It’s fall again! Time to bundle up, head back to school, and be thankful for the important things, like friends and family.
Our associates are also thankful for remote working, which saves them an average of 51 minutes a day they’d otherwise spend commuting. It’s all part of our mission to change how the world works. Our remote working model is better for our clients, better for our employees, and better for the planet.
Today, we operate a distributed live answering network, with hundreds of customer experience associates working from their home offices, with no commutes. That network is stronger and more resilient than a single call center, where one power outage can knock out the whole system.
When our clients partner with AnswerConnect, they can stay connected to their businesses whether they work in an office, in a coworking space, at home, in a hotel across the country, or anywhere in between.
Remote working means we have employees in different towns, cities, and rural communities across the country. We’re thankful for that! And so, this fall we’re trying to give back to those communities where our teams live and work. While we do that, our teams get to know each other better. That helps build a stronger network to serve our customers.
We believe work is what you do, not where you do it. That’s why we’re proud to have clients and employees across the country and even around the world!
Giving back to our communities
In October, we got our remote teams in four different communities together to have fun, bond with each other, and collect school supplies for local kids who need them.
Our teams in other places weren’t left out of the chance to help out. Through AdaptiveU, the online learning platform we developed for training, all our team members can earn points for completing badges. In this case, a badge for donating pencils, notebooks, glue, and other supplies to help kids learn.
Everything earned through AdaptiveU is purchased through a “Buy One, Get One” program at Target. So all the supplies we send are doubled! If you can, why not join us and help a child in need get new school supplies for this year!
Fayetteville, North Carolina remote team meetup
In Fayetteville, our recruiter Jennifer Lugo organized a trip to B&B Bowling Lanes. Several of our associates in the area came to bowl a few frames before heading to The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop for lunch.
Bowling, Jennifer says, was a friendly competition. “We had a good time, we laughed. We talked about community things, almost like we knew each other. We were making fun of people missing the alley altogether.”
Ok, so maybe the bowling wasn’t all strikes. That’s okay! The point was to connect and give back to the community.
The Fayetteville community is one that could use some TLC, having seen flooding from Hurricane Matthew. Schools were closed for a week, and the storm damage made getting school supplies for our drive tough. “Walmart is a disaster zone,” Jennifer says.
Still, Jennifer and her local coworkers managed to put together a good stash for Brentwood Elementary.
An unconventional life
For Nina Hilliard, who has been with our company for just six months as a customer experience associate, the meetup was her first. “I seldom go bowling,” Nina says. “I just know to focus on the pin in the center. I ended up getting two strikes and some spares.”
Like Jennifer, Nina is a military spouse, which means moving is always a possibility. Recently, a deployment took her husband to another state for several months, while she stayed behind in Fayetteville with their children.
“We live a very unconventional life,” Nina says. Remote working and flexible scheduling help her maximize her time with her children while her husband’s away. “It’s enabled me to be both parents without being overwhelmed too much,” she says, and to be able to schedule breaks for calls with her husband when he’s available.
When Jennifer, who happens to be her neighbor, introduced her to remote working for AnswerConnect, Nina says she jumped at the chance. “This has helped me tremendously to be empowered and do what I need to do, with reduced stress. It was the greatest decision I’ve made.”
(Fayetteville photos courtesy of Samantha Metheny Photography.)
Tualatin, Oregon remote team meetup
Tualatin, just south of Portland, was where we had our call center before taking it fully remote. So, of course, we still have a great team in the area.
Jacky Alvarado, one of our trainers, and a bunch of our Portland-area team members and their families got together to celebrate the fall season at Lee Farms. The farm features a big pumpkin patch, pony rides, a hay maze—everything you could want in autumnal entertainment.
For Jacky, the outing was a great opportunity to bond with her small team. Although they work together every day, she says, this was the first time the four of them had been physically in one place. “We’re really close as it is, because we’re a small team. But this brought us closer together,” she says.
One of the highlights of Lee Farms, says associate Alisa Davis, was “they had a big old bucket of baby chicks. Oh my gosh, it was so cute.”
One of the biggest benefits of being able to work remotely, Alisa says, is the feeling of trust she gets. “It’s very fulfilling for me to know that I’m working for a company that trusts me to do the job they’re asking me to do.” At the same time, she says, her managers “understand that life happens and are always willing to work with you. It’s just a great company. I’m glad I found it.”
The group took a hayride through the acres of farmland, played with the animals, and had a nice lunch. “It was really neat to be able to meet up with people we already knew, but also people who work in other areas of the company, and have our families and our kids mingle,” Alisa says.
Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch in Texas
Our head bilingual recruiter Ursula del Aguila organized a meetup for our employees in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. They headed out to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch to see what the season had to offer.
Most of the team was fairly new and hadn’t met each other before. “Everybody was really excited,” Ursula says. “They started talking about what they like about working from home—walking to work, saving money on gas, and it’s really nice because you don’t feel alone. I really liked when they said that,” she says.
We’ve found working remotely doesn’t mean you have to give up on team spirit and cohesiveness. You just have to approach those things a little differently. Day to day, video calls and chat help bridge the gap. And meetups bring it all together, giving people an opportunity to cement friendships that last long after everyone returns home to work.
For Keo, one of our client account managers, the meetup was a chance to introduce her family to her coworkers, and vice versa. “My children always ask what I do, because I’m closed off from them. Working at home has it perks, but also comes with a lot of questions from friends and family,” she says. “It was nice to let my family see that there are other people like myself who also work in a virtual environment.”
Utah’s Black Island Farms
Our Salt Lake City-area team got together at Black Island Farms for a meetup. The farm features a big pumpkin patch, a tractor-pulled train for kids, and pig races. “We had a lot of fun,” says organizer Kami Dixon. “It’s a great way to feel connected to people in your area.”
The Utah team also collected school supplies. Kami plans to take the items to a low-income elementary school where she worked for twelve years. Here’s a look at the haul:
“I always tell people, even though we’re remote, I feel like we’re connected,” Kami says. “Meetups help a ton. I’ve never felt alone. There’s always someone to help you. Meetups are the icing on the cake.”
Getting together in person sometimes helps our remote teams work better together. And when we can use that opportunity to give back to our communities, it’s a real win-win. “I love what the company stands for,” Kami says. “We all have to have a common goal.”