Lessons Learned From Fully Remote Company Groove

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Even today fully-remote companies are a rare beast. They’re doing things differently and yet growing faster than traditional businesses. Groove—a customer helpdesk software—has experienced tremendous growth in the last five years as a globally distributed company. We’re dissecting their values, work culture, hiring norms and more to see what might be beneficial for you. Read on.

We have a crush. We’re smitten…

…With a rad company that defies all established business rules, helps SMBs serve their customers, and has a ton of fun along the way. We’re talking about Groove.

Hey, if you thought it was you…why not just reach out and introduce yourself?

A help desk software, Groove was created especially for small businesses. Its ticketing system allows you to manage all customer interactions from one platform. When you can see how you previously interacted with a customer via email, socials, live chats, and calls at once you can serve them seamlessly and efficiently. It doesn’t include hundred extra features you’d never use. But it’s customizable and scalable, integrates with numerous apps like Slack and Zapier, and tracks important metrics like average response times and response quality.

Okay, all great stuff…but why are we smitten, I hear you ask. Well, one, they are fully remote – that naturally makes Groove our kind of people. Two, their small staff of 16 is spread across 16 cities in four different continents. And three, in about five years of existence they have helped 8000+ small businesses close 25 million+ customer support tickets. The cherry on top is that Capterra rates Groove a 4.5/5. Color us impressed.

So impressed that last year our Editor-in-Chief, Luis Magalhaes, wrote about them – 3 Measures Groove Took to Avoid Burnout in Their Remote Team. And here we are writing about Groove again. This time focusing on the lessons anyone can take away from this small but powerful, fully-remote company.

 

Why Alex Turnbull decided to go fully remote when he founded Groove

Groove isn’t just a remote-first company. Or it didn’t become accidentally remote. Their value statement says “we believe that amazing work doesn’t require an office and that we can build a great company with everyone on our team living on their own terms.” More reason why we’re crushing on Groove.

Alex has previously said that working from an office proved to be less effective for him and had decided that when the time came his own company would be fully-remote.

So what does Groove look for when hiring remotely? In an interview with Zapier, Alex said that he’ll often ask prospective candidates what their work setup looks like. Consider answers like the couch or kitchen table red flags. Whereas an organized area dedicated to working from home is a win. We’ve been differentiating remote workers based on that same question for a while now.

Here are a few other things Groove looks for in successful remote candidates:

  • Previous remote/entrepreneurial experience
  • Freelancers for whom productivity isn’t an “option”
  • Mature decision-making skills
  • Very communicative (max response time being 24 hours, a few hours is better)

 

Tools Groove Uses To Make Working Remotely Easy

A few tools that help the globally distributed Groove team function better:

  • Slack – team chat
  • Zoom – video calls and screen-sharing
  • Groove – customer support collaboration (duh!)
  • World Time Buddy – world clock
  • Trello – projects
  • Teamweek – high-level team task management
  • GoogleDocs – document storage

 

Tools can only take a great company so far. It’s how users engage with them that makes the difference. In Groove’s case, they’ve made communication a top priority.

They have daily stand-ups where everyone shares what they accomplished the day before and what they’ll be handling that day. Weekly meetings at a fixed time, ‘water-cooler chat’ via Slack, and quarterly and yearly goals meetings also help the fully-remote team stay engaged.

 

Everyone on the Groove team checks in each morning. Image source: The Groove Blog

 

 

7 Lessons from Groove That’ll Help Your Business Adapt to Remote Work

A few notes from Groove about what’s making them such a hit as a fully-remote company.

 

Lesson #1   When the world is your talent pool, the crème-de-la-crème can work for you

And the size of the company is not a factor. Groove has a total of 16 employees. The team is spread across USA, Spain, Uruguay, Australia, Poland, Russia, Malta, and Germany. Because all ambitious, dedicated, hardworking people don’t live in the same zip code.

Groove’s employees include multiple entrepreneurs, such as Matt Beedle, who founded a $1M company in Berlin.

 

Lesson #2   Flexible work hours across the globe means more connected employees

Whenever “their morning” is, a Groove employee posts on Slack about their day. They chat about work and social life, which has helped create a strong remote team culture.

 

Lesson #3   When everyone works remotely everyone shares an equal stake

In the remote work environment, everyone knows what anyone is working on, how they are getting on, and what sort of help they might need.

At Groove, everyone is willing to share, help, and work together – without succumbing to office power play.

 

 

Everyone’s task can be monitored via their platform. Image source: The Groove Blog

 

Lesson #4   Simple, scrappy, and fun are favorable values in a remote environment

These values are part of Groove’s core principles. When everyone’s not working from a shared space, overly complicating things doesn’t help. It forces you to remain focused and organized. There are no meaningless overheads to the company like rent and office equipment. When everyone works on their own terms, they get to have fun and enjoy the work they do.

 

Lesson #5   Remote jobs warrant killer benefit packages

Gone are the days of treating remote roles as second-class. Groove certainly knows that. Not only do they offer competitive salaries, but employees are also allowed to take as much time off as they want (without missing pay). Unlike other companies, they insist on “sane work hours” so that employees don’t burn out.

 

Lesson #6   You get a much cooler employee roster when you hire remotely

Call it the result of a better work/life balance, but Groove employees surf, climb mountains, run, travel, and participate in endurance events. And one of them, Glenn, is a “digital nomad who sleeps on Tuesdays”.

Maybe that’s why they’re also very keen to get to work on Mondays.

 

Lesson #7   When remote is ingrained in the company value, work happens easily

Groove employees are not evaluated on how much time they spend on a task. Simply their outputs. Basically, they get it done. There’s no need to explain when they’ll be working or taking off, only what they accomplished.

 

The best lesson you can learn from a fully-remote company like Groove is how they never looked back. In five short years, this company has experienced tremendous growth and success. And it wasn’t dependent on geography or time zones. It was because of the terrific product they have and their fantastic team. If you have a terrific product/service yourself and want to experience similar success – give us a ring.

 

 

 

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