Keeping Employees Connected

by Scott Austin July 19, 2012

We're still a small company.  We're still working out of home offices.  But we now have people in Seattle and San Diego.  So we've got two (home) offices bases for employees to work out of.  We've got my converted garage in San Diego.  And in Seattle, we're using one of my co-founder's basements.  And even with having two 'offices,' we have people working from home occasionally to accommodate schedules and needs.  And both of our cities are known for crappy traffic.  So people also work odd hours to navigate around rush hour hassles.

But it is essential for us as a team to stay in constant communication.  Speed is vital.  We need to make decisions and keep things moving forward.  So this week, we tried something new.  We connected our two offices and remote employees into a virtual office.  We did this using Google Hangouts.  We have a webcam in each office.  We connect the two in a hangout so our offices are connected.  Hangouts also allow up to 9 simultaneous video connections.  So the folks at home can also be part of the virtual office.  Today we had PCs, Macs, Android phones and Android tablets all connected at the same time on Hangouts.  It was pretty cool in a very geeky way.

Our intention is to use this for video conferences and collaboration sessions.  And to also use it when we are in the office.  So that the team can feel more like a team.  So the Seattle folks can share in the delight that the San Diego folks from having my two Chihuahuas around all day, and vice-versa.  Not sure yet how it will all work out.  I'll keep you informed.

Scott Austin
Scott Austin