By now, you’re probably aware that our customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But what you may not know is exactly how we achieve that. Our Customer Operations team (we call them COps) are available around the clock.⌚️To achieve this level of support, many COps work mostly remotely so they’re not restricted by the hours our office is open.
So what does remote working look like at Cuvva? And what have we learnt from the experience so far?
What are the benefits?
Let’s face it, the morning commute is a part of the day that most of us could do without. Gridlock traffic jams and sweaty armpits on a cramped tube are hardly optimal conditions for a good start to the day. 🚆
In addition to the 8 hours spent in the office, the commute adds another few hours a day that are simply lost. Eliminating an hour commute every day tallies up to over a week and a half in saved time every year.
That means the team have more and better quality free time, which we think are vital to a healthy work-life.
Work from anywhere
Since we don’t have to work at Cuvva HQ, it doesn’t matter where we log-on… as long as there’s good wifi! 💻 For some this could mean working from the sofa, but for me, it means working from a totally different country.
You’ll find me answering your questions on our chat support in the evenings, but on the other side of the laptop I might be in a totally different part of the world. 🌎 I’m writing this from Slovenia with travel plans for Spain, Thailand and Vietnam later this year!
Before Cuvva, I faced the dilemma of whether to travel or focus on my career, so I’m incredibly grateful that I’m able to do both. I can be a part of an inspiring team and an exciting company without being tied to one place.
The right work environment
We work in an open-plan office. This is perfect for sharing ideas, collaborating and providing support. But with all of that going on, it’s not always the quietest place to work. Working remotely means you’re completely free to choose the setting that helps you work best! 👩💻
We’re building insurance the way it should be, and that’s no small task. Over the past year, as our ambitions have grown, so has the size of the team. This means we’ve outgrown our office spaces pretty quickly. By embracing remote working, we are less restricted by limited office space.
What are the challenges?
Social life (or lack of it!)
At Cuvva HQ, you’re just one conversation away from the next invitation for a coffee, beer or even a trip to the local climbing wall. Often our work and social lives are intertwined.
When you’re working remotely, it’s not always that easy. If you’re not careful, entire days can go by where Alexa and your cat play the most dominant roles in your social life. 🐈
This can be apparent in the relationships between the team too. When you spend every day together it’s inevitable that you make small talk around the coffee machine and get to know each other. But when you work remotely, you can miss out.
There are a few things we do to make sure the remote team feel included. The COps team have bi-weekly roundtables where they catch up face-to-face and share best practices. We also have regular lunches where people from different teams get the chance to head out of the office and catch up over food. And once a month, we have company-wide outings, doing things like go karting and comedy nights, so we can hang out in person. 🎭
When your work-life and home-life operate from the same space, they can quite easily become blurred.
That means you might find yourself putting washing on the radiator during your lunch break, or responding to emails at 23:35 on a Sunday night. Trying not to take your work home with you becomes harder when your home is your office, so it’s up to you to make sure you get the right balance.
At Cuvva, work-life balance is extremely important. We encourage the team to have a healthy separation from work outside of their shifts so they can fully switch “off” and return to work totally refreshed. 💆♂️
Maintaining teams with online chat
Since our customer support is done via the in-app chat, we’re comfortable communicating in written form. It’s one thing to answer customer questions in a one-to-one chat, but it’s another thing entirely to manage and maintain a high-performing team solely over online communications. Especially as we’re growing!
In a normal office the latest company news and general goings-on are often passed on by word of mouth. What’s more, if you get stuck and need help, you just need to spin around in your office chair to get your neighbour’s input. So how can we emulate this level of open, spontaneous support with remote work too?
We use Slack as our main communication tool. We encourage all conversations to happen in open Slack channels so that nothing is missed, and COps can stay in touch with what’s happening elsewhere in the company. We also have channels that aren’t related to work (about anything from food to dogs 😂) to stimulate the same kind of impromptu chat you might catch in the office.
All important meetings are live streamed so that every member of the team can be involved regardless of whether or not they’re in the office. 🎥 We also have frequent catch ups and reviews over voice or video call so that not everything is restricted to just online chat.
Overall, having our COps team working remotely has been a really positive experience. We’re constantly reviewing the process and improving it where we can, and look forward to seeing how working remotely continues to develop over the year ahead.