The Benefits Of Connecting Remote Businesses Through Video Conferencing

My name is Tim and I am an IT architect from California, coming from an enterprise environment. Working at Clevertech has been a refreshing experience and I've been given the opportunity to make some positive adjustments while transitioning to a remote-first company.

In my not so distant past, team calls were difficult and unproductive – they were audio only, and some percentage of those were "coffee talks" or "townhalls" (read "no active participation necessary").  Clevertech is remote-first and video-first. This operating style creates the most efficient, productive and connected environment for our geographically dispersed teams. 
Conference Calls and the Inevitable Disconnect
Why do we even bother with conference calls? On the phone, no one can see what you are doing; and on mute, no one can hear what you are doing. This create a sense of autonomy that disconnects us all from the task at hand; in other words, this creates lack of engagement. On a conference call, it was easy for me to check out and start doing other things if the topic at the moment wasn't relevant to me. Suddenly, I would find myself multitasking: trying to keep one ear in the meeting while doing something unrelated. Humans are notoriously bad at this - and unfortunately, there would be 3 more meetings just like that one on my calendar for the day, with a very good chance of those being too long to begin with.
The Fix
At Clevertech, the video meeting has replaced the audio conference. In general, all meetings have the cameras on. Although it did take a few days to get used to, I've come to appreciate the massive improved connection that the video meeting perpetuates. Being able to see the faces of those participating creates a better sense of connection amongst participants which allows a team of people dispersed across the globe to connect while they work. This fosters engagement, with everyone participating, contributing and even getting to know each other. Meetings tend to be short, to the point, and productive – and with more productive meetings, fewer are necessary. This grants us the time to get back to the important projects that we are discussing to begin with.
The Creation of a Positive Environment
On the phone, it is easy to hide. In video meetings, if you are attending – you are fully present – almost as if you are in the same room as your team. Video conferences at Clevertech require engagement from all team members – you cannot attend a meeting and not participate. With each person participating, each person is adding value and creating a culture of success through psychological safety. According to a two year study at Google, high performing teams need psychological safety in order to succeed. In a meeting of 6-8 people, each person must speak and contribute, allowing us to challenge and encourage each other, while still keeping the meeting to a productive 30-45 minutes. The video conference creates an environment that is both challenging and non-threatening which, in turn, builds stronger individuals and an even stronger team.
They allow a real human connection
Video conferences not only promote a more productive work environment, they allow a real human connection that is essential for remote teams to thrive. This corrects the problem of a massive disconnect that often happens on a conference call.

I will admit, it did take a week or so to get used to being on camera: to not feel as though you were always being watched, and to discover it's ok to scratch your nose, take a drink of coffee or in general, be human. The short adjustment period is well beyond worth it: with more productive and comfortable meetings, we have that invaluable extra 5 minutes to share what is going on in our personal lives and get to know each other as a team. 

At the root, Clevertech's use of video meetings shows our emphasis on a strong, intertwined team. The video meeting provides a supportive and connected environment, allowing our core philosophy of freedom, mastery and craft to flourish. We are all able to feel like we are sitting in the same office together but are able to be working anywhere in the world that has WiFi. 

To learn more about how our team connects, check out this video and hear it directly from our CEO. 

Do you want to be a part of Clevertech's remote team? Head to our careers page or all open positions.


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    Want to peek into our daily work? Our coaches recount real world situations shared as learning opportunities to build soft skills. We share frameworks, podcasts and thinking tools for sr software developers.