Remote Work at VineSpring
VineSpring is a remote team of 14 people located in 3 states — California, Colorado, and Nevada. Most team members work from their home office while a few enjoy co-work spaces like Galvanize. Everyone shares a desire to build and support great software for the craft beverage space.
As a VineSpring client, you’d never know we’re not all locals living in wine country. Our office hours are 9 - 5 PT, our phone numbers begin with area code 707 (Sonoma / Napa), we can easily transfer calls to one another and we communicate as though we’re all in the same building. It’s a combination of people, process, and technology that enable us to thrive as a remote team. To ensure that we’re supporting our clients to the best of our ability we focus on:
Hiring the right people
Working remotely requires an entrepreneurial spirit. The team sets up their own workspace, defines their own hours, and enjoys an independence that most office employees don’t. Some key traits we look for in our team members are:
Our team members are all self-starters. They don’t need to be told what to do; they are willing to engage, participate, and help whenever and wherever it’s needed.
One of the greatest aspects of remote work is all the opportunities to go do things other than work. It requires a great deal of discipline to stay focused on the task at hand and drive it to completion.
We don’t get to see each other in person very often (some of us only meet once a year at the company retreat), but we’re all connected via technology. This means good communication is critical, asking for help when needed and checking in with others to keep things on track.
Solving problems with positivity is core to working at VineSpring. There’s no greater satisfaction than helping clients and each other succeed.
Implementing the right process
In any business, but especially in a remote business, getting everyone on the team “rowing in the same direction” is difficult. Having an effective process is critical. We have adopted a process called EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) to help guide our decision making, internal communications, and accountability. As the business grows, EOS helps keep us on track toward reaching our goals. Success for VineSpring can be distilled down to three pillars: Vision, People & Process.
Our vision is clear, inspiring and understood by everyone in the company. Being clear about who we are and where we are going has helped us attract and keep the right people. We have also surfaced the core values that make VineSpring tick and knowing them has simplified how we manage. The entire team, including leadership, is held to the standard of our values without compromise.
We treat our people with a regenerative approach rather than an extractive one. This means we don’t view employees as an asset to be used until it is gone and then discarded. Our team’s dreams, successes, and struggles are ours too and we are committed to helping them grow as people, not just employees.
Our process involves consistent meeting rhythms and honest accountability. We have quarterly leadership planning meetings that provide us a much-needed break to work “on” and not just “in” the business. We also have weekly accountability meetings for every department including the leadership team. Our monthly all company webinar-style meeting helps keep everyone up-to-date with progress toward our annual goals and provides an opportunity to learn from other departments.
Adhering to a framework may sound like a lot of work but once you are up and running, it actually reduces work and it definitely reduces stress for the entire company.
Using the right technology
We’re connected by wonderful technology that allows us to work from anywhere. Some of the important tools that help us to succeed are:
We use G Suite by Google for creating and sharing documents, email, and calendar. Long gone are the days of desktop software—G Suite makes it easy to create presentations, spreadsheets, and documents directly in a web browser and share with the team.
This is our electronic water cooler. It’s how we communicate with one another throughout the day, and with our teams. When someone is signed into Slack and active, they are available and working, from anywhere in the world.
You shouldn’t know any of your passwords….ever. LastPass creates, stores, and enables sharing of strong passwords between team members. You’ll never struggle to fill in a password again.
Other great software we use includes Hubspot (CRM and marketing automation platform), Gusto (payroll, benefits, and H/R capabilities), and Zoom (web conferencing).
VineSpring is operating better as a team than we ever have. It takes time to figure out how to scale a remote team with accountability, but it’s definitely possible with the right people, process, and technology. Reach out to us anytime if you want to talk about your remote team ideas and brainstorm the best path forward.