We write a lot about remote work and the culture of our remote team here on The Assembly Line, but it’s not often that you get to hear stories from individual members of our team. Katrina Garza is our Customer Success Manager, and she’s been with us since mid-June of 2016. Today she shares her individual experience joining the FormAssembly team and what she’s learned about teamwork, remote life, and company culture since her first day on the job.

It was June 13, 2016, when I attended my first conference call as a new member of FormAssembly’s support team. I remember it clearly and fondly because I was welcomed and greeted by every department in the company. It felt great to be a part of a strong, successful, and fun team!

From that point on, I’ve learned something new every day at FormAssembly. Not only have I learned about our product, but I have also learned about what it takes to be a part of an effective and productive remote team.

Here are four things I’ve learned:

Company Culture is the Glue That Holds Remote Teams Together

Company culture is important on any team, but in a remote workplace, having a strong culture is vital to keeping everyone in sync. FormAssembly’s culture stands out for a few key reasons. Regardless of where each individual FormAssembly team member is located, everyone operates as a team and ideas are accepted from anywhere. Everyone is passionate, on the same page with each other, and works hard to make the FormAssembly application the best form building product on the market. We all try to help and support one another to resolve client issues and work on internal projects.

Outside of work-related conversations, we all discuss weekend plans and hobbies, and joke around quite a bit. All of this helps us become closer as a team and build stronger professional and personal relationships.

The Right Tools Matter

As a 100-percent remote team, FormAssembly relies on the right tools for everyday interactions. For example, we use Flowdock as our virtual office community, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting for conference and video calls, and Jira for new feature and bug tracking. These type of tools are imperative in creating an effective remote environment and keeping everyone on the same page.

Communication is Key

Whether it’s through Flowdock or another virtual method, communication is key.  When you are not able to chime in with your officemate at the desk or office next door, you need to be clear and concise in your chosen method of communication.

At FormAssembly, we use Flowdock as our primary mode of communication, which creates a virtual office community that allows our team to communicate in real time. With Flowdock, we’re able to promote creativity and efficiency across company departments.

One would think that working outside of a traditional office setting would be difficult and hinder communication, but I find that having a tool like Flowdock opens up quicker internal dialogue and allows for faster solutions to issues. In addition, Flowdock offers important organizational features to help teams reference past conversations. And it helps with the team building aspect by allowing us to use emojis to insert a little more personality in our conversations.

Your Home or Remote Environment Counts

At first glance, remote work sounds extremely appealing (and it is, for the right remote teammate). However, it also requires a level of discipline to stay engaged.  At FormAssembly, we encourage each other to set up a designated work space, to be comfortable, to take breaks, and to change the scenery every once in awhile.  With FormAssembly, I’ve learned that having the ability to work anywhere is a great thing when you have the right setup.

I split my time between Austin, Texas, and Lima, Peru (two places I love), and my office setup in each location helps me focus.

Here’s a shot of my workspace in Lima:

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Joining FormAssembly was the right thing for me and my career. These past four months have been an amazing learning experience and I am enthusiastic to see what the rest of the year will bring!

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If you liked hearing this first-hand experience about what it’s like to join the FormAssembly team, you can learn more about our team members in our teammate highlight series. Click on teammate images on our team page to read individual highlights. 

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