Team building in a remote crew - how we stay connected

fabian-grohs-693366-unsplash.jpg

It’s not always easy to keep up with your coworkers. Even when working in the same building, sat right next to each other, you can miss important details. It gets even harder to keep up to date when you aren’t working from the same office, but from halfway around the globe. At Ridestore, we are putting the focus on the employees and their skills and not in the place they happen to living - if they even live in one place, since we all share the passion for traveling.

Connect with anyone, anywhere.

It’s all about tools. I don’t understand, why some companies are still only using skype and e-mails to communicate, when there is applications like slack. 37 emails about a small tech issue gets replaced with a post in the right channel that has the right people tagged. Issues get solved faster and more efficiently. It just takes a quick online meeting maybe, where you can get help from the team and then you can carry on with your work.
Slack also brings fun in the digital office life - spice up the online meeting with reactions or shoot your coworkers a “gif” if you feel like it. Other than that, slack offers great organisational tools, like reminders and weekly announcements. Set your status emoji to show your team if you’re available or just express your mood - right now I dig avocados lots, so I colour up the working days with that brilliant emoji!

Online meeting, rating and intranet tools

Zoom:

Zoom has proven itself - either a quick online meeting to discuss serious issues, or a lunch catch-up with the remote team - Zoom doesn’t let us down. It’s an especially awesome tool if you are having bigger meetings, because you can actually see all the team members taking part and not only the person speaking in that moment. Fast and easy access make Zoom an everyday tool to communicate!

Hively:

Hively supports our customer experience team. We use a smiley interface in every mail we send out to our customers so they can rate the answer happy/satisfied/unhappy - a super good tool to self reflect on performance for every team member!

Papyrs:

We most recently implemented a software named Papyrs into our daily routine. It’s an intranet application where you can easily share information, files and everything that could be important to have.
We are now setting up a “how to” to have all information gathered in one place. It’s great for new recruits and onboarding. Also you can just check up there if you have not done something in a while and want to have some backup info if you are doing it right.
All in all, it’s a great software database that we especially love in the onboarding process!

How it happens

Even though we don’t really see each other very often, I’d consider our teams strength as super valuable and something that makes us function even better in our daily work flow. But how do we achieve this bond if we mostly communicate via chat and sometimes video calls?
It’s simple: We make the most of the time we have together. Every team at Ridestore holds meet-ups from time to time. The customer experience team for example meet’s up four times a year and everyone is welcome to suggest the perfect location where to have the gathering of awesomeness.

What do those meet-ups look like... Let me try to paint you a picture. We usually all stay in the same location. A big house, perhaps found on Airbnb, or a hostel if we are meeting up near one of our offices. Since we all live in different parts of Europe (or should I rather say the world?), some meet at the airport, some depart from the same city and travel together. So we all meet at the location and when we all arrive it’s a super warm welcome throughout. Even if we have new members that get to meet everyone in person for the first time ever, it feels like meeting old friends. When we are done with all the hugs and the little chats to catch up and everyone is settled in, we usually have tacos to kick things off. Yum!

Meet up.jpg

We then spend the precious time we have together with workshops and learning from each other. It proves itself, that a face to face talk is more elaborate than just connecting via an online meeting.
After a long but efficient day or collaborating, we usually cook together or grab dinner in a local restaurant to let the day fade out - usually with some beers and more great talks. That’s something I highly appreciate at Ridestore: with each of my coworkers I can talk work but also about private stuff. This builds a community that’s strong from the inside and that’s able to work closely together to tackle any challenge that might occur. I also have the feeling that some of our core values just as transparency and honesty are easier to achieve in person.

Why do we all get along so well?

I sometimes wonder how it can be possible that we all get along so well. That’s something I have never experienced in other companies before.
I think it takes two main things to build a work community that connects so well.

First of all, you need to be very picky when recruiting. For us here at Ridestore it’s not first priority how many degrees you have. It’s about personality and gut feeling counts for a lot. Certain questions are asked like, does that person know how to communicate? Does she/he have the social skills it takes to deliver great customer service? Is their way of problem solving and thinking outside of the box elaborate enough for the tech team? All those factors play a role. It’s super important to take time and not to rush with the recruiting. The team has proven that this method makes a great mix of coworkers that all strive for the same goal  - to offer our customers the best online shop in the world.

Secondly you need to keep an eye on the development of your coworkers. It’s not all done with the recruitment. To spot potential in the team and help them to develop and take the next steps is key to a happy community. Even with the hundreds and hundreds of kilometers in between us, it’s important to stay connected and keep an eye out for each others development.

This is how we stay connected and flourish in our team. Now, let’s keep being awesome!

/Maximilian, onboard since November 2017

Our core valuesMaxtools