supported in their role. (By the way: if you’ve been feeling like your Zoom meetings run too long or feel disorganized, we gathered a few tips to help make them even more effective.)

In-Person Connection

Since most of us work and live in Nashville, we also schedule times to work together in person. We have a corporate membership at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, a dynamic, collaborative space where we can gather together in person. Whether it’s meeting up with the whole team or a quick face-to-face with just a few of us, having a designated place where we can work side by side is incredibly helpful. 

Our team also volunteers together! We’ve built a connection to our community through our volunteer partnership with Thistle Farms, an organization that supports women in need of housing, employment, and support. Our volunteer sessions there have also helped strengthen our bond as a virtual team. CEO Samantha Pyle also recently implemented Volunteer Time Off. VTO incentivizes giving back to the community by setting aside time and financial compensation for working at local nonprofits. When coupled with a company’s mission to create a thoughtful work environment, VTO can boost an organization’s reputation and culture. It’s certainly made an impact on all of us at Green Apple and continues to serve as a great bonding experience for our team.

Developing and Evolving As A Team

Green Apple’s partnership approach allows us to adapt our services for clients as their businesses evolve, and we’ve taken the same approach with our team. As the work landscape continues to change, we will continue to evolve alongside it. Being part of a virtual team provides all of us with an opportunity to redefine what it means to be cohesive and productive in the digital age. Remote work doesn’t have to be a barrier to success, it just needs the right strategies and tools in place. If you want a strong and connected team to audit your website, social media presence, or marketing approach, reach out to us. We’ll develop a bespoke strategy to highlight your brand and help grow your audience. 

The Impact of Volunteer Time Off for Your Employees & Culture

At some level, every human wants to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Oftentimes, we may find ourselves wanting to make an impact but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Volunteer time off (VTO) makes it possible to balance giving back and collecting a paycheck. When coupled with a company’s mission to create a thoughtful work environment, VTO can boost an organization’s reputation and culture. 

Since Green Apple was founded, we’ve placed great emphasis on the importance of community outreach and have offered pro bono services to nonprofits and organizations across Tennessee. Now, every member of the Green Apple team has the opportunity to receive paid time off to volunteer with organizations of their choice. 

How Volunteer Time Off Works

Companies that offer paid time off for volunteering typically give one or two days a year to do so. Hours that can be used for volunteerism are usually separate from PTO for other uses like vacation or sick days. 

Green Apple provides 16 hours a year of volunteer PTO. The system at Green Apple allows us to choose our own activity and submit a request for time off to volunteer on our own. In addition to volunteering on our own at the place of our choosing, we also volunteer as a team several times throughout the year at Thistle Farms in Nashville. Green Apple began volunteering with Thistle Farms in 2022 and we’re currently working to grow our relationship with the organization and provide additional support. 

Benefits for All 

Paid time off for volunteering is a win-win-win situation. For starters, a UnitedHealthcare study shows that of the respondents who volunteered in a 12-month period, 93% said they experienced an improved mood, and 79% reported lower stress levels. There is a real link between personal happiness and productivity at work. So by encouraging your employees to volunteer, you may be boosting their mental health which would benefit the whole company.

Volunteer time off can be a workplace perk that helps your company stand out from the competition. Adding VTO to an existing list of people-supportive perks (such as remote work and flexible schedules) will also have an impact on engaging current and future employees alike. 

Finally, VTO is a great way to build camaraderie among your team members while they give back. Members of the Green Apple team recently participated in YUM!East, an annual fundraising event benefiting Fannie Battle Day Home in Nashville. Our team in Charlotte also volunteered their time for a cause benefiting the Move For Jenn Foundation

Acknowledging social responsibility or volunteerism is a powerful way to leverage your company’s community to create deeper, more personal connections with your audience/clients. We explore additional ways to create more meaningful relationships with your customers in this blog

VTO is a trending employee perk that we hope grows into standard practice for all companies. If you’re interested in keeping up with the changing work environment or just want to stay informed about the latest trends (and how they impact your business), our team is here to help. You can sign up for The Core, our monthly newsletter, to get the latest marketing insights and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox.

Kayla Reyes Promoted to Client Relations Specialist

Kayla Reyes

Green Apple Strategy is excited to announce Kayla Reyes’s promotion to Client Relations Specialist. Kayla joined Green Apple as an Assistant Client Relations Specialist in 2021. For the past year and a half, Kayla has leveraged her detail-oriented skill set and relationship-focused approach to lead project management efforts for a number of Green Apple clients. Kayla’s ability to “keep all the plates spinning” by effectively communicating between Green Apple’s team, our Orchard members, and clients has been an invaluable asset for our team. During her time at Green Apple Strategy, Kayla has leaned into every opportunity to grow professionally and learn about the unique characteristics of each industry for the clients she serves.  

