For Peakon, a B2B tech company with locations across Europe including a fast-growing office in London, remote work wasn’t just a possibility; it was a necessity.

“I think you can have a competitive advantage if you can make remote working work for your company,” says Peakon CEO Phil Chambers.

From the early days of starting the company in 2015, Chambers realized that they would need a distributed team in order to acquire global customers. Soon, they fully embraced the distributed team life and along with their headquarters in Copenhagen, they also have locations in London, Berlin, Aukland, New York City and Raleigh.

For traditional companies, the decision to enable remote work anytime and anywhere can be hard to understand. But for Chambers and team, it was a no-brainer. They wanted to expand their reach, acquire global customers, and find the best talent to help them grow, no matter where that talent was located.

How does Peakon foster team collaboration, productivity, and employee happiness, all while growing and scaling their company? According to Patrick Cournoyer, Peakon’s Chief Operating Officer, it all comes down to the policies, practices, and tools used internally.

 

What technology is necessary?

New and improved technologies are the sole reason why full time remote work is even a possibility. More and more jobs are done entirely via the computer and internet, meaning all someone needs to do their work is a laptop and a steady wifi connection.

However, there are a number of tools that make remote work more effective and collaborative. On a day-to-day basis, many tech companies, including Peakon use Email, Slack, Phone, Video Conferencing.

For Deepa Daniels, Director of Product Management at Peakon, video conferencing takes up about 80% of her day. She works directly with a number of individuals in different offices, so meeting via video is important rather than just relying on slack.

But does video conferencing solve all communication barriers?

Not always.

 

How the Meeting Owl helps Peakon Cross Communication Barriers

For one-to-one communications, video conferencing with a typical laptop works brilliantly. But what about meetings where there are several people in different conferences rooms and remote attendees all combined?

Typically, cameras are mounted above a TV in a conference, so that remote participants can see a full view of the conference room where several team members are sitting. The more room participants there are, the less remote participants can see body language, expressions, or even tell who was in the room at once.

To solve for this problem, Peakon invested in an all-in-one 360º video conferencing camera called the Meeting Owl, which has drastically improved the meeting experience for all of their employees.

The Meeting Owl allows all video conferencing participants to see a full, panoramic view of conference rooms while also auto-focusing on active speakers. Below, you can see what the Meeting Owl experience looks like.

Remote-Experience-Example (8)

The result is the closest experience to in-person meetings that you can get on a video conference. Rather than feeling like a fly-on-the wall in a team meeting, remote workers can actually pickup on all nonverbal cues going on in the conference room.

Because the Meeting Owl works using smart technology, meeting participants don’t have to worry about spending the first five minutes of every meeting working through audio or visual issues. The Meeting Owl works by plugging into a computer via USB. From there, it just works. The device sits in the middle of a conference room table and does not have to be moved throughout the meeting. Instead, it tracks where speakers are in the room and auto-focuses as different people speak.

For Peakon, the Meeting Owl has vastly improved the experience of meeting attendees like Daniels.

“It feels more natural, it feels more human. It’s nice to be able to see the room -- it feels quite connected,” says Daniels.

Additionally, the Meeting Owl has had more positive side effects at Peakon than they even expected.

According to Peakon COO Patrick Cournoyer, meetings with external vendors and partners are now more professional. In the past, if they had a camera that wasn’t working for a video conference, they’d end up with 5 people crowded around a laptop webcam. The result was an embarrassing, unprofessional-looking experience for their partner.

Cournoyer also cited that he’s witnessed an increase in communication consideration during meetings. While room participants may have previously talked over remote attendees during a video conference, the Meeting Owl has helped everyone in a meeting be more mindful of who is talking, enabling more remote workers to feel included in the conversation.

 

Key Takeaways for Other Companies to Consider

For Peakon, improving company culture is both their internal and product mission. For other companies looking to emulate their culture and practices, keep the following in mind.

 

  • Remote work can give you company a competitive advantage. Why? Because you’re not limiting yourself to the talent pool in one specific locality.
  • You can’t enable remote workers if you don’t first put trust and autonomy in your employee’s hands.
  • The right technology is the key to making remote work possible and effective. Use Slack, The Meeting Owl, syncable calendars (like Google Calendar), and video conferencing to enable effective day-to-day team communication.
  • Being in person every once in awhile is invaluable. But when you can’t all be in person, use technology to emulate a face-to-face experience. For many companies like Peakon, the Meeting Owl is key for creating effective video conferencing meetings.

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