This feature is part of our “Well-Distributed” series where we highlight some of the companies whose people-centricity and approach to remote work we admire. Unity was one of our premier sponsors at last years Oyster Bridges event.
Daniel is a remote worker in every sense of the word, having never set foot in Vonage’s HQ. Since joining the team as a TA manager for EMEA Engineering & Product 9 months ago – he’s been working within the four walls of his home.
As a manager, Daniel resides over teams working on communication software that enables customers to integrate customizable real-time communication methods. To put it simply, these systems promote effortless and easy communication between teams or customers.
When asked about his experience so far in managing remotely, he’s pleasantly surprised and optimistic.
In his own words, “it has been unusual, but it has worked well very well so far!”
On their transformation to remote working
Like most companies in the face of the pandemic, Vonage decided to switch to a remote working model. Daniel is quick to point out that the move was also a reaction to the international implications of the changing situation.
“Back in September/October 2020, the CEO made the commitment to the company that we would remain remote-first until at least July 2021.”
Daniel goes on to explain that employees also had the choice of working in the office.
Overall, Daniel estimates these moves were taken in the name of security, safety, and promoting certainty for the foreseeable future. To finish on this question, Daniel adds that Vonage was already home to some remote teams prior to the pandemic, but this situation has laid down the groundwork for how it can continue after.
What Vonage expects of its remote workers
Daniel’s candid answer to this question came as a pleasant surprise to us. According to him, there’s no exact demand for workday structure as long as it allows optimal communication. And that’s really all that’s asked of their remote workforce: communication.
We give our teams the autonomy to run their own days & organise their work… The main expectation is that people stay communicative, that we use the tools we have to ensure collaboration can still happen…
The unique challenges of managing a remote team
Daniel confirms that all of his team is located outside of the US/HQ country – as he has a team in the UK, Poland, and Israel. He notes that half of Vonage’s employee base is located outside of the US – something which made their move to remote working all the more pertinent.
When asked how about their organizational setup, Daniel credited and emphasized regular communication as their most valuable organizational asset.
“We use regular touchpoints, weekly and monthly, to drive regular check-ins and ensure things do not slip.”
It’s clear that internal communication is the glue that holds Daniel together.
To further bolster this strategy, Daniel says communication technology and other tools are used to ensure effective collaboration.
Key tools for running remotely
Daniel doesn’t waste time before hopping right into the juicy details – Vonage has their very own VBC (video conferencing software.) Not only that but compliment that by using Slack’s and G-Suite’s platforms for seamless collaboration.
Take take an even further step by using Vonage’s own ‘Workplace’ – used for more external or broader company communication, including regular town-hall meetings.
The biggest challenge of managing a remote team
Keeping morale and motivation high is a top priority for him. Daniel acknowledges that this is a challenge both in and out of the office but understandably, more “time, effort, and focus” is required to apply the same strategy to remote workers.
The added responsibilities of managing a remote work structure
When asked about the added responsibilities of managing a remote structure, Daniel references something we’re all worried about – remote working can often break down traditional communicative structures. He cites one of his new responsibilities in the face of managing a remote international team as maintaining communication standards.
“I feel the teams at Vonage have really embraced and stepped up to the challenge to keep things moving when we cannot collaborate in person.”
The ideal remote worker
Close to the end of our conversation, Daniel shares what he believes are the key qualities of a good remote worker.
“Communicative, proactive, driven, motivated.”
We couldn’t agree more.
To learn more about Vonage please visit: https://www.vonage.co.uk/
Know of another “Fully-Distributed” company that should be featured? Leave us a comment below!