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.
Bi-Weekly Team Meetings
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 bi-weekly 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.)
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.