At a time when many organizations are sending people home to work remotely out of necessity, and scrambling to keep workflows running smoothly, I’m grateful that, at Weaving Influence, we have tools in place that allow us to continue to operate without disruption. More importantly, we have a way of connecting that helps us cultivate strong relationships so that we feel included—rather than isolated—when we are working independently.
Early in my business, my then operations gal, Angie, recommended and helped us set up Basecamp as a tool for our exclusively remote team.
Since then, we’ve grown to a team of 12 employees—3 remote, 9 local—and another dozen contractors. Of those, six of us typically work in the local office on a day-to-day basis; and still, Basecamp is the center of our communication, collaboration, connection, and delivery to clients.
Our team’s culture would not be possible without Basecamp.
Here are the five top ways Basecamp fuels our organization’s connection, culture, and productivity.
Connection and Relationship Building
We use Basecamp’s campfires—a slack-like feature that allows people to connect in the moment, and daily check-ins—information gathering prompts, as a way of creating meaningful connections. On our team, daily check-ins range from more mundane but exceedingly useful questions, such as When are you around today? to the just for fun What are you doing to stay fit today? and deeper still to personal questions like What are you grateful for today? One of my personal favorite check-ins encourages the team to share weekly wins.
We use campfires in a similar way: ranging from a random channel where we share personal stories, GIFs, and just-for-fun learnings, to client-focused channels where we ask specific questions and share updates and information about a project.
Most of our meaningful organizational communication is captured and shared in Basecamp. I use the message board feature to share a weekly message as CEO, highlighting progress and strategic priorities as I share what’s on my mind each week. Our VP of Operations writes a weekly look-ahead, highlighting any new work we’ve closed, projects to kick-off, and team time-off, along with any new policies and procedures.
Basecamp has great search functionality, so we can basically find any important content we’ve written in the last 8 years in Basecamp.
Any work we complete asynchronously happens in Basecamp. We have many video meetings with clients and each other, but all our collaboration either happens or is captured in our Basecamp projects, including co-creating content, outlining new processes, idea-sharing, and brainstorming.
A mantra in our company is that if it’s not in Basecamp, it didn’t happen.
Document Sharing, Storage, and Retrieval
Every organization wrestles with sharing digital files, version control, and document sharing. While we do use other tools like Google Drive and Dropbox for some documents, we share most documents in Basecamp. Because we took the stand early on that EVERYTHING is added to Basecamp, we have 8 years of archived assets and documents in Basecamp. When clients return to us, we can easily access any of our past work products to help orient the team to the client’s work.
Tracking Progress in a Process
From a productivity perspective, Basecamp’s templates and to-do lists are critical for our team to ensure smooth completion of promised deliverables to clients. We set deadlines, assign tasks to others, identify where we are in a project, see where things may be stuck, and move projects from start to completion.
If you are a leader of an organization or team of any size, and are feeling overwhelmed with directing your team remotely due to forced work-from-home policies, I would encourage you to sign up for a free trial of Basecamp.
In upcoming weeks, people are going to feel isolated, especially if they’re not accustomed to working remotely. Initiating a daily check-in question and providing a place for people to share information seamlessly will give you a taste of what Basecamp could do in fueling your organization’s connection, culture, and productivity, and may help eliminate feelings of loneliness during uncertain times.