Working out loud may appear an abstract concept to those companies who continue to use offline, traditional methods of working, but it’s one that has become a bona-fide and successful approach to work for thousands of companies across the UK. These companies make use of collaborative software suites such as Google Apps for Work to work flexibly and efficiently. One such company is Crowdbait, a content marketing agency based in York with a second office in London. Crowdbait formed in 2011, and made the switch to Google Apps in Spring 2013 following a period of swift growth. With employees based not only in the company’s two offices but also working remotely, collaborative software became vital to the company’s operation. Today, the Crowdbait team share their experiences of working out loud and how it has helped shape the company into its current form.
Crowdbait was one of the first content marketing agencies in the UK, and now creates content for a wide range of clients – both B2B and B2C. This content is posted on the client’s website (or in email newsletters or as guest posts) and distributed via social media, with the twin goals of improving SEO and building a captive organic audience through social media. As such, the vast majority of the company’s work takes place in the digital realm.
A flexible workforce
Crowdbait’s clients are based all across the UK – and even abroad – so it made perfect sense for the company to open a second office in London. In addition, some Crowdbait staff wished to work remotely to cut down on commute times and live near friends and family. The company adopted Google Apps for Work in early 2013. Crowdbait’s Managing Director Suzannah Taggart describes why Google Apps was the right choice:
‘Google Apps for Work gave us a single, cloud-based platform which all our staff could access from any location,’ Taggart told Work Out Loud. ‘Our remote staff could be just as productive as those working from the office without feeling isolated, due to Google Hangouts and chat.’
Cloud platforms such as Google Apps enable multiple users to access and edit documents in almost real-time. Louis Rossi, editor at Crowdbait, told us that this functionality was of particular use to the Crowdbait team.
‘A great deal of our work involves collaboration. The editorial team brainstorms content ideas together, and shared Google Docs are the perfect platform for such tasks.’ Rossi continued, ‘all of our staff are able to contribute and comment on each other’s ideas. For a creative content marketing agency, this is a vitally important function. It’s very much a team effort. Collaborative software makes it all possible.’
Crowdbait uses Google Hangouts as a crucial internal communication and collaboration tool, hosting frequent production meetings between distance workers via the online software. The company’s workflows are dependent on Google Drive, with the collaborative software suite used to share documents between employees and clients such as Work Out Loud.
‘The collaborative features of Google Drive are absolutely invaluable to our business,’ added Rossi. ‘Distance workers can contribute to the same document simultaneously, and our clients can add comments or feedback directly so we can cut out the middleman and make the relevant changes.’
When we spoke to the Crowdbait team, we were struck by their enthusiasm for flexible working. It seems that such an approach not only benefits staff, but also the company as a whole. Today’s technology makes flexible working possible – and productive.
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