Making Remote Workers Feel like They’re in the Same Room

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Paul Hepworth USERTESTING

When you have a central office, remote workers can wind up feeling uninformed, disempowered and disconnected. But they absolutely don’t have to have those experiences. Paul Hepworth, VP of Engineering at UserTesting, an 87-person company with more than a dozen remote workers, will talk about the very practical things you can do to ensure that remote team members can “see” into the office and are as connected and informed as co-located workers. In addition to interpersonal processes, he’ll also talk about cheap hardware setups that make a big difference.

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Making Remote Workers Feel like They’re in the Same Room

  1. 1. 10 Tips to help remote workers succeed inside the office Paul Hepworth VP Engineering
  2. 2. A little about UserTesting
  3. 3. 14 of our 87 employees are located across 12 cities in North America
  4. 4. Lets begin with the right technology
  5. 5. Tip 1: Use dedicated computers that allow proactive chat
  6. 6. Use dedicated computers that allow proactive chat… • Remotes can “see” in the office when they want • Allows for the proverbial “tap on the shoulder” • Here is what is looks like at UserTesting…
  7. 7. Tip 2: Use wide-angle webcams
  8. 8. Use wide-angle webcams… • Remotes can see the “big picture” • Non-verbal communication • I would recommend….
  9. 9. Genius 120-degree Ultra Wide Angle Full HD Conference Webcam — $42 on Amazon http://bit.ly/best-webcam-ever
  10. 10. Genius 120-degree Ultra Wide Angle Full HD Conference Webcam — $42 on Amazon http://bit.ly/best-webcam-ever
  11. 11. Tip 3: Microphones are important
  12. 12. Microphones are important… • Hearing is crucial to good communication • Your internal microphone is BAD! • I would recommend…..
  13. 13. MXL AC404 USB Conference Microphone — $67 on Amazon http://bit.ly/best-mic-ever
  14. 14. Tip 4: Invest in good speakers
  15. 15. Invest in good speakers… • Good sound gives equal footing in a conversation • Poor sound reflects poorly on the person speaking • I would recommend….
  16. 16. JBL Duet III Premium High Performance Speaker System — $149 on Amazon http://bit.ly/best-speakers-ever
  17. 17. Tip 5: Use permalinks for “virtual conference rooms”
  18. 18. Use permalinks for “virtual conference rooms”… • Meetings should never end • Use bit.ly to shorten long URLs • Give distinct names that are easy to reference in chat, email, or in person • Mobile device friendly
  19. 19. Howtos for creating permalinks for “virtual conference rooms”… • Google Hangout: http://bit.ly/never-ending-hangout • GoToMeeting: http://bit.ly/never-ending-gotomeeting
  20. 20. Now, lets build the right culture on top of the technology
  21. 21. Tip 6: Balance teams with co-located and remote members
  22. 22. If possible balance teams with co- located and remote members… • Locals are less likely to forget remotes • Less tempted to hold a meeting without the remotes • Remote can compare notes & influence change
  23. 23. Tip 7: Invite remotes to office parties and spontaneous discussions
  24. 24. Invite remotes to office parties and spontaneous discussions… • Knowing you are always invited goes a long way • Send remotes a pizza • Record and share “offline” conversations • Leverage mobile devices and bring them along
  25. 25. Tip 8: Provide office context to remote workers
  26. 26. Provide office context to remote workers… • Remotes should know about office layout, coffee, snacks • Leverage your most chatty team members • Knowing about “small things” builds confidence
  27. 27. Tip 9: Proactively invite remote workers to visit the office
  28. 28. Proactively invite remote workers to visit the office… • Inviting ensures that they feel support • Let them book their own travel • Webcam’s can’t replace in person relationship building
  29. 29. Tip 10: Everyone should work from home sometimes
  30. 30. Everyone should work from home sometimes… • Locals build empathy • People appreciate advantages of remote work • Unfriendly processes and tools are found and fixed
  31. 31. Good luck!
  32. 32. Thank you. Paul Hepworth VP Engineering paul@usertesting.com @peppyheppy

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