Open Door Teams Blog
We're the makers of Daycast—a planning and time-tracking tool for makers. This is where we write about the cultures of distributed teams, working remotely, maximizing the value of our creative process, and how we navigate common challenges that arise on the road from nothing to something.
When we started using FreshBooks, our whole invoicing process got easier. Now we spend less time billing clients and more time serving them. Here’s our full review, including a breakdown of how we use FreshBooks for client billing and what you can expect if you give it a try.
I thought working remotely would mean being less affected by company culture than when I worked onsite. A year later, I say culture matters more as a remote worker because it lives where I do—in my home. Fortunately, culture is something we can screen for like we might a potential housemate.
One year ago, I left the commute behind for a home office (read: desk tucked into an alcove). The adjustments have been many and all have ultimately nurtured growth—difficult, painful growth sometimes. If I had it to do over, I’d make only one change: Switch to remote work sooner. Here’s why….
Time tracking software should solve problems, not create new ones. Finding the right fit for your team is key. We compiled our notes on time trackers we’ve studied—what’s special about each? what don’t we like?—and compared them with Daycast to save you time as you look for your team’s solution.
Are you using FreshBooks accounting software and want to try Daycast (or vice versa)? Using both and aren’t sure how to get the rest of your team up and running? This post is for you. We’ll have your whole team using Daycast to plan, track, and send time to FreshBooks in just a few quick steps.
With Daycast, our aim is to help you extract maximum value from each day. That’s why we’ve added three new features to help you stay focused while working, recharge when your workday is done, and spend less time on administrative to-dos. It’s all there for you in the latest release—version 1.1.0.
If transparency sounds like just another corporate buzzword, consider what happens on teams that don’t have it: silos grow and solidify, communication narrows, and efficiency slows. But what can you expect from a more transparent culture? And how do you go about building one? We cover both here.
Why is time tracking such a mind-numbingly awful exercise in … awfulness? Here’s what I think: Most time tracking methods are doing it wrong. Timesheets, frustratingly complicated apps—the only value they deliver is in the form of a paycheck. Which sounds like enough, I know. I want more.
Because managers are uniquely positioned to shape team culture through both everyday interactions and long-range choices, any move toward empathy will be more successful with intentional leadership. We’ve identified five things leaders can start doing right now to nurture empathy.
Some things—like frying eggs, like planning your days—seem pretty self-explanatory but in fact yield far better results with the application of real technique. When it comes to day planning, we recommend a method that’s simple, easy to use, and helps you get more satisfaction out of your workday.
Empathetic cultures don’t arise by default; they must be deliberately cultivated. And while leaders that value empathy give their teams a better chance of developing it, everyone plays a role in growing an empathetic culture. Here are five things we all can do to engender empathy in the workplace.
The ways and contexts in which managers review creative work can reap great rewards or cause great harm. I've failed in this area enough that I'm now qualified to write (a little) about it. So here’s a baker's dozen of hard-learned lessons gleaned from 20 years observing and managing creatives.
Confession: a packed schedule doesn’t just leave me feeling rushed; it also makes me feel important. Necessary. And in a world where busyness is the newest status symbol, I’m certainly not the only one. But it’s a trap, diminishing our ability to deliver real value. Fortunately, there’s a way out.
Clever ideas and the skill to bring them to life are abundant resources. But to purposefully innovate, we must identify what means the most to the consumer, not what’s clever. And that requires a much rarer resource: empathy. It starts, counterintuitively, not with feeling but with action.
Sometimes all it takes to achieve my goals is a little planning, a little persistence. Other times it seems the harder I try the further my goal recedes into the distance. Then I found a planning technique that helped me understand why some goals are so elusive and what to do about it.
Distractions can degrade productivity no matter where we work, but I find them harder to resist and recover from when working remotely. Interestingly, accountability tactics don’t solve the problem. Daily productivity requires that I know my limitations and work with them instead of against them.
How do you get your team focused on collective goals and working in harmony to achieve them? It starts simply but powerfully: with empathy. We can accomplish more together than we can alone, and synergy depends less on tools and procedures than it does on this undervalued skill.
When I left my office and nameplate behind, I didn’t realize I’d need to let go of a lot more in order to get the hang of this remote thing. It hasn’t been what I’d call easy. (But few worthwhile endeavors are, eh?) Now, almost four months in, I’m a happy, grateful convert.
What do we mean when we talk about the flexibility of working remotely? Because truth be told, I have zero desire to wander the globe, laptop in hand. But maybe flex isn’t just for the digital nomad set. Maybe homebody routine-freaks like me can make good use of it too.
Culture is critically important, but requires some out-of-the-box thinking to evolve intentionally in distributed workforces. We believe the right kinds of perks can help. And we don't mean free stuff. We mean activities and surprises that unify dispersed workers across miles and time zones.
Here's something I've noticed about working remotely: it blurs the line between work and home and, at least for me, creates cognitive dissonance in the process. My first instinct was to fortify that line. But the harder I tried, the more uncomfortable I got. Then one day the line dissolved altogether. And you know what? Work, home, everything—everything's better without it.
Picture a day-planning tool of some kind. Imagine using it. Do you feel inspired? Or does the very thought dampen your creative fire? If you're like many makers, it might just be the latter. Now, what if we told you that—with the right approach—planning your days can actually aid your creativity? It's true. We'll explain how.
These three books have helped shape how we work here at Open Door Teams. Using the suggestions and insight they offer, we deliver greater value for our time. Maybe you will too.
Distractions: bane of remote workers everywhere. I'm not so sure about that. What I do know is that the things that drag my focus are different now that I work from home.
Transitioning to remote work involves getting used to a lot less in the way of social cues. Posture, gestures, facial expressions, small talk—all sources of information that are no longer accessible on a daily basis. Which got me thinking, how much do I really need that data?
Driving or riding a bus to work has been part of my morning routine for years. A necessary part, a means to an end. A hassle. Now that I'm working remotely, I see commuting a little differently.