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Working Remotely

In 2010, I founded Emerging ag and felt then there was no need for an office and I’ve never looked longingly at conventional space. The virtual office approach has allowed me to engage some of the most talented people from around the world and all 20 of us really enjoy working together. So, in these times, here are a few ideas based on our experiences.

Technology Suite

Of course, everyone needs a remote conference call system right now, but in addition to having more conference calls, there are lots of other elements to working remotely successfully.  Here is what we use and why: 

  • Zoom – Remote conferencing for us and external actors. Also, in the fight for bandwidth that is likely to break out, I suggest you use a system that also has a telephone back up.
  • OneNote – This long-standing piece of Microsoft gear we use as a Notebook we can all use. We agree Notebooks for major projects and discuss which folders there will be. That way people working at different times can use it to share references, notes, links etc.
  • DropBox – We found this worked best for file sharing and sync’ing with laptops for offline times. It does mean people have to pay attention when more than one person is in a document.  It is just a matter of protocols.
  • Teamwork – We use this service to track time, deadlines, and projects. It allows you on all sorts of time zones and schedules to look at what is done.
  • WhatsApp – Odd but true – we keep the social chatter going on a chat we call “No crisis just fun” (yes, we also have one called “Crisis” which happily is rarely used). People share pictures of a birthday, a holiday, jokes about confinement, notes of support.  Think of it as your proverbial water cooler.  

 Each of these tools is part of building out the functions you have inside your organization. Formal and informal. There are lots of technology solutions, but the part to think about is the role of different kinds of information, some of which you might have shared casually by being together. Building out a culture for this is equally possible and just requires some different management techniques.

Long time clients have been asking questions, and we are here if you need us. 

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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