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. 

Green Apple Goes Virtual

zoom snapshot of Green Apple team working virtually
The Green Apple Strategy team recently shared how our perspective has changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We shared those thoughts after weeks of soul searching and challenging ourselves to understand what makes our team tick and how we can improve. A few of the lessons we learned from the pandemic were expected: flexibility is everything, teamwork is crucial, and encouragement can move mountains.  But, there was one lesson we didn’t expect to learn—we work beautifully as a remote team. And so, without further ado…Green Apple Strategy has gone virtual!    You might be thinking, “Didn’t you just move into a new physical office space?” And the answer to that is yes, we did move recently; however, after more than three months away from the office, we began to notice that we work like a well-oiled machine, no matter where we are. Our care for our clients and our penchant for teamwork is boundless. We carry it with us wherever we are.  As we continue learning about remote work, we wanted to share a few insights into what makes it work. Who knows? Maybe you’ll take the leap, too.

3 Key Benefits of Remote Work

1. Higher Levels of Productivity
According to CoSo Cloud, 77% of remote employees report greater productivity. We’ve found that this statistic is overwhelmingly true for our team. “Making the transition to full-time remote work has pushed me to be intentional with how I prioritize tasks and make myself available for last-minute or urgent tasks that arise,” says Adam York, Content Marketing Director. We’ve seen that our time working remotely has allowed us to concentrate even more fully on our clients than before. Technology makes it so that our team is able to connect every morning for a “water cooler chat” to stay connected and up-to-date, and we use project management tools that allow us to handle client work wherever we are.
2. Team Connection
Many teams that consider going remote fear that their team will become disconnected from each other. We’ve put activities and meetings in place to ensure that we work as a unit. Kate Leggett, Client Relations Specialist, agrees: “In a lot of ways, I feel closer to the team than ever! We have a meeting to kick off the week every Monday and, for the rest of the mornings, have “water cooler” chats to start the day. It’s really great to have dedicated times to connect as a team.” We’re excited to go beyond our virtual meetings and one-on-one chats to begin scheduling fun team outings as well. Samantha Pyle, Owner and Chief Strategist, can see the connection between the members of her team: “We have always been a close team, but nothing like we are now. I truly feel like our team has connected on another level, because we are very deliberate with our conversations through video chat, making an extra effort to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company. The days of checking in on someone when walking past their office door have evolved to scheduled Zoom calls, and we don’t take that time together for granted.”
3. Employee Wellness
In another statistic from CoSo Cloud, 52% of remote workers say they’re less likely to take time off than if they worked in an office. While we always support our employees taking time away from the office with their families and disconnecting from work, we have seen that this statistic rings true. Our team is able to use the flexibility of remote work to take care of themselves without sacrificing time in the office. We have more opportunities to practice self-care, like doing yoga or taking a walk—and in turn, we can be more focused and present for our clients’ needs. Madi Ballou, our Assistant Client Relations Specialist, weighs in: “I have time to focus on my personal health and self-care. I appreciate cooking now more than ever. I picked up painting again, which I used to love. Overall, I think I have learned to take more time for myself.”

Our Steadfast Commitment to Our Clients

Our team will always put our clients first—not just because it’s good for business, but because we absolutely love seeing our clients succeed. Just ask Olivia Cooper, Client Relations Specialist: “Getting that happy reaction from a client is worth every moment. It’s so fun to work with a team and clients who are willing to not only work hard and think smart but try new things to deliver the best results.” We’ve seen that remote work fuels our team’s satisfaction and creativity, allowing us to deliver original quality content to our clients. We are excited to start this chapter of our business and are confident that moving to remote work is the best decision for our team and our clients.  Thank you for following the Green Apple journey as we grow and evolve. If your company is interested in working with a marketing team who loves our clients, please contact us to schedule a consultation!