Our VP of Global Service Delivery, Ron Calixto, found himself in a unique position when Fuze’s headquarters closed its doors to operate remotely during COVID-19. When not traveling to be on-site with clients or teams, Ron normally commuted to work each day to manage a predominantly distributed team. The combination of working with some remote employees and some in-office created an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and lean on these learnings during a time when Ron’s entire team became a remote workforce.
We asked him a few questions to hear more about how Ron and how his team embraced a new working reality.
A remote team meeting in action.
Q: How have you and your team adapted to working remote?
A: The nature of my position, overseeing a global service team, has always required face-to-face check ins. Now, having to be situated in a single spot five days a week, working remote has forced me to become more flexible in the ways in which I consider and measure productivity. When I can’t directly inspect or survey where things stand to make sure we are hitting our KPIs, I’ve been challenged with having to find new ways to qualify this critical information through our online communications and collaboration tools.
My distributed team is already largely remote, so the act of working from home wasn’t all too different for them. Because of this, we didn’t hit any of the natural snags of logistic or physical barriers that often come with setting up a remote working space. Since they are the experts in this environment, I’ve been able to learn enormously from their working remote routines and best practices with our online collaboration platform. This has helped me in discovering how I can now measure productivity and rely on my teams to deliver on the tasks that they are so well equipped to handle each day. Adapting to working remotely may have been a change for me, but with the support of my team, it’s been a seamless transition.
Q: Did you notice any changes once your team started working remotely full time?
A: The current lack of schooling and social obligations, enforced for safe social distancing, has caused my team to get creative with the ways in which we balance work and life in a more open environment. I’ve met more of my colleagues' kids and pets in the past two months than ever before, and we are all embracing it. The challenge, however, has been learning to create work/life balance without operating on a 24/7 work mindset.
To ease this, we’ve fostered fidelity in one another to be as productive and efficient as possible when joining video calls and completing projects to ensure we are delivering our best work to clients while balancing this change. There is a sort of a keen concern and sensibility about the communications we are sharing with clients that involve an individualized different approach. These variations have created expectations on how we work with unique customer needs while continuing to be as flexible as possible and giving our team members the support they need.
Some of my team members showing off their work buddies for a Bring Your Friend to Work meeting.
Q: Can you share the top three best practices that you’ve learned for managing a remote team?
A: The first would be constant communication — both formal and informal. The goal of collaboration is not to just establish team objectives, but also establish presence. Find the right communications cadence and channel to ensure people don’t feel inundated while still having impactful conversation.
Secondly, you have to trust your culture and rely on your leaders. For my team, leaders aren’t just those with senior titles; instead, they are the people that mobilize others to do good work and stay positive. A strong remote work culture centralizes the efforts of one to be put in action, and teams rely on the strength and talent of people that are successful and energetic in doing so.
Lastly, put effort into both the expected and unexpected. Check in with your work friends, join an associated department’s video meeting or invite another executive to join yours. Call up a friend and check in. A lot of great ideas are born from these unexpected intersections and serendipitous moments, when we’re all remote, we don’t have that naturally so we have to put in effort where we see potential.
Q: What is the one thing that is most important to fueling productive remote work for you?
A: I’ve created a unique working space in my backyard, born out of the need to find a quiet place to be productive. It’s my backyard “igloo,” and it’s been a great conversation piece. My team and I have also really embraced learning more about the intimate home environments we now see on video conferences. We’ve become creative in having a good time that sets a tone for a positive and productive work day. Once these remote workflows are established, the softer moments begin to happen more naturally, and we can all have a little fun while producing impactful results.
The geodesic dome (or affectionately called the Igloo by Fuzers) gives me everything I need: personal space to hold meetings, power/internet, and proximity to home so I can be close to the family.
To learn more about adapting to working remote, visit our Remote Work Resource Center.