To recognize and celebrate Kayla’s hard work and dedication, we wanted to highlight a few specific ways her promotion will empower her to make an even greater impact on our clients.

Offering Strategic Direction and Leading Collaboration 

In her new role as Client Relations Specialist, Kayla will focus on providing leadership and strategic direction for the clients she serves. This shift will allow her to leverage her natural abilities to focus on the end goal and identify areas of improvement to accelerate marketing efforts. She will work closely with Sam Pyle, Olivia Cooper, and others on the Green Apple team to help develop marketing strategies and manage individual projects outside of our client’s ongoing scope of work. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with clients on ‘bigger picture’ ideas,” Kayla shared. “I love collaborating with our team to care for our clients and support their marketing needs.”  

Balancing “Day-to-Day” Marketing and the Bigger Picture

In her previous role as an Assistant Client Relations Specialist, Kayla has seen (and managed) all of the steps that make an effective marketing strategy come to life. From brainstorming ideas to analyzing results, Kayla knows what it takes to execute a successful campaign. Her experience will be an invaluable asset for our team as we develop strategies and ideas based on a client’s specific goals and budget. 

“Learning the daily aspect of marketing management has helped me recognize all the little steps that go into helping our clients achieve their goals,” Kayla said. “I’m grateful for the ability to use that knowledge to help our clients make more informed decisions about their marketing campaigns.” 

“It’s been such a joy to watch Kayla grow since joining the Green Apple team, and I’m excited for that to continue in her new role,” said Samantha Pyle, Owner and Chief Strategist of Green Apple Strategy. “Her dedication to creating exceptional results, along with her infectious positive energy, is so valuable for our clients and our team.”

Meet the Team: Lindsay Lanahan

Lindsay lanahan

Lindsay Lanahan is an empathetic, intuitive, and creative problem solver with a heart for helping others. Combining these natural strengths with her diverse experience working in the financial, entertainment, and nonprofit industries makes her an ideal Client Relations Specialist for Green Apple Strategy. In her role, Lindsay helps execute effective marketing initiatives for clients across various industries. She strategically and consistently helps our clients meet their marketing goals.

“I love learning about the psychology of marketing and the user experience,” explains Lindsay. “I also love the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, creating an approach, implementing it, analyzing what worked and what didn’t, and adjusting. It’s exciting, and I love that we’re able to adapt to find a solution that truly makes a difference!”

An Enneagram 4 who grew up in the Midwest, Lindsay has expressed her creative, empathetic, hardworking, and diligent spirit throughout her career. After graduating from college, she spent two years working in development for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Nashville. From there, she went on to work at Creative Artists Agency, managing tour logistics and finances for world-renowned pop and country music artists. She later combined her nonprofit experience and love of the arts to serve as the Development Manager for OZ Arts, a non-profit contemporary arts center. 

After learning about Green Apple from a friend, Lindsay knew it would be the perfect opportunity to serve clients in a way that aligns with her natural skill set.

“I was immediately drawn to Green Apple when I recognized how they took the time to understand each employee and client—whether it was through diving into the Enneagram or taking the Culture Index Survey to learn about each person’s natural behaviors. When I met Sam and the rest of the team during the interview process, I knew I was in the right place.”

Personally, Lindsay loves spending time with family and exploring Nashville with her husband Patrick and her son Keane. On any given weekend, they can be found enjoying one of their favorite restaurants, seeing movies at the Belcourt, or taking a day trip to attend a music festival. Lindsay’s bright and adventurous spirit resonates with everyone who knows her.

Having Trouble Hiring? Here’s How to Market to New Employees

This must be the place in neon lights

job creation up significantly and unemployment at a 50-year low of 3.5%, a full 51% of small businesses are unable to fill jobs as 2022 begins. There’s no question that in this climate, it can be difficult to find the right person for the roles your company may be trying to fill. Hiring looks different than it did, even just a few months ago. With many companies competing for the same talent, brands must go above and beyond to appeal to potential candidates. So how can you attract qualified individuals to your organization, streamline the hiring and onboarding process and increase worker retention? We suggest following these four guidelines to help build a solid team. 

Offer a Remote Work Option

To stand out in a tight labor market, improving the benefits you offer to potential candidates is a surefire way to make your job listing more attractive to a potential candidate. In 2022, that means considering the possibility of offering fully remote or partially remote work, allowing for flexible work schedules or filling several part-time roles. Research shows the most talented and skilled candidates will opt for a remote position over a traditional position. Green Apple Strategy is a fully remote company. While our origins, heart, and investment are in Tennessee businesses, we’ve brought in talent from Colorado, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Alabama. Offering this flexibility to workers means that we received applications from qualified candidates all over the U.S.

