Everperform's CEO Daniel Spitty talks with Prosperity Advisors Group's Mark Monfort about running a company remotely, managing remote teams effectively, and how he balances work and life.
Disclaimer: Prosperity is not a customer of Everperform at the time of publishing this interview. You can find out more about Prosperity Advisors Group at prosperityadvisers.com.au.
Mark: Hi Daniel, could you please tell the audience a bit more about yourself and Everperform?
Daniel: Hey Mark, sure thing. I am the CEO of Everperform, we are a people measurement platform that helps people and managers improve their wellbeing and performance. Our company was born in sports and high performing teams and we apply this to help people improve in the workplace, which is now more likely to be at home/remote.
Mark: Fantastic stuff, it’s certainly a changing landscape out there. Has your workforce already been working from home or did this involve a big change when lockdowns started happening across the country?
Daniel: I can answer this for our company, and also for our customer base. The Everperform team is all based in Melbourne and we already had the flexibility of working from anywhere before COVID occurred. So for us, it didn’t involve any major changes, but it placed higher importance on our remote stand up meetings and team huddles.
For our customers, who are mostly in professional services, it had a much higher impact on them. Although many of them had flexible working policies in place, they were not ‘you can only work from home’ policies and expectations. And with that, we felt as a company, we could really help them through this transition.
Mark: That’s great to hear. How has productivity been affected with the change?
Daniel: The short answer is everyone is different.
For me personally, I have a young family at home, my wife is also working from home and in order to remain productive, it meant that my typical workday was turned upside down. I tried to use the days to keep momentum and cadence with the team so if I was required to answer a question or provide input, I would do this as soon as I could. Once the kids were in bed, I would then dive into more deep thinking work. Strategy, analysis, meaningful communications etc.
The key to keeping this sustainable was that I was looking after myself, exercising when I could, and not trying to keep the same routine that I had pre-COVID, my expectations shifted and so did the build-up of stress.
For our team, some were more productive, some were less. And this extends to our customers as well. The biggest determining factor was that if you had less distractions at home, you were more productive.
We launched the Remote Work Hub which is an aggregation of live Everperform data which show the trends of productivity over time across all of our users.
Mark: You’re right there. How do you check in with your employees on their well-being and ensuring they have some good balance when it comes to work from home?
Daniel: We designed a pulse survey library that was specifically for Remote Working and used our platform to automatically send these pulses to our team in frequent intervals. These questions included well-being focused questions like ‘have you been able to get some fresh air in the past 24 hours?’ and ‘I have a good work-life balance right now’. The other categories that we measured were meaningful connections and focus and productivity. This then enabled me to quickly understand how our people were, and who I needed to help and in what specific area.
We then rolled this out to all of our customers who were experiencing the same challenge, and the overall sentiment we received through this was so positive, that we have continued to evolve the library as the COVID situation has changed. As an example, now most businesses are preparing for Return to Work, and we have included a number of questions that employees can express themselves and how they are feeling with commuting, sharing office space again their comfort levels with these.
Mark: It’s good that your internal situation was shared with customers. I’ve read some people have either thrived in work from home situations or they’ve struggled. You mentioned a mix of results you’ve seen for internal and external clients. How has it been for you and what are some of the tips you have for those who are still trying to get over the hump and get more out of their situation?
Daniel: Everyone deals with change differently and whether it is working from home, learning something new, starting a new role or becoming a parent, the journey for everyone is different. For me, it took until the 4th week to create a one-pager between my wife and I to balance our schedules with the kids whilst both trying to have online meetings and presentations with our respective roles. That was a game-changer for us. Yet, so simple!
For my team, having insight on my people even though I couldn’t see them face to face was a massive advantage. I didn’t need to call them every day, because the natural interactions of work and the pulse responses gave me what I needed to know.
Managers and Leaders have a responsibility to understand how each of their employees are, what support they need and what environment brings out the best in them. What seems to be lost in the influx of Zoom meetings and webinars is the 1:1 interactions that we would so often have in the office. And what made these 1:1 interactions more meaningful for me was the pulse responses and insights into where they are at this week compared to last week and how you can best support them.
Mark: That’s a lot of great insights there. The data/visualisation nerd inside of me is paying attention. How do you structure your typical work from home day?
Daniel: I think you have guessed by now that there actually wasn’t a typical day, but I did try to loosely structure my week based on what I could control.
Mark: Good to note. And how do you separate work from other zones in the house (i.e. for family or food)?
Daniel: Both my wife and I are set up with our laptops and monitors on the dining table of all places. This completely goes against what many have advised, but it works for us. We also have a small, windowless room that we reserve for those calls where we need absolute silence, but we only use that on rare occasions. I think the population has really embraced the working from home challenges and our kids are sometimes jumping into view and saying hi to our teammates, and even customers. I think that is great, and a good sign that the line between work and life is becoming fainter and fainter.
This was a photo from one of our team members, Roland Spitty. He joked that he needed to be careful he didn’t mistake his mouse for the iron!
Mark: It’s hard to keep life separated sometimes but I think you’ve done well by the sounds of it. Nothing wrong with a bit of humanity to the work so good to see you have interesting cameos! Do you find a way to keep socialising with colleagues or friends even during lockdown? Zoom coffee meets perhaps?
Daniel: Well, Mark, I am a wine lover, so one of the first Zoom sessions I locked in with my mates was a Friday night Zoom call with them. Everyone received a list of 12 wines to purchase at the start of COVID and each week we would taste a different wine and it was a great way to keep in touch.
For work, we also locked in a weekly Team Huddle and would use the time differently each week. From trivia to new recipes, to designing our new Everperform apparel, it was a great way to catch up with the team in a relaxed way and made light of a difficult time.
Mark: Fellow wine fan here and that sounds amazing. So how does Everperform fit into the mix of tools people can use if they want to work from home?
Daniel: Everperform is an easy way to keep connected with your people in a meaningful way while automating much of the effort needed to do this offline. We integrate with platforms such as Xero and WorkflowMax to bring in the real-time performance data of our team and help you match that with the pulse data to easily identify where things are going well, and what needs improvement. We also pump this data into analytics platforms such as PowerBI to help organisations ramp up their people analytics.
Mark: That’s fantastic. Lot of companies use those tools. Final question, how do people find out more about your products?