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How Via Meadia Makes Telework Work

We’ve been known to sing the praises of telework on this blog, but it’s still, well…work. Coordinating projects and delegating responsibility is already difficult when everyone’s in the same place. How do you organize your workforce when your team is spread across multiple offices, cities, timezones, and even countries?

Our team is divided between Washington, DC and New York City, and some days we have people working from Virginia, Baltimore, Brooklyn and Queens, and coordinating tasks can be a challenge. One thing we’ve learned is that there’s no replacement for physical contact, particularly for new hires. After Marissa Mayer banned telework at Yahoo!, reports came out that some employees never came in to the office at all. That was clearly problematic, not least because telework can inhibit informal discussion in workplaces. Such discussion, the argument goes, is a creative driver that can only happen over lunch, around the water-cooler or at the local watering hole.

That hasn’t been our experience. We’ve been using a chat client called Hipchat for the past two months, and so far, we’re loving it. Hipchat is a handy way for us to share ideas, thoughts on the day’s news and even the occasional jokes. There’s a public room for everyone, as well as private or small-group chat rooms. The user interface is clean, intuitive, and so far relatively bug-free.

We supplement Hipchat with another service called Asana, which allows us to assign and schedule who does what, when, with ease. There are plenty of other chat and task management clients out there. Kickoff looks like a neat app that combines both functions into one Mac-only program, although we have yet to try that one out.

These technologies are all relatively young, and the fiercely competitive app market will continue to offer improved products. Telework kills the dreaded commute, cuts emissions, saves money on office real estate, and makes for happier workers. If your work is suited for it, give it a try. We think you’ll like it.

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  • James Brown

    thanks for the tip. this is literally news you can use

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