This week’s installation of “Making the Transition to Working from Home” blog features an interview with our Senior Customer Success Manager, Marissa Laarsen, in which she shares TaskRay’s approach to keeping collaboration alive and some tips for keeping everyone connected remotely.
How has the transition to working remotely been for the TaskRay team?
TaskRay has always been a very WFH-friendly company in general, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition for us. I think the hardest thing for some people is missing out on the in-person connection with colleagues. So, the bigger transition for us has been in helping our team and customers through the psychological part of these changes.
In the face of this pandemic, many things have become clear. One is that we are incredibly fortunate to have great tools for communicating while WFH: Zoom, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. But while video calls and chats keep us verbally connected, we have to work a little harder to stay emotionally connected. As our team at TaskRay moves through this unprecedented time, we are learning how to nurture connections with new company-wide practices and perspectives on visibility.
How are you handling staff meetings?
Our Chief of Staff, Jamie Cole, leads a weekly all-staff meeting that we call “Pulse”. These weekly check-ins are a way for everyone to get a sense of where all the teams are at and to make sure we’re all moving in the right direction. The great thing is that Jamie has very intentionally made these meetings transparent and positive. Before the world flipped upside-down, these meetings were held once a week, but now we have them as often as needed as a way to keep the team up-to-date in real-time.
What else are you doing to foster collaboration and to keep the team connected while working remotely?
As important as it is to have work-focused meetings like Pulse, we’ve found that creating opportunities to connect that aren’t work-related are even more impactful on our collective state-of-mind.
Water Cooler Talks
As it is at many companies, our kitchen is the gathering place. The daily interactions that happen while we’re making lunch together, getting coffee or celebrating a birthday is an important element that contributes to the strong bonds we have within our team. And we have found that these seemingly casual interactions often lead to some great “aha” moments. To keep this sense of community alive, we have organized a 30-minute meeting at 2 pm each day called, “Water Cooler Talks”. Whoever has the time that day can hop on Zoom—there’s no agenda, we just turn our cameras and sound on and hang out together.
Our fifth core value should really be “Play.” As a way to continue to have fun together, TaskRay has been holding a virtual game night every other week, which we use Zoom to facilitate. We’ve played Family Feud, Jeopardy and trivia so far. There are several good free resources out there, from macro-enabled PowerPoint templates to create your own games to virtual game companies, like Jackbox Games, who are giving away access for free to help friends and family (and co-workers like us) connect to have a little fun. While it may seem counterintuitive, the more organized the game night, the more fun it is for everyone, so it helps to have one person host/MC and do the prep work: scheduling, hosting the Zoom, preparing and researching games, etc. This person should also facilitate any team assignments, letting people know when it is their turn, and keeping score. Let us know if you find any fun games!
How does TaskRay (the product) help TaskRay (the company) stay connected?
TaskRay has some great features that equip our team with the tools we need to collaborate internally and with our customers, including:
External Sharing is a TaskRay feature that allows users to share project progress with someone who isn’t on TaskRay or even in the Salesforce ecosystem. All that’s required to create a unique URL to provide read-only project access is a single TaskRay license and one site user license. With external sharing, you can share the TaskRay Plan View with customers or even internal teams and provide real-time project updates, projections on future timelines, and the comfort of knowing that projects are proceeding as planned—all without having to log into Salesforce.
TaskRay Lightning Components allow you to customize Salesforce Lightning pages and bring TaskRay to where your users are already working. They are a great way to embed work processes created in TaskRay into other parts of Salesforce, making it easy to collaborate on tasks and projects. Specifically, salespeople, executives, or really anybody can see what’s going on with a project or process related to their customer, granting additional visibility and increased accessibility. During this crisis, there are many companies with a need to rapidly implement new people, processes and projects. Our Lightning components allow each person involved in the process to quickly gain the insights they need to make decisions and move projects forward directly in the place they’re working.
People do get overwhelmed with all the communication that we have with Zoom and Slack, and reports provide them with something concrete to look at, which can be really helpful. This is why the increased visibility that reports provide is great for facilitating collaboration and for giving teams insight into project timelines and outcomes. Lucky for our users, TaskRay comes with a set of pre-made reports that are easy to pull and customize.
If you want to talk with someone about how TaskRay can help keep your teams stay connected, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call.