Network Proactively 

While tools like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter have made finding qualified candidates easier, intentional networking (online or in-person) is hard to beat for connecting with vetted candidates you can trust. Interact with candidates on LinkedIn, follow leading HR firms, and connect with local colleges, universities, and trade schools in order to increase both the quantity and the quality of your hiring pool. 

Create An Apprentice or Internship Program 

Bringing in young, talented individuals is always a good idea, as they can provide a fresh perspective and are often eager to start their career with a bang. When you run an apprenticeship or internship program, you’re cultivating a qualified hiring pool and building relationships with potential new employees. Even if your program doesn’t end in a full-time hire, participants will receive experience and education and you will expand your talent network. It’s a win-win. 

Improve Your Benefits Package

In lieu of remote work, or to supplement that offering, consider making changes to your benefits package. In a crowded labor market, anWWi attractive benefits package can help your job listing stand out among other, similar roles. Changes to benefits don’t have to be huge but see if you can get creative in what you offer. Could you extend health care coverage to part-time employees? Increase the 401K match you offer by a percentage point or two? Offer a coworking space stipend to remote employees? Increase PTO by a week or move to an unlimited PTO option, as many tech companies do? Candidates weigh the pros and cons of each position they consider, and it can sway a candidate towards accepting a particular role.

Research Your Hiring Competitors

It’s tough to offer a competitive job listening if you’re unaware of what other roles your potential candidates are vying for. Make use of LinkedIn to research similar roles to the one you hope to fill. After all, your candidates will be viewing many of the same listings. And don’t forget to look outside your local hiring market. Candidates today have access to national and international job listings. Have a good sense of the salary, benefits, and responsibilities that the role you are hiring for entails. It will help you to craft a more informed and competitive job listing that’s likely to attract attention from candidates. 

Start Attracting Qualified Candidates Through Targeted Marketing

A strong presence on hiring sites like LinkedIn is one of the best ways to position your brand to attract new and skilled talent. Let Green Apple Strategy craft an innovative approach to your social media channels so that you can start targeting and attracting new team members. 

Reach out to us today for a consultation.

Meet the Team: Katie Jackson

Katie Jackson
Once a member of Green Apple’s Orchard, Katie Jackson has joined our team as a full-time digital marketing specialist. Katie is a Hendersonville, Tennessee, native with a passion for social media and email marketing who loves to keep up with the latest trends, discovering ways that she can help our clients take advantage of emerging marketing opportunities. With a diverse background in social media and PR, Katie is well-versed in what it takes to improve a company’s brand awareness—and we’re elated to have her talent on our team.  As Green Apple’s Digital Marketing Specialist, Katie will focus on social media and email marketing for all of our clients, working closely with our strategist, Skylar, to collaborate on and execute their strategies. “I’m really excited to work on social media. It’s something I’m extremely passionate about, and I love keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of what social media can bring to marketing to help grow businesses,” Katie says.  Katie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she first began school as a pre-dental major. After changing her major her sophomore year, Katie became a public relations major in the College of Communications. She also got her Master’s in Sports Management while working in recruiting in the Tennessee Football front office. Additionally, she assisted the Director of Recruiting and Football Relations and the coaching staff with recruiting events and strategy. From there, Katie’s love for social media grew while she was involved in All Campus Events at Tennessee, where she led the social media efforts and helped recruit for different events around campus. She explored that love through several marketing internships during her undergraduate career, including interning with Volunteer Traditions, Tennessee Athletic Marketing Department, Zander Insurance, Haslam College of Business, Allegiant Athletic Agency, Nashville Sounds, and Eli Lilly and Company.  Katie found her new role after meeting Owner and Chief Marketing Strategist Samantha Pyle and inquiring about social media freelance opportunities. From there, she became part of our Orchard team and completely fell into step with the rest of the core team members. She says, “I was drawn to Green Apple because of how genuine, kind, and talented the employees are! I felt like I fit in seamlessly, and I loved working on a smaller team in a boutique agency setting. I look up to Sam a lot. We have similar personalities—being that we are both Enneagram 3s and Aries.” When she’s not working on our clients’ social media, Katie is exploring one of her many hobbies. She enjoys watching sports, especially the Vols and Preds. She’s a huge Harry Potter fan and loves rereading the books and watching the movies. She is also passionate about her Peloton, saying, “I could talk about the cycling classes for hours.” She loves to draw on her iPad and has an Instagram dedicated to her digital art (@somethingnoteworthy). Katie and her fiancé, Drew, live in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they love attending Charlotte Hornets games, as well as exploring the local brewery scene. She says she misses Martin’s BBQ in Nashville and frequently visits home to eat Martin’s wings with her dad before Predators games.