Empower’s approach to remote working
Empower has been remote-first since our inception in 2014, meaning good remote-working is built into the foundations of our culture. Deep trust and a love for this way of working means we allow our team to work from wherever they wish and with flexible hours. Currently we have team members who work from London, Leeds, the West Country, and Barcelona. Also, 75% of us work a 4 day week or less to enable the team to balance work with other aspects of our lives.
Prior to the pandemic, remote working in the way Empower apply it, didn’t exist in many organisations. Now, however, more professionals are given the choice to work remotely, and according to Escape the City’s recent survey, 74% make flexible working location a primary factor when choosing a new role.
“As an organisation where people really matter, the wellbeing of our team is key and remote working helps us to support that. It encourages us to maintain a healthy work-life balance and enables us to flex around our other needs, whether it be children, mental health, disability, pets, life events…you name it. Being remote also supports our core pillar of sustainability as we don’t need a physical office and we travel much less frequently. A win-win!” –
Catherine Raboteur, Operations Manager
Sometimes when people discuss remote working, there are fears that it may be difficult to get to know your colleagues. Although there are barriers, there are definitely ways for your team to be connected and build strong working relationships remotely.
There are several ways that we connect our team at Empower. These include having a kick off call each week where we share our weekend highlights and what’s on our to-do list ahead, monthly in-person team days, new members sharing their Manual of Me and a monthly internal newsletter where we share our personal and professional highlights and give shout outs to each other.
But it would be best to hear from our team directly. Read on to see quotes from our team about how they stay connected with each other while working remotely.
Team Empower’s Take
What helps me stay connected with the team while working remotely is scheduling in calls with my team members. Sending a message for a quick response is always handy but hearing someone’s voice and being able to squeeze in check ins and chats via a call helps a lot as more things tend to come up that wouldn’t have via email/slack.
Ally Appau Bonsu, Paid Media Executive
I like to start video calls by simply asking “How are you?”. This friendly way of opening video call allows the team on the call to reflect on how they are, offers a chance to raise any issues or challenges, and allows me to adjust my own approach to the call to match their energy or current state of mind. It is also good to remind us all that we’re people with thoughts and feelings, not just pixels on a screen!
Ben Matthews, Co-founder
To stay connected with the team, I sometimes schedule co-working video calls, suggest huddles instead of long back-and-forth messages, and take full advantage of the non-work-related Slack channels. Also, when possible, I like to take 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of every meeting with coworkers to have a proper check-in and talk about life outside of work!
Camila de la Parra, Social Media Manager
Slack is a great way of staying connected with the team when working remotely. I especially love the non-work related channels which give us a chance to share interesting things we have read / seen / done and helps us to connect on a more personal level.
The monthly Empower Happy Hour newsletter is a great way to hear about everyone’s personal and work highlights for that month and give shout outs to our colleagues. It’s so much fun reading it each month!
Catherine Raboteur, Operations Manager
A crucial factor in performing well as a remote team is honest communication. This builds better team trust and ensures that all team members feel safe enough to express themselves, inevitably creating a better bond as a team.
David Ogundare, Digital Marketing Intern
I schedule regular calls with team members I see less of day-to-day (because we’re not working on the same project) so that we can fully catch up; about the projects we’re working on, challenges and successes we’ve seen, how things are for us individually, and all of that good stuff.
Engaging in our ‘Spare Time’ and interest-based Slack channels functions as a remote water cooler, and helps me to feel more connected to the team on a personal level.
Engaging in team days and socials is important for helping me feel connected to everyone. With a remote-first team and a bunch of us who work far away, in-person socials are prime opportunities to enjoy each other’s company.
Hannah West, Account Manager
Remote working has removed the barriers to finding the kind of work I want to be involved in. As someone who doesn’t get on with big cities, it often felt that finding a job I would find meaningful and career-aligned was incompatible with where I wanted to live. Organisations like Empower prove that it doesn’t have to be the case – I can work on important projects that I care about, and be closer to nature & family.
Jed Chapman, Social Media Manager
One tactic that really helps me feel connected with my colleagues while remote working is co-working sessions. I book out 1-2 hour blocks of call time with my team to tackle big pieces of work together. This means that we can discuss the task at hand in depth, ask questions and problem solve together, even though we’re not in the same room.
Kate O’Neill, Account Manager
Kicking off the week with a full team catch-up really sets me up for the week—it’s a chance to be ‘human’ behind out screens. We have a laugh and find out how everyone’s weekend were. We also review the week ahead and helps everyone understand each team member’s capacity. I can then adjust my team requests and how I interact with others, knowing what they’ve got on.
Reena Chadee, Account Director
At Empower there are loads of great options for staying connected with the team, even though we’re remote. From regular social ‘donut’ calls to Slack channels dedicated to all kinds of interesting topics, along with the option to use local coworking spaces to spend face-to-face time with colleagues who live nearby, the workplace always feels sociable and tight-knit, even if we’re not always in the same room!
Will de Villiers, Digital Consultant
Being people centred is one of our core values and it’s important to us that our team feel that they are supported and connected with each other, so that they can do their best work.
Though remote working means that you aren’t physically in the same room with your team, there are still ways for your organisation to build a strong culture and community remotely.
Want to learn more about remote working at Empower? Listen to a previous episode of the Super Magic Agency Powers podcast to hear our co-founder Ben discuss building a strong team when working remotely.