Between Slack, Zoom, email, and phone calls, connecting with co-workers has, in theory, never been easier.
Yet remote and hybrid work models have wreaked havoc on team communication. And it has made onboarding new hires even more difficult. Several “WorkTech” startups have popped up to combat team communication problems…and they just might help eliminate some meetings from your calendar and streamline your day.
Here are some of the tools you should know that are already helping Southeast-based companies connect in our remote world. Your calendar will thank us later…
“We completed over 100 client engagements for our consulting company, BGBO Co, and not a single company had documentation for their teams that was usable or existed,” Boyd told Hypepotamus. “We found ourselves not finding any software that has kept up with how people learn today. Everything available was using the same black and white text documents, which are boring for any user to read. We needed something people could skim, grab their attention, and make it extremely easy for anyone at the company to make.”
After testing out the idea of a user-friendly platform to create internal playbooks, how-to’s, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) with current clients, they received feedback like: My team is operating without me. I am actually getting my own tasks done.
“That’s when we knew it was ready to get in front of other businesses and not just our current clients,” she added.
The husband-and-wife duo started Nashville-based Arvo to solve the very real problem of employee training and team organization. As Boyd puts in, “build it once in Arvo, and you never have to say it twice.”
“Companies need a way to train their employees but more importantly it is about how to get company knowledge out of people’s heads and into a format that can be reused. So many managers and company owners have their entire day eaten up by questions from their team and have to spend long hours catching up on the other work they needed to get done that day. By creating playbooks in Arvo, you are building a centralized knowledge base for the company that anyone can contribute to. No one needs to be a designer to create them and no one needs to know the best practices for creating usable documentation, all they have to do is know how to type on a keyboard.”
This is particularly important in a remote-first or hybrid work culture, Boyd added. “There isn’t the chatter that happens walking to and from meetings or in the lunchroom, so everything needs to be spelled out or there can be a sense of chaos around too many different ways teams are executing.”
Outside of company SOPs, Arvo can also be built to help remote team members and managers get to know each other with “personality playbooks.”
True to form, Arvo is a remote-first team of 13 employees, with a new Director of Marketing based in Atlanta.
Storyboard looks to answer that one question all remote workers have asked at least once: Did that conversation really need to be a full Zoom meeting?
The startup makes it easier for teams to create and distribute internal podcasts. For founder JP Gooderham, it is all about bringing flexibility to team members.
Storyboard allows teams of all sizes to put out quality podcasts without the need for expensive audio equipment or tools. Teams have used the platform to send out CEO town hall recordinds, weekly company updates, or even training series for new hires.
Gooderham, a Tulane graduate, left his tenure at Google to pursue Storyboard at the end of 2019. Shortly after, of course, the very nature of work changed for teams across the world.
“With the pandemic, leaders, internal communications teams, and folks in charge of learning at companies needed to think creatively about how do you adapt to a remote environment,” Gooderham added. “Teams have been using Storyboard to replace an email that many people won’t read or a meeting that would have been disruptive [in a schedule]…and that’s really where we see the opportunity with audio.”
Up to 3,000 companies use Storyboard to curate internal communications. Gooderham said about 80% of listening happens on mobile devices.
Atlanta-based companies using the platform include Mark Spain, Delta Air Lines, and Arbor Pharmaceutical. Storyboard’s internal team is currently 20 strong and is distributed across US and Canada.