Today marks Advertio’s 168th fully-remote working day (not considering weekends and Maltsev’s holidays). I know this because Maltsev has been keeping track by sending us a GIF with a funny pandemic diary entry every day.
It’s been nine long months, where pretty much everyone around the world has had to change their habits and do things differently. For us, it was no different.
Back in March, when we started hearing about lockdowns, the pandemic and offices shutting down, we decided to throw a little get together with the team after work - just in case it was going to last. Little did we know that we would still be home in December.
On that day, we stayed after work, Diogo was the designated DJ, and we had a small barbecue in our office’s backyard. Looking back, I’m happy we did this. It gave us an extra boost to endure the first couple of weeks of working remotely and adapting to all the online meetings that used to take place organically. It also helped with coping with all the news about Covid-19 and the lockdown.
For some, remote work meant leaving Lisbon and going back to their hometowns; for others, it meant finding a place at the dining table to place their setups for a couple of weeks (or so we thought). For others yet, this meant staying in Lisbon without going to the office and adapting their daily routine.
We used the first weeks to see how we could adapt our sprints and routines to this new normal. We had to make some adjustments to get everything running smoothly. I’m glad to say that we understood our needs pretty quickly and after just a few weeks, all tasks were running exactly how they were supposed to. We have the entire team to thank for their inputs on how we could improve the workflow and our Project Manager Diogo for understanding what this meant and adapting the workload.
After adjusting all our processes, it was time to address how we were going to keep the team close. Up until then, we were used to being in the same office, having lunch together and going for walks, which doubled for getting dessert and getting to know each other better. Being in the same office space meant that designers and backend developers had the chance to get to know each other, the marketing team could sit next to the accountant, frontend developers could trade notes with our data scientist, and I would be in the same space and could help when needed.
That said, things are a little different when working from home. Usually, people within a team have meetings to solve any pending issues and the only chance we would have to see everyone is at daily standups or sprint meetings. So, how could we solve this?
Back in September, we also managed to have a team-building event in Lisbon, where we gathered the entire team. Having the Covid-19 restrictions in mind and making sure we were all safe, we decided that having an outdoor activity was probably the best idea. We played paintball during the afternoon, and after that, we had dinner on a beautiful terrace.
After months of being isolated and not being able to meet in person, this day was exactly what we needed to get us through the rest of the year.
We started by having a few meetings where nobody talked about work just for fun. These weren’t mandatory, and people only joined in if they wanted to. For example, we once had lunch and explored Google Earth to find amazing landscapes across the world.
We’ve now created a system where we’re randomly assigned into duos or trios and have a virtual coffee to get to know each other.
These meetings have been essential since we’ve grown the business. We welcomed ten new members to the team during this period, which made these downtimes and more casual meetings crucial in getting to know them.
A lot has happened for Advertio in 2020. On the product side, we have a new website, a new app interface, new features and have new clients joining us every day. At the same time, we saw some team members leave and many others come on board, we updated our remote-game, we shared photos of our pets and our home offices, we laughed and had funny meetings to wind down. We even welcomed a baby to the Advertio family.
Now, as we approach the end of the year, it’s time to think about the future and start planning for 2021. Last December, we wrote a blog post on how to choose KPIs for the following year and how to analyse the year that just finished. This year though, we’ll do it a little differently.
2020 was the year no one saw coming, but at Advertio we managed to overcome all the pitfalls that came with it and thankfully, we’re ending the year stronger than we started. We know how lucky we are to be in this position, so next year we will keep our success metrics fairly simple. We vouch to help even more businesses grow without taking risks and hope to create a real impact on their development/expansion.
Advertio was created with the intent of democratising the online advertising space; this, today, is more important than ever. We’ll do so by launching even more features that will hopefully help all our users achieve their goals faster, without charging them for anything but results. We’ll also continue with our vouchers that help businesses get started, and we’ll create more partnerships to broaden our reach in new markets and business categories.
As for the team, in 2021 we’ll double the team-building events, we’ll continue welcoming new members, and we’ll make sure we create opportunities for everyone to meet and get to know each other. Hopefully, we’ll be back in the office soon, but we’ll continue to have a remote-friendly policy where our team chooses where they want to work.
If you’d like to know more about our product or join the team, let us know. We’d be happy to show you around our app.
To celebrate my second anniversary at Advertio, I decided to write about why this is a team worth joining.
João Bogalho joined us as a QA Manager late last year. So far, he’s been doing a great job in making sure our app follows all relevant and applicable quality guidelines and standards.