- Trust between teammates and management is essential to successful remote work.
- Morning meetings ensure the team has what they need to be productive during the day.
- Different teams should be allowed to work in a way that suits their needs.
- Batching meetings helps teams avoid overwhelm, as does continually assessing what is useful.
Can you please introduce yourself and what you do?
My name is Jane Domeck, and I am the manager of our enterprise accounts team here at Adwerx.
What is that department responsible for?
We're a team of about 17 account managers who manage our enterprise clients. These are real estate companies, mortgage companies, and independent software vendors who partner with us at the enterprise level to automate their digital marketing.
When did your team shift to remote work and why?
We shifted to remote work back in March of 2020. When we originally went remote, we thought it would just be for a week or two. Eventually, our CEO Jed let us know that the earliest we would be back was in the fall. Then sometime in the last year, Jed made the decision to be a fully remote flexible company. That meant no one was required to go back to the office. We were able to expand our hiring pool outside of the Triangle, and it’s been awesome to bring on new talent and almost 10 new account managers from all over the country.
How did you shift to remote work without interrupting your CS operations?
Account Managers are fortunate that we can do most of the things we did in the office from our screens at home. The big shift was that we used to spend about 50% of our time visiting clients and attending conferences. We’ve had to learn how to maintain those close relationships and replicate that in-person touch as best we can via Zoom calls, Google Hangouts, and other similar platforms.
Another big change is not being able to just lean over to a coworker to brainstorm, or to walk downstairs to ask engineering a question. So we've really focused on innovating our daily schedules and workflows to create more opportunities for collaboration and productivity. We stay connected using Slack and other tools.
As a leader, I’ve focused on maintaining closeness and culture within our team. There are people on the team that I've never even met in person, which is crazy because we used to be in the office every single day. Our team culture has always been strong, and we've worked hard to maintain that while being remote and scaling massively. We've done a few things to stay connected, like random happy hours, fun Friday, and end-of-day meetings. It's been amazing to see how close we all still are despite being far apart.
How do you avoid being overwhelmed by remote meetings?
This team specifically has a meeting nearly every day, but we block time in the morning for it. This helps everyone ask questions and get their needs taken care of at the start of the day. Account Managers then have the rest of the day to work autonomously and meet with their clients.
Every three months or so, we'll ask the team whether they think the meeting is helpful, and whether they are getting what they need out of it. We let the team decide what's most important to them and what they feel like they need to be successful. So we batch meetings, give the team space to get their tasks done, and then ask them what works and what doesn’t.
Is that something you do at the group level or is that a company mandate?
It's what we do on our account management teams. Our schedule is totally different from the other account management teams, our customer support team, or our onboarding team. We work with these other teams, but our meetings and our culture are internal. Every team does what works for them. There's no mandate or suggestion of how you should function or structure your day.
Do you have management meetings where you swap ideas?
Definitely. I report to our VP of customer experience and under her are about six to seven leaders. We have a meeting every Monday to talk about high-level issues and collaborate on what's most important. We bounce ideas at a leadership level and roll them down to the team as a result of those meetings.
How do you keep your team engaged remotely?
It's massively important for me as a leader to create a safe space in which everyone feels both challenged constantly and also supported. I can take very little credit for how well this team shows up for each other every day. It's truly one of the most collaborative teams I've ever been a part of.
We follow the motto OTOG, which stands for one team, one goal. It means we approach problems egolessly and with curiosity. It’s about working together towards one common goal: the success and retention of all our partners.
What's your opinion on companies trying to get remote workers back to the office?
I think it's totally up to different companies and what they know works. We have tested bringing people back in according to CDC guidelines and it's really nice to see coworkers again because it's been nearly two years. If you want to go back in, people are welcome to do so.
But I think that companies and employees have proven over the last few years that it's entirely possible to be fully remote and productive. You just need to build a culture where you have complete trust and open communication with your employees. So I am open either way. I think it is up to managers and CEOs to decide based on what they know their people need.
What would you say to a manager who was against remote work because they didn’t trust their team?
I would point out that they’re the one who made these hiring decisions. I’d then ask them what we can do to get to a place where there's clear trust. Because to me, if you don't have trust within the workplace, with your teammates and your manager, you're not set up for success. I think it's really important to always emphasize the role that trust plays in workplaces and understand and work together towards building that if it's lost.
Do you have any final thoughts or comments?
The one thing that I've realized over the past couple of years is that it's totally possible to build a powerhouse of a team, even over screens. Everyone has done a phenomenal job of adapting, learning, and shifting in a way where we've been able to keep our core responsibility, which is making our partners happy and realizing the value in our services. It's been an interesting challenge, but this team is thriving and incredibly successful right now.
Adwerx, the only Customer Relationship Advertising™ solution, provides automated digital advertising for over 300 enterprises and over 300,000 individual customers. Always at the forefront of digital advertising best practices, Adwerx specializes in providing personalized advertising at scale for distributed sales teams across real estate, mortgage, wealth management, financial services, and beyond.