We always knew setting up one team across different countries and time zones would come with it’s challenges, but with the help of amazing tools like Lifesize video conferencing, and Slack for internal messaging, we’ve gotten ourselves into great stride with how easy it can be to collaborate no matter where you are.
But great digital tools aside, we know there is nothing quite as powerful as face-to-face.
It was an amazing week that gave us the chance to collaborate and problem solve in person, reflect on the year gone by, and workshop how we’ll achieve even more for small businesses in the year ahead.
One of the key events we hosted during the week was the engineering leadership offsite, held at beautiful Manly Beach. It was great to talk through what we learned from our successes and challenges, and work together on some of the problems our customers face every day. The in-person nature of the session was inspiring, motivating, and built on the camaraderie we value so much at Invoice2go.
To better understand the power of face to face, we asked a few of our engineers why meeting in person is valuable to them, and for some of their key takeaways from the session.
Beth Jubera, Senior Software Engineer
One of our key values at Invoice2go is “Be real. Trust matters,” and I think that directly ties to having face-to-face time. When you haven’t met a team member in person, you don’t have a connection with them simply because you just don’t know them. You really have to be in someone’s presence to read them and communicate effectively. By continually seeing your team members in person, you are forming a connection and most importantly you’re able to establish and build trust.
Having the engineering leadership team offsite was extremely valuable for brainstorming and ensuring we’re all on the same page. While video conferencing is great, sometimes the connection is off, and the flow of conversation is effected, which can be particularly challenging for brainstorming.
Kallol Das, VP of Engineering
For the engineering team, there are two key values of face to face time. The first is efficiency in communication – we not only hear what people say but we can see body language and tone of voice. The second is empathy – it’s much easier to speak in person about topics where there may be disagreement. So when we’re together it’s a great opportunity to clear any issues that may have accumulated. These could be controversial topics, contentious issues and so on.
At the engineering leadership offsite, the goal was to make sure that everybody understood that we’re creating the company that we want to work in. It’s not the responsibility of only the executives at the company, it’s all of our responsibility. So if we see things we don’t like or see things we think could be done better, the only people that will resolve it are the set of people working for Invoice2go.
Rod Howarth, Senior Software Engineer
The main value of face-to-face time is building and sustaining relationships. We’re fortune that we can communicate remotely in such a seamless way, but if that’s the only way you communicate, you miss out on a lot of things, particularly getting to know each other. When you do have the opportunity to be together as a team, you get to know each other personally and you get to joke around. I find that the longer you go without seeing someone in person, the more your relationship strains. Plus, we also get to resolve so many issues in person.
At the engineering leadership offsite, we got to sync up on our aspirations for the year ahead, and how we’ll overcome any challenges. It was a great opportunity to align as a team. We did various activities that were very tangible and essential to do in person. A lot of what we did that day you just can’t do remotely.
Mike Gunawan, Senior Software Engineer
The best parts of having face to face time is the team bonding. Particularly with the engineering offsite, it was a chance for the team to come together and review what we have been doing in the past year. This allows us to discuss what changes have been successful and where we could have done better. Overall, it was a really positive offsite and there was not much complaint about how things have been working – so it has been a really good year for the engineering team. There is also more opportunity for communication and information sharing with the team.
It’s an amazing thing to be able to collaborate with people around the globe in a seamless way everyday, but adding in opportunities to reconnect in person, face-to-face, makes the virtual side of things that much better. Now let’s see what this fantastic team can accomplish in 2017!
If you’re interested about life at Invoice2go, we’re always looking for talented people to join our team. Visit our careers page and get in touch today.