With the COVID-19 virus spreading in the United States, we’ve all found ourselves in a truly unprecedented situation. Schools, restaurants, daycares, and more are closing, and many businesses are being asked to shift to a remote model. And because this is something that has never happened before, many of us have no idea how to navigate this uncharted territory.
This week, like many other businesses, Casted made the shift to a fully remote model. And as we navigate this uncharted territory, it’s incredibly important to me that we think of not only how this will impact the business, but also how it will impact the team. I’m working to overcommunicate during this time and encouraging every member of our team to do the same. We’ve promised to give each other patience and grace, as we’re all coming at this from different contexts and life situations.
For the sake of trying to make our lives as normal as possible, we’re continuing our normal activities as they make sense. And for me, that involves interviewing guests for our podcast. And this week, I had the opportunity to chat with Tim Hickle, Head of Demand Gen at Woven.
Woven helps teams identify and hire top-notch developers. They are also an entirely remote team, so they are always looking for ways to improve internal communication and breed an environment of vulnerability. Why? Because vulnerable conversations make teams feel connected.
The fact that the topic of this conversation is so timely is completely coincidental. While internal communication and remote work is something a lot of businesses are already dealing with, with so many businesses being thrust into fully remote workforces, maintaining connection and communication feels more important than ever.
That’s why we’re sharing his interview with you sooner than the mid-April date we had originally planned. We’re all in this together. And the best way we can get through this is to be vulnerable, authentic, transparent, and committed to connection.
You can listen to his full interview here, but I’m going to highlight a few things we talked about that were things that rang incredibly true and feel so helpful right now.
At Woven, Tim is the showrunner of two podcasts - an external and internal show. Each show has its own purpose, but we’re going to focus on the internal podcast.
Structure Makes the Magic Possible
Think about your day-to-day office life (before these last few weeks). You probably shared many communal spaces with your coworkers - conference rooms, breakrooms, coffee stations, and even desks. And a lot of things can happen in those spaces. Before meetings, waiting on coffee, eating lunch. Those are all opportunities to interact and get to know each other.
And for many people, moments of inspiration happen during those conversations. Tim calls them moments of serendipity. But if you’re remote… you miss those daily micro-interactions. Work and relationships can feel very transactional. You’re missing some of the structure that goes along with office life.
Tim believes that in order to be your best self in a remote work environment, you need to bring structure to your remote office. As he says, structure makes serendipity possible.
So how can you add this “structure” into a remote workspace? Tim says with authentic, transparent conversations. By having them and by sharing them.
Bridge the Communication Gap with Internal Podcasts
In order to add some amount of structure to their day-to-day and bridge the gap between remote work and communication, Woven turned to an internal podcast. They wanted a way to make information more readily available and for team members to feel more connected to each other.
Tim discusses the importance of giving his team access to conversations that usually happen in an office setting, that might not happen given the transactional reality of remote work.
They also have a slack channel where any member of the team can drop in an audio file that can be sent out via the internal podcast. This gives everyone in the company access to the same conversations and the same opportunities to connect with each other.
Getting started with an internal podcast
So maybe you’re thinking that an internal podcast sounds like a good idea for you and your team. But where do you begin? For the sake of making information readily available, Tim suggests starting fast. In this case, communication doesn’t have to be perfect. Consider creating raw, uncut content, and don’t worry about editing it to be perfect. Not being perfect might make some of us feel vulnerable, but remember that vulnerability makes all of us feel more connected.
Working remote can be incredibly hard on teams. Especially when every team member has his own set of circumstances. But the point of this post is to remind us to stay connected with each other. That can be through daily Zoom calls, Slack check-ins, or an internal podcast. Do what works for you and your team, just remember that communication doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective, it just has to be transparent, vulnerable, authentic, and often.
Listen to Tim’s full episode here.
And if you're interested in learning more from Tim, he writes about personal storytelling and its impact on your personal brand.