Design Cloud started as a question.
Why couldn’t any size business access graphic design for a reasonable price?
It seemed crazy that small businesses couldn’t afford the professional graphic design they needed to ever hope to grow, whilst large enterprises were also being charged ridiculously high rates simply because of the brand they’d worked hard to build.
We started as a small team with a passion for graphic design, and now we’re 16 strong with more new starters just around the corner. We work with teams across the entire UK.
We did pretty much all of this growing with most of the team never having met each other in real life.
Design Cloud operates remotely at the moment, so how do we have a strong team with such aligned goals? Ultimately, it’s got a lot to do with how we communicate. In this article, we’re going to let you know the communication tips for remote teams we depend upon to build a close-knit team even when we’re not in the same room.
Every morning, the entire Design Cloud team join a call on Slack where we have a quick chat and outline what we aim to achieve that day. Not only is it nice to check-in with your colleagues in the morning just as you would at the coffee machine in the office, but it also encourages our team to thoughtfully allocate time in the day to complete the tasks we need to. This morning call gives the team the chance to ask for any support they might need that day, and if any of the team are off, we can be updated about that too.
Similarly, at the end of the day we meet back up via a Slack call. In this one we’ll chat about anything that’s happened that day, and the overall goals we’ve moved closer to achieving. For example our CEO, James Rigby, will update the team on the number of customers that have signed up with us on that day as well as other key metrics that help show the team that their hard work is paying off.
How have all these meetings and calls contributed to our growth and to improving communication for our remote team? Having those set times to meet up as a group on a call helps us to remember to set aside the time to check-in with our colleagues. It gives every member of the team a chance to express any thoughts or ideas they might have, and it keeps us all on the same page about what’s happening day-to-day. Because the team know what to expect in these set calls, we can prepare our daily to-do lists and other thoughts before they begin and that makes sure that we keep communication as clear as possible. In both the work we do for clients and how we operate internally, we believe clear communication is the key to projects that run smoothly.
Another method that contributes to our growth and effective communication as a remote team is to make sure to celebrate every achievement.
If somebody mentioned some great feedback about your business or a project your team had worked on whilst in the office, wouldn’t you chat about it to those next to you?
It can be easy to overlook smaller things like that when working remotely, which is why we try to make a conscious effort to highlight and celebrate the achievements of our team both individually and as a whole. For example, whenever we receive a great new review, we always make sure to share it in our main slack channel where everyone can get involved in saying a big well done to whoever has been working with that particular client.
Another way we celebrate our achievements is by having regular reviews of the milestones we’ve hit like the number of new customers or how many tickets the design team have managed to complete in a period of time. On multiple occasions, the team have been sent a goodie basket like the below as a gift to show how appreciated their hard work is.
How does this help us to better communicate when working remotely? By not leaving out the small ways we’d show appreciation to our team in the office whilst working in our homes, it helps to make the whole team feel more encouraged and to notice all the progress we’re making. When we see how far we’ve already gone and the targets we’ve achieved as a team thus far, it’s easier to be enthusiastic about where we’re headed. This positive communication helps to inspire our colleagues and to build up morale.
Even though we’re working remotely across the UK, we try to meet up with members of the team whenever we can. Most recently, we met up for the afternoon in our home town of Manchester. The majority of our existing team are based within a reasonable distance to the city, so it’s a great spot to go out when we can.
Even though we see each other every day via our devices, we feel it is still just as important to get out and build a closer team by meeting in person and communicating face-to-face. Whilst remote working arrangements are the norm in so many agencies now, we wanted to keep in-person team outings as an important priority. These outings are not only great fun, but since we have so many new additions to the team so regularly at Design Cloud, they also serve as a great way for the new starters to get to know the team in a relaxed environment.
It’s clear to see how making the effort to organise in-person outings can help to improve communication for remote teams. Whilst this might not always be possible, it’s a powerful way to improve communication for those teams that can.
Our dedication as a team to improving our skills in each of our relevant roles is a huge part of what makes Design Cloud grow. We regularly keep up to date on graphic design trends and the most modern way of doing business, since our entire unlimited graphic design subscription service is built as a modern solution to an old problem (expensive, inaccessible graphic design support). By being up-to-date with industry news and discussing hot topics in the world of graphic design, we can create relevant design work that will resonate with our client’s audience.
So, our next communication tip for remote teams is all about encouraging your team to ask for help and the training they feel they need. By cultivating a culture where questions aren’t only just ok but actively encouraged, your team will not only be constantly improving their skills but will also feel more like communicating with their team when they’re unsure on something. The output being higher quality results!
Those four methods are the pillars of what make our team at Design Cloud so incredible, and have been absolutely crucial in achieving the communication needed to help Design Cloud grow as fast as it has done.