You may think it's weird for a business that does digital marketing and web development to be going digital. Shouldn't Bento already be digital? Well, to be honest, we are. Many of us work from home on a regular basis, some of us work from further abroad. With that, BentoSMB will be leaving our office on May 30th and will begin working remotely full time.
A year ago, we decided to get an office in Kingston, Ontario. This was a big step for us. We had just become a team of 4, were looking to expand further, and really start to push towards becoming a great commerce marketing business.
Fast forward a year and we are a team of 6, have continued to grow and learn, and have realized that our team works best, and prefers to work wherever suits them. So with that, we have ended our lease and will no longer have a physical office.
To keep it short, there really won't be any impact on our client needs. Most of our clients are already working remotely with us, with very few needing to meet with us in person. For meetings in town, we will still be available and typically find people prefer to meet at their business. The bottom line is that we are able to provide great services to businesses around the world without having a physical office.
We also find that flexibility in working hours, where we work, and how we work produces better results for our clients. Lower costs allow us to provide greater value for our clients, which is central to Bento, so this is a natural fit.
For those businesses that rent space, you know the costs. It's not just rent either. It's internet, heat, hydro, insurance, plus you still have to furnish the place. Office supplies, printers, you name it. We tallied it all up and realized we could save almost $20,000 a year!
It also allows all of us to live better lifestyles. We all hate sitting behind a desk from 9-5 so we decided to not do it anymore. We also want to travel, explore, have adventures, and look for new opportunities. Not having a physical office allows us to do that more easily.
As I mentioned, our team is more efficient when working from home. This is also due to our team being (for the most part) able to work any time they want. Some of us know that from 12-3 we aren't productive, so we use that time for other things. Some of us like to work until 3 AM. Having flexibility allows for higher productivity, which in turn leads to a better product and less time spent sitting at a desk. It also leads to a better life/work balance!
Going remote doesn't come without challenges, but we think we are up for it and welcome those challenges. Communication is a big one, so we have been working remotely in spurts to help us iron out the issues. We leverage online tools like Slack, Appear.In and Jira to help us plan work and communicate effectively. We talk regularly, have group video calls, and aren't afraid to jump on a call to discuss something with one another.
A lot of the other difficulties that you might expect are things that we have never had issues with. All of our paperwork is done digitally, all of our business operations systems, like accounting, email, and client file storage are cloud-based, and we host our sites in servers we will never physically see.
Our biggest test yet starts June 1st, as two of us will be working in Europe for 2 months, and our other 4 team members will be working from home and other locations full time. It will be a great opportunity to see how we transition from one to the other. Future hires will likely also come with remote experience, leveraging their experiences in this space to help us build our communal team experience.
If you're interested in seeing how things go, make sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter.
Earlier this year Shopify launched the Shopify App Challenge. The brief, create an app that helps solve a challenge amplified by COVID-19, but that would also have staying power beyond the pandemic crisis. We knew, without a doubt, that we wanted to be a part of this challenge. So, our small team set to work building our second public Shopify application, Recipes.