With the progress of technology, there’s a lot of flexibility in how people work. There’s also a lot of great resources on how to support your remote team online like Inside 6q’s article. Trello’s company has a 100% remote team and has published lots of resources chronicling their journal.
We took a look at a few of Austin’s startups and asked them how their teams work and what went well and didn’t. It wasn’t surprising to see that many early to medium sized startups chose to have their teams work remotely or a hybrid.
Zachary Dash explains that Verma Media has 33 employees who are 100% remote. Some of the benefits to this is that it allows for a very low overhead which can be critical for startups. You’re also able to recruit unique talent across the world. Some of the obstacles that Dash has had with remote work is that communication systems have to be extremely focused. They also found that 5-10% of potential clients prefer we had a HQ. They decided to go this route because the industry seemed very open and encouraging of decentralized teams.
Lori Appleman says “Our team is distributed though we do have an office. It is very rare to find everyone in it. I have managed as many as 72 people 100% remote. As long as you have people capable of collaborating as necessary and who are 100% reliable for hitting their mark, it is great. Not only are your office costs dramatically lower, but people view it as a job perk as they can better balance their personal life with work. However, if you people who need hand holding, aren’t reliable/responsible, or have a sense of entitlement, it will backfire in a big way. Some teams NEED to be face to face to GSD. So it is a factor of the type of work you do, and the people on your team. Remote also lets you hire globally, best of breed.”
At Rocket Dollar, Chris Palmisano explains that “we have an office and everyone comes to work except remote sales people. We value the in person communication and ability to problem solve all day long with everyone in the same area. Around a dozen people.”
Jamie Fitch, the CEO of OnlineMedEd tells us that they started working remotely when they were small (less than 1M in revenue) and then moved to coworking as a transition. Now they are primarily in an office with 40 people. They chose an office because they felt meeting in person allows for better cross-team collaboration, more junior team members often need it, and mentoring is easier. Fitch explains, “I can also still recruit nationally (people love Austin), and coworkers bond at lunch / happy hour etc, which improves the culture of the company.”
What’s right for you
Every company is different and with so many different options today, you can choose what works and easily transition as you grow.
With the holidays around the corner, everyone’s calendar is filled up and likely feeling socialed out. To my surprise, Createscape was truly a nice escape from the ordinary coworking space. Sometimes I find it to be a lot of work to start fresh at a coworking space but that wasn’t the case here. I immediately was greeted by a member and shown around. Createscape felt very welcoming and was large enough to find an area to set up shop.
Why People Come
Createscape prides itself in being your neighborhood coworking space. It’s nestled in East Austin off Tillery street. If you haven’t ventured in this area yet, you’ll find lots of local owned restaurants and shops with it’s own unique Eastside charm. With so many coworking spaces to choose from, Createscape stands out in it’s affordability. The cofounders felt it was important to include a price point that was accessible to it’s community members. Many writers, filmmakers, new tech and people launching businesses on their own claim Createscape as their home.
There is a lot of stress when it comes to moving to a new area. Don’t let finding your community be one of them. Createscape creates a supportive community by offering several events a month. You can get to know other community members by attending their happy hours, brunches and game nights. It makes networking a lot more organic and easier to transition from “just work” conversations.
Since it’s inception in 2014, Createscape has expanded several times. It first started off MLK and Manor and within less than a year, expanded to the Tillery location. 2 years later they were able to open more offices into their Howdy room and within the last year expanded again. You can’t argue that this community is exploding!
Outside of having additional private offices and desks, the expansion also includes several community spaces. I always think the best way to meet new people is in the kitchen. Although Createscape does make it easier than other places to network, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at it. Some people can get discouraged joining a very social community but not make much progress in making friends. Make sure you get out to the events instead of staying in your own workspace.
Why you should come
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s really up to you on what you value in a work space. If you want an active community at an affordable price point, Createscape is your place. You’ll have plenty of parking available as it’s located in East Austin. Come grab a day pass, check out the space and join the community.
It may be intimidating to walk into a coworking space that has it’s own established community. When you’re busy building up your own business, it can be overwhelming to take on the task of networking. Here are some tips that will help you network like a rockstar.
Join Community Events
Most coworking spaces have monthly if not weekly events for their members. For instance, Capital Factory has monthly happy hours for their new members and companies. You’ll have to do a bit of research to find the right space for you. Some coworking spaces are only for those who want an area to work and are less community driven. If you’re looking mainly to network, make sure to do your research for the coworking spaces with strong communities.
You can get your foot in the door quickly by attending several of their events. This allows for relationships building as well as quick intros to everyone. Most people are looking to get work done during work hours so it’ll be an easy way to not be too pushy when you first come in.
Meet Your Community Director
For those of you who are more introverted or couldn’t imagine jumping head first into a community event, schedule a one on one with the community director. These people are the pros at networking and connecting people. They’ll be able to quickly find the right people for you to meet and make that warm intro. Treat these people well as they’re a valuable resource in a coworking community.
Work In the Common Areas
It may make sense to get a dedicated desk if you have a lot of equipment that you don’t want to lug around with you all day but it also pays off to move around. A lot of my relationships I made early on were made in the kitchen of the coworking space. As I mentioned before, most people are there to work so it’s more appropriate to strike up a conversation with them during non work hours. It’s a lot easier to make small talk and almost expected. This is your first step in networking and eventually getting those meetings and referrals that you need.
Promote At Your Coworking Space
Nobody likes shameless self promotion which is why it’s wonderful when there’s a dedicated space for it! Many coworking spaces will have a place for you to put your card, company logo, flyers etc. If you’re a creator or maker, you can visit The Refinery to show off your goods in their display space. It attracts people window shopping in downtown as well as other members there.
Things to Avoid
It can be frustrating when you’re trying to turn in a project and you have your neighbor at work telling you about what happened last night. Knowing when to talk to people and when not to is a learned skill. It’s also a surefire way to get excluded from conversations if you get it wrong. Sometimes we aren’t sensitive to other people space in coworking areas which results in unwanted conversations. It can come off as too pushy or as a time suck to engage in conversation that people start to avoid you. Make sure to stick with recreational times like mentioned earlier or keeping your conversations brief if you can tell they’re in a rush.