Zapier Enables Work-Life Balance with Help from Zoom
Zoom Video Communications
The world is buzzing and we are busy people, which means work-life balance is a constant struggle. So, why not eliminate stress by working remotely? At Zapier, we've spent five years building a global business that operates 100 percent remote. We hire the talented teammates from a global workforce and use Zoom, a video conferencing tool, to stay connected. Here's our success story.
At Zapier, we’re trying to help the world work a little smarter and a little easier. Zapier is a workflow automation app that integrates about 800 different web apps. Slack, Salesforce, MailChimp, Google Apps, Dropbox, you name it and people can use it on Zapier. In our five years in business, Zapier has seen a lot of good fortune. One of the major reasons for that is our unique approach to hiring and retaining staff.
Our goal is to hire talented team members regardless of location. We truly believe motivated and passionate employees are too valuable to keep shackled to a desk. As a result, we’re committed to keeping our staff 100 percent remote.
Keeping in touch was easy back in the beginning, when it was just three founders. We’ve been at it for five years, though, and the Zapier staff has grown to include 85 talented professionals. Eighty percent of those staffers are in the United States, and the rest are spread across 13 different countries. In order to keep in touch with such a big team, we rely heavily on video conferencing with Zoom.
Why Zoom Is a Great Fit for Zapier
In the early days, we started using Google Hangouts. That worked well until we began to grow as a company. From Hangouts, we switched to one of Zoom’s major competitors only to find that it wasn’t getting the job done. As the team grew, we needed a video conferencing tool that could grow with us, that could expand to handle our bigger team. That's when we made the switch to Zoom.
A lot of companies claim they can handle large groups of simultaneous video conferencing users, but Zoom delivered. Since our very first meeting, the performance has been rock solid. We rarely experience video or audio issues, and as we add more people, Zoom keeps working, which means we keep working.
The ability to handle up to 500 video participants in a single meeting helps us keep one of our most beloved weekly traditions alive, the Thursday Hangout. This company-wide video meeting allows our team to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas; and ridiculously easy screen sharing gives each person the ability to participate in our lightning talks. These brief presentations give any member of the team the opportunity to talk about any subject of their choosing.
During a recent Thursday Hangout, our editorial manager gave a short demonstration on chair yoga as a suggestion for employees to break up their day. For a few brief moments, there were people spread across the globe doing chair yoga in unison. Those two minutes of laughter, connection, and togetherness is what keeps Zapier working as one, even when we're thousands of miles apart.
Tips and Tricks for Mastering Working Remotely
- Just Starting Out? Start Working Remotely: If you are just starting your company, make sure everyone starts remote right out of the gate. That allows you to build the culture around remote employment, because everyone in the company is at home and they get used to working remotely. This goes a long way to removing the “remote” stigma; it just becomes how your company works.
- If You’re Co-Locating, Make Everyone Work Remotely: Co-location is tricky. When some of your employees are offsite and the rest are in the office, it can be tough to introduce a remote employee or even the concept of working remotely. To help ease the transition, take a few weeks and have everyone work from home. That injects the idea of remote work into the company’s DNA and lets your employees understand what it takes to do the job from home.
- Always Communicate with Your Remote People: When you’re co-locating, it can be easy to overlook the contributions of team members who aren’t right in front of you. Even worse, working remotely can cause isolation among your remote staff. That’s why it’s important to keep the lines of communication open to avoid the impression that your remote employees aren’t as important. You should also circulate the accomplishments of your remote staff members just as regularly as you would any in-office employee.
- Make Some Remote Concessions: When your team gathers for a meeting, don’t have your in-office employees gather in one central room. Have them stay at their desks and sign into the meeting. That way, the in-office people and your remote people are operating on equal footing.
- Document, Document, Document: One of the neatest features about Zoom is that we can record every meeting. That way if we need to reflect on something, or if someone missed out, we can just go back over the footage. That’s just one part of our documentation efforts. We take a lot of notes and send a lot of emails, all with the goal of ensuring full transparency. We want everyone to feel like an active part of the company.
- Automate: The Zoom integration with Zapier makes it easy to connect Zoom to the rest of our remote working tool kit like Slack, Trello, Google Calendar and others so Zoom fits naturally alongside our other apps.
Zoom Makes Remote Working a Real Success Story
The real beauty of working remotely is the ability to tailor your work environment to meet your needs. Some of our employees work behind desks. Some relax on the couch while they code. One of our teammates worked outside at a frozen, snow-covered lake. If you have a good internet connection, why not, right?