I work at Formstack, a workplace productivity platform that makes it easy for anyone to turn manual work into automated workflows. I am the Content Marketing Manager and producer of Formstack’s Ripple Effect podcast. My day-to-day includes writing blog posts, creating long-form content, producing podcast episodes, and editing.
How big is it?
Our company has nearly 250 employees who span the globe. Nearly 40 of those employees sit within marketing! My role is within the Brand and Communications team (10 people), which encompasses content, creative, social media, events, and PR.
Where are your teammates located?
All over! We have a pretty solid group in Fishers, Indiana, where our company is headquartered. But we also have teammates in Colorado, Utah, California, Canada, and quite a few other states. In fact, our lead designer Jason is currently touring the U.S. and hitting up a new state every few weeks! As a remote-first company for nearly a decade, it’s pretty common to have employees working like nomads.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
I sit on the content team, which produces all of Formstack’s blog posts, guides, landing pages, reports, ad copy, and our Ripple Effect podcast. I split my time across four major areas of content: The podcast, our blog, reports like The Rise of the No-Code Economy, and customer stories.
Intentional relationship building. When you can’t just bump into someone in a stairwell or hallway, you have to put in some extra effort to build relationships. Remote organizations must make it a priority to set aside time for employees to simply get to know each other. We do a wide array of virtual team building at Formstack, from simple 1:1 chats through the HeyDonut Slack app to team-wide celebrations that include everything from costume contests to trivia about employees.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections.
Strong connections are built with Hailey.
I think transparency is huge in keeping employees engaged and happy. Building strong relationships where people feel comfortable to be honest and open is so important in a remote work environment. It’s important to keep in mind that remote work can be very isolating and lonely, so checking in on the mental and emotional health of teammates can make a big difference.
It’s also important to remember that employees are adults and don’t need to be micromanaged or babysat. The beauty of remote work is that employees can build a day that suits their needs and ensures they feel the most productive and comfortable.
So much can be misinterpreted or lost through a text-based conversation; video allows you to get a better understanding of the person’s intention, mood, and delivery.
Remote work is great, but you miss a lot of social cues and body language when you’re relying heavily on chat, email, and video calls to get work done. It’s easy to misinterpret text, so I encourage people to always assume positive intent.
I also believe it’s best to discuss over video 99% of the time instead of falling through emails or chat messages. So much can be misinterpreted or lost through a text-based conversation; video allows you to get a better understanding of the person’s intention, mood, and delivery. This can help minimize miscommunications and improve conversations overall.
We have done a wide array of team building activities at Formstack. When not facing a worldwide pandemic, we all unite once a year in-person for Converge, our all-team meeting that includes much more fun times than meetings. We also have smaller, individual team retreats each fall called Small Hands.
We’ve done a lot remotely as well, from cooking and karaoke competitions to creating virtual room escape games and playing Mario Kart together on Zoom.
When the pandemic first hit, a lot of us would take a quick break to play Mario Kart together on Zoom. It was a great way to laugh together and blow off some steam during a very stressful time period.
When we launched our podcast Ripple Effect, we played a fun twist on the Newlywed Game to see if any Stackers knew the host, Formstack CEO Chris Byers, better than his wife Dana. We all hopped on Zoom and followed along as random Stackers and Dana answered trivia questions about Chris.
Another hugely successful activity at Formstack is creating tournaments. It all began when our CX team decided to find out what the “official fruit of Formstack” should be. Spoiler: Mango won. Every day, an employee shared the face-off between fruits and people voted on which should win with an emoji. We’re currently running one for Halloween called the Horror Showdown, which started out with a bracket of 32 well-known horror icons. Today’s showdown is between Pennywise and Jason. Who will win?! (I voted for Pennywise.)
Sometimes we will add a theme to our Friday Marketing Social. These are very casual team social hours when we all hop on Zoom to finish out the week in a fun way. We’ve discussed everything from music and shows to the best trends from the 90’s. We’ve also used the time to play Imposter.
We live in Slack, and one cool thing our engineers created is a tool called Stackbot. You can use trigger words inside parenthesis to pull up a photo, GIF, video, or meme. One of my favorites is (pulltypo) where people put screenshots of hilarious typos made by employees.
I’m a big believer in mentorship and have really enjoyed my time in mentorship programs like Pass the Torch and EDGE Mentorship. As an extrovert, I enjoy being around people, so I also love in-person conferences like Conex. I’m very community minded, so getting involved in community leadership programs like IndyHub’s 1828 Program and Hamilton County Leadership Academy have helped me learn and grow immensely.
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